At a juncture when we are in a moral, social and political crisis, rethinking of the concept of religion in India is the need of the hour, said Mangalore Bishop Dr Aloysius Paul D’Souza.
He was speaking after inaugurating the IV international conference on ‘Rethinking religion in India’ jointly organised by SDM Law College, Research Centre of Ghent University and Kuvempu University, at SDM Law College on Saturday.
Propagating the significance of religion, he said religion has remained as the backbone of India, by saturating the lives of people at all levels. However, unfortunately, the differences of opinion in religion has led to several disasters, affecting the lives of people.
“The suppression of religious minorities continues unabated in India. With the influence of religion over all the important aspects of national psyche, the religion has been enjoying its position. But we must ensure that the religion helps for the betterment of the society, rather than turning destructive,” said the Bishop.
In his introductory remarks, Belgium’s Ghent University Director Dr Balgangadhar Rao said that research on the need to rethink about religion in India was initiated over a question as to why India has not produced any geniuses on par with Einstein, Newton or others in the last three centuries.
The research has produced some controversial results, as it explored the European experience of India.
Claiming that all the theories in the world emerged due to Christianity, he said law, theories and Christianity went hand in hand. “Greeks and Romans are not the cradle of western civilisation, but Christianity is the cradle,” he said.
The rethinking religion in India conference is the fourth edition of a five year conference. The aim of the conference is to rethink the framework in which the Indian traditions are studied today.
SDME Society Prof S Prabhakar presided over the programme. Embassy of Belgium First Secretary Charley Poppe, Bar Council of India member S L Bhoje Gowda were present. Several foreign delegates too attended the conference that will last for five days.
Later in a separate programme, Charly Poppe who released a book – Reconceptualising India Studies, authored by Dr Balagangadhara Rao said that misunderstanding pervades between India and Belgium, leading to mis-conception regarding each other.
Stating that Europeans have a wrong notion about India, he said it was mainly due to the media which portrays India in a bad light. Europeans must understand that India despite the violence, is a religious and considerably peaceful country, with diverse culture.
Jakob De Roover from Research Centre Vergelijkende Cultuurwetenschap of Ghent University who was present on the occasion said that though Asian Countries have learnt natural science and other areas of science from Western countries, Western countries have not yet obtained knowledge about culture of Asian countries like China and India.