Indian scholars intrigued on European outlook on Indian Religion

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By Sandeep Datta

New Delhi, Jan.23 : The ongoing conference on Rethinking Religion in India in the capital, despite commencing on a promissory note on Monday, is making many Indian intellectuals skeptical about the outcome.

Many feel that the European scholars were finding it difficult to understand Indian religion in its true perspective.

"It's just a beginning. We hope from next year of the conference, the discussion will intensify. The whole discussion needs to take a proper shape in the due course of time only after that the structure and framework of discussions could be properly understood," said Prof. K.D.Tripathi of Benaras Hindu University.

"These people seem quite 'anxious' about understanding India and perhaps that's why they are eager to 'rethink' about religion in India. They are 'worried' about the exterior of religion and its repercussions. They are comparatively less concerned about the internal aspects of religion in India," said Prof.K.D.Tripathi of Benaras Hindu University.

"The route to our experience of Indian religion goes through language, art, music and literature. We can realize the significance of our religion from within," Prof. Tripathi said.

"The debate they are having today was all started in the 16th century by Sikh Gurus. In Granth Sahib, there is a distinction made between "Dheen" which is used in Islamic context. And, the word "Dharma" which is used in traditional Indian context," said Jasdev Singh, Director of the Sikh Human Rights Group in U.K.

"Indian academicians look more obsessed about proving to the white European about his grasp of European philosophy. They should instead spend more time studying the Indian reform movements," said Singh.

"It is a sad indictment of the colonization process of India that no conference is considered credible without the white European participants." he added.

Prof.Rajeev Ranjan Sinha, Head of the Department of Sanskrit Vidya and Dean Faculty of Shramana Vidya at Sampoornanand Sanskrit University, Varanasi said: "We cannot be expected to understand our religion through European eyes or viewpoint. Without understanding the intrinsic examples and sources of Hinduism it cannot be covered by European concept of religion."

"Hindu Dharma is not a mere ritual. In Europe, the belief and rituals are centralized and monistic. But Hinduism is diversified and it believes in pluralism. We must try to discover some alternative aspect in its own ocean," Prof. Sinha stressed after attending the first roundtable session I Janapada Sampada", said.

"Hinduism of Gandhi and of a native farmer both are covered by the word 'Hinduism' in Indian perspective" he added.

At the end of the second day's discussions, many felt that as of now the participants are trying to project their scholarly achievements but the visiting scholars are still far away from understanding Indian religion.

The conference is scheduled to last till January 24.

ANI

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