By Sandeep Datta
New Delhi, Jan.23 : Scholars participating in the conference on "Rethinking Religion in India" on Wednesday here were still trying to understand religion as is practiced in the sub-continent.
The feeling was that there was a negative picture of India religion elsewhere in the world.
According to Dunkin Jalki, a Ph.d student on Cultural Studies from Bangalore,"Only when Asians reflect upon themselves or each other, a positive picture on (social systems) emerges."
Prof. J.S.Sadananda of the Kuvempu University in Karnataka, who has been conducting research work on caste in Karnataka's 40 villages, said: "The perception of India appears influenced by Christian theological framework of Europe. They haven't been able to understand the phenomenon they are studying."
According to Professor Rajeev Ranjan Sinha, Head of the Department of Sanskrit Vidya and Dean Faculty of Shamana Vidya at Sampoornanand Sanskrit University, Varanasi, the speakers appear to have misunderstood the concept "Jaati" during their research.
"The word Jaati is not caste. I am speaking from the studies of Sanskrit texts. 'Jaati' is a technical term in Indian Nyaya philosophy where it means the element which covers the whole race (i.e ness).But nowhere it means as a caste in the Sanskrit texts. You cannot term Jaati as a religion, sect or caste." Prof.Sinha said.
Prof. Purushottam Bilimale pointed out that Jati in the Indian context does not mean caste Dravidian. He said: "Entire 27 communities of the Dravidian world don't have a single world equalling to "Jaati". If you accept that as a fact, because it is a Sanskrit world, we have to see the entire Dravidian world in a different way with a question "what else is there?"
"When you look at the Dravidian rituals the basic functioning tools are kinship and family," he added.