Monday, December 14, 2009

Religious empathy creates social capital

[Rethinking Religion in India The Colonial Construction of Hinduism
Edited by Esther Bloch, Marianne Keppens, Rajaram Hegde

Increasingly scholars have come to realise that the dominant understanding of Indian culture and its traditions is unsatisfactory. According to the classical paradigm, Hindu traditions are conceptualized as features of a religion with distinct beliefs, doctrines, sacred laws and holy texts. Today, however, many academics consider this conception to be a colonial ‘construction’... Hinduism only exists in the European experience and does not correspond to any empirical reality in India. Published December 14 2009 by Routledge.]

[The magic of religion Pune Mirror - By N Vittal
Monday, December 14, 2009:
Even in the 21st century, religion continues to be critically important in the lives of people. It is not very fashionable or modern to say that you believe in your religion, especially if you are a Hindu in our country. We feel that we should flaunt our secularism by avoiding taking a firm stand on religion. An elegant ambiguity, if not outright skepticism or agnosticism, seems to be a sine qua non... But religion has a credit side when it comes to human affairs. This is the altruistic inspiration it provides. Marxism and rationalism do not have this redeeming feature. Religion has been the source of inspiration for a whole multitude of humane and charitable institutions which sustain their activities from generation to generation. In our country, rich businessmen as enlightened vaishyas have been practitioners of philanthropy in every part of the country. For example, in the healthcare sector, there are institutions like Sankara Nethralaya in Chennai launched by Dr Badrinath who, in turn, was inspired by the Parmacharya of Kanchi. The Arvind Eye Hospital in Madurai, Tamilnadu, owes its origin to the Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry and the Mother.
Liberhan and 26/11 Mumbai Mirror]

The track record of Savitri Era Religion in this respect is yet to be enumerated appropriately. [TNM]

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