Rethinking Religion in India: Rethinking Secularism represents a five year international conference cluster that aims to start developing an alternative framework to understand religions and traditions in India. Rethinking Religion in India II under the motto of “Rethinking Secularism,” will examine the limitations of the conceptual framework shared by Hindutva and Secularism. The event is jointly organized by the Research Centre Vergelijkende Cultuurwetenschap (Ghent University), India Platform UGent (Ghent University), the Centre for the Study of Local Cultures (Kuvempu University) and the Karnataka Academy of Social Sciences and Humanities (KASSH).
The conference invites scholars and intellectuals for sharing discussions and reflection on questions such as:
What if the Indian culture and its traditions cannot be characterized in terms of religion?
What if communities in Indian society cannot be delineated according to religious identities?
What if conflicts are neither religious strife nor communal violence?
What if secularism and communalism are not opposites, but rather feed on each other?
What if liberal secularism is the cause of communal conflict, rather than its antidote?
The point of reflecting on these questions is not only to work towards a new understanding of the problem situation of secularism in India, but also to identify the constraints of the western liberal paradigm of political theory, when it comes to religion. Therefore, both scholars of western political theory and scholars of Indian religion will be invited. The event will carry on four sessions: Platform sessions, addressing the question ‘Is secularism the solution to communal conflict in India?’, Roundtable sessions, taking up the issue of ‘Secularism in India', Parallel Paper sessions, addressing 'Indian Religion and the Issue of Conversion'; 'The Caste System and Indian Religion'; 'Colonialism and Religion in India'; and 'Religion and Law in India', and "How to...?" workshop sessions, in which a concrete question will be taken up for discussion.