In India for example, Hindu fundamentalists have made use of the Hindu religion to establish a nationalist discourse, ultra-conservative and causing violent conflicts against Muslim, Christians, Sikhs and all other religious groups in the country.
Despite all this, the Hindutva forces have not succeeded in imposing one State religion, which distinguishes India from its neighbours in the South Asian region, where, in these countries, the dominant religion has acquired a quite privileged status at the expense of the other existing religions. Thus, from Pakistan to Sri Lanka, from Bangladesh to Kashmir, violence is regularly stirred up with a certain chauvinism in the name of one of these dominant religions.
The Muslim-Christian dialogue concerning underdevelopment is not an optional question; it is necessary because – over and above the difficulties it presents, it affects without doubt the very future of our planet. The rise of Muslim and Christian fundamentalism as well as Hindu-Buddhist fundamentalism renders this dialogue difficult, yet more and more urgent. A big number of countries experience tensions that take the form of more or less acute or latent conflicts between Christian and Muslim populations. Religious discourse that often accompanies these conflicts can sometimes hide the underlying social, cultural and economic imbalances. These circumstances make this dialogue urgently necessary, inasmuch as these populations are greatly marked by the absence of means and perspectives (for example: the landless, the homeless, the unemployed, the unskilled).
Spiritualities, in all their diversity, are part of the human heritage and are basic in the dialogue of civilizations. Not one form alone can offer all potentialities. Each one needs enrichment by its contact with others. This is possible where there is no attempt at creating a hierarchy of spiritual and cultural differences, no aim at domination, but at dialogue on equal bases. The quest for alternatives must be a common undertaking for all humanity. It should also be a process of interdisciplinary research with an intercultural approach.
With this background, the workshop focused on the obstacles against dialogue and the approaches that favor dialogue.
The workshop was jointly organized by AREDS (India), Development and Civilizations - Lebret-Irfed international centre (Switzerland, France), BRES (France).
To access to the participants’ contributions, click here.
The Bangalore seminar focused specifically on the theme : « Religious fundamentalism and globalization » and structured around three main sub-themes :
Majority of the 25 participants represented Indian organizations from different sectors, beliefs and geographical locations. Participants from other countries (Sri Lanka, Nepal, Cambodia, Lebanon, France) also shared their own reflections on the theme. A public meeting was organized on the last evening to share the results of the discussions with a wider public. Journalists were invited and a press statement was issued by the organizers at this occasion.
The English on-line version is available here. A printed English edition will be available in AREDS, India, by the end of 2008.
The press statement is available here.