MAULANA AZAD NATIONAL URDU UNIVERSIT

National Seminar

on

Communal Violence, Persecutions and Social Exclusion of Muslims and Christians in India

March 20-21, 2014

Organized by

Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy

Maulana Azad National Urdu University

Hyderabad-500 032

Andhra Pradesh

About the University

Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU) is a Central University established at National Level in 1998 by an Act of Parliament to promote and develop the Urdu language and to impart vocational and technical education in Urdu medium through conventional and distance modes. Sprawled over 200 acres, the head quarters of the University is located at Gachibowli, Hyderabad.  The objectives of the University are to promote and develop the Urdu language, to impart education and training in vocational and technical subjects through the medium of Urdu, to provide wider access to people desirous of pursuing programmes of higher education and training in Urdu medium. Special focus of the University is to promote women education so as to reduce the existing educational inequalities in India.

About the Centre

The Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy was established in May 2007 at Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad. Its’ key objectives include contextualizing and problematizing, while conceptualizing, the exclusion and inclusion existed on the lines of caste/ethnicity and religion, in the society. It also plays a key role in suggesting policy formulations aiming at eradicating the problem of social exclusion and discrimination and protecting the rights of these groups. The Centre has acclaimed its’ existence as one of the few such Centre’s started in India following the UGC’s initiative to establish and promote the Centre’s for study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy during X Plan. Its activities include, teaching, research and action oriented programmes in collaboration with the reputed bodies working in the areas of social development among the socially excluded groups.

Prelude

India is a country of diverse cultures, communities and religious groups. As per the Census reports, Hindus are the majority community with 80.5% of the total population while Muslims and Christians constitute as minority communities with 13.4% and 2.3% respectively. Freedom of religion is a fundamental right in India which is guaranteed by the Constitution. Preamble of the Indian Constitution states that India is a secular state and every citizen of the country has an equal right to practice and promote their religion peacefully (Articles 25-30).

However, persecutions of Muslims and Christians in different forms have been taking place since independence and the right-wing forces have resorted to many such forms. The intensity level and the series of incidents on these minority groups numerically have increased during the last two decades and both the Muslims and Christians have been made the victims of these attacks. As has been rightly said that, communalism is basically a political and not a religious phenomenon and much depends on the kind of political developments that take place.

Of late, India has witnessed several anti-Muslim communal riots. The Muslim massacre of 2002 in Gujarat and recent Muzaffarnagar (UP) are the worst examples of carnage in the contemporary history. The 2002 Gujarat massacre was perceived to be a culmination of hatredness accumulated towards Muslims by the consistent concerted efforts of Hindu right wing groups. This kind of extreme violence cannot be seen as a stand alone incident. Since the independence, the Muslim population has had to deal with a sense of insecurity arising from such mass scale riots. The Jamshedpur riots of 1964 and 1979, the Bhagalpur riots (1989), Bombay riots (1992), Bhopal riots, Bhiwandi riots, Pune Best Bakery case, the recent Muzafarnagar riot (2013) etc., are some of the worst examples where Muslims were categorically targeted and persecuted.

While the Muslims are targeted as vengeance for the alleged historical factors, Christians have become their targets for the missionary activities. From 1960s to 1997, at least 70 incidents of violence against Christians had been reported. Since 1998, Christians in India have become a daily target of violence. According to a Human rights Watch report, the number of incidents of anti-Christian violence rose in the months following the victory of the BJP in 1998. Targeted attacks against Christians started with burning alive of Graham Stuart Staines (1999), culminated in Kandhamal carnage which occurred in 2008. Several religious priests and pastors were attacked brutally and some of them were killed in the pretext of converting people into Christianity.

The religious intolerance that resulted in riots and violence, despite several constitutional provisions indicate that the Indian civil society also did not get reconciliated.  Earlier, communal violence was confined to only certain parts of the country. But for the last 20 years, with the emergence of militant right-wing organizations/politics, it has become a regular phenomenon at all India level. In addition to the physical attacks on religious minorities, incidents of bombing, ransacking, attacking, desecrating and damaging the properties of mosques and churches and their graveyards constantly get reported in newspapers and TV channels. Several reports pointed out that the violence against the Muslims and Christians was to be definitely seen as an act of ethnic cleansing by Hindutva militants.

The processes of ethnic cleansing and ghettoisation of both Muslims and Christians have resulted in another somewhat unusual side effect or externality in states that have seen severe communal conflicts. Religious violence, specifically, is motivated by or in reaction to precepts, texts or doctrines. It includes violence against institutions, persons, objects or when the violence is motivated to some degree by some religious aspect of the target or precept of the attacker.

Several studies indicate that the Hindu right wing organizations have been involved in encouraging negative stereotyping of Muslims and Christians. The stereotyping is based on the fabricated historical incidents where Muslim rulers had allegedly destroyed Hindu temples and religious places. The stereotyping of Christians is around man-woman relations celebrating Valentine’s Day and for conversions / proselytizing activities. Consequently, the minorities in a way are living in total insecurity and the credentials of India to be a secular state is also under threat.

The proposed National Seminar on the communal violence and social exclusion of religious minorities, particularly Muslims and Christians in India, aims to bring scholars from both the minority communities together and to evolve a major discourse to combat communalism. It also aims at examining the deteriorating conditions in this multi-cultural and multi-religious society. It tries to understand the diversity of Indian society and the range of multi-dimensional factors influencing the status of religious minorities. It assesses the situation of both Muslims and Christians against the backdrop of rising majoritarianism and religious fanatism in the name of nationalism.

Objectives of the Seminar

The objective of the Seminar on the status of religious minorities in India is to initiate a discussion on the need to go beyond the stereotype image of Muslims and Christians in India. It makes an attempt to understand the various factors responsible for communal violence and persecutions against religious minorities in India and suggest method for minority religious institutional, ideological and social collaboration.

The seminar will try to examine:

(a)    What are the major problems of minority groups facing today? and

(b)   What are the common grounds between these two major religious communities?

The Seminar provides a platform to scholars, researchers, activists, policy makers and the academia to formulate their views on the situation of Muslims and Christians and the problems they are facing in contemporary. The seminar will evolve an intellectual discourse about situation of religious minorities in India and address the problems they face in all spheres of life.

Broad Themes of the Seminar:

The Seminar proposes to address the following broad themes:

  • Conceptual and Theoretical aspects of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policies with special reference to Religious Minorities
  • Communal Violence in pre and post-independent India: Factors, Agents and Victims
  • Persecutions of Muslims, Christians and other religious minorities- the forms of persecutions
  • Socio-Economic and Political Contributions of Islam and Christianity in India
  • The Question of Proportional Representation to Minorities and Socially Excluded Communities
  • Empowerment through Inclusion of Muslims and Christians
  • Legal, Economic and Political and Cultural issues involved in Communal Violence and Persecutions
  • Status of Dalit Muslims and Dalit Christians and the Question of Reservation
  • Way-Ahead: Road-Map for peaceful coexistence

Sub-Themes

  • Socio-economic status of Muslims and Christians in India
  • Existence of Caste-cultural relations in Islam and Christianity in India
  • Dalit conversions into Christianity and Islam and their status
  • Interfaith Relations in India: Focus on Muslim and Christian communities
  • Prejudice and Violence against Muslims and Christians
  • Situation of Muslim and Christian women
  • Islamophobia
  • Media and Religious Minorities
  • Desecration of religious texts and places of worship
  • Indian State, Society, Secularism in relation to Islam and Christianity
  • Indian Constitution and Freedom of Religion in India
  • Political representation of religious minorities

Call for Papers

Original papers or case studies are invited on any one of the given themes for presentation. The papers are to be neatly typed in double space in font 12, Times New Roman with 1.5 cm margins on all sides.  The papers (written in English/Urdu) along with an abstract not exceeding 300 words should be submitted to: csseip_manuu@yahoo.com  or sathaha@yahoo.com or akumarthirao@gmail.com

Important Dates

Last Date for Abstract Submission     : 10.03.2014

Last Date for Abstract Acceptance    : 12.03.2014

Last Date for Full Paper Submission  : 16.03.2014

Seminar Date: March 20-21, 2014

Registration Fees

Faculty Members / Researchers          : Rs.500.00

Students / Research Scholars              : Rs.250.00

Registration fee should be paid through any nationalized bank Demand Draft drawn in favour of Seminar Coordinator, CSSEIP 2014 payable at Hyderabad. Participants may also pay the registration fee in cash on arrival at the venue.

Address:

Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and

Inclusive Policy (CSSEIP)

Room No 213, IMC Building,

Maulana Azad National Urdu University,

Gachibowli, Hyderabad-500 032

Andhra Pradesh

Accommodation & Travel

Accommodation and TA will be provided to the outstation participants whose papers are accepted for presentation. However participants are encouraged to avail TA from their respective institutions.

How to Reach University at Hyderabad

Hyderabad is well connected to national and international destinations with both national and international air carriers as well as Trains. University is located at Gachibowli which is almost 35 km away from the airport and 22 kms from Secunderabad and 16 kms from Hyderabad Railway station.

 

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