Research Overview & Vision
The most striking form of developments in India that pose serious challenge to the idea of pluralism are related to diversity of religious identities and the growing tendency of monolithic or undifferentiated stereotypes of the ‘other’ and the consequent widespread religious prejudice, identity conflict and inter-religious strife. However, given the complex web of life in India both the source of strife as well as their resistance are diverse and have both local as well as global linkages.
Besides the above background, India also has a long tradition of secular activism, both in politics as well as in the field of arts and culture. The predominant strategy deployed by the secular activists is often the constitutional route of upholding the principles of equality, freedom of expression and conscience of the individual, minority rights and rule of law.
This rich tradition of activism, which is still the most prominent form of expression even today, however, appears to have reached a kind of impasse, in the sense of a glaring failure of the secular state in responding to the violations and inter-religious strife, a backlash on minority rights principles and the ideology of secularism, the prolonged and often politicised process of justice, the inability to deal with critical ‘human’ problems within the framework of retributive or compensatory justice frameworks.
Against such a background, what emerged as the conceptual framework for the India programme is a two-pronged approach that addresses both the core processes mentioned above. They are being pursued through two themes of knowledge
- Human Rights, Pluralism and Rethinking the Secular State
- Faith and Diversity.