The Department of Political Science hosted a panel discussion titled “Mahatma Gandhi and the differential Responses to Religious Belonging in India” on Thursday 1 August 2019 at 2pm to commemorate the 150th Birth anniversary year of Mahatma Gandhi.
Rev. Dr. Joachim Andrade, SVD, Professor from Pontifical Catholic University of Parana, Brazil was the Chief Speaker. Rev. Fr. Dionysius Vas, S.J., the Rector of St. Aloysius Institutions, presided over the programme. Rev Fr Praveen Martis, SJ Principal, Dr. Rose Veera D'Souza, Convenor of the Programme and the eminent panelists of this program, Dr. Valerian Rodrigues, former Professor of Political Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi and Dr Rajaram Tolpadi, former Professor of Political Science at Mangalore University were on the dais.
As part of this the Chief Speaker Rev. Dr. Joachim Andrade, Professor from Pontifical Catholic University of Parana, Brazil brought in a new analytical perspective by connecting the influences of geography on the construction of religions. He is of the opinion that the “contemporary world faces difficulty in finding out the meaning of Totality due to the proposals of modern life.” As “divine greatness is revealed through fragments” through each religion, respecting and reaching out to the other religions will help us to reach Totality. He affirmed that the crisis of present society about religions can be solved through understanding the geography and moving further to promote inter religious relationship and not just dialogue.
Rev. Fr. Dionysius Vas SJ, the Rector of St. Aloysius Institutions spoke on the need for truth, non-violence and humanity. He emphasized on the importance of inculcating spirituality in our lives.
Principal, Rev. Dr Praveen Martis SJ spoke on the influences of various religions on Gandhi’s life.
Prof. Valerian Rodrogues, explained the need to understand the pre-political Gandhi if one was to accept the political in Gandhi. For instance, cleaning of toilets was as much political as was Satyagraha to Gandhi. He emphasized that at present the political in India has colonized the pre-political.
Prof. Rajaram Tholpadi, the second eminent panelist, explained through Rammanohar Lohia’s understanding of Gandhi. He also pointed that today secularism is challenged because the existing theories of secularism do not deal with religious and spiritual dimensions in India.
Four student panelists Namitha Shetty, Abner Pinto, Saheena Naz and Melnitha Correa from different disciplines presented their ideas of Gandhi on the Bhagvad Gita, means and ends, minorities, and on Hinduism respectively.
On this occasion, the Department felicitated the Chief Speaker Rev. Dr. Joachim Andrade and eminent panelists and Indian social scientists Prof. Valerian Rodrigues, former Professor of Political Studies at JNU and Prof. Rajaram Tolpadi former Professor of Political Studies at Mangalore University for the contributions to the society and social sciencens in the region.
Dr. Rose Veera D’Souza welcomed the gathering and Mrs. Maria Shaila D’Souza gave the vote of thanks.