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Interfaith Meet At Gaya

Dalvinder Singh Grewal

Jan 3, 2010
Interfaith Meet at Gaya- A Report-1

Col Dr Dalvinder Singh Grewal

A two day seminar on the ‘Importance of Inter-religious Understanding: Its Implications for Mankind’ was conducted by ‘Forum for Inter-religious Understanding: Institute of Objective Studies, New Delhi’ on 24-25 September 2016 at Magadh University, Bodh Gaya Bihar with the active participation of Bodh learning Department of the University. The inaugural session started by prayers by the religious experts from all religions: Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Islam, Jainism and Christianity. Sikhism was represented by President Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee Gaya S. Karnail Singh Ji. Hinduism was represented by Pandit Ramacharya President, All India Ramacharya Mantralaya Vishnupad, Gaya; Buddhism by Ben. Tenzin Lama Thapke Chief Monk, Tibet Monastry, Bodh Gaya, Representative of H.H. the 14th Dalai lama; Islam by MI. Yusuf Rizvi; Secretary, Hajj Committee, Gaya, Jainism by Sister Khushi Kumari, Jain Sadhvi, Veerayatsn, Rajgir and Christianity by Sister Manisha Sister Superior Community Gaya.

Vice Chancellor Magadh University Bodh Gaya, Prof Mohd. Ishityaque welcomed all the guests giving out the past and the present role of the university in developing various religions. The theme of the discussion was introduced by Prof. Z.M. Khan Secretary General Indian Institute of Objective Studies, New Delhi and the Inaugural address was presented by Swami Agnivesh President Bandhua Mukti Morcha and the leading figure of Arya Samaj.

It followed the views of various luminaries of religions on the specifics of their religions on interfaith understanding. Pandit Ramacharya highlighted the role of Hinduism while Prof G.N. Samten Vice Chancellor Central University of Tibetan Studies, Sarnath, and Varanasi described the Bodh aspects. MI Saeed-ur Rahman Azmi; Chancellor, Integral University Lucknow and Principal Darul Uloom Nadwatul Uluma Lucknow presented the role of Islam. Jainism was represented by Acharya Dr Lokesh Muni Ahimsa Vishwa Bharti, New Delhi and Sikhism was represented by Dr B S Sidhu Former Prof Deptt of religious Studies Punjab University in place of Major Balbir Singh Bhasin Former VC of Magdh University who could not be present. Father Philip Manthra Former Chairman PUCL Bihar delivered views of Christianity. Special guests included Upadhyaya Sadhvi Yashji, Jain Sadhvi, Rajgir and Lt General R K Sharma SM Army Headquarters. Presidential address was given by Dr. Mohd Manzoor Alam Chairman Institute of Objective Studies New Delhi while vote of thanks was offered by Prof. N K Shashtree, Dean Faculty of Science, Magadh University.

There were 9 sessions. Session one was on ‘Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Jainism and Sikhism’ with Prof MU Nadwi, Former Dean CIEFL University Hyderabad as the chairperson. The theme was to provide the key points of these religions for the general understanding. Prof RR Sinha, (Hinduism), Prof KS Rehmani (Islam), Prof Gyaneshwar and Prof Kundal (Buddhism) and Prof NK Shashtree (Jainism) represented their religions. On Sikhism Prof Sidhu was to present the paper but since he had already represented in place of Dr Bhasin, Prof Dalvinder Singh Grewal provided the details of Sikhism.

Session 2 was on ‘Interreligious understanding’ with Swami Agnivesh as the chairperson. The first paper was by Prof Dalvinder Singh Grewal topic being, “A Study into Development of Interfaith Dialogue by Guru Nanak” given as a power point presentation. The paper ‘Golden Rule: A Share culture of Ethics’ by Dr MD Thomas; and ‘Musalman aur Hindu Mazhab ke Mutaehqi Rawaayat’ by Sri Kiran Lama and Dr Azmat Hussain followed.

Session 3 was on ‘Interfaith Understanding and Peace’ chaired by Prof Ishityque Danish where Prof Showkat Hussain’ presented his paper on ‘Possibilities of Interfaith Dialogue’; Dr PK Sinha, Dr SB Singh and Prof HN Rafiabadi spoke on ‘ Muslim Understanding of World religions’; Dr Lakhya Hira Shyam on ‘ Relevance of Buddha’s message for World Peace’, Ve. Bhikkhu Sumanpala on, “Buddhist and Human rights” and Prof Obaidullah Fahad on ‘Muslim Understanding of Hinduism.”

On the second day (September 25, 2016) Session 4 was held on ‘Prospects of inter-religious Understanding and Indian Constitution”, and was to be chaired by Prof Dalvinder Singh Grewal. Speakers were Dr Mukesh Kumar, “Religiosity and Indian Constitution”, Dr Saswati Mutsuddy and Dr Bela Bhattacharya on ‘ The Glorious Buddhist Women of Rajgraha’; and Dr Manisha Sinha and Dr Kritika Singh on “Mahila Mukti ke Prerna sarot Buddha : Ek drishti”.

Session 5 was on interfaith Dialogue and Human rights Violation to be chaired by Lt General RK Sharma SM and the speakers were Prof DA Gangadhar on ‘Inter-religious Understanding and Dialogue for Peace’; Dr Aquil Ahmad on ,” Engaging Youth in Interfaith understanding and Communal Harmony”, Dr Saew. Htut Dandar (Mynamar) on ‘My experiences with universal brotherhood’ and Dr Buddhdev Bhattacharya on ,” Interreligious Dialogue and Indian Cultural legacy of Buddhism.”

Session 6 ‘Inter-religious Dialogue in Indian Context’ was chaired by M U Mir VC Central University of Kashmir and included speakers Md. Sirajul Islam on Dara Shikoh and Inter religious Understanding’, Punjabi University Professors Dr Mohd Habib presented paper on ‘ Islam and Inter Religious Dialogue; and Dr Paramvir Singh with Nanak Singh Nishtar were to present paper on , “Sikhism and other Religions”.

Session 7 chaired by Prof M. Chattopadhyay was on ‘Need of inter-religious Understanding” where Dr S Bandhopadhyay read paper on “Deepening Democracy as most essential criteria for inter-religious understanding and promoting Humanity: a study of Bengal” and Dr NK Srivastva, on ‘Inter-religious understanding in Practice: A Study of Akbar’s policy of Sulh-I- Kul’

Session 8 was on ‘Global harmony chaired by Prof NK Shashtree and the speakers included Prof MK Singh, and Dr Parvat Kumar Dhal. Session 9 was on ‘International Fraternity’ chaired by Prof Bela Bhattacharya and speakers included Dr Dipankar Lama, Phra Wiwat Hougsen (Thailand) and Thuong Thi ngoc Anh (Vietnam) Dr Vishwjit Kumar and Dr KKP Singh where ‘Importance of Inter-religious Understanding : Its Implications for mankind and ways to solve’ were discussed.

Valedictory Session was chaired by ‘ The Governor-cum-Chancellor’ Bihar in which welcome speech was given by VC Magadh University; resolutions were read over by Prof Z M Khan head IOS; a concluding speech was given by Dr Mohd Manzool Alam and Sri Ram Nath Kovind, the Governor of Bihar.

One wondered the range of topics covered and the speakers’ thorough thoughtful preparation and livid presentation followed by enthusiastic participation of the listeners throughout. It is advised that more such conferences should be held at global level to make the environment conducive for coexistence, communal harmony and interreligious dialogue.



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