Religious Freedom in Pluralist Societies

Workshop on ‘Religious Freedom in Pluralist Societies’

It brought together scholars, mostly from India and the United States to discuss the state of religious freedom in the US, India, Indonesia and Iran, among other countries. We live in a world populated by a variety of nations that claim to guarantee this freedom to their inhabitants. Yet, the fact that countries across the world have come up with divergent formulations of religious freedom points to the difficulty of converging upon a “global” model; indeed, vastly different cultural and social contexts and histories make a completely uniform standard not only difficult to implement, but undesirable. This matter is made more complicated by the fact that the politically powerful US has wielded an inordinate influence in shaping the discourse of religious freedom within the international arena. This is despite the fact that the US itself is currently undergoing a period of tremendous dispute – what some have termed “the new culture wars” – over the proper parameters of protection for the exercise of religion at the domestic level. In India too debates about the limits and scope of religious freedom have reached extraordinary levels of intensity in recent years.

This workshop was supported by a grant from the NY-6 Mellon Foundation, USA.

(Click for Programme Schedule)