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Sanatana Dharma Foundation is joining hands with WAVES  (World Association of Vedic Studies) in organizing this conference on Varna, Jathi and Kula in July, 2011.

There is perhaps no other aspect of Hinduism or Sanatana Dharma, that elicits as much debate and controversy as the subject of India’s social order based on its ancient conceptions of Varna, Jati and Kula. Contemporary discussions of the subject tend to be extremely divisive to say the least, and can generate far more heat than light, especially when Hindus attempt to frame a representative narrative of the phenomenon.  The fact that much of this narrative has been generated by non-Indic scholarship in the past few centuries further vitiates our own understanding of this social order. The influence of Colonial scholarship on India is so pervasive that many well-meaning Hindus themselves tend to have a very distorted and incomplete view of this social order. Moreover there are many vested interests who have exploited the fissures that arise naturally within this social organization for multifarious personal ends, ranging from conversion of Hindus to other faiths, creation of political vote banks and other forms of personal advancement.  In recent years, Caste identities appear to be acquiring a renewed strength and vitality based on Caste based political mobilization and reservations. In the year 2011, the Census of India’s population will once again ask people their Caste affiliation – a question they had not asked for 80 years since 1931, thereby placing Caste at the center stage once more. At the same time, Governments of many countries stand ready to indict India and its society for what in their view is its continued practice of Caste based discrimination and perceived human rights violations.

 

In this background, it is very important that Hindus have a well-articulated position on this topic, developed on the basis of a broad consensus amongst the various constituents of Hindu Society, that can be used both as a foundation for internal dialogue and understanding as well as  for communication with the external world. While recognizing that building a consensus within Hindu society is as necessary as it is difficult, Sanatana dharma Foundation is joining hands with WAVES (World Association of Vedic Studies) in making a small beginning in this regard.

The Call for Papers is attached WAVES - Conference on Varna, Jati and Kula - 2011 - Call for papers.