Indian Rationalism, and a Relational Approach to Nonreligion

It is an unfortunate fact that in popular ‘Western’ imagination, the land of India is frequently orientalised, and naively conceptualized as ‘the quintessential land of religion, spirituality, and miracles.’ Although we would certainly not want to completely invert this stereotype by substituting one unnuanced and inaccurate construct for another, what happens when we take a closer look at a constituency who challenge this narrative, those who identify as ‘rationalists’ and engage in the criticism of ‘religion’ in India? One scholar who has done just that is Johannes Quack in his book Disenchanting India: Organized Rationalism and Criticism of Religion in India, published by Oxford in 2012. In this podcast, we discuss Johannes’ ‘relational’ approach to ‘nonreligion,’ before moving to concrete examples from his work in India.

What is a ‘relational approach’ to nonreligion? What does it achieve? What are some of the key characteristics of organized rationalism in India? What does all of this have to do with ‘religion’, ‘non-religion’, ‘atheism’ etc? What does this in-depth ethnographic work in this very particular context contribute to wider academic debates within the study of nonreligion, and religion more broadly?

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3 replies
  1. Avatar
    samir sardana says:

    How can a Hindoo even consider Rama as a God or a Prophet or a Messenger or a Seer

    Rama told Sita to whore herself- this is in the Valmiki Ramayana

    https://dindooohindoo.page.tl/Rama-Tells-Sita-to-whore-herself.htm

    Chapter [Sarga] 115

    तद्गच्छ त्वानुजानेऽद्य यथेष्टं जनकात्मजे |
    एता दश दिशो भद्रे कार्यमस्ति न मे त्वया || ६-११५-१८

    “O Seetha! That is why, I am permitting you now. Go wherever you like. All these ten directions are open to you, my dear lady! There is no work to be done to me, by you.”

    तदद्य व्याहृतं भद्रे मयैतत् कृतबुद्धिना |
    लक्ष्मणे वाथ भरते कुरु बुद्धिं यथासुखम् || ६-११५-२२

    “O gracious lady! Therefore, this has been spoken by me today, with a resolved mind. Set you mind on Lakshmana or Bharata, as per your ease.”

    įatrughne vätha sugréve räkņase vä vibhéņaëe |
    niveįaya manaų séte yathä vä sukhamätmanaų || 6-115-23

    “O Seetha! Otherwise, set your mind either on Shatrughna or on Sugreeva or on Vibhishana the demon; or according to your own comfort.”

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  2. Avatar
    samir sardana says:

    Y a temple for Rama

    How can a Hindu even consider Rama as a God or a Prophet or a Messenger or a Seer

    Sita called Rama an Impotent Pansy

    https://dindooohindoo.page.tl/Sita-says-Rama-is-Impotent-Pansy.htm

    Book II : Ayodhya Kanda – Book Of Ayodhya Chapter[Sarga] 30

    किम् त्वा अमन्यत वैदेहः पिता मे मिथिला अधिपः | राम जामातरम् प्राप्य स्त्रियम् पुरुष विग्रहम् || २-३०-३

    “What my father, the king of Mithila belonging to the country of Videha, think of himself having got as so-in-law you, a woman having the form of a man?”

    अनृतम् बल लोको अयम् अज्ञानात् यद्द् हि वक्ष्यति | तेजो न अस्ति परम् रामे तपति इव दिवा करे || २-३०-४

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