Studying the history and rich traditions of India’s religious institutions…

India’s Prime Minister recently asked Universities to study the history and rich traditions of India’s religious institutions:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said here on Sunday that global universities must undertake a study of the rich traditions that have defined the country’s history over the years.

Addressing a rally of members of self-help groups (SHGs) promoted by Shree Kshetra Dharmasthala Rural Development Project at Ratnavarma Heggade Stadium, Mr. Modi said that crores of institutions across the country lived for others and not for self and Dharmasthala was an example of this.

“We rank a whole lot of things, but the need of the hour is to rank religious institutions that have stood the test of time,” Mr. Modi said and added that engineering colleges, commerce colleges are ranked and hospitals were surveyed but not religious institutions.

He said that the study should focus on how such institutions were built, how they managed their finances, how they maintained transparency and how they have kept traditional practices alive.


One has always wondered on the sheer longevity of these religious institutions. Be it temples, churches, mosques, synagogues etc. Some of them are a few centuries old and continue to shock and awe with their grandeur design and history. More than the religion aspect, it is how these institutions have managed to sustain for such a long period of time..


2 Responses to “Studying the history and rich traditions of India’s religious institutions…”

  1. vikramml Says:

    This touches on a recent epiphany I had. I know, I have too many of those. But, modern culture believes that religion is a relic of the past which has nothing to offer, it should be denigrated everywhere as right-wing, it has only caused misery, and atheism, science, reason etc are the way forward. While not disputing the general direction, I think the modernists underplay the role of religion in community and social life. And, they overestimate its future disappearance as well.

    I was struck this week by Trump declaring a public health emergency over the opioid epidemic, and if you juxtapose against that oft-stated modernist snarky stance that religion is the opiate of the masses. Maybe humans can’t do without a drug of some sort. Also, came across Camille Paglia’s statement that pseudo-liberals are trying to replace patriarchy with government, which is why the clamor for more welfare and entitlements.

    I think one needs to consider the +ve role that religious institutions might play for the vulnerable and for social structures and community development and for charity. Earlier, the church would help out the needy. Now more and more it is the state which is being asked to do so,while the church is a derelict institution shrinking and dying away (in the west). Now, both religious and state institutions are vulnerable to corruption. So, then the interesting question is which should we prefer, objectively. Somewhat unexpectedly, I feel that local religious institutions are likely to be less corrupt than governments.

    I’ve only come across John Gray among philosophers (excluding obvious right-wingers). who says that despite all the scientific advancements, etc religion might not be going away any time soon and that new atheists might have overplayed their hand.

  2. Amol Agrawal Says:

    Nicely summed up Vikram. The kind of questions you raise takes one back to figuring lot of history and how these events have shaped the society and our thinking…

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