CURA Colloquium "Changing Narratives of Religious Conversion in India: An Analysis of the Judicial Reports of the Somasekhara and Saldanha Commissions on the 2008 Anti-Christian Violence in Mangalore"

  • Starts12:30 pm on Friday, February 10, 2023
  • Ends1:30 pm on Friday, February 10, 2023
With Abhishek John, PhD Student, School of Theology "Religious persecution has become a reality for religious minorities in India today, particularly Christians. This intersects with the rise of Hindutva, a right-wing political ideology. Two major incidents of large-scale persecution acted as springboards to this reality – persecution of Christians in Odisha in August 2008 and in Mangalore in September of the same year. This paper focuses on the latter and analyzes two judicial reports as a lens to understand narratives of religious persecution and its causes within the city of Mangalore. Firstly, I analyze how Justice Somasekhara’s report strives to “other” Christianity as foreign-aided and categorizes strands of Mangalorean Christianity as “commercial” to explain the place of “inducements” within the larger religious authoritarian biases. Secondly, I survey the change in the geographical landscape of Hindutva's presence and efforts at appropriating the national discourse into local debates. Thirdly, I analyze the two reports and their portrayal of vandalism of religious symbols to highlight the element of visual assault in anti-Christian violence. Fourthly, I sieve through the terminologies employed by the two reports to categorize and classify the nature of the September 2008 violence." *Reading the paper in advance is required for attendance. Email for your copy.
121 Bay State Rd.

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