Thursday, November 6, 2008

Religious Amity in India

Prof. Sarva-Daman Singh delivering the lecture
Those sitting on the dais (from the left): Prof. Veer Durgadas Misra, Former Head, Dept. of Sociology and former Proctor, University of Lucknow and Prof. Uday Veer Singh, Former Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Kurukshetra University

Prof. Sarva-Daman Singh

Open Space

organised a lecture on
"Religious Amity in India"
Prof. Sarva-Daman Singh

Honorary Consul of India for Queensland, Australia
Director of the Institute of Asian Studies, Brisbane
Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain & Ireland, London
Member, New York Academy of Sciences
Saturday, 22nd November, 2008
the Uttar Pradesh Press Club, Lucknow

Prof. Singh said:

"We are not Indians if we are intolerant, as none of our religions condones cruelty, hatred or intolerance. Any species of violence is a travesty of true religion, at loggerheads with God's will and purpose. Terrorism in any form is a one way ticket to hell. In the crucible of India, so many races were welded into one people with an affinity that is as ineradicable as it is visible. The need for survival made accommodation, amity and tolerance an ineluctable necessity. No man or woman or group is an isolated island, for life is a shared experience. 'Holy is he who is good to all'.

Hinduism recognises the validity of many ways to the Truth, and feels no urge to compel humanity to a single set of doctrines. External differences cannot negate the basic unity of humanity. 'He alone sees who sees all beings in oneself'. TAT TVAM ASI. The otherness of others is a false perception.

Buddhism also decries the heresy of separateness and commands compassion to constrain cruelty and intolerance. Jainism stresses the many-sidedness of reality and pronounces the primacy of ahimsa or non-violence in human conduct.

True Islam, likewise, shuns compulsion in matters of religious conviction; and Sufism emphasises the unity of all existence. The Sikh religion is a synthesis of the universal values of Hinduism and Islam, with a firm belief in the common brotherhood of man. Indian civilisation owes its glitter and glory to the confluence of all her people and their shared ideals.

Prof. Sarva-Daman Singh won five gold medals during the course of his distinguished educational career at the universities of Lucknow and London. His records of academic excellence still stand unequalled at the University of Lucknow, where he began lecturing in 1954. He has taught at the University of Lucknow, India; National Academy of Administration, Government of India, Mussoorie; the Vikram University, Ujjain, India; the University of Queensland, Australia; and has held professorial chairs in Indian History, Culture and Archaeology. He has travelled widely across the world and lectured at universities, institutions and conferences in India, Sri Lanka, the United Kingdom, France, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, the United States and Fiji.

His numerous publications include

  • Ancient Indian Warfare with Special Reference to the Vedic Period, Leiden, 1965
  • The Archaeology of the Lucknow Region, Lucknow, 1972
  • Polyandry in Ancient India, Delhi, 1978 and 1988
  • Ancient Indian Warfare, Delhi, 1989
  • Culture through the Ages, Delhi, 1996
  • The Art of Pir Tareen: Evocation of Beauty in Life and Nature, Brisbane, 2000
  • Indians Abroad, Calcutta, 2003

and contributions to

  • Patterns of Kingship and Authority in Traditional Asia, London, 1985
  • The Queensland Experience: The Life and Work of 14 Remarkable Migrants, Brisbane, 1986
  • Multicultural Queensland, Brisbane, 1988
  • Political History in a Changing World, Jodhpur, 1992
  • International Dictionary of Historic Places, Vol. 5: Asia and Oceania, Chicago and London, 1996

His wide ranging interests include South and Southeast Asian civilizations, Art and Religion; and the Indians in Fiji, whose history has occupied him for many years.

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