03.05.11 13:58 Age: 307 days

“Only the excluded have the stamina to destabilize oppressive structures”


“Dalit studies are driven not by a sense of fascination with the phenomenon of caste but by social responsibility and moral commitment for social transformation. This will elevate the empirical to the universal”, said Prof. Gopal Guru from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, in his keynote address at an international colloquium on “Caste, Religion and Culture” in Kochi, Kerala, India.


He strongly asserted that the excluded are the only ones who have the moral stamina to destabilize oppressive cultures and structures.


The event, being held 1-4 May, is sponsored by the World Council of Churches (WCC), the National Council of Churches in India (NCCI), the Centre for Social Studies and Culture (CSSC) and the Student Christian Movement of India (SCMI).


The host of the event, Metropolitan Dr Geevarghese Mor Coorilos of the Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East, said in his opening address that the importance of the colloquium is that it offers an alternative discourse of living out the gospel values of resisting injustice.


He made a strong call to the 60 scholars, theologians, social scientists, activists and research students, to recognize the role religions, particularly Christianity, can play in supporting Dalit studies. The metropolitan reminded the gathering of the need for fresh interrogation and problematization of the novel and subtle ways in which caste is reincarnating itself in India today.


Papers from a cross section of social theorists and theologians from different parts of India featured a searing analysis of the ways in which caste continues to perpetuate injustice and deprive the millions of Dalits in India of life with dignity.


The conference concluded with the identification of themes that the WCC, the NCCI, the SCMI and the CSSC will continue to explore: conversion in the context of Dalit liberation; globalization and Dalits; Dalits and the church; identities in the current discourse on human rights; media and representation of caste; and the cross-section between caste and patriarchy.


Brochure of the colloquium (pdf, 425 KB)


WCC work in solidarity with Dalits


Website of the National Council of Churches in India


Website of the Student Christian Movement of India