Contested Secularism and Religious Conflict in Nepal

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Title: Contested Secularism and Religious Conflict in Nepal
Author: Paudel, Suman Babu
Other contributor: Helsingin yliopisto, Teologinen tiedekunta
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Theology
Helsingfors universitet, Teologiska fakulteten
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2019
Language: eng
Thesis level: master's thesis
Discipline: Religion, Conflict and Dialogue
Religion, Conflict and Dialogue
Religion, Conflict and Dialogue
Abstract: In the context of newly introduced secularism in Nepal, the qualitative study discuss different aspects of Nepalese society where religious tension is emerging. The objective of the study is to explore the understanding of religious leaders on secularism and their idea of religious rights. Based on interviews with these leaders (Islam, Hindu and Christian), the thesis describes how their understanding of secularism contrasted in daily life. Based on primary and secondary information, the study further deals about how religious tensions are evolving among different religious groups. Furthermore, it helps to understand how Nepalis secularism differs from western modal of secularism and explains different reasons why the ideal definition of secularism (separation of church and the state) could not be practical one in Nepalese society. The hope of religious equality beaten when the constitution barred to religious conversion. Though conversion is not allowed, different Christian organizations are conducting missionary activities. Consequently, police actions are increased against Christians on the charge of conversion. Christians are raising voice against state interference in religion. They are demanding conversion right if the state is secular. Secularism has been interpreted as a right to convert people, other features of secularism has become minor. Hindus have perceived secularism as a threat to Hinduism. Hindu nationalism emerged against secularism, it has created fear among minority groups. The thesis also explains the view of the Muslims community in the context of the rise of Hindu nationalism and missionary activities of Christians. Contestation on Secularism not only polarize people of religious groups but also political parties. Religion has become a political agenda, the demand for a referendum against secularism has become an issue of the political campaign of non-communist and pro monarch parties. These anti-secular movements are supported by Indian political parties, Indian leaders and different Hindu organizations around the world. In the end, this thesis concludes that there is a need for the interference of the state to end the dominance of Hinduism as well as protect the basic human rights of people where religion suppresses it. The state needs to support minority religious groups to flourish it. The thesis also signifies the need for interreligious dialogue among religious groups to restore harmony and tolerance.
Subject: Secularism
Religious rights

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