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Religious Situation In The Present Day World - Book By Taran Singh

Preface To 'Religious Situation In The Present Day World' By Taran Singh

The Punjabi University, Patiala is perhaps the only seat of higher learning in India, which has a strong faculty of Religious Studies to impart instruction and conduct research, comparativistic study of religions not excluded, in religious traditions including Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Christianity, Zoroastrianism and Sikhism. Under the faculty-strengthening programme of the University Grants Commission, the Guru Gobind Singh Department of Religious Studies received a sizeable grant to hold an all-India seminar on the subject of the Religious Situation in the Present­Day World, the topic which had been proposed by the faculty. The seminar was held on March 29-30, 1977. The papers, presented at that seminar, are included here in the book-form.

Evidently, the study suggested in the proposed topic was too vast. Even a fraction of the subject could not be covered comprehensively in a short course of a two-day seminar. But very judiciously, the seminarians selected manageable areas of study in their papers, gave good surveys of the fields of study chosen, and raised very basic and fundamental points in them. They shake the arm-chair academicians of religions to certain stark realities. They urge that books on religions, much more the text books of the subject, written long ago, need thorough revision and up-dating. They demonstratably hold that forms, rituals and even the doctrines and conceptions of almost all religious traditions have considerably changed and are continuously suffering change. Old accounts of these religions need to be modified and amended.

This is bound to be so. New ideas, learning, education, conditions of existence and living, systems of economy, politics, social ideals and institutions and challenges have their impact on the scheme and structure of all religions. It is good that no religious structure breaks down altogether, rather it bends slightly or accommodates a few new concepts, in a particular place and time, and assumes a new form, to be adhered to with rigidity for some more time to come. Similarly, a religion of a given soil and clime undergoes all sorts of changes, when it migrates to another people and country to get transplanted there. These seminar papers bear ample testimony to the operation of the above ideas and factors in given societies. 

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