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Madan Gopal Gandhi

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Dialogue Among Civilizations
by Madan Gopal Gandhi   

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Category: 

Political Science

Publisher:  Gandhi Earth Vision Foundation ISBN-10:  8188871001 Type: 
Pages: 

182


Non-Fiction

Gandhi Earth Vision Foundation
Gandhi Earth Vision Foundation

Book Review

DIALOGUE AMONG CIVILIZATIONS

Edited by Dr. Yayati Madan G. Gandhi

Published by GANDHI EARTH VISION FOUNDATION

First published in 2004
ISBN No. : 81-88871-00-1
Price : Rs. 200/-
Pages : 182/-
E-mail : southasianews@rediffmail.com

The book makes a powerful plea for Dialogue of Civilization as against Samuel Huntington's thesis concerning the Clash of Civilization.

Today when mankind is confronted with a grim scenario involving clashes of national self interest, religious fundamentalism rooted in dogma and ignorance, ethnic and racial prejudices, dialogue can be a well trusted means of laying the groundwork of a new world order in which the least developed and most disadvantaged among the peoples can have an effective voice. Dialogue holds the prospect of converting confrontation to cooperation, depleting environment to sustainable environment, sectarian clashes to harmonic co-existence, fratricidal strife to fratricidal harmony. Dialogue is promotive of civic culture, social capital, democratic freedoms, human rights and social justice. It fosters peaceful living among people belonging to different religions, belief systems, cultures, races and civilizations. Dialogue holds fast to the human dimension and re-inforces the humane values of civilization. It inculcates rational scientific temper and contributes to creativity, adventure of ideas, respect for dissent and diversity, values of democracy, humanism, peace, understanding, adjustment and a sense of human brotherhood.

The book contains readings and excerpts from writings and speeches of notable thinkers, publicists and experts will, it is hoped, illumine some of the gray areas of the contemporaneous debate and will let us share mankind's common enduring concerns. The insights and harmonizing threads running through various cultures may help convert the clash of civilizations into the dialogue among civilizations, a phrase coined by His Excellency Mr. Mohammed Khatami, The President of Islamic Republic of Iran.

Thanks to the communication and information revolution, the world has shrunk into a global village. A true knowledge of what the West and Asia think on the crucial issues common to mankind will help resolve many tensions and discords which have their basis in prejudice and fear of each other born out of ignorance. It will give a fillip to improvement of political, economic and cultural relations between them. In the Asian mirror Europe can see its own past with its philosophic and cultural moorings, which largely are common and inseparable from those of Asia.

If the West engages in a profound and sincere dialogue with the Orient it will find practical and efficacious solutions to many of its problems such as the crisis of family, man-nature relationships, the crisis in ethics and values with a direct bearing on scientific research.

Asia is brimming with love for humanity, sense of tolerance, serenity and balance in human relations because of the continuous and profound dialogue at a deeper level among the congeries of peoples of diverse races, religions and cultures inhabiting this continent --Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Christians, Sikhs and Parsis--who have been living in fraternal harmony since several centuries. The world-view of the ancient Hindu sages and seers embraced the whole world and considered it one family. To realize this goal in today's world a dialogue among civilization is the imperative need of our times.




Dr. Sushma Gandhi
Deptt. of Communication , Management and Technology
Guru Jambeshwar University, Hissar

DIOLOGUE OF CIVILIZATIONS: SOME REFELECTIONS

Dialogue among civilizations is deeply embedded in the Indian tradition of truth peace and non-violence. It believes in equal respect of all religions and inter-faith and intrafaith dialogue to crystiallize the truths common to all religions and to inculcate these among all peoples. It affirms that relations between humans are not to be based on might and coercion but on right, rationality and dialogue. Such a dialogue among civilizations has to be based on equality and mutual respect between nations and peoples.
Dialogue can begin only when one respects the other party and considers him his or her equal. Where the relationship is between the dominant and dependent, there cannot be any viable dialogue, nor can there be a dialogue between a ruler and his subject. That is why in the phase of colonialism, the subject peoples and races came to be accorded an inferior status in day-to-day relationships. Such mindset of the colonical rulers ascerbated discrimination, exploitation and injustice rendering the ground fertile for oppression, violence and war. The tendency to use human beings as mere means of self-aggrandisement and subservient to the powers elites' ambition to dominate the weak and poor has significantly contributed to wars in human history. Placing dialogue in a position of prestige would mean acceptance of equality among individuals and nations.
Dialogue can help identity and discover commonality of interests and the areas where agreement may be possible. By minimizing differences and extending an area of peace, dialogue can become a means of refinement, perfection and progress for individuals and collectivities. Since dichotomy or contradiction may naturally arise among peoples belonging to differing milieus, dialogue may help convert it into consensus and accommodation for the benefit of both the parties. This way a new era of peace and prosperity can begin for the beleaguered humanity. But this would require going to our roots and drawing on our cultural springs of rationality and wisdom.
It would be a great disservice to both reason and religion if we are not able to see the inherent complementarity between them. It is wrong to hold that we can either live by religion or reason. The fact is that reason enables us to truly understand some of the deeper nuances of religion. Reason is a very powerful tool that God has given to man. Yet a man of faith or a religious person is in need of reason as much as the one who swears by reason. However at the same time he knows that reason has its own limitations. Undeniably a believer in god has two books i.e.of reason and revelation while a man of reason has only one. The latter bows only at the altar of reason and lets everything else be subordinate to it. He possesses only the book of nature to fall back upon and invoke its aid.
Dialogue in Human communication have been instrumental in creating and expanding the the reservoirs of knowledge within a human being and his outer world. They deepen one's consciousness and awaken him/her to self knowledge and let so him/her think that he/she too exists as a sentient being interacting with other living organisms and the environment. They together enact a multi-partite approach for reaching out and becoming a part of the outer world which is ever in a state of flux. They invest human life with a dynamic aspect, a power to confront, reality and liberate human essence from the ever-loosening grips of those who wish to appropriate it so that they could set themselves as the sole proprietors of truth.
Dialogue of civilization involves both listening and talking for creating a true conversation. But here listening is no less important because before you talk you must understand the others' viewpoint. For the discourse to acquire scientific character dialogue has to be a conscious effort to discover the relationships of subjects with each other and for this reason, it has to be thoroughgoing appraisal of the others' positive aspects as well as one's own limitations. To that extent scientific dialogue proceeds at the level of man's self-consciousness.
In art and religion our Higher Self and even God is addressing the human self at the conscious level. In the same way the artist and a man of religion at the time of creating art and praying respectively are both communing with the Creator. Man is elevated by the divine call that he hears deep within his consciousness which makes him a person in the real sense of the term with the essential human attributes.
Both individualism and collectivism are important but they have to focus on the advancement and happiness of the human person. For the individual human being is the starting point of all quest and is also the touchstone of the success of all human institutions, laws, social relations, civil rights, and to cap all, human rights. The philosophical roots of both individualism and collectivism are the same. Individual persona is the starting point of the both and also the measure of all human progress. Viewed from the vantage point of spiritual wisdom, whatever divergences and antagonisms that exist between individualistic liberalism and collectivistic liberalism are 'superficial and incidental'.
Hindu mysticism considers the human persona to be a world unto himself or herself-- a microcosm which has the imprint of macrocosm in its meta-conscious. Man's creativity and his existential truth of the self is within and does not emanate from his individuality or collectivity. The ultimate source of his validity is that he is addressed by the Voice Divine which invests a human person with the power of transcendence. With this new-found transcendence a new realisation dawns that he or she is not body alone but a soul too. Also with this realization all chains that bind him or torn and suddenly he or she wakes up in a brave new world of justice and humanity.
Man, to Vedic seers, was a free being, divine in essence. They did not enjoin that he should turn his back from the world but participate in it as in a festival of rejoicings since both the nature and the world were waiting to receive him with open arms. This reciprocal openness and opening up connoted their meeting in an enduring and fulfilling dialogue among the creatures of one God.
This Eastern world-view is strikingly different from the Western world-view which celebrates man's conquest of nature and calls it progress. Not satisfied with subjugating nature the western man proceeds to impose his will on human communities. This phase which had been one of the longest and bloodiest in human history is associated with European domination and is known as colonialism. Essentially its origin may lie in Western man's approach towards nature, the natural sciences and the humanities. His entire approach is basically domineering when we compare it with the pristine Hindu, Islamic and oriental societies" approach to these question. The critique of modernity must proceed from this premise which lays emphasis on humanitarian and ethical approaches and leans heavily on the humane values of civilization.
It would be unwise and retrogressive to turn our gaze to the past when the world around us is forging ahead to the ever-beackoning future. Nonetheless we may revert to the past to discover our roots, and to draw sustenance and strength from it and also to cope with the challenges and demands of the future.
Admittedly the world is continuously being transformed by advances in science and technology, communication and information sciences in particular. It will be foolhardiness on our part if we choose to shut ourselves in a dream-world of our own or in our exclusivism, cut ourselves off from the energising and creative forces shaping a new world. Even if we wish to revive and renew our past grandeur and greatness we will have to master, and draw benefit from, the positive achievements of the human mind.
The edifice of civilization rests on human reason, new scientific discoveries and inventions. Our present is but the fruit of our past and our actions in the present are going to determine our future. Societies of the orient like India have very rich religious and spiritual traditions. The need is to pursue our goal of development and modernization by retaining the inherent spirituality in our cultural heritage in our present day civilizational accomplishments.
Our point of departure from that of Western liberalism is that the positive goal of freedom and development that it seeks to set before the human society is woefully devoid of the spiritual content which continues to inform, though in a lesser degree, every crucial aspect of the oriental societies. That is why the progress in the West though it has been mind-boggling, it has remained truncated, lopsided, discriminatory and ruthless in many respects--a fact admitted also by some notable western social scientists themselves.
Indian seers considered freedom as the hallmark of religion. Without freedom religion becomes a means of human enslavement. For religion is a cradle of culture, the nursery of the advancement of reason and the school for the cultivation of liberality, freedom and progress.One accomplished in politics has to have the wisdom of a statesman to adopt and adapt the new sciences and technological innovations for the greater good of mankind. To achieve this, we need to draw on unreservedly all that is life-giving and energising in our past and to use that for the wellbeing of all. It is the on-going dialogue that will secure access for us in other civilizations and cultures. Since our past identity is our strength, therefore, the need of the times is to put it to good use through a life of wisdom and reason. Similarly by responding to other civilizations and cultures creatively, interactively and with an open arms we can enrich our own civilization and culture by assimilating the positive accomplishments of other civilizations.
Thanks to the communication and information revolution, the world has shrunk into a global village. A true knowledge of what the West and Asia think on the crucial issues common to mankind will help resolve many tensions and discords which have their basis in prejudice and fear of each other born out of ignorance. It will give a fillip to improvement of political, economic and cultural relations between them. In the Asian mirror Europe can see its own past with its philosophic and cultural moorings, which largely are common and inseparable from those of Asia.
If the West engages in a profound and sincere dialogue with the Orient it will find practical and efficacious solutions to many of its problems such as the crisis of family, man-nature relationships, the crisis in ethics and values with a direct bearing on scientific research.

Asia is brimming with love for humanity, sense of tolerance, serenity and balance in human relations because of the continuous and profound dialogue at a deeper level among the congeries of peoples of diverse races, religions and cultures inhabiting this continent --Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Christians, Sikhs and Parsis--who have been living in fraternal harmony since several centuries. The world-view of the ancient Hindu sages and seers embraced the whole world and considered it one family. To realize this goal in today's world a dialogue among civilization is the imperative need of our times.


Excerpt
DR. MADAN G. GANDHI
PRESIDENT GANDHI EARTH VISION FOUNDATION


DIALOGUE AMONG CIVILIZATIONS


Dialogue as a method of cultural discourse has a hoary antiquity. It was a most favoured method of philosophical disquisition with the vedic and upanishidic seers who employed it for advancement of knowledge, enrichment of culture and refinement of philosophical reflections. It was a means of discovering the ultimate reality and of knowing the essence of things. Dialogue admitted of confronting this-worldly and other-worldly questions that agitated the human mind. Indian seers developed their systems of philosophy through dialogue and continuous interaction with their peers and pupils.
Dialogue (Shastararth or Sanwad) which means engaging in dialogic discourse on perennial questions of philosophy and metaphysics with emphasis on exegetical exposition was their distinctitive contribution towards the enrichment of knowledge, culture and civilization. They were the earliest exponents of the dialogic approach and encouraged a million flowers to bloom and a thousand schools to contend. This was an ennobling celebration of divergence, dissent, freedom and democracy in the realm of ideas.
In Indian philosophical tradition Shravan (listening) and Mannan (contemplation) were the pre-requisites of a cultivated and trained mind which is perpetually engaged in passionate ratiocination with a view to attaining an intuitive perception of the inmost meaning and essence of things. Dialogue was hailed the master key to unravel the mystery and considered stairway to a higher level of ideality. For the self to be able to speak unto one's own Self it is imperative to listen with rapt attention the waves of mentations surging within one's own being and voices coming from the beyond--the realm of the other.
Dialogue connotes an endless journey - the embarking on an endless adventure of ideas. The search would land a seeker in no absolute ground of being or Truth but unfold certain suggestive sign- posts on the road stretching unto infinity. There is always a possibility of greener pastures and valleys of flowers that he may come across as he marches on and on, higher and higher. Hence Na Itee , Na Itee (usfr&usfr). It is a state of consciousness that negates finality and continues to assert 'this is not', 'this is not'. Humility is considered the hallmark of a man of knowledge and wisdom. He realizes that the ultimate truth is like the loadstar ever unreachable but beckoning still the seeker on his unending quest. Any experience of self discovery or certitude is not of the Ultimate Reality but a gleam of the Light Divine blazing his path. There always remain still more vulture peaks to scale through confronting new challenges and odds coming on the way. The ultimate goal is seen ever receding into the unknown.
Dialogue is thus an ongoing process of renewal and resurrection. It involves coping with the living present as it has grown out of the past with a view to paving the way to a better future. Cutting one's self from the advances of civilization and culture as a result of the application of science and technology and fixing one self nostalgically on some imagined golden period of ancient history cannot be accepted the right approach for a growing organism. For the world around us is always in a state of flux and so is the mind of man which neither tires nor retires.
Dialogue is thus a potent means of obviating the prospect of clash of civilizations and the surest means of progress and peace in the world. Dialogue, in order to be progressive and dynamic, has to combine the perennial and innovative characteristics of a civilization. This is what will help resolve the dichotomy between the old and the new, tradition and modernity, continuity and change. Culture', 'civilization' and 'man' have to be interpreted in a framework that does not clash with the essence of the dialogue which would be very much facilitated by focusing on the collective aspect of man's existence and drawing on the vast and infinite range of human civilizations.
No major culture or civilization has evolved in isolation.Only through continuous dialogue they are enriched and become living and thriving entities. The power of communication entailing both 'speaking' and 'listening' have the capacity of contributing to their survival and growth.
The cathedrals of civilizations have been built by superhuman labours of creative minds of all times through reason, science, religion and tradition. Transcendence of any one of these whenever it starts cramping the creativity and questing spirit of man results in critical breakthroughs liberating the human mind caught in a bind. Constant dialogue and continuous questioning releases the forces of change and thus propels the world afresh on the rails of progress.
Samuel Huntington has propounded the 'clash of civilization thesis' for which there are quite a few takers on both sides of the political divide. As an indication of it, Huntington sees the rise of neo fundamentalist movements and describes them as the new movers and shakers. He looks upon them as locomotives of far-reaching changes in the world. However, his thesis founded as it is on several erroneous assumptions is flawed in many respects. First is that he identifies civilizations with nation-states and religious traditions. Also he considers neo-fundamentalist movements and organized terror the new global actors on the theatre of history.
The 'clash of civilization thesis' is suspicious of man's capacity to reason and innovate so as to finding a way out of any impasse. It is suspicious of man's infinite creative potential and negates his capacity to adapt and adjust to the changed environment. Huntington ignores the fact that civilizations are not static entities but ever in a state of flux, constantly evolving like other living and evolving organisms.
The binary logic tends to divide the world from the viewer's perspective as "we" and "they". This is the root cause of all clashes and contentions. The fear of the other is "the black godmother" of all conflicts and wars. This fear is engendered by the ignorance of the "other". Then comes into play the processes of forging alliances, coalitions, ethnic and religious groupings to confront the adversary perceived as the "other". Blinded by deep-seated prejudice and hate we fail to see the harmonizing threads that bind human beings belonging to various nation states, races, religions, cultures and civilization. Another contributory cause is that we fail to perceive the shared concerns and values which are always at work in each ones ground of being which is one for all mankind. We refuse to see that civilizations nurtured in exclusivism and privatized inwardness only yield hot-house plants of alien stock and stunted growth. They hardly yield spring-eyed blooms from the nature's bounteous garden which is full of diversity and variety of forms and colours. Nor do they permit clones of their original selves to be fashioned by man's ingenuity.
Dialogue is best fitted to unravel the commonality of human concerns and endeavors. Constant interaction and dialogue can enable us to weave strange and familiar strands of diverse cultures and civilizations into mosaic of a global civilization taking shape following the communication revolution. Dialogue is the surest way to transform the myriad discords into harmony of living -an art which each one of us can learn to contribute to the common wellbeing.
Dialogue creates the congenial climate of understanding and reconciliation, consensus and accommodation. It softens all sharp angularities and rough edges. As against this confrontation leads to civil strife and war. It causes colossal death and destruction of vast masses of mankind. Dialogue brings out the most often forgotten truth that in life there are far more threads that unite than those that divide. No man or a civilization is an island but a current in the ocean of mankind. Bound by fraternal bonds all human beings are sharers in one common indivisible destiny. Poverty, illiteracy, political violence, pollution, the danger of thermo-nuclear confrontation etc. are some of the obvious enemies of mankind. These problems are not peculiar to any one particular civilization but transcending cultural and national frontiers they affect every one.
If Indian civilization could survive the onslaughts of marauders of alien stock, it was because of its innate capacity for creative dialogue, its sense of tolerance, cultural pluralism and diversity in unity. After every encounter with an exogamous force or entity it was able to engage it in a dialogue and resultantly what came out of it was an amalgam containing the best of the both. The outcome was invariably a mosaic, a composite culture, a harmonic union in the ocean of its vast civilizational humanity.
Today when mankind is confronted with a grim scenario involving clashes of national self interest, religious fundamentalisms rooted in dogma and ignorance, ethnic and racial prejudices, dialogue can be a well trusted means of laying the groundwork of a new world order in which the least developed and most disadvantaged among the peoples can have an effective vioce. Dialogue holds the prospect of converting confrontation to cooperation, depleting environment to sustainable environment, sectarian clashes to harmonic co-existence, fratricidal strife to fratricidal harmony. Dialogue is promotive of civic culture, social capital, democratic freedoms, human rights and social justice. It fosters peaceful living among people belonging to different religions, belief systems, cultures, races and civilizations. Dialogue holds fast to the human dimension and re-inforces the humane values of civilization. It inculcates rational scientific temper and contributes to creativity, adventure of ideas, respect for dissent and diversity, values of democracy, humanism, peace, understanding, adjustment and a sense of human brotherhood.
How saddening a thought that wherefrom had flowed great streams of culture and light in all directions and which was once hailed as cradle of culture and civilization, the same effulgent and enlightner Asia today is in the grip of dependency syndrome reeling under the weight of foreign indebtedness. With hegemonism and unilateralism of the world's sole super power looming large over the entire Asian continent which accounts for 75 per cent of all the oil reserves the United States is not only seeking to extend its economic, military and political control over it but also using it as a testing ground for its military prowess and precision-guided missiles and new generation fire power. What is clearly and blatantly a pursuit of its national self interest and show of its unmatched technological, military and thermo nuclear supremacy is being presented in the garb of civilizational clashes in certain select areas of the world.
With its rich physical, material and human resources, its 60 per cent of the global population and 33 per cent of the earth's surface together with vast reservoirs of oil wealth, Asian continent can not only become self sufficient but also transfer its surpluses to those other countires in dire need. The Asian Economic Market can transform this world's currently most impoverished region into one of the world's most thriving and vibrant economies. Since Asia is a home to diverse religions and cultures, dialogue can prove a sure method of forging the bonds of unity that lie embedded in the commonality of its shared past, common origins, common destiny, and common aspirations.
Given the innumerable harmonizing strands within the hallowed civilizational heritage of Asia, dialogue can prove most effective in repairing what has been described as the civilizational fault lines. Dialogue has the potential of not only stemming the tide of global terror, proxy wars and cross border terrorisms but also paving the way for a viable and strong Asian Union.
In the newly emerging knowledge--based networked society at the global level several multi-national conglomerates are coming up through mergers and takeovers with the avowed object of capturing the global market. In the new game only the rich nation-states and the mega-corporations are entering as the greatest stakeholders and beneficiaries of the new fiscal regime having a global sweep. Their chief concern is to perpetuate their hold on the world capital and not to rock the boat of globalization which pays them dividends. They would not do it for the sake of such emotional entities as the nation-state, religion or civilization. Nor would they risk waging a war for territorial expansion or for self determination. Nor would they do so to alter the international borders and surely not to establish the supremacy of one civilization over another. Whatever clashes and wars that we see being unleashed from time to time in the current phase are designed to preserve and promote pure national self interest. This includes even preemptive strikes against the forces of global terror avowedly resorted to in self defence. There is broad agreement that war can not solve any problem and any adventurist move can spell the very doom of mankind in which there will be no victors, no vanquished.
Consequently the prospect of clanging of ideologies, clashes of civilizations and wars of religions are receding. The world-views of science and spirituality are converging to shape a new world and a new civilization where cultural diversities will be celebrated. A new human society is muscling out of the womb of the past when dialogue, diversity in unity and democratic decision-making will become the ruling credo of the human societies. Already the world is heading towards one single integerated society through new strides in the field of communications. In such a world there will be no rationale for confrontations between ideological systems, wars of religion, Jehads and crusades. They will cease to stir the morally and spiritually enlightened citizenary of the future. Today the only option before mankind is either to hold together and become active collaborators in fructifying the vision of a new world order informed by universal harmony and brotherhood or simply to be wiped out of existence. Humanity have to bow before the logic of reason and good sense to realize their common human destiny that binds all beings into one single global family.
Since all prejudice, hatred and fear proceed from the binary schism--'we' and 'they', dialogue emerges as the proven way of transforming discord and conflict into harmony and co-operation. By promoting a better understanding of the 'other', dialogue rids us of fear-psychosis emanating from nightmares and chimeras which are constantly being bred by fear and hatred in our brains. Dialogue, by drawing on the best in human cultures and civilizations, can help generate fresh impulses of creativity and self-sustaining effulgence in human societies. Tolerance of dissent and celebration of cultural diversity are the very pre-requisites of a civil society. They, by giving a fillip to decentralized and democratic decision-making at the local and global level, provide the guarantee of human rights everywhere in all spheres of human discourse. This can be India's greatest contribution for realizing a non-violent just and humane world order.
It is the fond hope of every peace-loving people that dialogue among civilizations--oriental and occidental--will contribute to peace and prosperity of all mankind. If this dialogue between the Islamic and Inidic civilizations blossoms into the dialogue among other civilizations for the greatest good of mankind, it will surely strengthen the bonds of fraternity and brotherhood among the peoples of the world and help counter the threat of neo-fundamentalism and terrorism.
These readings and excerpts from writings and speeches of notable thinkers, publicists and experts will, it is hoped, illumine some of the gray areas of the contemporanous debate and will let us share mankind's common enduring concerns. The insights and harmonizing threads running through various cultures may help convert the clash of civilizations into the dialogue among civilizations, a phrase coined by His Excellency Mr. Mohammed Khatami, The President of Islamic Republic of Iran.
It is our fond hope that more and more nations and peoples will join this dialogue to benefit the most vulnerable of the global human family who have been victims of revenge, terror, hatred, bigotry and fanaticism. Our aim is to provide educational input to the readers with a view to informed dialogue among them on the pivotal issue of our times. Those celebrated leaders of thought whose words of wisdom find a place in this volume of Earth Vision deserve our gratitude for setting the tone of this dialogue among civilizations and making indefatigable efforts that this dialogue may succeed. On this precarious hope rests man's very survival. Hence the present volume is being dedicated to interlocutors in this dialogue.


Professional Reviews

DIALOGUE AMONG CIVILIZATIONS
Book Review

DIALOGUE AMONG CIVILIZATIONS

Edited by Dr. Yayati Madan G. Gandhi

Published by GANDHI EARTH VISION FOUNDATION

First published in 2004
ISBN No. : 81-88871-00-1
Price : Rs. 200/-
Pages : 182/-
E-mail : southasianews@rediffmail.com

The book makes a powerful plea for Dialogue of Civilization as against Samuel Huntington's thesis concerning the Clash of Civilization.

Today when mankind is confronted with a grim scenario involving clashes of national self interest, religious fundamentalism rooted in dogma and ignorance, ethnic and racial prejudices, dialogue can be a well trusted means of laying the groundwork of a new world order in which the least developed and most disadvantaged among the peoples can have an effective voice. Dialogue holds the prospect of converting confrontation to cooperation, depleting environment to sustainable environment, sectarian clashes to harmonic co-existence, fratricidal strife to fratricidal harmony. Dialogue is promotive of civic culture, social capital, democratic freedoms, human rights and social justice. It fosters peaceful living among people belonging to different religions, belief systems, cultures, races and civilizations. Dialogue holds fast to the human dimension and re-inforces the humane values of civilization. It inculcates rational scientific temper and contributes to creativity, adventure of ideas, respect for dissent and diversity, values of democracy, humanism, peace, understanding, adjustment and a sense of human brotherhood.

The book contains readings and excerpts from writings and speeches of notable thinkers, publicists and experts will, it is hoped, illumine some of the gray areas of the contemporaneous debate and will let us share mankind's common enduring concerns. The insights and harmonizing threads running through various cultures may help convert the clash of civilizations into the dialogue among civilizations, a phrase coined by His Excellency Mr. Mohammed Khatami, The President of Islamic Republic of Iran.

Thanks to the communication and information revolution, the world has shrunk into a global village. A true knowledge of what the West and Asia think on the crucial issues common to mankind will help resolve many tensions and discords which have their basis in prejudice and fear of each other born out of ignorance. It will give a fillip to improvement of political, economic and cultural relations between them. In the Asian mirror Europe can see its own past with its philosophic and cultural moorings, which largely are common and inseparable from those of Asia.

If the West engages in a profound and sincere dialogue with the Orient it will find practical and efficacious solutions to many of its problems such as the crisis of family, man-nature relationships, the crisis in ethics and values with a direct bearing on scientific research.

Asia is brimming with love for humanity, sense of tolerance, serenity and balance in human relations because of the continuous and profound dialogue at a deeper level among the congeries of peoples of diverse races, religions and cultures inhabiting this continent --Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Christians, Sikhs and Parsis--who have been living in fraternal harmony since several centuries. The world-view of the ancient Hindu sages and seers embraced the whole world and considered it one family. To realize this goal in today's world a dialogue among civilization is the imperative need of our times.



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Reader Reviews for "Dialogue Among Civilizations"

Reviewed by eman amra 7/3/2011
thank you very much

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