Pankaj JainJan 31, 2022
Science and Socio-Religious Revolution in India
Moving the Mountains
Scholars have long noticed a discrepancy in how non-Western and Western peoples conceptualize the scientific and religious worlds. Non-Western traditions and communities, such as India, are better positioned to provide an alternative to the Western dualistic thinking of separating science and religion. Dr. Anil Joshi founded the Himalayan Environmental Studies and Conservation Organization (HESCO) in the 1970s as a new movement looking at the economic and development needs of rural villages in the Indian Himalayas and encouraging them to use local resources in order to open up new avenues to self-reliance.
Pankaj Jain's book Science and Socio-Religious Revolution in India (Routledge, 2018) argues that the concept of dharma, the law that supports the regulatory order of the universe in Indian culture, can be applied as an overarching term for HESCO’s socio-economic work. This book presents the social-environmental work in contemporary India by Dr. Anil Joshi in the Himalayas and by Baba Seechewal in Punjab, combining the ideas of traditional and scientific ecological knowledge systems. Based on these two examples, the book presents the holistic model transcending the dichotomies of nature vs. culture and science vs. religion, especially as practiced and utilized in non-Western societies such as India.
Tiatemsu Longkumer is a Ph.D. scholar working on ‘Anthropology of Religion’ at North-Eastern Hill University, Shillong: India