Writing in the chapter 1, titled “Why This Dialogue” in the final document of a workshop on “Dialogue of Religions on Human Rights” organized by the Asian Human Rights Commission, Basil Fernando observed that, “Religion is often  a part of the social discourse leading to human rights violations. Sometimes it is very blatant and visible…. Theological and metaphysical arguments have been advanced and maintained to keep a social discourse that is supportive of these human rights violations.”

The caste system of India as currently practiced is one of the most glaring examples of human rights violation caused by “Theological and Metaphysical arguments”. Yet there have been several scholars like Bhagwan Das (The Science of Social Organization ) and Agniveer, who have gone deep into the meaning of the scriptures and pointed out that scriptures have been interpreted erroneously.

Other societies may have had similar experiences. The question then arises as to what role have different theosophies played in evolution of human rights in different societies? Is there any lesson in that for us?

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Human Rights as currently defined by the United nations may be accessed here.


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