Unit 2(phase1): Social Movements in Modern India Across Borders

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  2. Organization
  3. Unit 2(phase1)


Unit Leader

DAKE Mitsuya(Ryukoku University)

Main Researchers

  • IRISAWA Takashi(Ryukoku University)
  • SATO Chisui(Ryukoku University)
  • MITANI Mazumi(Ryukoku University)
  • NAKAMURA Hisashi(Ryukoku University)
  • SHIMANE Yoshie(Ryukoku University)

Unit 2 will implement field work to examine grass-root politics and the process of "mass" mobilization. Our objectives will be to clarify the political and social behavior of the grass-root "mass", collaborating with Unit 1 which would analyze the ethical structure, philosophy and manners of communication that underlay Indian political discourse.

The grass-root "mass" or "local people" live across the borders of caste, religion, states and nations. They are naturally related to national or international level politics, and suddenly and unintentionally fall within the category of minority at these levels. This situation encourages them to unite with others across borders aiming to be a majority. Unit 2 will prospect the problems and possibilities of India's "unity in diversity" focusing on so-called minority communities, including Buddhists, Jains and Muslims.

Life of Dalits and the Meaning of Buddhism (Sub-unit A)

SATO Chisui / Timothy FITZGERALD / ENOKI Miki

"Revitalization" of Buddhism, or the emergence of "Neo-Buddhistm" in contemporary India is related to the improvement of socio-economic status of the Scheduled Castes/Dalits in South and West India. Ambedkar's conversion to Buddhism in Nagpur in 1956 has stimulated other Dalits' conversion from Hinduism or Christianity to Buddhism. We will survey Buddhist communities in Southwest India and examine the effect of conversion on their lives and on their relationship with other communities, and meanings of Ambedkar's movement and thought.

Buddhism across Borders: Buddhist Life in Bengal and Bangladesh (Sub-unit B)

WAKAHARA Yusho / OKAMOTO Kensuke / YAMANE Sou / Dillip Kumar BARUA

So-called Bengali Buddhists constitute a minority community in Bangladesh and in several northeastern Indian states, including West Bengal, Orissa, Assam, Tripura and Mizoram. We will accumulate basic information on their history, distributions, populations, organization, etc. and then, working together with staff from University of Dhaka, implement several field surveys in the Adivasi community in northern Bangladesh, and in the Chittagong Hill Tracts near the Burmese border.

Interaction of Theravada Buddhism in Sri Lanka and Dalit Buddhism (Sub-unit C)

DAKE Mitsuya / NAKAMURA Hisashi

Theravada Buddhism which has been codified and organized mainly by Buddhaghosa is now going to establish relationship with Dalit Buddhism (Neo-Buddhism).We will explore the mutual effects among Sri Lankan Buddhism, Dalit Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism and Chittagong Hills Buddhism, and the possibilities of future integration of Buddhism in which old sects no longer find their place. We will advance both theoretical and practical research.

The Otani Exploration Party and Formation of India Image (Sub-unit D)

IRISAWA Takashi / MITANI Mazumi

The most crucial objective of the Otani Exploration Party was to explore India, though their journey in Central Asia has been predominantly famous among the public. We will examine the records on India in those days compiled by the members of the Otani Exploration Party, and will clarify India images formed by Japanese Buddhist monks.

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