Welcome to Cross-Religious Exchanges in Eastern Indian Cultural and Literary Traditions

Important Dates

  • Date of the Conference:
    February 15-17, 2024

  • Abstract submission:
    October 15, 2023

  • Acceptance of abstracts:
    November 15, 2023

  • Registration with full payment:
    November 30, 2023

  • Full paper submission:
    December 31, 2023

Cross-Religious Exchanges in Eastern Indian Cultural and Literary Traditions

(February 15-17, 2024)
KIIT School of Language & Literature
KIIT Deemed to be University, Bhubaneswar, India


KIIT School of Language &; Literature (KSLL) invites papers for the international conference on the topic of “Cross-Religious Exchanges in Eastern Indian Cultural and Literary Traditions” to be held on February 15-17, 2024 in hybrid mode at Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology, Deemed to be University. The conference aims to explore the interactions among religion, philosophy, and literary and cultural texts from the Eastern and North Eastern part of the Indian subcontinent.

Aim Of the Conference

Cross-Religious Exchanges in Eastern Indian Cultural and Literary Traditions

Eastern zone of India, which has its distinctively religious, cultural and philosophical manifestations and diversities, calls for a different approach of studies. The proximity with the Sino-Tibetan culture, the density of indigenous and aboriginal population, the distance from the political centre and the trade
relations with the South-Eastern part of Asia have helped this region develop a unique socio-political identity and knowledge system. With the arrival of
Turkish rulers, along with the Perso-Arabic literary and philosophical conventions, Islam also contributed to this diversity to an extent. Islam in this
region warmly hosted Sufism which paved a way for genres that wove narratives by combining elements from Islamic myths and philosophies with
earlier Vaishnavite, Shakist, and Bhuddhist dharmic traditions.

Having its root in the Sanskrit verb ‘dhr’ or “to sustain”, the word dharma, has been attributed various meanings in different religious contexts. Though the Upanishads and the Srimad bhagabat gita clearly define dharma, there are still certain interpretations which create confusion in the understanding of its implications. The continuous interactions among different religious systems on the basis of the worship of Mother Deity, the dominance of Tantric practices, the supremacy of oral tales, and the performance of rites and rituals entail a nuanced reading of cultural epistemes and theological and ritualistic spaces. The complexity intensified after the encounter with the European civilisation during 19th century, particularly the constant attempts to Christianise and streamline the diversified and heterogenous milieu and the lenses of the colonial ideological apparatus. The cultural clash caused a systemic epistemic violence, thereby problematising the power relations among the adherents of diverse indigenous religious and cultural practices. After Independence, as a part of the newly formed nation-states, and as a cauldron of communal violence during the Partition, the religio-cultural space of this region went through another massive transformation that resulted in a thorough re-alignment of religious and secular values which changed again with the advent of neoliberal and globalised economy facilitated by the rise of the cyberspace. Literary and cultural texts, in continual dialogues with time and space, have been not only mirroring the interactive changes but also contributing to the knowledge production system in different forms and valences. The texts produced in various languages, originating from diverse cultural locations are reflective of the complexities in knowledge formation and socio-political and religious nuances. This is evident from the historical synthesis of Buddhist, Nathist, and Islamic ideals in Ramai Pandit’s Shunyapurana (13th Century), to the modern-day dialogue among Tantra, Brahminism, and Christianity in Mamoni Raisom Goswami’s Chinnamastar Manuhto (2005). The myth of Kitung and Jagannath serves to bridge the gap between animism and Hinduism, while Tagore’s universal humanism offers a more inclusive perspective. Furthermore, Vidyapati” (14th century) verses reflect the amalgamation of Shaktist and Vaishnavite philosophy and 16th- century poet-seer Mahapurusa Achyutananda Dasa’s verses which posit his philosophy of sunya as purna and his coalescing of both form and formless aspects of God to project the Deity Jagannatha as the exemplar of the Sunya Purusa. The poems of contemporary Naga poet, Temsula Ao also demonstrate a balance between anthropocentric Christianity and the ecotheological domain of Naga animism. These diverse texts reflect the rich tapestry of philosophical traditions and cultural contexts that have shaped the region’s worldviews.


Dr. Gourab Chatterjee

Convenor, CREEICLLT 

E-mail: [email protected]