Hinduism and Human Rights-A Conceptual Approach

Hinduism and Human Rights-A Conceptual Approach

Product ID: 19188

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Author: Arvind Sharma
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Year: 2006
Language: English
Pages: 217
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0195665856


This volume in the Law in India Series offers critical insights into the complex ongoing debate on Hinduism and its relationship to human rights. The secular and religious realms constitute two main sources of value formation in the modern world. The human rights tradition embodies the former. The author forges a link between human rights discourses and the normative moral discourse within Hinduism to establish a conceptual approach to the issue in a given cultural ethos.

The book offers a rich synthesis of interrelated issues about human rights, from a variety of Hindu and non-Hindu viewpoints. The author critically analyses the key issues to establish that there is room for classical or traditional Hindu concepts and ideas in the current international debates on human rights.

Sharma examines the place of human rights in Hinduism from an interdisciplinary perspective covering a wide gamut of themes such as the caste system (varna, jati), stages of life (asrama), the four ages (yugas) and freedom of conscience.

Written in a lucid style, this book will be useful for scholars and students of law, religion, and philosophy. It will also be of interest to general readers interested in issues of Hinduism and human rights.


This book makes a germinal contribution to the rather sparse discourse relating to the place of human rights in Hinduism. The author is a trained and talented philosopher, well grounded in classical Indian jurisprudence, and raises many a pertinent issue concerning the relation between Hinduism and human rights. Lawpersons, social theorists, philosophers and comparativists will all find here some fresh starts as well as new provocations.
-Upendra Baxi, Professor of Law, University of Warwick



1. Bases of human rights in Hinduism.
2. Hinduism and human rights discourse.
3. The caste system (Varna, Jati) and human rights.
4. The stages of life (Asrama) and human rights.
5. The four ages (Yugas) and human rights.
6. Freedom of conscience and Hinduism.
7. Universalism in India and the west.
8. A human rights contribution to Hinduism and a Hindu contribution to human rights.