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Unusually positive relationship between the Hindu and Moslem believers

Published: June 24 2008

Unusually positive relationship between the Hindu and Moslem believers

Vasudha Narayanan

Professor of Religion
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Vasudha Narayanan is a professor of religion at the University of Florida and a past president of the American Academy of Religion. She was educated at the Universities of Madras and Bombay in India, and at Harvard University. Her fields of interest are the Sri Vaishnava tradition; Hindu traditions in India, Cambodia, America; Hinduism and the environment; and gender issues.

“In Hinduism, the history we’ve received is from the privileged people, and people who had access to education,” she said. “I try to portray a balanced view of Hinduism, which includes the male and female versions and voices from different castes in society.”

Narayanan also has studied the unusually positive relationship between the Hindu and Moslem believers in South India.

“While in many parts of India there’s been an acrimonious relationship between the two religions, there’s been over 1,200 to 1,300 years of harmonious relationship in South India,” she said.

Narayanan is the author and editor of five books and more than 80 articles, chapters and encyclopedia entries. Her research has been supported by grants and fellowships from several organizations including the National Endowment for the Humanities (1987, 1989-90, and 1998-99), the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation (1991-92), the Smithsonian, the American Institute for Indian Studies, and the Social Science Research Council. She was the president of the Society for Hindu-Christian Studies from 1996-1998. Her book “The Hindu Traditions in the United States: Temple Space, Domestic Space, and Cyberspace” will be published by Columbia University Press in 2004. She is currently working on Hindu temples and Vaishnava traditions in Cambodia.

Photo credit: Ray Carson — University Photography