CENTRE FOR EASTERN CULTURE AND RELIGIOUS THOUGHT (CECRT)

Director

Dr. Jose James

Preamble

The eastern philosophy/religion primarily looked at all phenomena in the world as different manifestations of the basic oneness. Everything in the universe is seen as interdependent and inseparable parts of this cosmic whole and they are understood and explained only as different manifestations of the same ultimate reality. Hence the intense study and deeper understanding and appreciation of philosophy/religions of the East will certainly contribute to fostering peace and unity globally.
All religions endorse the concept of Fatherhood of God and brotherhood of man. At present the world at large experiences forms of fear and violence often attributed to religious extremism. Acts of terrorism perpetrate psychological trauma as well as communal hatred. They threaten peaceful coexistence of communities. It is hoped that a unified centre for an integrated study of major culture and religions of the world can certainly bring a deeper understanding of the similarities and common traditions of all culture and religions and an appreciation of the validity of the universal truth that is ingrained in all of them. India is a unique nation, woven by diverse linguistic, cultural and religious threads, held together into a composite national identity by a rich history of cultural evolution and a spirit of mutual understanding amidst a shared history that enables special unity in diversity.
Hence, when the College received funds through RUSA 2.0, a proposal was made to set up a research centre to promote eastern studies which was accepted by MHRD and the Higher Education Department of Kerala. Accordingly, Marian College Kuttikkanam (Autonomous) has established a new Research Centre for ‘Eastern Culture and Religious Thought (CECRT)’ RUSA scheme. The center intends to encourage harmonious coexistence of people of India amidst the diversities including that of major faiths.
This center will serve as a permanent platform for continuous religious, cultural and social dialogue, discussion, research, collection of data, documentation, preservation and dissemination. It will also facilitate the cross fertilization of the philosophies and world vision of different religions and cultures in the region which will bear its positive fruits not only in India but the entire world by promoting mutual respect, cooperation and appreciation of all religion and culture.
The eastern philosophy/religion primarily looked at all phenomena in the world as different manifestations of the basic oneness. Everything in the universe is seen as interdependent and inseparable parts of this cosmic whole and they are understood and explained only as different manifestations of the same ultimate reality. Hence the intense study and deeper understanding and appreciation of philosophy/religions of the East will certainly contribute to fostering peace and unity globally.
All religions endorse the concept of Fatherhood of God and brotherhood of man.At present the world at large experiences forms of fear and violence often attributed to religious extremism. Acts of terrorism perpetrate psychological trauma as well as communal hatred. They threaten peaceful coexistence of communities. It is hoped that a unified centre for an integrated study of major culture and religions of the world can certainly bring a deeper understanding of the similarities and common traditions of all culture and religions and an appreciation of the validity of the universal truth that is ingrained in all of them.
Though there are many Centres, Universities and Colleges in India that significantly contribute to religious studies. However, most of these segments offer Degree or Certificates focusing on one religion and primarily endeavour to enhance the knowledge and appreciation of a particular religion. They often highlight the differences between religions rather than examine the similarities and the unifying threads among them.
The Centre is intended to encourage a comparative study of all major religions and cultures of the East. The thrust of the centre is not to highlight the differences but to examine the common themes that unite them. In short, the primary aim of the Centre is to promote a comparative understanding of major religions, thereby fostering communal harmony based on equal reverence for all faiths. The Centre will also serve as a permanent platform for continuous religious dialogue, discussion, research and dissemination. It will also facilitate the cross fertilization of the philosophies and world vision of different religions. The scholars of the centre will lead inter-faith dialogue and discussions which will bear its positive fruits not only in India but the entire world by promoting mutual respect, cooperation, and appreciation of all religions. India is a unique nation, woven by diverse linguistic, cultural and religious threads, held together into a composite national identity by a rich history of cultural evolution. The spirit of mutual understanding amidst a shared history that enables special unity in diversity.

Board Members of the Research Centre

Dr Cyriac Thomas Formerly Vice Chancellor M.G. University Kottayam & Member National Minority Education Com mission Chairman
Mr. T. P. Srinivasan Formerly Indian Ambassador to the USA & Vice-Chairman Kerala State Higher. Education Council  Member
Dr K.S.  RadhaKrishan Formerly Vice Chancellor Sanskrit University Kalady & Chairman Kerala Public Service Commission Member
Prof. POJ Labba Formerly Principal, TKM Engineering College Kollam & General Secretary, Muslim Education Society Member
Prof. G. Sathyan Formerly Principal S. N. College Kollam & Former Assistant Secretary Education, SNDP Member
Dr Jose James Formerly Registrar, M.G. University Kottayam & Head of the Research Centre (CECRT) Secretary
Dr Roy Abraham P Principal Marian College Kuttikkanam Autonomous Convenor

Proposals are invited for various programmes/activities under the CECRT

  • Proposals are invited on any broad areas of the research Centre as per annexure 1 (but not limited) for the collection of available materials (in all forms) and documentation by the students, staff and scholars / others who are interested and willing to do so.
  • Proposals in the areas of joint project are preferred. Students and faculty are encouraged to submit proposals for consideration. Marian student groups should have a mentor / principal investigator from the faculty of the college.
  • Scholars from outside the campus can also submit proposals. However, such group/team should have a mentor / principal investigator preferably a faculty member of a Higher Education Institution or an expert approved by the CECRT, who are willing to work in association with Marian college.
  • Duration : 01 to 03 Months from the date of approval of the proposal
  • The screening committee of the CECRT will assess the suitability of the proposals received and will recommend appropriate proposals for consideration & approval
  • If found suitable, CECRT will issue approval letter and the group/team can start the project as per the project proposal approved
  • Quantum of financial assistance (in phases) will be decided by the expert committee of the CECRT on the basis of the budget submitted along with the proposal and the suitability report of the proposal by the screening committee
  • Bi-weekly progress report and the Completion report should be submitted to the CECRT in the prescribed format given in Annexure 3 & 4.
  • The CECRT reserves the right to discontinue the permission/approval given to the proposal at any time during the course of the study with specific reasons
  • Publication of the article in a recognized journal is part of the responsibility of the principal investigator

Broad Areas of Data Collection

Collection of all available materials (in all forms) and documentation in the following Broad Areas (basically Gene, Language and History), but not limited, for further study, Research and publication:

  • Unique Religious and Cultural practices followed in various worship centres to foster communal harmony.
  • Study on Art and Architecture of various religious institutions/ worship Similarities of rituals, celebrations, feasts in major religions.
  • Similarities in Wedding ( like Thali, Manthrakodi sari, Nadvili, Kacha thazhukal, ring exchange etc.)
  • Regional Inter-cultural and Inter-religious specialties, commonalities and support.
  • Migrant nature and Local names of places associated with religion and culture
  • Similarities in Holy books
  • Yoga through Eastern history, Culture and Religion
  • Comparison of Physical Fitness components in the rituals of major religions

Following are some of the programmes conducted

  • Study on the St. Mary’s Church Kuravilangad.
  • Yoga Training for the students and Staff of the College

Originated 5000 years ago, Yoga is a traditional art of acquiring the utmost state of body, mind, and soul..

As part of the activities of the CECRT a short term Yoga Training was given to the students and staff of Marian College Kuttikkanam by Dr. P S Sobha from 31 January 2021 to 28 February 2021

Proposal for joint programmes with Syro Malabar Church

The following proposals were made after a joint meeting and discussions with His Beatitude Major Archbishop Mar George Alencherry.

  • Centre for the Study of Eastern Culture and Religious Thought (CECRT) of Marian College Kuttikkanam in association with the Liturgical Research Centre (LRC) of the Syro Malabar Church will conduct study on the contributions of the St. Thomas Christians in Kerala
  • Historical facts and figures in connection with the arrival of St. Thomas in India may be studied in depth and documented
  • The study may include the historical monuments, epoch made personalities, important events etc. related to the St. Thomas Christians in Kerala
  • Few seminars/ conferences may be jointly organised on various topics of interest and concerned with the St. Thomas Christians in Kerala
  • The outcome of the study, seminar etc. may be documented in electronic media/ CDs and shall be presented/ available at various places and during important functions so that the laity, especially the youth, may be made more aware of the history, culture and contributions of the St. Thomas Christians in India
  • An expert committee/ small groups may be formed by including the priests and the laity on each area/ module of study and their expertise, feedback and inputs may be made available for the successful conduct of the above programmes
  • With the outcome of the above study, an “Art and Cultural Centre” as that of the similar one in Rome will be established in due course

Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat Club (EBSB)

The idea of a sustained and structured cultural connect between the people of different regions was mooted by Hon'ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi during the Rashtriya Ekta Divas held on 31st October,2015. In view of this, UGC has directed all Higher Education Institutions and its affiliated colleges to have “Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat Club (EBSB)” whose aim would be to propagate language and culture through various activities.

As part of the Silver Jubilee and under the auspices of the CECRT and the EBSB, it was proposed to conduct a Lecture series on “Inter-Faith and Cultural Unity in Diversity” to foster “Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat” concept in the College from the academic year 2019-20 onwards on the above concept and thereby contribute to achieve the objectives of this CECRT and EBSB.

The EBSB Club of Marian College Kuttikkanam (Autonomous) has conducted several innovative, interesting and knowledgeable activities as part of each month which kept the student club members well involved.

Poster preparation

Click and sent photography competition

Love during Covid 19-epiphany- ko-pra

A competition has been conducted by Marian EBSB Club online on 25th May 2020 about the things that Marianites fell in love with during this lockdown. Five students and one faculty member has joined as this was open for all in Marian. Prizes were distributed based on the “LIKE” that he/she got from others as their work has been posted in Ebsb Marian Instagram page.

Cookery show- jackfruit chapati

Ms.Milna Mathew, 1st B A Applied Economics, has initiated a cookery show for the people of Himachal Pradesh as part of EBSB and her own personal YouTube Channel. It is a good and new attempt made by the EBSB @Marian as a part of activity for the month of June.

International yoga day celebration

Marian College Kuttikkanam (Autonomous) celebrates every year International Yoga Day in association with Ek Bharat Shreshta Bharat Club (EBSB) with different programmes.

AAJ KA VAKYA/ Sentence of the day presentation

Aaj Ka Vakya /Sentence of the Day Presentation are a Video Presentation initiated by a student from Commerce Department to pronounce the sentence in different Indian languages. It is a good and new attempt made by the EBSB @Marian as a part of activity in the month of June.

Power Point presentation on culture and heritage of Himachal Pradesh

As a part of activity for the month of July 2020 the club members has prepared a PowerPoint Presentation on Culture and Heritage of Himachal Pradesh.

Mega quiz competition on culture and heritage of Himachal Pradesh

As a part of Independence Day celebrations, the Marian EBSB club members has conducted a Mega Quiz competition online.

Crusaders

Club members has prepared a video as a tribute to soldiers of Fortune in HP and conducted an online Quiz competition on the Culture and Heritage of Himachal Pradesh.

Virtual tour to Kuttikkanam

A virtual tour has been conducted by our club members, as part of activity for the month of October 2020, to show the rich culture of Idukki District to the paired state.

Video on agricultural diversity of Himachal Pradesh

As a part of activity for the month of November the club members has prepared a Video on Agricultural Diversity of our pairing state.

Video on tourist spots in Himachal Pradesh

A video has been prepared by EBSB Club along with three more students, online about the famous tourists Spots in Himachal Pradesh as a part of activity for the month of December.

Video on the cultural history of Himachal Pradesh

A video has been created and presented by our club members to show the rich prosperity of the paired state, Himachal Pradesh, to acknowledge them with the information available.

Video on stunning villages of Himachal Pradesh

As a part of activity for the month of February 2020 the club members has prepared a video on the stunning villages of Himachal Pradesh.


Video on interesting facts about Kerala

Two club members have prepared a video presentation along with a voice over about the interesting facts regarding Kerala as a part of activity for the month of March 2020.

Researches in Carnatic Music

Sri. K. A. Anish, a Carnatic composer and gifted singer is working as Faculty in Music in Marian College Kuttikkanam Autonomous, Kerala. He is very passionate about his profession and also a researcher in the field of music and compositions. His researches lead him to the uncovering of about 21 forgotten Kritis of the late Sanskrit poet, Ennappadam Venkata Rama Bhagavathar (1880- 1961) and brought them into light by composing them in Carnatic ragas. Sri. Anish has created a new Carnatic raga with three Swaras which he named “Madhurita” and composed one of these Kritis in this raga exhibiting his musical genius and spirit of experimentation. The new raga has got wide acclaims from the masters of Carnatic music in South India (credentials attached). Sri. Anish has pursued his research at Marian Centre for Eastern Culture and Religious Thought Studies, The Marian community decided to acknowledge the achievements of Sri. Anish by releasing his compositions and launching the new raga in a colourful ceremony.

  • Studies on the influence of St. Mary’s Valiya Palli, Kaduthuruthy on eastern culture and religion is expected to start in January 2022.

CECRT INTER-DEPARTMENTAL EXHIBITION CUM COMPETITION

Under the auspices of the CECRT and the EBSB, we intend to conduct an inter- departmental exhibition cum competition in the College to share the views, insights, thoughts and creativity of the students on the above concept and thereby contribute to achieve the objectives of this center.

Activities

  • Cultural heritage, ancient monuments, architecture etc.
  • Fairs and festivals
  • Religion and culture in our community
  • Cultural heritage costume, food and dress - (class-wise)
  • Literature and poem recitation - (class-wise)
  • Literary and visual arts, fairs and festivals dance
  • Role play on the lives of religious and cultural practices
  • Designing activity based on the identified theme

Inter-Departmental Exhibition – Concepts (Indicative)

  • Unique Religious & Cultural practices
  • Study on Art and Architecture
  • Contributions of various religious places
  • Similarities of rituals, celebrations, feasts
  • Similarities in Wedding
  • Regional Inter-cultural and Inter-religious specialties,
  • Migrant nature and Local names of places
  • Religion/ Culture as an expression and satisfaction of human needs and desires

Inter Religious Dialogue

Proposal

Under the auspices of the CECRT, the college is planning to conduct an inter-faith “Roundtable” at Kuttikkanam. It will be a two days programme

Participants

Various religious heads and leaders will participate as guest of honor besides students, teachers and staff of Marian College and nearby colleges, Political Leaders, Invited Guest speakers suggested, Religious Heads, Dignitaries, invited guests and the general public.

Presentation and panel discussions will form part of the programmes which will help to arrive at consensus on issues confronted by the nation currently. Participants can also share their views and opinions.

Themes for Discussion

  • Religion and Faith in a Secular Society”
  • Religions in the 21st Century
  • Building good relations with people of different faiths and beliefs – narrowing the gap
  • Interest in the beliefs and practices of others and seeking to address issues where there may be historical or current disagreement
  • Misconceptions about one’s own faith or belief and the need to correct them
  • All religions teach good things in life: non-violence, truth, honesty, compassion, amity and such. It is only misinterpretation through ignorance which causes problems
  • Women in Religion

The papers presented and the proceedings of the programme will be published as a book

Tri-Nation International Seminar in Bhutan

Tri-Nation International Seminar in Bhutan on "Regional Inter- Cultural, Historical, Social and Traditional Specialties and Legacy" (A Bhutan, Malaysia, and India joint event) Organized jointly by Sherubtse College, Royal University of Bhutan, Lincoln University Malaysia and Marian College Kuttikkanam (Autonomous) Kerala, India from 02 - 05 April 2020

Sub themes: "Similarities and Uniqueness of Rituals, Celebrations, Feasts; Social and Cultural Practices; Habits, Customs and Lifestyle"

  • The programme will be a Tri-party collaborative event between Sherubtse College, Bhutan, Marian College Kuttikkanam Autonomous and Lincoln University College Malaysia - Bhutan, India and Malaysia joint event
  • Core theme of the programme could be "Regional Inter- Cultural, Historical, Social and Traditional Specialties and Legacy"
  • Sub themes could be "Similarities and Uniqueness of Rituals, Celebrations, Feasts; Social and Cultural Practices; Habits, Customs and Lifestyle etc"
  • External Resource persons are:
  • Prof. (Dr.) Amiya Bhaumik, Vice Chancellor, Lincoln University Malaysia,
  • Fr. (Dr.) Roy P Abraham, Principal, Marian College Kuttikkanam (Autonomous) Kerala India
  • Prof. (Dr.) Jose James, Director CECRT Marian College Kuttikkanam (Autonomous) and Former Registrar M. G University Kottayam India
  • Dr. Binu Thomas, Associate Professor & IQAC Coordinator Marian College Kuttikkanam (Autonomous) Kerala India
  • Dr. Jyothish Kumar, CMD UNIOUR Academic Services Abu Dhabi, UAE

Study on the “Influence of India (Eastern World) on the Yoga Practices in the Western World”

Yoga in India was first practised only by religious ascetics, and clear references to it can be found in texts from 2,500 years ago. For them, yoga was "totally about steadiness and stillness", not the dynamic kind of movements or exercise found in yoga classes today, primarily in the West.
Over time practices evolved, but yoga has undergone a significant shift in the last 100 years as part of globalisation, and physical postures in particular have become more important.
Such holy men performing feats like sitting still for days still exist today in India, he says. But mass participation in yoga by Indians only came in the 20th Century, as in the rest of the world.
The yogis in India have been following the practice thousands of years ago as a part of their spiritual tradition. As a part of their religion both Buddhist and Janis were also familiar with their style of meditation and yoga. When comparing the practice of Yoga with eastern countries, the west just started the practice (as a widely accepted exercise or as a spiritual practice) recently. Yoga in Western society is synonymous with the practice of asana (posture), and such asana-centred Yoga sessions are easily accessible in almost every city in the West. Yoga is being practiced as part of a physical fitness regime; and it is known that asana improves flexibility and strength. There are many religious aspects and sects in yoga
Modern Yoga as it is known in the West gained traction in the late 1890s, when Indian monks began transmitting their knowledge to the Western world. Specifically, the influential Swami Vivekananda is often credited with introducing Yoga to the West.
Swami Vivekananda is seen as the man who brought yoga to the West. The monk from Calcutta travelled to the Parliament of Religions in Chicago in 1894 and spoke about India and Hinduism, before embarking on an influential lecture tour of the United States.
Vivekananda laid the ground works for Yoga in the West, but piqued academic curiosity more so than general interest. It took until the mid-20th century for Yoga to beco