Conservation of Environment and Role of Religion Conference
07/10/2017
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Central University of Kashmir
5 to 6 July 2017

The Inaugural Session:

The inaugural session began at 10:30 in the morning on 5 July with the Head Department of Religious Studies, Professor Hamidullah Marazi, welcoming the members of the audience and other distinguished guests present on the occasion. Professor Marazi also introduced the various aspects of the broad theme of the conference to the audience. His welcome address was followed by another lecture by Mufti Nazir Ahmad Qasimi, Shaykh al-Hadith Dar al-Ulum Rahimiya, Bandipora, Kashmir on “The Conservation of Environment and Role of Islam” thereby setting the tone for serious and scholarly deliberations on the various dimensions of the broad theme of the conference. An English translation of this lecture was presented by Dr Nazir Ahmad Zargar, Assistant Professor, Department of Religious Studies, Central University of Kashmir. Professor Leonard J. Swidler, Temple University, Philadelphia, U.S.A delivered an exhaustive Keynote address. It was followed by the address of Mufti Mustafa Ceric, Grand Mufti of Bosnia which appeased the audience. Professor Z.M. Khan of Objective Studies (IOS), Delhi also delivered a lecture on the theme. The authors whose books were also released on the occasion included Professor Hamidullah Marazi, Head Department of Religious Studies, Dr Showkat Ahmad Shah, Assistant Professor, Department of Religious Studies, Central University of Kashmir, and Mr. Maqbool Ferozi, former Civil Servant . Al-Haaj Manzoor Ahmad Wangnoo, Chairman, Nigeen Lake Conservation Organisation (NLCO), Dr. Naseer’s Group of Unani and Panchkarma Hospitals, Srinagar, Mr. Abdul Hamid Bhat, Chairman, Rahim Greens, Srinagar, Dr. Sheikh Ghulam Rasool, RTI activist and Mr. Arif Shafi Wani, Correspondent, Greater Kashmir were felicitated for their commendable services towards environmental conservation. Professor Mehrajuddin Mir Hon’ble Vice-Chancellor, Central University of Kashmir and the chairman of the session and also chief patron of the conference delivered the presidential address thanking the outstation participants and other guests and dignitaries present on the occasion for their support and cooperation. He also extended his good wishes to the department of Religious Studies Central University of Kashmir. The session concluded with a vote of thanks delivered by Dr. Mueid uz Zafar, Assistant Professor, Department of Religious Studies Central University of Kashmir. Dr Showkat Ahmad Shah conducted the proceedings in the session.

Day I Session II Auditorium

After tea break, the first formal session comprised of four parallel technical sessions.

In Panel 1, chaired by Professor Z.M. Khan and moderated by Dr. Sheikh Showkat Hussain, four papers were presented. Paper readers included Ms. Maryam Meraj research scholar from University of Kashmir, Mrs. Insah Nabi, research scholar Central University of Jammu, who talked about Swachta in religion to recognise self to have direct relationship with God. Professor Madhu Khanna, former Director, Centre for Comparative Religion, Jamia Millia, Delhi quoted exhaustively from Hindu as well as Islamic sources as she did from Buddhist source also regarding environment and its religious sanctity and Professor Paul Mojzes, Pennsylvania, USA who discussed human environment in light of four sources: scripture, tradition, reason and experience to deal with the issue .

Panel II was chaired by Professor Shashi Bala and moderated by Professor Abdul Rashid Bhat and three papers were presented including a paper by Asif Mohiuddin, Research scholar, University of Kashmir and Mr. Nazar Muhammad, research scholar, University of Kashmir.

Panel III was chaired by Professor Siddharth Singh, Former Head, Department of Pali and Buddhist Studies, Faculty of Arts, Banaras Hindu University and moderated by Dr. Fayaz-Ahmad Nikka DSW, CUK. Four papers were presented in this panel. The paper readers included Prof. Gautam Chatterjee, President Abhinavgupta Academy, Varanasi and Muhammad Ashraf Malik, research scholar, KU, Mr. Abdul Manan Khan, KU and M.H. Zafar, Head department of Religion and Civilisations, Central University of Jammu.
Then there was a lunch break

Day I session III

Panel I in this session was chaired by Prof. Abdul Ali, Department of Islamic Studies, AMU Aligarh, and Professor of Emeritus and moderated by M. Afzal Wani. Paper readers included: Dr Siddarth Singh, Avneet Kour, Hadia Habib from BGSB University, Rajouri, and Prof Abdul Ali. In the end M. Afzal Wani concluded the session by highlighting the main pointes touched by the presenters and reiterated that despite the differences the world religions have to make something out of these differences and that is all those commonalities which are necessary for sustaining life.

Panel I1 was chaired and moderated by Prof. Madhu Kanna. Paper presenters included: Sutinder Singh research scholar from University of Ujjain. Mr. Shabir Ahmad Wani. Dr Aamir Riyaz, Assistant Professor, Hansraj College Delhi and Prof. Hamidullah Marazai Head department of Religious Studies Central University of Kashmir.

Panel Two
Theme: Environmental Ethics and Religion,
Chairperson: Prof. Shashi Bala Moderator: Ms Ishārāt

This session began at 02:00 in the afternoon on 5 July with the Prof. Shashi Bala as the chairperson of the session. The session began with the paper of Asif Mohiuddin, research scholar from Kashmir University, on the theme of Global Environmental Crisis and Islam: An Ethico-Theological Appraisal. The second Paper was presented by Nazr Muhammad and Ahmed Ishfaq on the theme of Environmental Challenges and Islamic Ethics. The third paper dealt with The Need for Environmental Ethics: Our Environmental Concern which was sent by Prof. Ganga Dhar, Banaras Hindu University. The session was concluded by the inputs and comments by the chairperson of the session, Prof. Shashi Bala.

Room A,
Panel Three,
Theme: Environment and the Prospectus of Conservation.
Chairman: Prof. Abdul Rashid Moderator: Dr. Jameil Ali

The session began with the permission of the Chairman, Prof. Abdul Rashid Bhat. The first paper was presented by Prof. Shashi Bala, Former Dean Faculty of Humanities, Religious Studies, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar titled Environmental Ethics in Religious Perspective. The second paper was presented sent by Mohammad Yaseen Gadda, research scholar, AMU, titled Understanding Environmental Preservation through the Paradigm of Islamic Ethics. The third paper was presented by Dr. Mohabat Singh Dept. of Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, Environmental Ethics in Spiritual ballads of Bhai Gurdas (A Great Sikh Theologian). The fourth paper was presented by Dr. Sheikh Jameil Ali Asst. Professor, IUST, entitled as Religion and Materialism vis-à-vis Environment, with Special Reference to Teachings of Islam. the session was followed by a live discussion on the papers presented. The session concluded with the valuable comments of the chairman.

Panel Four, Room B

Chairman: Prof. Siddharth Singh Moderator: Dr. Fayaz Ahmad Nikka
Theme: Environmental Conservation and Religions

The session commenced at 2 pm in the afternoon. With the nod of the chairman, the session clicked with the research paper Man-Environment Interrelationship: A Religious Perspective of Prof. Gautam Chatterjee, President, Abhinavagupta Academy, Varanasi. Mr. Muhammad Ashraf Malik, Doctoral Candidate, Shah-i-Hamadan institute of Islamic Studies, Kashmir University, presented his research paper on Environment as, Environmental Conservation and the Role of religious Scriptures. The third research paper was presented by Prof. M. A. Zafar entitled as Kashmir Mystic Traditions and Environment. The fourth research paper entitled as Relation between Man and Environment: An Islamic Approach by Mr. Abdul Manan Khan, Research Scholar, Shah-i-Hamadan Institute of Islamic Studies, Kashmir University.The session evoked some discussion among the participants and finally concluded with the valuable comments and observations of the chairman , Prof. Siddharth Singh at 3pm.

Panel Five, Room B

Chairman: Prof. Ab. Rashid Bhat Moderator: Dr. Zia ul Haq.
Theme: Ethical and Religious Perspectives on Environment
The session commenced at 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm. First paper was presented by Dr. Khan Asiya and others Research Scholars, University of Kashmir, presented paper entitled as Environmental conservation in light of the Qur’an. The second paper was presented by Mr. Shahzad Bashir, Research Scholar, S.H. Institute of Islamic Studies, University of Kashmir, entitled as Prophetic Ethical Philosophy and the Environmental Awareness. The third paper was presented by Dr. Naseem Gul Dar and others, entitled as Asst. Professor, S.H. Institue of Islamic Studies, University of Kashmir, titled as Religion:A SavourFor Environment with Particular Emphasis on Islam. the forth paper was presented by Mr. Azad Ahmad Akhoon Research Scholar, S.H. Institute of Islamic studies, University of Kashmir. Debating Man, Environment and The Religion; From Ethical Perspective. The session was followed by constructive discussion and concluded purposefully with the remarks of Chairman of the session.

Panel Six, Room B

Chairman: Dr. Gautam Chatterjee Moderator: Suhail Shaukeen
Theme: Environment and the Prospects of Conservation

The session commenced at 04:30 pm with the nod of the chairman. The first paper was presented by Dr. Syed Naseem Gilani and others on the theme of Awareness and Attitude among University Students of Kashmir Valley towards Environmental Conservation in the light of Islam: A Sample Survey. The second paper was presented by Dr. R. Anthony Raj, Assistant Professor L.N. Govt. College, Ponneri, Tamil Nadu as Role of Christianity in Environmental Conservation. The third paper was presented by Sunmeet Kaur, research scholar of Kashmir University, on the theme An Exploration of the Symptoms of Stress, Anxiety and Depression among Children Explored to the Devastating Floods of Kashmir. The fifth paper was presented by Dr. Tahseeen Gul, research scholar of university of Kashmir in the department of Biotechnology, on the theme Combatting the Environmental Crisis by understanding the Cross Talk between Religion and Science. The session evoked some discussion among the participants and finally concluded with expert views of the respected chairperson, Dr. Gautam Chatterjee.

After the sessions the delegates were invited to dinner which was arranged by Mr. Mahmood Ahmad Shah, Director Tourism, J&K in Nigeen Club, Hazratbal Srinagar. Several power point presentations, including those of Dr Naseer Ahmad of Dr Naseer’s Group of Unani and Panchkarma Hospitals , Dr Sheikh Gh. Rasool, an environmental activist, Dr. Farooq Ahmad Kaloo, Patron Nigeen Lake Conservation Organisation (NLCO) were made on the occasion before the sumptuous lunch was served. Ahmad Mustafa, a young student from Bilaliya Educational Institute, Lal Bazar gave a brilliant lecture on environment and Islam. He along with Al-Hajj Manzoor Ahmad Wangnoo, Chairman NLCO was felicitated on the occasion. Professor Mehrajud Din Mir, honourable Vice Chancellor Central University of Kashmir, Professor Ashok Aima, honourable Vice Chancellor Central University Jammu, Mr. Mahmood Ahmad Shah, Director Department of Tourism, J&K, Al-Hajj Manzoor Ahmad Wangnoo, Chairman NLCO in addition to the dignitaries from India and outside India were also present on the occasion.

Day 2nd
Thursday 6th July, 2017
Session 01 Auditorium
Chairman: Prof. Paul Mojzes Moderator: Mr. Zahoor Ahmad Najar
Theme: Sufi/ Reshi Traditions and Environment

The first paper was presented by Ms. Hena Bashir and others University of Kashmir, Eco-Friendly Practices in Sufi Traditions: Green Beliefs of Sufis. The second paper was presented by Sayid Tawfiq Sarfaraz on behalf of Ms. Zeenat Akhter and others Dept. of Environmental Science, University of Kashmir, Eco-Friendly Practices Depicted in the Poetry of Shaikh ul Aalam. The second paper was presented by Dr. Manvinder Singh Asst. Professor Dept. of Guru Nanak Studies, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar., Fauna and Flora: Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s Bani. The third paper was presented by Mr. Muhammad Shafi Bhat Research Scholar, S.H. Institute of Islamic Studies, University of Kashmir, Islamic Spiritual Traditions: An Environmental Conservation in Contemporary Times.

Session 02
Auditorium
Chairman: Prof. Ghulam Mustafa Khawaja Moderator: Mr. Bilal Ahmad Ganai
The first paper was presented by Dr. Iqbal Qureshi/ Sabreen Javid Islamic University of Science and Technology, Awantipora, Environment As Depicted in the Poetry of Shaikh ul Aalam. The second paper was presented by Ms. Humera Qadri Lecture, Hr. Sec School, Srinagar, Role of Religion For The Protection of Environment: A Study and Treatment of Environment In Islam. The third paper was presented by Mr. Riyaz Ahmad Sheikh Senior Research Fellow Centre of Central Asian Studies, University of Kashmir, entitled as Role of Islamic Education in Environmentalism: Promotion and Preservation. The forth paper was presented by Dr. Ashaq Hussain Post-Doc Fellow Centre of Central Asian Studies, University of Kashmir, entitled as, Environmental Ethics: An Islamic Perspective. Mr. Ishfaq Amin Parrey Research Scholar S.H. Institute of Islamic Studies Kashmir University, Srinagar, The Culture of Consumerism vis-à-vis Environmental Ecology: An Islamic Perspective, the last paper was presented by Dr. Rafiuddin, entitled as Islamic Studies and Environmental Pollution.

Room B
Technical Session 01
(10:00 am to 11:30 am )
Theme: Religion and Its Role for Preserving Environment
Chairman: Prof. N. A. Nadeem Moderator: Dr. Muhammad Sayid Bhat
The first paper was presented by Dr. Suhail/B. A. Ganai Research Scholar University of Kashmir, entitled as Macroinvertebrates As Bio indicators and Role of Islam in Biodiversity Conservation, The second paper was presented by Dr. Fayaz Ahmad Nika Social Entrepreneurship and Islam. The third paper was presented by Mr. Uqab Ali and others Research Scholar University of Kashmir, entitled as Environmental Degradation with Special reference to Kashmir and Man’s Responsibility Summarized by The Quran. The forth paper was presented by Dr. Farooq Ahmad Rather and others, Dept. of Environmental Science University of Kashmir, Role of Religion in Preserving Environment: A Study of Major Religions in India. A brief discussion took place among the participants and the session concluded with the remarks of Chairman.
Technical Session 02
Theme: Materialism, Consumerism and Environmental Degradation
Chairman: Dr. Manvinder Singh, Moderator: Sheikh Jameil Ali
With the permission of the chairman Miss Mehnaz Hassan Research Scholar Kashmir University, presented her paper entitled as Materialism, Consumerism and Environmental Degradation: An Islamic Perspective. The second paper was presented by Mrs. Sukhwant Kaur Asst. Professor, Dept. of Music, Govt Women’s College, M.A Road, Srinagar, on Sikhism and Environment. The third paper was presented by Dr. Aquil Ahmad Asst. Professor, Dept. of Philosophy, AMU, Aligarh, entitled as Gandhi and Conservation of Environment; an Evaluation. The forth paper was presented by Dr. Bilal Ahmad Sheikh, entitled as Analysis of water conservation: An Islamic Perspective. The last paper was presented by Dr. Syed Zahoor Ahmad Gilani and others, Eco-friendly Teachings of Reshism in Kashmir with special reference to Sheikh Noor-ud-din (R A). The session generated a healthy discussion to be followed by the valuable suggestions and comments by the respected chairman.

Valedictory

The conference concluded on 6 July, 2017 in the afternoon with the valedictory session in which Professor Khursheed Andrabi, Vice Chancellor, University of Kashmir Srinagar will be the special guest. Mustafa Ceric and Prof. Swidler will be the guests of honour while Prof. Meraj ud-Din Mir, Vice Chancellor Central University of Kashmir will be the Guest of honour
The valedictory session was presided over by Prof. Mehrajuddin Mir, the honourable Vice-Chancellor, Central University of Kashmir. In his address the honourable Vice Chancellor said the University is ready to accept and support any proposal for any joint academic venture that may come from any corner of the country or the world, for the growth and benefit of the students of the varsity. He expressed satisfaction over the successful completion of the conference and thanked the dignitaries from different parts of the country and from outside the country, who participated in the conference. Prof Mehrajuddin Mir insisted that the suggestions and conclusions arrived at during the conference should be acted upon in letter and spirit so that conservation of environment becomes a reality and we would be able to hand over a better legacy to the generations to follow.
Professor Z. M. Khan (IOS), Delhi was the Chief Guest while Professor Leonard Swidler was the guest of honour at valedictory session.
Some important resolutions (given in detail below) which were adopted at the conference with consensus, mention that the Universities and other organisations may be approached to initiate special programmes and research on different aspects of religion and environment with special reference to the state of J&K ,those researchers, who aspire to take up research in areas of religion and environment, may be considered for award of research fellowships and grants and concerned funding agencies may be approached in initiating such programmes, serious efforts need to be made to initiate inter-community and inter-faith dialogue for creating awareness on different aspects of religion and environment issues, the Institute of Objective Studies (IOS), Delhi offers to provide special space for publication of issues of religion and environment that may also entertain research proposals of relevant themes, community participation and active involvement of different voluntary and non-voluntary organisations may be encouraged by concerned quarters, religious institutions and personalities should be approached to join the campaign on improvement of environment around us, religious studies programmes should be started at school, college and University levels to impart environmental conservation and value education, special course on Ecology and Religion should be started from elementary level, colleges and Universities should come forward to encourage all organisations working for the promotion of environment and students should be encouraged to work as volunteers for these organisations periodically .
On the occasion, Prof Lenord Swedler, Dr Z M Khan, Prof Madhu Khanna, Prof Shashi Bala, Prof Manvinder Singh, Prof Hamidullah Marazi and Prof Abdul Gani from the CUK shared their thoughts and gave suggestions to implement the recommendations made by the experts during the conference and act upon the resolution adopted at the end of the conference.
The programme was conducted by Mr. Amir Habib Habibullah ,Assistant Professor Department of Religious Studies ,while as Dr. Showkat Ahmad Shah , Assistant Prof Department of Religious Studies, proposed the vote of thanks.
In the programme several films and PPTS were screened and represented on the themes of environment, like Saving the Saviour, on Wular Conservation, (which has bagged seven international Awards) apart a detailed presentation on Tosa Maidan, J&K Tourism Potential, Environment Friendly Unani Medication, and Nagin Conservation etc.
The important resolutions that were passed after deliberations and thorough discussion are:
Resolutions
The Universities and other organizations may be approached to initiate special programmes and research on different aspects of religion and environment with special reference to the state of J&K.
Those researchers, who aspire to take up research in areas of religion and environment, may be considered for award of research fellowships and grants. Concerned funding agencies may be approached in initiating such programmes.
Serious efforts need to be made to initiate inter-community and inter-faith dialogue for creating awareness on different aspects of religion and environment issues.
The Institute of Objective Studies (IOS), Delhi offers to provide special space for publication of issues of religion and environment. It may also entertain research proposals of relevant themes.
Community participation and active involvement of different voluntary and non-voluntary organizations may be encouraged by concerned quarters.
Religious institutions and personalities should be approached to join the campaign on improvement of environment around us.
Religious Studies programmes should be started at school, college and University levels to impart environmental conservation and value education.
Special course on Ecology and religion should be started from elementary level. The department of Religious Studies Central University of Kashmir may provide every possible help in this direction.
Colleges and Universities should come forward to encourage all organizations working for the promotion of environment and students should be encourage to work as volunteers for these organizations.
Some of the key questions that were considered and deliberated on in the conference were:

What do religions tell us about environment?
What influence religion can have on perhaps the most pressing issue in the 21st century, namely, our ecology, our Earth, for she is under massive attack.
Environmental crisis has become highly dangerous for the existence of life. But at the same industrial progress, which has so far been the major factor responsible for this crisis, is necessary and inevitable. What role can religions play towards minimisation of environmental degradation without denigrating industrial growth?

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