Exploring Conversion And Its Discontents
J. Jayakiran Sebastian
IN SEARCH OF IDENTITY: DEBATES ON RELIGIOUS CONVERSION IN INDIA by Sebastian C.H. Kim Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 2004, 451 pp., 525.00
January 2004, volume 28, No 1

The vital importance of this timely and extremely well-written book cannot be stressed enough. In the surcharged atmosphere characterizing the contemporary discourse on conversion in India, where emotions run high, and where perceptions and prejudices clash with the deafening sound of incomprehensibility, where well-disposed and sensitive-minded people are often overwhelmed by the unfortunate directions which the debate on conversion often takes, Sebastian Kim offers us a sober, carefully researched and painstakingly documented book on the emergence of the conversion issue during the last one hundred and fifty years in pre- and post-independent India.

The book does not shy away from difficult questions—running through it is the reality of the encounter between living and dynamic faiths, with all the prospects and promises that such encounters hold, and with the attendant prejudices, misconceptions and deliberate perversions that such encounters generate.

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