Programme manager, the Nepal Peacebuilding Initiative
Rajendra Senchurey is the programme manager at the Nepal Peacebuilding Initiative, based in Kathmandu, Nepal. He is a Dalit (the community that come at the bottom of Hindu caste hierarchy) intellectual with an MPhil in International Peace Studies from Trinity College Dublin in Ireland. He is a core-team member of the ‘Towards an Inclusive Peace’ conference organized by the Caux Forum in Switzerland every summer. He regularly writes for Nepal’s leading national dailies as a freelance contributor.
Rajendra lives life with a twin objective – to extirpate the caste-based discrimination and to promote sustainable peace in Nepal and beyond. A staunch advocate of peace and harmony, he has raised his voice in many national and international fora about interfaith, non-violence, countering violent extremism and building sustainable peace. He now works in the area of interreligious dialogue through the Restorative Justice project that aims to foster peace and reconciliation between different groups divided on the basis of religion and their contraposition to the decade-long (1996-2006) armed conflict of Nepal. He is recognized in Nepal as a conflict analyst-cum-human rights activist.
The motto he identifies himself with is, “Discrimination incapacitates – your society cannot function well when its one part has been incapacitated”.
Interreligious Activities and Initiatives
Samata Foundation, Nepal: Distributed books and their other publications. Nepal Peacebuilding Initiative: Helped with logistical arrangements.
My initiative conducted interreligious dialogue to address caste-based discrimination in Nepal. The constitution promulgated in 2015 declared Nepal the secular country. This has been a potential source of dispute in Nepal as this change is taken to happen under the instigation of foreigners, especially Christians. The one who is converting from Hindu to Christianity is mostly Dalit (so-called untouchables that come at the bottom of Hindu caste hierarchy). Though the Dalits are converting to escape from the caste-based discrimination prevalent in Hinduism, the Hindu protagonists think that the conversion is taking place significantly as Dalits are lured with incentives to convert. The conversion is taking place on a large scale. The initiative attempted to build a common understanding through dialogue the reason behind the en-masse conversion of Dalits. The dialogue that took place in 3 phases across different cities of Nepal concluded with an understanding, either to let the conversion take place as it has been or to address the caste-based discrimination against Dalits. Most of the religious leaders who participate in the dialogue programmes have committed design different strategies to abolish caste-based discrimination prevalent in their religious communities. The programme has benefited 46-odd religious leaders.