Dr. Deepak Sarma is the Professor of Indian Religions and Philosophy at CWRU, and is the author of several books on Hinduism and Indian philosophy. After earning a BA in religion from Reed College, Sarma attended the University of Chicago Divinity School, where he received a PhD in the philosophy of religions. His current reflections concern cultural theory, racism, and post-colonialism.
We asked Dr. Sarma a few questions about the current coronavirus pandemic and how he sees it from a bioethical lens.
I taught a class, “Hindu a Jain Bioethics” (RLGN/ ETHS 353), and many of my thoughts on COVID-19 derive from the wonderful conversations I had with those students. I am grateful to them for their reflections and for transforming my way of thinking about Hindu and Jain bioethics.
How is COVID-19 impacting your current, and potentially future, work as a bioethicist?
COVID-19 has impacted my work as a bioethicist. The current bioethical conversation, even at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU), has embraced what it believes to be a secular and universal bioethics. Religion, by and large—and especially Hinduism—does not play much into these conversations. So Hindu bioethics—which could contribute to these conversions—has been, to some degree, sidelined. In spite of this, Hindu perspectives on disease and cultural distance seem to play an especially important role today, when it is no longer advisable to shake hands with fellow human beings.Continue reading “Interview with Bioethicist Deepak Sarma”