Thesis advisor: James F. KeenanSecular voices have contributed immensely to the emergence of bioethical discourse in India. The media and the intellectuals frequently employ the language of human dignity, rights and justice to critique the policies of the government or medical institutions and the contemporary healthcare practices. In analyzing the healthcare concerns and in proposing remedial measures to better the situation, they also refer to the notions of care and access but in secular terms. Recognizing that insufficient attention has been paid to the religious dimension in this process and arguing that peoples' religious worldviews bear enormous influence on the entire spectrum of healthcare and in making it better accessible, the thesis examines the Catholic and Hindu religious traditions to find out how they have historically wrestled with and incorporated the theological values of care and access in dealing with healthcare. The study also draws upon the contemporary practices and policies of two select Catholic and Hindu healthcare institutions to illustrate how care and access inform their services and policies. In conclusion, I propose that the inclusion of religious insights and foundational theological values and principles into the mainstream bioethical discourse in India will both enrich the interreligious learning and enhance the various initiatives to promote basic healthcare more participatory and successful.Thesis (PhD) — Boston College, 2014.Submitted to: Boston College. Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.Discipline: Theology
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