Religion and Political Conflict in South Asia: India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka

Religion and Political Conflict in South Asia: India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka

Religion and Political Conflict in South Asia: India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka

Religion and Political Conflict in South Asia: India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka

Synopsis

One of the most surprising developments of the last 20 years has been the proliferation of aggressive political movements linked to religion. This timely collection of studies by internationally known scholars offers a multidisciplinary perspective on the interplay between religion and politics in predominantly Hindu India, Islamic Pakistan, and Buddhist Sri Lanka. The authors challenge traditional stereotypes and interpretations of South Asian religion and political conflict and give close attention to the impact of socio-economic conditions in defining religious culture and political action.

Excerpt

A dramatic global development of recent decades has been the emergence and tremendous impact of many, often aggressive religious-political positions. We cannot understand conflicts in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and many other parts of the world without making sense of very complex political-religious connections.

Most traditional approaches seem to present oversimplified interpretations, both positive and negative. Recent dynamic religious-political developments often contradict traditional assumptions and interpretations. Theoretically, this has meant limited understanding of confusing religious-political developments. Practically, this lack of understanding has contributed to devastating results with new forms of ethnic, racial, and religious nationalism, repression, denial of human rights, violence, and war.

This volume consists of contributions by leading South Asia scholars who present multidisciplinary approaches to religious-political conflict in India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. These scholars are deeply involved in the contemporary religious-political conflicts and struggles, and this infuses their studies with a sense of urgency and significance. Their studies challenge traditional stereotypes about religion, politics, and religious-political connections. They present new, creative, and challenging ways of analyzing these conflicts.

I would like to thank the following individuals and publishers for permission to use previously published material: Ajanta Publications for permission to use several pages of Gail Omvedt Hinduism and Politics, in Religion, State and Politics in India, edited by Moin Shakir (Delhi: Ajanta Publications, 1989), which appear in Gail Omvedt's chapter in this book; the Social Scientists' Association of Sri Lanka for permission to use Gananath Obeyesekere A Meditation of Conscience (Occasional Paper no. 1, Navala, Sri Lanka: Social Scientists' Association . . .

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