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Tolerance, Secularization and Democratic Politics in South Asia

$80.00 USD

Humeira Iqtidar, Tanika Sarkar, Sudipta Kaviraj, Sadia Saeed, Sara Shneiderman, Joya Chatterji, Samia Huq, Aishwary Kumar, Jonathan Spencer
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  • Date Published: June 2018
  • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • format: Adobe eBook Reader
  • isbn: 9781108614825

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About the Authors
  • What is the relationship between secularization and tolerance? Critically analyzing the empirical and theoretical foundations of a putatively linear relationship between the two, this volume argues for moving past both romanticised readings of pre-modern tolerance and the unthinking belief that secularization will inevitably lead to tolerance. The essays collected in this volume include contributions from across South Asia that suggest that democratic politics have added a layer of complexity to questions of peaceful co-existence. Modern transformations in religious thought and practice have had contradictory implications for tolerance, which offer rich insights into contemporary debates in the region. This multi-disciplinary volume, which spans history, sociology, anthropology and political theory, questions the uncritical acceptance of tolerance as the best framework for engaging with difference, and probes the complications created by and through democratic politics.

    • Touches upon deeply contested questions regarding the relationship between democratic politics and religious plurality in South Asia today
    • Detailed case studies offer genuine insight into the complexity of the dynamics of the region
    • A multi-disciplinary approach spans anthropology, history, sociology and political thought, offering multiple perspectives of the region's religious ideas and practice in democratic politics
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This volume provides a nuanced and sophisticated understanding of secularism as an ideal and an inconsistent practice in South Asia. Given the ways in which centralized states and material inequalities have undermined secularism, the volume shows that pleas for tolerance cannot adequately rectify its deficiencies.' Amrita Basu, Amherst College, Massachusetts

    'At a time when issues of religious intolerance in South Asia are so much in the news, this is a very welcome and timely collection of essays. Taking us beyond abstract theorizing, the book provides a vibrant look at the relationship between secularization and democracy across five South Asia countries – all of them struggling, in different ways, with the creation of democratic political orders. 'Secularization', 'tolerance', and 'religion' are not abstract concepts in these essays, but changing ideas embedded in specific political conflicts. … Taken together, the essays will transform how we think about these concepts.' David Gilmartin, North Carolina State University

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    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2018
    • format: Adobe eBook Reader
    • isbn: 9781108614825
    • contains: 1 b/w illus. 7 maps
    • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction Humeira Iqtidar and Tanika Sarkar
    2. Languages of secularity Sudipta Kaviraj
    3. Secularization of politics: Muslim nationalism and sectarian conflict in South Asia Sadia Saeed
    4. Temple building in secularizing Nepal: materializing religion and ethnicity in a state of transformation Sara Shneiderman
    5. Secularization and 'constitutive moments': insights from partition diplomacy in South Asia Joya Chatterji
    6. Tolerance in Bangladesh: discourses of state and society Samia Huq
    7. In the void of faith: Sunnyata, sovereignty, minority Aishwary Kumar
    8. Pillayar and the politicians: secularization and toleration at the end of Sri Lanka's Civil War Jonathan Spencer.

  • Editors

    Humeira Iqtidar, King's College London
    Humeira Iqtidar is the author of Secularizing Islamists? Jamaat-e-Islami and Jamaat-ud-Dawa in Urban Pakistan (2011) and led the ERC-funded project, 'Tolerance In Contemporary Muslim Polities: Political Theory Beyond the West'.

    Tanika Sarkar, Jawaharlal Nehru University
    Tanika Sarkar is author, among other books, of Hindu Wife, Hindu Nation: Community, Religion, Cultural Nationalism (2002) and Rebels, Wives, Saints: Designing Selves and Nations in Colonial Times (2009). Her research lies at the intersections of religion, gender, and politics in colonial and post-colonial India.


    Humeira Iqtidar, Tanika Sarkar, Sudipta Kaviraj, Sadia Saeed, Sara Shneiderman, Joya Chatterji, Samia Huq, Aishwary Kumar, Jonathan Spencer

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