Over the last few years, questions of religious freedom and the rights of religious minorities in South Asia have rarely been out of the international headlines. The position of Muslims in an increasingly nationalist India, the impact of Islamic blasphemy laws in Pakistan, the intensifying clash between India and Pakistan over Kashmir, attacks on the Muslim Rohingyas of Myanmar, tensions between Buddhists, Muslims and Christians in Sri Lanka, the struggle between Islam and secularism in Bangladesh: in all of these fields, as difficulties grow, there is an ever-increasing need to understand the history and genesis of the current problems.
This volume, based on a conference held at the Woodrow Wilson Centre for Scholars in Washington DC, in collaboration with the Royal Society for Asian Affairs in London, brings together a number of chapters written by a host of leading international scholars and policy experts. These chapters go back to the origins of national constitutions and fundamental laws, tracing their impact to the present. They explain how and why questions of state intention and ideology that were passed over during the crafting of these countries’ constitutions have returned to haunt South Asia with greater urgency and consequence.
This book was originally published as special issue of the journal Asian Affairs.
Table of Contents
1. The Indian Constituent Assembly and the Making of Hindus and Muslims in Jammu and Kashmir
2. Constitutional Issues and the Treatment of Pakistan’s Religious Minorities
3. Secular Quests, National Others: Revisiting Bangladesh’s Constituent Assembly Debates
Dina M. Siddiqi
4. Myanmar: Religious Minorities and Constitutional Questions
5. Religious Intolerance in Post-Civil War Sri Lanka
6. More Than Meets the Eye: The Narratives of Secularism and Islam in Bangladesh
7. Unpacking the Blasphemy Laws of Pakistan
8. Cow Protection and Minority Rights in India: Reassessing Religious Freedom
Neeti Nair is Associate Professor of History at the University of Virginia.
Michael Kugelman is Deputy Director of the Asia Program at the Woodrow Wilson Centre for Scholars, Washington DC.
Bijan Omrani is Editor of the journal Asian Affairs.