Religious identity constitutes a key element in the formation, development and sustenance of South Asian diasporic communities. Through studies of South Asian communities situated in multiple locales, this book explores the role of religious identity in the social and political organization of the diaspora. It accounts for the factors that underlie the modification of ritual practice in the process of resettlement, and considers how multicultural policies in the adopted state, trans-generational changes and the proliferation of transnational media has impacted the development of these identities in the diaspora. Also crucial is the gender dimension, in terms of how religion and caste affect women’s roles in the South Asian diaspora. What emerges then from the way separate communities in the diaspora negotiate religion are diverse patterns that are strategic and contingent. Yet, paradoxically, the dynamic and evolving relationship between religion and diaspora becomes necessary, even imperative, for sustaining a cohesive collective identity in these communities.
This bookw as published as a special issue of South Asian Diaspora.
Table of Contents
Preface 1. Introduction: Religion and the South Asian diaspora 2. Homogenisation and fragmentation, inclusivism and exclusivism in the development of Hinduism in Singapore 3. The dynamics of preserving cultural heritage: the case of Durban’s Kathiawad Hindu Seva Samaj, 1943–1960 and beyond 4. Religion and gender: the Hindu diaspora in Portugal 5. Talking ‘gender superiority’ in virtual spaces: web-based discourses of Hindu student groups in the US and UK 6. From the fringes of the diasporic garment: creative pageants of Indian Christian identity from Malaysia and Singapore 7. Celebrating ‘the sons of Jats’: the return of tribes in the global village 8. Multiple modernities and the Tibetan diaspora 9. ‘Forget not your old country’: absence, identity, and marginalization in the practice and development of Sri Lankan Buddhism in Malaysia
Rajesh Rai is Assistant Professor in the South Asian Studies Programme at the National University of Singapore. Co-editor of The Encyclopedia of the Sri Lankan Diaspora (2013), The South Asian Diaspora: Transnational Networks and Changing Identities (2009); Nationalism in South Asia (2009), he was also Assistant Editor for The Encyclopedia of the Indian Diaspora(2006), which has received considerable acclaim. His articles have been published in Modern Asian Studies, South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies; Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, South Asian Diaspora and elsewhere. His research interests are in the fields of diaspora studies and transnational identities, nationalism and the post-colonial history and politics of South Asia.
Chitra Sankaran is Associate Professor in the Department of English Language and Literature at the National University of Singapore. She has published monographs, books, edited volumes and chapters in Books. Her articles have been published in The Journal of Commonwealth Literature, ARIEL, World Literatures Written in English, Journal of South Asian Literatures and elsewhere. Her research interests include South Asian Fictions and Comparative Literatures.