Religion and Politics in South Asia  book cover
1st Edition

Religion and Politics in South Asia

Edited By

Ali Riaz

ISBN 9780415778015
Published March 22, 2010 by Routledge
228 Pages

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Book Description

Religion and religio-political forces have become potent influences in the domestic politics of many countries irrespective of geographical location, stages of economic growth, and systems of governance. The growing importance of religion as a marker of identity and a tool of political mobilization is reshaping the political landscape in an unprecedented manner, and South Asia, which contains the world’s largest populations of Muslims and Hindus with significant number of Buddhists, is no exception to this fact.

This book presents a comprehensive analysis of the interaction of religion and politics in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Although the specific circumstances of each country are different, in recent decades, religion, religio-political parties, and religious rhetoric have become dominant features of the political scenes in all six countries. The contributors offer a thorough examination of these developments by presenting each country's political system and the socio-economic environment within which the interactions are taking place. The analysis of the various factors influencing the process of the interactions between religion and politics, and their impact on the lives of the people of the region and global politics constitute the core of the chapters.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Three Arguments about Religion-Politics Nexus Ali Riaz  1. The Strategic Use of Islam in Afghan Politics Abdulkader Sinno  2. The Politics of Islamization in Bangladesh Ali Riaz  3. Religion, Politics and Violence in India Amalendu Misra  4. Nepal: From Hindu Monarchy to Secular Democracy Subho Basu  5. Pakistan: A State for the Muslims or an Islamic State? Farhat Haq  6. Politicization of Buddhism and Electoral Politics in Sri Lanka A R M Imtiyaz.  Appendix.  Glossary

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Ali Riaz is Professor and Chair of the Department of Politics and Government at Illinois State University, USA. Previously he has taught at universities in Bangladesh and England, and worked as a broadcast journalist at the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in London. His recent publications include Faithful Education: Madrassahs in South Asia (2008); Islamist Militancy in Bangladesh, A Complex Web (2008).


"He examines how the legacy of religion's role in ant-colonial uprisings such as the Sepoy Mutiny, the Peasant Uprisings, the Farazi Movement and the 1848 Sri Lankan rebellin, continues to dominate politics. Moreover, the book offers a vibrant explanaion of how the failure of post-colonial South Asia's leadership paved the way for religion to emerge as an ideologial tool. Furthermore, Riaz argues that social upheaval, economic dislocation, social injusstice, authoritarianism and the erosion of civil society contributed to religious pentration in politics and cites examples from six countries' religious political paradoxes."

Md. Mizanur Rahman, Strategic Analysis (Journal), Volume 38, 2014 - Issue 1


"In an increasingly globalised and complex world, the mix of religion with politics has proven volatile for many nations.
Based on his forthcoming edited book Religion and Politics in South Asia, Dr Ali Riaz (AR), Professor and Chair of the Department of Politics and Government, Illinois State University, who was recently in Dhaka, spoke to The Star's (TS) Kajalie Shehreen Islam about the historical antecedents and contemporary complexities of the religion-politics nexus in the sub-continent."

The Daily Star, Interview: The Religion-Politics Nexus,