Religious Traditions in Modern South Asia: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Religious Traditions in Modern South Asia

1st Edition

By Jacqueline Suthren Hirst, John Zavos


336 pages | 52 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2011-10-03
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This book offers a contemporary approach to the study of religion in modern South Asia. It explores the development of religious ideas and practices in the region, giving students a clear and critical understanding of social, political and historical context.

  • Part One takes a fresh look at some familiar themes in the study of religion, such as deity, authoritative texts, myth, worship, teacher traditions and caste, and helps students understand diverse ways of approaching these themes.
  • Part Two focuses on some of the key ways in which Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and Sikhism in South Asia have been shaped in the modern period. Overall the book considers the impact of gender, politics, and the way religion itself is variously understood.

The chapters contain a compelling range of primary source materials and a series of geographical and historical ‘snapshots’ to orientate readers to South Asia. Valuable features for students include images, task boxes, discussion points, suggestions for further reading, a timeline and glossary of terms.


"This book captures the complexity and intricacy of lived religious practice in South Asia through well-chosen case studies and focus on crucial questions. Highly recommended"

- Paula Richman, William H. Danforth Professor of South Asian Religions, Oberlin College, USA

Table of Contents

Preface 1. Introducing South Asia, Re-Introducing ‘Religion’ 2. Deity 3. Texts and Their Authority 4. Myth 5. Ritual and Worship 6. Teachers and Their Traditions 7a. Caste: Social Relations, Cultural Formations 7b. The Confluence of Caste and Religion 8. Encounters with the West 9. The Construction of Religious Boundaries 10. Public and Private Space 11. Conflicting Paradigms 12. Twisting the Kaleidoscope: Reflections in Conclusion. Timeline. Glossary. Bibliography.

About the Authors

Jacqueline Suthren Hirst is Senior Lecturer in South Asian Studies at the University of Manchester, UK. Her publications include Sita’s Story and Samkara’s Advaita Vedanta: A Way of Teaching.

John Zavos is Senior Lecturer in South Asian Studies at the University of Manchester, UK. He is the author of The Emergence of Hindu Nationalism in India.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
RELIGION / General
RELIGION / Eastern