Jacqueline Suthren Hist and John Zavos. Religious Traditions in Modern South Asia.
Article Type: Book review
Subject: Books (Book reviews)
Author: Rubab, Amna
Pub Date: 03/22/2011
Publication: Name: Pakistan Development Review Publisher: Pakistan Institute of Development Economics Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Business, international; Social sciences Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2011 Reproduced with permission of the Publications Division, Pakistan Institute of Development Economies, Islamabad, Pakistan. ISSN: 0030-9729
Issue: Date: Spring, 2011 Source Volume: 50 Source Issue: 1
Topic: NamedWork: Religious Traditions in Modern South Asia (Nonfiction work)
Persons: Reviewee: Hist, Jacqueline Suthren; Zavos, John
Accession Number: 304307203
Full Text: Jacqueline Suthren Hist and John Zavos. Religious Traditions in Modern South Asia. USA and Canada: Routledge Publications. 2011.319 pages. $35.51.

South Asia constitutes of 23 percent of the global populations, makes a significant impact on the global geo-political front, and is amongst the fastest growing regions in the world. However at the same time it is also the world's poorest region. One of the salient features of region is its religious traditions. This book is a combined effort of senior lecturers in South Asian Studies at the University of Manchester, UK. The authors have investigated the well-worn phrase "South Asia is region of great religious diversity", by exploring the development of its religious traditions in a range of social and political contexts.

In part one the book focuses on what have often been considered essential features of 'religion' as a generic category: deity, sacred texts, myth, rituals and teachers. These concepts give clear picture of what religion is, but this book has tackled it in different manner. It is an attempt to disrupt a single notion of religion and show multiple ways of looking at it that have been in the past and can be in present. In modern settings religion does not mean just to be aware of great diversity of contexts in which religious traditions are played out. The need is to explore impact of aspects of modernity on traditions that have endured and developed over many centuries by acknowledging the emergence of new systems of knowledge, new methods of communication, and new forms of social mobility. The challenge is to identify complex interactions that fashion development in multiple and sometimes contradictory ways. In part two such complex interactions have been focused, i.e. how Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and Sikhism in South Asia have been shaped in modern period. As a whole this book considers the impact of gender, politics, and the way religion itself is understood in South Asia. It will interest researchers and students who are interested in obtaining a critical understanding of social, political and historical context of religion in South Asia.
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