Religion and Violence in South Asia

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Do religions justify and cause violence or are they more appropriately seen as forces for peace and tolerance? Featuring contributions from international experts in the field, this book explores the debate that has emerged in the context of secular modernity about whether religion is a primary cause of social division, conflict and war, or whether this is simply a distortion of the 'true' significance of religion and that if properly followed it promotes peace, harmony, goodwill and social cohesion. Focusing on how this debate is played out in the South Asian context, the book engages with issues relating to religion and violence in both its classical and contemporary formations. The collection is designed to look beyond the stereotypical images and idealized portrayals of the peaceful South Asian religious traditions (especially Hindu, Buddhist, Jain and Sufi), which can occlude their own violent histories and to analyze the diverse attitudes towards, and manifestations of violence within the major religious traditions of South Asia. Divided into three sections, the book also discusses globalization and the theoretical issues that inform contemporary discussions of the relationship between religion and violence.