The Rise of Religious Offence in Contemporary South Asia

Edited by Paul Rollier, Kathinka Frøystad, and Arild Engelsen Ruud

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ISBN: 9781787355286

Publication: October 01, 2019

Whether spurred by religious images or academic history books, hardly a day goes by in South Asia without an incident or court case occurring as a result of hurt religious feelings. The sharp rise in blasphemy accusations over the past few decades calls for an investigation into why offence politics has become so pronounced, and why it is observable across religious and political differences.

Outrage offers an interdisciplinary study of this growing trend. Bringing together researchers in Anthropology, Religious Studies, Languages, South Asia Studies and History, all with rich experience in the variegated ways in which religion and politics intersect in this region, the volume presents a fine-grained analysis that navigates and unpacks the religious sensitivities and political concerns under discussion.

Each chapter focuses on a recent case or context of alleged blasphemy or desecration in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar, collectively exploring common denominators across national and religious differences. Among the common features are the rapid introduction of social media and smartphones, the possible political gains of initiating blasphemy accusations, and the growing self-assertion of marginal communities. These features are turning South Asia into a veritable flash point for offence controversies in the world today, and will be of interest to researchers exploring the intersection of religion and politics in South Asia and beyond.

Paul Rollier is a social anthropologist working on politics and religion in South Asia. He is Assistant Professor in South Asian Studies at the University of St. Gallen, and Honorary Research Associate in Social Anthropology at UCL.

Kathinka Frøystad is Professor of Modern South Asia Studies at the University of Oslo and Adjunct Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Bergen, working on religious complexity in South Asia.

Arild Engelsen Ruud is Professor of South Asia Studies at the University of Oslo. He works mainly on issues of political culture in South Asia, in particular Bangladesh and West Bengal.

1.      Introduction: researching the rise of religious offence in South Asia

Paul Rollier, Kathinka Frøystad, Arild Engelsen Ruud

 2.      ‘We’re all blasphemers’: the life of religious offence in Pakistan

Paul Rollier

 3.      The rise of religious offence in transitional Myanmar

Iselin Frydenlund

 4.      Religious outrage as spectacle: the successful protests against a blasphemous minister

Arild Engelsen Ruud

 5.      Affective digital images: Shiva in the Kaaba and the smartphone revolution

Kathinka Frøystad

 6.      ‘Durga did not kill Mahishasur’: Hindus, Adivasis, and Hindutva

Moumita Sen

 7.      The languages of truth: Saints, judges and the fraudulent in a Pakistani court

Asad Ali Ahmed

 8.      Blasphemy and the appropriation of vigilante justice in ‘hagiohistoric’ writing in Pakistan.

Jürgen Schaflechner

 9.      Afterword: on the efficacy of ‘blasphemy’

Ute Hüsken















Format: Paperback

Size: 234 × 156 mm

264 Pages

all b/w

Copyright: © 2019

ISBN: 9781787355286

Publication: October 01, 2019

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