Women and South Asian Hinduism and Islam: in the subcontinent and the diaspora

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Abstract

This viewpoint essay provides an introduction to the special section, ‘Lived Religions of South Asian Hindu and Muslim Women' and context on the issues for the readers. The section draws on the work of an interdisciplinary, international group and covers a vast swath from return migrant women’s locations within Hinduism and Islam in Bangladesh and India, to their experiences with religion in the U.S. and the Middle East. It also examines alternative, emancipatory Hindu traditions, and women’s struggles with India’s Citizenship Amendment Act. I provide an overview to role of religion in shaping anti-colonial nationalist movements, post-colonial national identities, as well as the rise of religious fundamentalisms in South Asia. I also draw on my own work to show how religion mediates out-migration, settlement, and community formation of South Asians in the diaspora and the contradictory impacts religion has on women’s lives. I examine how the diasporization of religion often results in a greater intellectualization as well as homogenization and can encourage both religious fundamentalisms as well as a recasting of religious doctrines to fit in with the culture and society of the new countries. Finally, I discuss the multi-directional relationship between religious exchanges among diasporic and home communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)236-242
Number of pages7
JournalContemporary South Asia
Volume29
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021

Keywords

  • diaspora
  • Hinduism
  • Islam
  • South Asia
  • women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Political Science and International Relations

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