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Religions, democracy and governance: spaces for the marginalized in contemporary India

Mahajan, Gurpreet and Jodhka, Surinder, S. (2009) Religions, democracy and governance: spaces for the marginalized in contemporary India. Working Paper. University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK.

PDF - Published Version

URL of Published Version: http://www.religionsanddevelopment.org/files/resourcesmodule/@random454f80f60b3f4/1241771173_wp_26.pdf

Identification Number/DOI: ISBN: 0704427605/ 9780704427600


The constitutional framework that structures the relationships between religion and politics in India reveals how the democratic and liberal concern for equal treatment and liberty for all has been pursued, along with a deep commitment to recognizing and protecting religious and cultural diversity. This paper emphasises the distinctiveness of the Indian conception of secularism. Experience of the working of Indian democracy over the last six decades reveals that competitive electoral politics compels parties to woo people from different communities. Even when a religious community has an organized religious political party that claims to speak on its behalf, not all sections of the community align themselves with that party. Other axes of identity, such as caste, divide religious communities. The spaces opened by democratic politics and the dynamics it creates need, therefore, to be factored into any discussion of religion and politics.

Relationships between religion, politics and governance are further examined through case studies from the states of Punjab and Maharashtra of political mobilizations by marginalized groups within three religious communities: Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs. Each of these mobilizations involves a cluster of castes and occupational groups in a region. They highlight the different ways in which religion and caste intersect and are implicated in the political process.

Type of Work:Monograph (Working Paper)
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
Number of Pages:102
Department:International Development Department
Projects:Religions and Development Research Programme
Series/Collection Name:RaD Working Papers Series
Keywords:Religion, Development, India, Marginalization
Subjects:H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Related URLs:
Funders:UKAID, Department for International Development
Copyright Status:University of Birmingham, 2009
Copyright Holders:University of Birmingham
ID Code:1642

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