Fundamentalism Communalism And Secularism

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Fundamentalism, Communalism And Secularism

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When we talk about fundamentalism, we are concerned with religious fundamentalism. Fundamentalism is a movement or belief in a return to the original texts or core tenets of revealed religion—usually in contrast, with modernism and liberalism in religion. Fundamentalism in India is related to Hindu fundamentalism and Muslim fundamentalism. Orthodox political parties have an ideology that goes back to rigid Hinduism—the Ram temple and mythological heroes. Muslim fundamentalism on the other hand looks towards the Babri Masjid. These two fundamentalists are not unanimous on the mosque or the temple.



  Clashes between Hindu and Muslim fundamentalists

The current Hindu–Muslim conflict is not really a religious conflict, nor is it rooted in medieval history, as is often assumed. drink

buddhism Despite political conflicts such as Aurangzeb and Shivaji, and religious persecution of Hindus by some Muslim rulers, India does not have a history of devastating, centuries-old religious sectarian wars. Nor do we have any historical record of Hindu-Muslim riots in pre-British India. After a period of Islamic invasions, conflicts with invading Afghani, Mughal and Turkish Muslims were resolved constructively in India.

Among many other attempts at accommodation, the Bhakti movement, within the Hindu pantheon, and Sufism, within the Muslim pantheon, built lasting bridges between the two contrasting religions and softened some of their conflicts on a number of theological issues. Kabir, Nanak, Rahim, Ravidas, Tukharam as well as many Sufi saints challenged the religious bigotry and tyranny of those who claimed to speak in the name of God. He created a set of shared beliefs between followers of Hinduism and Islam, by preaching that a life of piety and love was the true religion—not sectarian ritual or blind imitation of a priest.

Almost all the saints, bhaktas and sufis had followers among Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs alike. They influenced the language and belief systems of popular religion and helped develop human norms of living together. Despite all the bloody Hindu-Muslim conflicts of the twentieth century, it is remarkable that none of the major conflicts have been of a religious nature. The contemporary Hindu–Muslim conflict is largely a product of the politics of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Communalism is the result of conflict between Hindu-Muslim fundamentalists. Communalism outside India is usually defined in one of the following ways: (1) It is a principle of government in which virtually autonomous local communities are loosely bound into a federation.

(2) Belief in or practice of communal ownership of goods and property, (3) Firm devotion to the interests of one’s own ethnic group rather than that of society as a whole.

It is noteworthy that in the West the word communal is mostly used in a positive sense. But in India it is always used pejoratively to denote a person with religious prejudice. There are parties in India who have hijacked religious symbols for electoral and other political purposes, indicating that their concern is not religious at all.





The rising trend of communalism and the accompanying violence has created a feeling of insecurity among the religious minorities. Muslims, Sikhs and Christians in particular fear discrimination and confrontation in the coming days. It may be just a fear, but the country cannot afford to let almost one-fifth of the country’s population fall victim to the crippling suspicion and insecurity. The events between 1984 and 1999 in Kashmir, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Assam, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and Delhi give ample evidence and taste of the devastating consequences of various forms of communal virus. Religious minorities in India are protected by the constitution which provides for justice, tolerance, equality and freedom. But in an era where religious fundamentalism is shifting to religious bigotry, intolerance and narrow-mindedness, the notion of ‘Ram Rajya’ is not misinterpreted by minorities, especially Muslims, as the rule of Lord Ram i.e. Hindu rule. , Police presence (as in Amritsar in 1985 and Kashmir in November 1993 and May 1995) to track and investigate terrorist hideouts in and near religious places is seen as interference with religious faith . Therefore, there is a need to analyze and debate the problem of communalism and communal violence in order to avoid harm to the peace and integrity of the nation. It has become absolutely necessary to define ‘communalism’. Also, it is equally relevant to find out who is ‘communal’.


concept of communalism

Communalism is an ideology which states that the society is divided into religious communities, whose interests are different and sometimes even in conflict with each other. The protest by the people of one community against the people of other community and religion can be called ‘communalism’. This enmity goes to the extent of falsely accusing, harming and deliberately insulting a particular community and extends to looting, burning of houses and shops of the helpless and weak, insulting women and even killing individuals . ‘Communal persons’ are those who do politics through religion. Among leaders, he is like a religious leader.

are ‘communal’, who run business enterprises and institutions like their religious communities and cry “Hinduism, Islam, Sikhism or Christianity are in danger” the moment they find that donations to their pious ‘corporations’ Is finished. or their leadership has been challenged, or their ideology has been questioned. Thus, a ‘communalist’ is not one who is a man of religion but one who preaches


Works by connecting politics with religion. These power politicians are not good Hindus and not good Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Parsis or Buddhists. They can be seen as dangerous political ‘scum’. For him, God and religion are tools used to live luxuriously as a ‘king parasite’ of society and to achieve political goals (After Day, June, 1990: 35-36) .

tk Oommen (1989) has suggested six dimensions of communalism: assimilationist, benevolent, regressive, regressive, isolationist and isolationist. Assimilationist communalism is one in which smaller religious groups are assimilated/integrated into a larger religious group. Such communalism claims that Scheduled Tribes are Hindus, or that Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists are Hindus and should be covered under the Hindu Marriage Act. Welfare communalism aims at the welfare of a particular community, improving the standard of living and providing education and health to Christians by Christian associations, or Zoroastrian associations working for the upliftment of Zoroastrianism. The purpose of such communal mobilization is to work only for the members of one’s own community. Retreatist sectarianism is one in which a small religious community keeps itself away from politics: for example, the Bahá’í community, which forbids its members from participating in political activities. Vengeful sectarianism seeks to harm, hurt and injure members of other religious communities. Separatist communalism is one in which a religious or cultural group; Wants to maintain its cultural distinctiveness and calls for a separate regional state within the country, for example, the Mizos and Nagas in north-east India or the Bodos in Assam, or the Adivasis of Jharkhand in Bihar, or the West Gorkhas demand for Gorkhaland in Bengal, or Pahari people for Uttarakhand in Uttar Pradesh, or Vidarbha in Maharashtra. Finally, separatist communalism is one in which a religious community seeks a separate political identity and demands an independent state. A very small extremist section of the Sikh population demanding Khalistan or some Muslim extremists demanding independent Kashmir were engaged in practicing this type of communalism. Out of these six types of communalism, the last three movements create problems giving rise to communal riots, terrorism and extremism.



communalism in india

India’s pluralistic society is made up of many religious groups; However, these groups are further divided into various sub-groups. Hindus are divided into sects such as Arya Samajists, Shivits, Sanatanis and Vaishnavas, while Muslims are divided into Shias and Sunnis on the one hand, and ashrafs (aristocrats), ajlafs (weavers, butchers, carpenters, oilmen), And Arzal on the other side. Strained relations between Hindus and Muslims have long existed, while some Hindus and Sikhs have begun to view each other with suspicion only during the past fifteen years. Although now in some states, we also hear about some conflicts between Hindus and Christians and Muslims and Christians, yet, by and large, Christians in India do not feel deprived or exploited by other communities. Shias and Sunnis also have a biased attitude towards each other among the Muslims. Here we will mainly analyze Hindu-Muslim and briefly Hindu-Sikh relations.


Hindu-Muslim communalism

Muslim invasions of India began in the tenth century, but the early Muslim conquerors were more interested in plunder than in establishing religious dominance. It was when Qutubuddin became the first Sultan of Delhi that Islam set foot in India. Later, it was the Mughals who consolidated their empire and Islam in the process. Some of the policies of the Mughal rulers, such as conversion efforts, destruction of Hindu temples and construction of mosques on these temples, led to communal strife between the Hindu and Muslim communities. When the British established their dominance in India, they initially adopted a policy of patronizing the Hindus, but after the First War of Independence in 1857, in which Hindus and Muslims fought side by side, the British adopted a policy of ‘divide and rule’. policy, as a result of which they are deliberately promoting communal conflicts to maintain their supremacy. Relations between Hindus and Muslims became more strained during the freedom struggle when power politics came into play. Thus, although animosity between Hindus and Muslims is an old issue, Hindu-Muslim communalism in India can be described as a legacy of British rule during the freedom struggle. This communalism is working today in a much changed social and political environment.

This is the biggest threat to the secular ideals enshrined in our Constitution.

Let us examine the origins and historical roots of Hindu-Muslim communalism after the First World War in order to provide some understanding of the phenomenon in its contemporary context. what were the religious and political ideologies and aspirations of the participating political parties


done in the freedom struggle? The nationalist appeal was to unite various groups by addressing two important factors: first, freedom from exploitation by colonial rulers, and second, democratic rights for all citizens. But major political parties like the Congress, the Muslim League, the Communist Party and the Hindu Mahasabha did not share these sentiments in the thirties and forties of the twentieth century. From the very beginning, the Congress adopted a policy of ‘unity from above’ in which efforts were made to win over the middle class and upper class in its favor. The Muslims, who were accepted as the leaders of the Muslim community, were left with the task of drawing the Muslim masses into the movement. This ‘unity from above’ approach could not promote Hindu-Muslim co-operation in fighting imperialism. All serious attempts to bring about Hindu-Muslim unity between 1918 and 1922 were in the nature of negotiations between the top leaders of the Hindu, Muslim and Sikh communities and the Congress. Often, the Congress acted as an intermediary between the various communal leaders rather than acting as an active organizer of the forces of secular nationalism. Thus, there was an implicit acceptance within the early nationalist leadership that Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs were distinct communities sharing only political and economic concerns, but not religious, social and cultural practice. This is how the seeds of communalism were sown in the first and second quarter of the twentieth century. However, till 1936, the Muslim League and the Hindu Mahasabha remained organizationally very weak. In the 1937 elections, the Muslim League won only 22 per cent of the total seats (482) reserved for Muslims in the provincial assemblies. It also did not do well in Muslim-majority provinces. It was only after 1942 that the Muslim League emerged as a strong political party and claimed the right to speak for all Muslims; Jinnah described the Congress party as a ‘Hindu’ organisation, a claim supported by the British. Within the Congress, Madan Mohan Malviya, K.M. Munshi and Sardar Patel took Hindutva positions. Thus, the Congress could not purge its ranks of communal elements.

While the slogan of Pakistan was first articulated by the Muslim League in 1940, Congress leaders accepted the partition of the country in 1946, which led to the displacement of millions of Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs amid bloodshed and carnage.

Even after partition, Congress failed to control communalism. Thus, it can be said that Hindu-Muslim communalism in India had political-social origins and religion alone was not the cause of conflict between Hindus and Muslims, economic interests and cultural and social customs (such as festivals, social customs and lifestyle) were factors that further divided the two communities.

Sixteen cities in India have been identified as more vulnerable to Hindu-Muslim communal riots. Five of these (Moradabad, Meerut, Aligarh, Agra and Varanasi) are in Uttar Pradesh; one in Maharashtra (Aurangabad); one (Ahmedabad) in Gujarat; One in Andhra Pradesh (Hyderabad), two in Bihar (Jamshedpur and Patna), two in Assam (Silchar and Gauhati), one in West Bengal (Calcutta); one (Bhopal) in Madhya Pradesh; one in Jammu and Kashmir (Srinagar); and one (Cuttack) in Orissa. Since eleven cities are located in the northern belt, three in the eastern belt and two in the southern belt, can it be assumed that Muslims in South India are culturally better assimilated because of their involvement in trade and commerce, for which Good will is required. Community? Amazingly, this fact applies to five cities in UP. also. Therefore, we have to find another explanation for this phenomenon.

Hindu-Muslim animosity can be attributed to a complex set of factors: these are: (1) Muslim invasions in which invaders looted property and built mosques over/near Hindu temples, (2) Muslim separatism as a result of their British encouragement for their own purposes during their imperial rule, (3) the behavior of some Muslims in India after partition, reflects their pro-Pakistan attitude. Such behavior creates a feeling in the majority community that Muslims are not patriotic. The stereotypical image of an Indian Muslim that pervades the Hindu psyche is that of a bigoted, introverted outcast. A Muslim similarly sees a Hindu as a sly, all-powerful opportunist and feels victimized by him and alienated from the mainstream of society, (4) finding a new aggression on the part of Muslim political parties. A place in the country in an effort to. Attempts by some Muslim extremists to get ‘foreign funds’, turn into foreign agents, indulge in a well-designed scheme to subvert the secular ideals of the country and instigate Indian Muslims and solve their problems about to

There are reports, perhaps out of desperation because they have been affected


From the wave of Islamic fundamentalism in West Asia and Pakistan. Politicians have simply taken advantage of the numerical strength of Muslims (especially in Kerala, Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh) to strike barter deals, secure a share of Muslim seats in parliament and legislatures, and amass power and wealth for themselves and their friends. to seek. (6) The government is also responsible for the neglect of the Muslims, large sections of whom feel alienated and consequently fall prey to selfish politicians. The ruling elite only preach religious harmony and have little understanding of the real problems of Muslims. The Hindu leadership deals only with those Muslim leaders who obey them.

Not surprisingly, Indian Muslims see their future as a question of ‘us’ versus ‘them’. When they make their demands known, as any section of society tends to express their grievances, it often erupts into an orgy of Hindu-Muslim violence, leading to accusations of foreign provocation . Should the Muslim problem be seen only as a communal problem? Is it a fact that the Hindu-Muslim issue is no different from the anti-Brahmin agitation in Tamil Nadu, or the inter-caste conflict in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and some other states, or the Bengal-Assam problem in Assam, or the Maharashtrian problem in non-Maharashtra? Maharashtrian struggle? In fact the problem is of social and economic interest and rigidity and change in values.

Extremist Hindus say that Muslims are being pampered in the country. The Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute in 1992-93 further affected the delicate balance of communal harmony. Disillusioned with the Congress, Muslims developed faith in the Janata Dal (1990), the Samajwadi Party (1995), the Bahujan Samaj Party and the United Front (1996). The assassination of Rajiv Gandhi (May 1991) followed by the break-up of the Janata Dal (November 1990), the Bharatiya Janata Party coming to power in four states (Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh) in November 1993. at the Center in 1998, and Janata Dal in Karnataka and Telugu Desam in Andhra Pradesh in 1994 elections, and Shiv Sena and BJP in Maharashtra in March 1995 elections and break-up of coalition ministry of BJP, SP and BSP in Gujarat and BJP in Uttar Pradesh and BSP, the failure of the SP and BSP to win a majority in the Uttar Pradesh elections in October 1996, and the failure of the Samajwadi Party to support Sonia Gandhi in forming a ministry at the Center after Vajpayee’s defeat in Parliament in April 1999—these All illusions have been created. Muslims today feel more concerned about their safety and security than ever before.



Hindu-Sikh communalism

Sikhs make up less than 2 percent of India’s population. Although widely spread throughout the country and even abroad, their greatest concentration is in Punjab, where they constitute the majority of the state’s population.

The Sikh movement started in Punjab in the early eighties. The number of killings increased and the Sikh protest became organised, militant and increasingly violent. In 1984, when the army launched Operation Blue Star to seize weapons from the Golden Temple in Amritsar and arrest militants, Sikhs reacted violently. When Indira Gandhi was assassinated in October 1984 and thousands of Sikhs were killed and their property looted, burnt or destroyed in Delhi and other states, some Sikh extremists were so incensed that they killed hundreds of Hindus. killed in trains and buses, destroyed their property and forced many Hindus to leave Punjab. In May 1988, when Operation Black Thunder was once again launched by the army to flush out terrorists from the Golden Temple in Amritsar, which remained under their control for about ten days, Sikhs bombed, killed Hindus and looted banks. robbed the Thus relations between Sikhs and Hindus remained strained for almost a decade and a half. However, the extremist Sikh militancy in Punjab has now been suppressed and relations between the people of the two communities have improved significantly since 1993. There is goodwill and respect among them for each other’s religious beliefs and places of worship.



  racial violence

Apart from Hindu-Muslim conflicts and Hindu-Sikh feuds, how do we view relations between different ethnic groups, between Assamese and non-Assamese? In Assam, for nearly 150 years the state’s economic development was fueled by imported labor and enterprise from outside the state. In this period spanning over a century and a half, Assam has been home to generations of so-called ‘outsiders’ who know no home, no land, except the soil of Assam. Some have become really rich, but most remain extremely poor. The Assamese have now raised the question of nationality. All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) and All Assam Gana Parishad (AAG)

The movement (which gave rise to the AGP as a political party) confused ‘outsiders’ with ‘foreigners’ (including Bengali refugees from Bangladesh). Spectacular figures as to the number of foreigners (Bahiragat) illegally hiding in the state ranged from five million to seven million. This issue of freeing Assam from foreigners led the state for six years from 1979 till the Assam Accord on August 15, 1985.

Held for ransom for a year. Hate was incited against Bodos, Bengalis, Marwaris and non-Assamese Muslims. This separatist movement was responsible for thousands of innocent deaths. The massacre of 1,383 women and children and some men in Nellie and its surrounding ten villages in Nowgong district was a part of this ethnic violence. The AGSP, which was in power between 1985 and 1990, could not control ethnic tensions.

The ULFA militants launched a movement which became so strong that President’s rule was imposed in the state in November 1990 instead of holding elections in January 1991. The army and security forces launched a cordon and cordon operation; Recovery of rebels and weapons. However, President’s Rule was revoked in June 1991 when the new Congress government assumed power in the state. But the ULFA militants also shocked the new government by kidnapping some government employees, including some top officials of ONGC, from different parts of the state on its very first day in office. Even the May 1996 elections could not stop the Bodo vendetta. The extremists have not yet realized that Assam is like all other states of India, and it belongs to all legitimate citizens of India, whatever language they speak, whatever religion they follow and whatever rituals and customs they follow. Let’s do rituals. The Bodos—a tribe that comprised about 49 percent of Assam’s population in 1947 and about 29 percent in 1991 and that ruled Assam until about 1825—are now demanding autonomy. Although an accord was signed by the Assam government and the Bodo leadership represented by the All Bodo Students’ Union (ABSU) and the Bodo People’s Action Committee (BPAC) in February 1993, the issue still remains unresolved. Bodo leaders and the state government failed to reach an agreement on the boundary issue and transfer about 3,000 villages to the Bodoland Autonomous Council. The Bodos also do not want the Assamese language to be imposed on the indigenous tribals. The Bodo movement took place in fits and starts in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, however, it has now gathered momentum. The Bodos now demand a Union Territory named ‘Udayachal’. Violent activities such as bomb blasts and blowing up of roads and railway bridges by Bodo militants point to the need for strong action by the government to curb insurgent activities, both domestic and ‘foreign’ and aiding and abetting insurgent activities.

communal violence

In communal violence, people belonging to two different religious communities are mobilized against each other and there are feelings of enmity, emotional anger, exploitation, social discrimination and social marginalization. A high degree of cohesion builds around tension and polarization in one community against another. The targets of attack are members of the ‘enemy’ community. Generally, there is no leadership in communal riots which can effectively control and control the riot situation. Thus it can be said that communal violence is mainly based on hatred, enmity and revenge.

Ever since the communalization of politics, communal violence has increased both quantitatively and qualitatively. Gandhi was the first victim after several people were killed in the 1970s and 1980s. Following the destruction of the Babri structure in Ayodhya in December 1992 and the bomb blasts in Bombay in early 1993, communal riots escalated in Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Kerala. While some political parties tolerate ethno-religious communalism, some others even encourage it. Recent examples of this tolerance, indifference and passive acceptance or tacit acceptance of activities or religious organizations by some political leaders and some political parties are found in attacks on Christian missionaries and violent activities against Christians in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Allahabad. , The Emergency in the mid-1970s started a trend of criminal elements entering mainstream politics. This phenomenon has now penetrated Indian politics to such an extent that religious fanaticism, casteism and the mixing of religion and politics have increased in different dimensions. Instead of taking a collective stand against these negative impulses affecting our society, political parties and political leaders adopt a ‘holier than thou’ attitude towards each other.

Hindu organizations have accused Muslims and Christians of forcibly converting Hindus. without getting involved in the controversy of conversion or religion

If the conversion was forced or voluntary, the same can be said that raising the issue today is clearly irrational bigotry. Hinduism has been tolerant and talks of the whole of humanity as one family. Therefore, it has to be acknowledged that Indian political leaders and political parties ignore the principles of Hindutva for political and electoral considerations and condemn and act on religious organizations that disturb peace and stability through statements and Threatens the unity and pluralistic identity of India.



  Features of communal riots

An examination of the major communal riots in the country in the last five decades revealed that: (1) Communal riots are more politically motivated than religious. Even the Madan Commission, which inquired into the communal disturbances in Maharashtra in May 1970, emphasized that “the architects and makers of communal tension are the communal

There are certain class of qatarists and politicians – they are out to seize every opportunity to consolidate their power as all India and local leaders.” By giving communal color to each and every incident and thereby violating the rights of their religion and their community. They enhance their prestige and enrich their public image by projecting themselves in the eyes of the people as saviors.(2) Apart from political interests, economic interests also play a strong role in inciting communal clashes.(3) ) Communal riots seem to be more common in North India than in South and East India. (4) A town which has had communal riots once or twice is more likely to have a recurrence of communal riots as compared to that town. where riots have never happened. (5) Most of the communal riots take place on the occasion of religious festivals. (6) The use of deadly weapons in riots is on the rise.





The word ‘secular’ in the dictionary refers to things that are not religious or spiritual. In fact the concept of ‘secular’ was first used in Europe where the Church had complete control over all kinds of properties and no one could use the property without the consent of the Church. Some intellectuals raised their voice against this practice. These people came to be known as ‘secularists’, meaning ‘apart from the Church’ or against the Church. After independence in India, this word started being used in a different context. After the partition of the country, politicians wanted to assure the minority communities, especially the Muslims, that they would not be discriminated against in any way. The new constitution therefore provided that India would remain secular in the constitution which means that (a) every citizen would be guaranteed complete freedom to practice and propagate his religion, (b) there would be no state religion, and ( c) All citizens, irrespective of their religious belief shall be equal. In this way, agnostics were given the same rights as believers. This indicates that a secular state or society is not an irreligious society. Religious exist, their followers believe in a practice that is rooted in religious principles contained in their sacred texts, and no outside agency, including the state, interferes in legitimate religious matters. In other words, a secular society has two important elements: (a) complete separation of state and religion, and (b) complete freedom for followers of all religions as well as atheists to practice their respective religions.

In a secular society, leaders and followers of various religious communities are expected not to use their religion for political purposes. However in practice Hindu, Muslim, Sikh and other religious communities use religion for political goals. Each political party labels the other political parties as non-secular. Filed a case (popularly called the S.R. Bommai Case) in the C Court to dismiss the state governments run by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), following the demolition of the Babri Masjid structure in Ayodhya in December 1992 I went. The judges constituting the nine-judge bench considered the term ‘secularism’ and observed that though the term is associated with equal treatment for all religions and to implement secularism, the state governments had to regulate the law. In such a situation, the petition to dismiss the BJP governments was not accepted on the basis of legal consideration. No wonder, some say that the Supreme Court in S.R. Bommai’s case was against only one political party (BJP). In another case involving the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, the Supreme Court held that an appeal to Hindutva was permissible under the Representation of the People Act. What was banned was criticism of the other party’s religion. Thus it can be said that secularism has created a vote bank for political parties consisting of Muslims and Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. Elections were held for the Lok Sabha in May 1996 and for the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly in October 1996, where the BJP emerged as the single largest party at the center as well as in the north.


d Political parties with vested interests in the state together called BJP a communal party. Communalism, thus, is neither a political philosophy nor an ideology nor a doctrine. It was imposed on Indian society with a political objective. The communal-secular card is now being played only for political purposes. The bogey of communalism is being kept alive not to prevent national disintegration but to ensure that the minority vote bank is not fragmented into the larger Indian ethos. Even those political leaders who are very corrupt and who practice casteism on a large scale, accuse the political leaders of the opposition parties of being communal. Thus the power-seekers use secularism as a shield to hide their sins, thereby ensuring that people remain polarized on the basis of religion and India remains communal.

Many arguments in support of secularism are based on the assumption of the existence of ‘truly religious societies’ in pre-industrial times. As Larry Shiner says ‘those who

Arguing that the social importance of religion has declined, he has the problem of determining when and where we are to locate the supposedly ‘religious’ era from which the decline began’. Anthropologist Mary Douglas argues that it is unfair to use so-called ‘religious’ small-scale non-literate societies as a basis for comparison with modern ‘secular’ societies. She says that there is nothing to contrast the secular with the religious, which is the contrast of secularism, materialism and spiritual fervor to the category of tribal societies.

Charles Glock argues that researchers have been unable to measure the importance of religion because ‘they have not paid enough attention to the concept of religion or religiosity in a broader sense’. Unless they have clearly considered what exactly they mean by religion and righteousness. Glock says that the secularism thesis cannot be adequately tested. In an attempt to address this problem, Glock and Stark define five ‘core dimensions of religiosity’. First, the dimension of belief – the extent to which people hold religious beliefs. Second, religious practice – the extent to which people engage in acts or worship and devotion. Third, the dimension of experience – the degree to which people feel and experience contract and communication with the supernatural. Fourth, the dimension of knowledge – the amount of knowledge people have about their religion. Fifth, the consequence dimension—the extent to which the preceding dimension affects people’s daily lives, Glock and Stark argue that a clear definition for classifying people in religious terms is needed before any scientifically valid statements about religiosity can be made. A clearly defined system is necessary. Created. Only when different researchers use the same concept of religion can their results be compared with any degree of validity.

Even though Glock and Stark’s plan may represent an improvement over previous research degrees, it does not address a fundamental problem of research methodology. It is unrestricted that any research techniques will be developed to accurately measure subjective factors such as the strength of religious commitment, with any certainty, to the meaning and purpose behind that social action.



socio-religious movement

Religion is not sterile. It brings social change. Functionalists have always spoken of religion as an agent of social change. There have been many religious movements in Europe. Catholicism has inspired a great deal of upheaval in Europe and America. Historians have recorded specific periods for social reform. Calvin, Martin Luther King and others have led many reform movements. There were socio-religious movements for religious conversion in India too. Bengal has been the cradle of religious movements. In Punjab and Haryana there was Dayanand Saraswati who rejected the caste system; Jyoti Ba Phule worked against the caste system in Maharashtra. Ambedkar himself as a social reformer. All movements reflect the dynamic aspect of religion. It should not be forgotten that from the Marxist point of view, religion comes in the way of social change. There is an anecdote that there was a famine in the USSR. Some charitable organizations distributed woolen shawls to poor people. This was reported to Lenin who responded: “Stop this charity immediately. It will draw the steam of revolutions from poor people. Let them suffer extreme hardships. And people will be ready to revolutionize.”

Socio-religious movements in India can be understood in the context of Indian nationalism. In pre-modern colonial India, the British also wanted to bring some reforms in the Indian society so that they could establish themselves. The British made some reforms. Even in the Mughal period, Akbar wanted to establish himself as a reformist leader. This country has a history of pluralism. Some reforms were necessary to bring about social unity and harmony in such a society. There were about 3000 castes that had to be brought together to establish an empire. Akbar’s attempt for Din-i-Ilahi was nothing but an attempt at socio-religious reform.

a R. Desai argued in his powerful book on the social background of Indian nationalism (1948) that the religious reform movements in India best reflect the expression of the national awakening. He sees:

The national democratic awakening of the Indian people found expression in the religious sphere as well. The contradiction between the old religious outlook, practices and organization on the one hand and the new social and economic reality on the other gave rise to various religious reform movements in the country. These movements represented attempts to modify the old religion in the spirit of the new principles of nationalism and democracy, which were the conditions for the development of the new society.

The spirit of nationalism was needed to unite the people in a joint effort to solve problems which, under British rule, became national due to the political and economic integration of the Indian people for the first time in history. To further the economic and cultural development of Indian society, now becoming a whole, as well as to counter the restrictions imposed on this development by British rule, constituted the major task set by the growing Indian nationalism. It is true that the early pioneers of Indian nationalism, the early social and religious

The reformers hoped to remove these restrictions under the guidance of British democracy. Nevertheless, he acknowledged that British rule, despite its initially progressive character, hindered Indian national development.

Democracy was another principle adopted by reformers, early leading nationalists like Ram Mohan Roy. Debendra Nath Tagore, Keshavchandra Sen, Telang, Ranade, Phulle, and the founders of the Arya Samaj, in varying degrees, expanded into the field of religion. The modern society established in India by the British conquest was a capitalist society based on the principles of individual liberty, freedom to compete, antitrust, and the freedom of the individual to own and manipulate property at will. Individualism was its main tone in contrast to pre-capitalist society which was authoritarian in character; Maintained social distinctions based on birth and sex and subordinated the individual to the caste and joint family system. The new society demanded the abolition of privileges based on birth or gender as a condition of its development.

The early religious reformers attempted to extend the principle of individual liberty to the field of religion. In fact, these religious-reform movements, the Brahmo Samaj, the Prarthana Samaj, the Arya Samaj and others, were in varying degrees attempts to transform the old religion into a new one to meet the needs of the new society. It is true that some of their leaders (especially those of the Arya Samaj) had a misconception that they were reviving the old primitive social structure of the Vedic period.

Aryans that they were returning to the Golden Age. in fact they were engaged in varying degrees


In adapting Hinduism to the social, political, economic and cultural needs of the contemporary Indian nation. History records instances where the consolidators of new societies imagined that they were returning to the past and reviving the best social forms that existed in older times. In fact, the early religious reform movements in India were attempting to create a religious outlook that would create national unity of all communities, Hindus, Muslims, Parsis and the rest, to solve common national tasks such as India’s economic development. On modern lines, the removal of restrictions imposed on the free development of people, the establishment of equality between man and woman, the abolition of caste, the abolition of Brahman as the monopoly of classical culture and the sole intermediary between God and the individual. Yet, like the leaders of other movements, including European Protestantism and the Religious Reformation, the Indian religious reformers were not rehabilitating any earlier period of society, but only strengthening the emerging new society.


religious reformation

There were religious reform movements before independence but they were typical for the rule of the aristocracy. Liberalism, the philosophy of capitalism, propagated democracy and government by the people. Medieval religion, including medieval religion, stood for privilege based on birth. Liberalism attacked all such privileges as unjust and proclaimed the principles of individual liberty, equal rights and pre-competition. Medievalism demanded from the people a belief in the divine origin of monarchy, in the sacred character of social structure, and in the God-ordained nature of all that exists. Liberalism substituted important religion for faith. Every institution and principle must stand the test of reason.

Sometimes the old gods and goddesses were interpreted in a suitable way to arouse national feelings and hopes among the people. This interpretation of old images of gods and goddesses has given a new meaning to the current rituals of the country, and the majority, while worshiping Jagat Dhatri or Kali or Durga, worship her with devotion…with inspiring slogans of “Bande Mataram”. address with. All of these are popular objects of worship among Indian Hindus … and the transformation of these symbols is at once the cause and evidence of the depth and strength of the present movement. This amazing transformation of old deities is giving the message of new nationalism to the women and people of the country.

Thus the religious revival movement, like the religious reform movement, was inspired by a national ideal.

Another characteristic of the religious reform movements was that their program was not confined to the task of religious reform but extended to the reconstruction of social institutions and social relations. This was due to the fact that religion and social structure were organically intertwined in India. Caste hierarchy, gender inequality, antisemitism and social taboos flourished due to the acceptance of religion. Social reform, consequently, became a part of the platform of all religious-reform movements. While rationalizing religion to a greater or lesser extent, these movements also aimed to rationalize social institutions and relations to a greater or lesser extent. Nowhere in the world did religion dominate and determine the life of an individual as it did in India. Their economic activities, their social life, their marriage, birth and death, their physical activities, were all strictly and closely controlled by Dharma. Religious reform movements had to have a comprehensive program of religious, social and even political reform. They are being practiced in a foreign country in the form of polytheism and idolatry.

Ti fought with the order and the Thebans. He attacked the monopolistic rights of the Brahmins in the field of religion as well as the caste privileges. He attacked all this because they were obstacles to national progress, for which, as necessary pre-conditions, there was national unity based on the principles of equality and liberty of individuals and groups.

The aim of the movements was national progress. The first national awakening of the Indian people took a predominantly religious form. This awakening deepened and expanded in later decades and found increasingly secular forms. We are discussing below some of the socio-religious movements launched against medieval religion.



Brahmo Samaj Movement

The Brahmo Samaj, founded in 1828 by Raja Ram Mohan Roy (1772–1833), who can rightly be described as the father of Indian nationalism, was the first such movement. The king was essentially a democrat and a humanist. In his religious-philosophical and social outlook, he was deeply influenced by the monotheism and anti-idolatry of Islam, the deism of Sufism, the moral teachings of the Krishs.


Fanaticism and the Liberal and Rationalist Theories of the West. He tried to interpret and assimilate the highest elements of Islam, Christianity and modern rationalism or humanism, and fuse them into a single creed, which he found in the ancient Upanishadic philosophy of his community.

He attacked the polytheistic degeneration of ancient Hindu monotheism. He denounced the idol worship of Hindus as derogatory and exposed the concept of one God of religions and humanity. His attack on polytheism and idolatry was motivated as much by national and socio-ethical considerations as by philosophical belief. ‘My constant reflections on the pernicious rites introduced by the peculiar practice of Hindu idolatry, which destroy the very fabric of society more than any heathen-worship, together with compassion for my countrymen, lead me to do everything possible forced so that they can contemplate. … the oneness and omnipresence of the God of Nature.’

Raja Ram Mohan Roy was in favor of a rational approach towards religion. One must study the scriptures directly without a priest and assess the rational character of a religious doctrine. He must subject religious doctrines to the test of his own moral reason and reject those which are contrary to the test.

Since Hindu society was governed and governed by the religious concepts of Hinduism, no religious-reform movement could avoid a social-reform clause in its programme. According to Raj Ram Mohan Roy and the early religious reformers, religious renewal was an important condition for modifying the social structure from a decaying to a healthy basis. That is why the social-reform program became a part of the overall program of the religious-reform movements.

The Brahmo Samaj under the leadership of Raja launched an aggressive campaign against the caste system, calling it undemocratic, inhuman and anti-national. It crusaded against sati and child marriage. It stood for the freedom of widow remarriage and equal rights for man and woman.

Brahmo Samaj gave importance to modern western culture and organized educational institutions in the country for its dissemination among the people. Raja Ram Mohan Roy was an admirer of the liberal democratic culture of the West.

The king considered British rule in India a good thing. He praised it for inaugurating progressive measures of social reform, such as the abolition of sati and infanticide, the establishment of modern educational institutions and a free press, among others. This was natural as British rule in India historically had a progressive aspect during the first half of the nineteenth century.

Despite his great admiration for the British, Raj Ram Mohan Roy organized a protest movement against the measure to restrict the freedom of the press. He also criticized the British government for excluding Indians from high positions.

Since the Brahmo Samaj was not only a religious movement but also included in its program items of social and political reform, it was similar to the later social reform movement started by Ranade and others and the political reform movement started by the early Indian National Congress. was the forerunner. , Thus the religious reform movement prepared for the purely secular social and political reform movements in the country. This is the historical significance of Raja Ram Mohan Roy and

He started the Brahmo Samaj. Raja Ram Mohan Roy inaugurated the modern era in


Debendra Nath Tagore (1817–1905), who succeeded him as leader of the Brahmo Samaj, developed doubts about the infallibility of the scriptures and eventually rejected it. He substituted intuition for the authority of the scriptures. Through intuition he unearthed sections of the Upanishads that served as the theological-ideological basis for the principles and programs of the Brahmo Samaj.

Keshab Chandra Sen (1838–84) was the next leader of the Brahmo Samaj. Under him, the doctrine of Brahmo Samaj was more and more compatible with the doctrine of pure Christianity. At a later stage, he propounded the doctrine of command, according to which God inspires knowledge in certain individuals, whose words are infallible.

and must be accepted as true. A section of Brahmos did not accept this doctrine, left the Samaj and called the Ordinary Brahmo Samaj.

The Brahmo Samaj was the forerunner of the nationalist movement, which began from the workings of history as a religious-reform movement aimed at freeing the individual from the deadening weight of an authoritarian religion that stifled his initiative and hindered individual and collective The mind tarnished both.

The Brahmo Samaj inaugurates a new era for the Indian public by proclaiming

The principles of individual liberty, national unity, solidarity and co-operation and the democratization of all social institutions and social relations. This was the first organized expression of his national awakening.


  prayer society

Prarthana Samaj was founded in 1867

7 MG in Bombay Ranade. It had a program of religious and social reforms like the Brahmo Samaj. Its founder Ranade was one of the leaders of the Indian National Congress and the Indian Social Conference, which held their first sessions in 1885 and 1888 respectively.

 The Arya Samaj

The Arya Samaj was founded in Bombay in 1875 by Dayanand Saraswati, although it was a movement of a very different kind, embodying the first surge of Indian nationalism. It had a more revivalist character. It declared the Vedas to be infallible and, an inexhaustible storehouse of all knowledge of the past, present and future. One must know how to understand and interpret the Vedas, which contain all philosophical, technical and scientific information. With enough effort one can find all modern chemistry, engineering and even military and non-military sciences in the Vedas.

Since the Vedas were declared infallible, the word of the Vedas and the judgment of the individual was not the final criterion. The Arya Samaj did not and could not allow it to override individual decisions by accepting the infallibility of the Vedas.

the denial of the authority of the Brahmanas, the condemnation of the infinite number of meaningless rites and the worship of images of various gods and goddesses, which divided the people into many warring sects, and the crusade against the mass of religious superstitions which had sustained it, for many centuries For, the Hindu mind was mentally beggar and in a state of spiritual decline – these were progressive elements in the program of the Arya Samaj. Its slogan Bark to Veda was inspired by the inspiration to bring about national unity and to awaken national pride and consciousness. However, since it retained its narrow Hindu base, the national unity it proclaimed could not bring non-Hindu communities such as Muslims and Christians into its fold. It became a semi-rational form of Hinduism.

Arya Samaj also had a program of social reform. In opposition to the hereditary caste system, it stood, however, that the four-caste division of society should be determined by merit and not by birth. Since the Vedas made such a division and since the Vedas were infallible, the Arya Samaj itself could not declare the death of the caste system.

Arya Samaj stood for equal rights of man and woman in social and educational matters. It was a different democratic concept. However, it opposed co-education as co-education did not exist during the Vedic period.

The Arya Samaj created a network of schools and colleges for both boys and girls in the country, where education was imparted in the mother tongue. Dayanand Anglo-Vedic College was established in 1886.

The orthodox section of the Arya Samaj thought that the education imparted in this college was not sufficiently Vedic in character. Therefore, its members under the leadership of Munshi Ram started a Gurukul at Hardwar, where education was imparted in the ancient Vedic way, both in content and method.

In all its activities, the Arya Samaj was generally inspired by the spirit of nationalism and democracy. It attempted to integrate Hindus by eliminating sub-castes. It spread education among the people, proclaimed the principle of equality without distinction of caste, creed, community, race or gender. It sought to destroy their inferiority complex, which was an inevitable product of their status as a subject nation.

The Arya Samaj, despite its narrow Hinduness, as its rational declaration that all knowledge is contained in the Vedas, attracted hundreds of nationalist Indians to its fold. In fact, the Arya Samaj was once one of the main targets of political repression. It is therefore not surprising that when Sir Valentine Chirol visited India on behalf of The Times after 1907 to investigate the causes of the unrest, he presented the Arya Samaj as a serious threat to English and British sovereignty. saw.

Arya Samaj represented a form of national awakening of Indians

people. Limited to a narrow Hindu base and with a negative attitude towards Islam, it over time led Muslims to mobilize on a similar communal basis. It played a progressive role in the early stages when the national awakening was just budding. The Arya Samaj had two aspects, one progressive and the other reactionary. He played a progressive role when he attacked religious superstitions and the sacred tyranny of the Brahmins, when he condemned polytheism, and when he later adopted a program of mass education, abolition of sub-castes, equality of man and woman. But when he considered the Vedas to be infallible and the source of the universe.

Declared the treasure house of all knowledge of the past, present and future, he was playing a progressive anti-semitism when he stood for dividing the society into four castes on the basis of merit. No knowledge can ever be final in an infinite and ever-evolving social and natural world

Therefore Veda could not be the embodiment of all knowledge. In addition, all knowledge is historically conditioned and limited by the level of social and economic development of the era in which it originated. In this way, subsequent generations have to take all inherited past knowledge seriously and subject it to the test of reason and social utility. Here comes the role of personal judgment. While the Vedas were glorified as infallible, the individual as well as the generation to which they belonged were denied the right to make their own independent decisions and pronounce upon the ancient scriptures. It was the intellectual slavery of the scriptures to the individual and the generation. This was a departure from the principles of liberalism.

Again, the Arya Samaj could not be a national or worldwide religion as it demanded from its followers the recognition of the principle of infallibility and omniscience of the Vedas.

However, as mentioned above, the Arya Samaj played a progressive role in the early stages of Indian nationalism. However, as the national awakening broadened and deepened, as the national movement rose to more and more secular heights, it inadvertently hindered the growth of Indian nationalism by contributing to the creation of a belligerent religious-communal atmosphere.




Ramakrishna Mission Movement

The national awakening of the Indian people found expression in the movement

Inspired by Ramakrishna, a great Hindu saint, in direct line with saints like Chandidas and Chaitanya. It is mainly based on the principle of bhakti bhakti. Its chief propagator was Swami Vivekananda, a follower of Ramakrishna and an intellectual of very high caliber, who, after the saint’s death, founded the Ramakrishna Mission to propagate his teaching.

The aim of the Ramakrishna Mission was to protect India from the ‘materialistic’ influence of Western civilization. It idealized Hinduism, including its practice of idol worship and polytheism. Its objective was the spiritual conquest of the world for the revived Hinduism.

One of the harmful consequences of foreign rule in India has been the tendency to alienate Indians from modern Western culture, which is historically a higher form of culture than the pre-capitalist culture to which the average Indian is conscious. life was. based.

There were other religious-reform movements of smaller magnitude, which also expressed the New Awakening. Hinduism began to organize itself nationally in revivalist or reformist forms. These movements spread to various groups including the Hindu society.

Thus, the Bharat Dharma Mahamandal Society for its programs to reform Hinduism and spread religious and non-religious education among Hindus began in 1902. Formed one of the lowest castes of Hindu society, with programs of building temples and establishing schools for the rakshasas and the community.





Theosophy, introduced in India by Madame Blavatsky and Henry Steel Olcott in 1879 and mainly popularized by Mrs. Annie Besant, was another religious-reform movement initiated in India under the influence of new Indian and international conditions. The uniqueness of this movement lay in the fact that it was inaugurated by a non-Indian who was a great admirer of Hinduism. Theosophy subscribed to the metaphysical philosophy of ancient Hinduism and recognized its doctrine of transmigration of the soul. It preached universal brotherhood of men irrespective of caste, creed, race or gender. It stood for the development of a national feeling among Indians. Mrs Besant wrote in 1905, India needs, among other things, the development of a national spirit, an education founded on Indian ideals and not enriched by the thought and culture of the West. Theosophy stood for the comparative study of all oriental religions. However, it considered ancient Hinduism to be the most deeply spiritual religion in the world. However, Theosophy failed to take deep roots in the country. There were smaller religious-reform movements aimed at readjusting Hinduism to the social needs of contemporary Indian people, such as the Dev Samaj and the Radha Swami Satsang. Like their major counterparts, these movements also aimed at integrating Hindus with the core tenets of Hinduism, democratizing social relations among them, and instilling a sense of nationalism among them. He represented the new national awakening of the Hindus in a religious form.

Religious reforms by eminent political leaders

In addition to these organized national religious-reform and religious-revivalist movements, individuals of outstanding ability and political eminence, such as Bipin Chandra Pal, Aurobindo Ghosh, Tilak and Gandhi, contributed without organizing any specific movements.

Religious reform work. Nationalism in Bengal, however, was becoming increasingly secular, for the time being religious in character. It was influenced by the Neo-Vedantic movement of Swami Vivekananda. Therefore, the movement for Swaraj on the part of Bengali nationalists was called Prachi.

Nor was an attempt to discover the spiritual Absolute in one’s innermost self based on the ideal of the Upanishads. Hence, the worship of the mother – the country is depicted in the form of Goddess Kali.

Tilak reinterpreted the Gita and declared karma as its central precept. The basic essence of the Gita’s philosophy, he said, had been missed by the Indian people who, as a result, had sunk into inertia and a fatalistic mood. The Indian nation can wake up to dynamic endeavor only when they recognize it.

Thus the national movement was aimed at national independence from British rule and the establishment of an Indian society and state on a democratic basis and on the basis of a religious movement. Nationalism was expressed in religious terms and clothed in a religious-mystical form. However, Indian nationalism, with its further development, gradually freed itself from the religious element with which it was imbued. It became increasingly secular.




  Socio-religious movement among Muslims

Islam out of the democratic ferment of the common people of Arabia against the privileged strata of the society. As such, it has a democratic ring to it. Islam propagates the principle of social equality. This makes the promotion of International Socialism among the Muslim rank and file more successful.

Despite this relative inertia of the Muslims, several religious-revivalist and even religious-reform movements emerged among them in course of time, with a view to their development along nationalist lines. However these movements were not as powerful as their counterparts among the Hindus. Furthermore, most of them lacked a national note. Four main such movements were started by (1) Shah Abdul Aziz of Delhi, (2) Sayyid Ahmad of Bareilly, (3) Shaikh Karnamat Ali of Jaunpur and (4) Haji Shariat-Ullah of Faridpur. All these four movements were more of a revivalist character.

52.8 Ahmadiyya Movement

The Ahmadiyya movement, founded by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad in 1889, was based on more or less liberal principles. It described itself as the standard bearer of the Muslim renaissance. It bases itself, like the Brahmo Samaj, on the principles of the universal religion of all humanity. The founders were strongly influenced by Western liberalism, theosophy and the religious-reform movements of the Hindus.

The Ahmadiyya movement opposed jihad or holy war against non-Muslims. It stood for fraternal relations among all people. This movement spread western liberal education among Indian Muslims. It started a network of schools and colleges for that purpose and published periodicals and books in both English and local languages. Despite its liberalism, the Ahmadiyya movement, like Baha’ism, which flourished in West Asian countries, remained obsessed with mysticism. However, it represented an attempt on the part of Islam to assimilate the principles of Western liberalism.

For historical reasons, the Muslim community initiated national democratic progress later than the Hindus. The tragedy of the Great Revolt in 1857–8 marked the death of the old order, and brought political, economic and cultural devastation to Indian Muslims. It marked more than ever his sadness, his isolation, his suppressed hatred for the new system… The key to the whole situation was the adaptation to the new environment, the use of the new forces coming into play, the new means. Acceptance Progress that was made through English education.

This withdrawal from the new reality cannot last forever. Soon, the Muslims took up education and created an intelligentsia. They also appeared in the field of commerce and industry. The progressive elements among these newly educated Muslims and Muslim businessmen and industrialists steadily developed a national outlook and embarked on the path of nationalism in politics and democratic reform in social affairs.



Aligarh Movement

The first national awakening among Muslims found expression in a movement aimed at making Indian Muslims politically aware and spreading modern education among them. Syed Ahmed Khan was the founder of this movement. He had able allies like the poet Khwaja Altaf Hussain Hali, Maulvi Nazir Ahmad and Maulvi Shibli Numani.

The liberal social reform and cultural movement founded by Sir Syed Ahmed Khan is known as the Aligarh Movement because it was in Aligarh that the Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental College was established in 1875. This college developed into Aligarh University in 1890.

The aim of the Aligarh Movement was to spread Western education among Muslims without weakening their allegiance to Islam. Religious temptation reinforced secular education, which was

It was provided in the educational intuition introduced. The aim of this movement was to develop a separate social and cultural community among the Indian Muslims on more or less modern lines. It condemned the social ban on polygamy and widow-remarriage, though permitted by Islam, but among certain sections of Muslims who were recent converts from Hinduism.

After the beginning of the Aligarh movement, more or less independent progressive movements started in Bombay, Punjab, Hyderabad and elsewhere.

Sir Mahmood Iqbal

Sir Mahmood Iqbal, a poet of world repute, played an important role in the history of Indian Muslims. even though they

He supported the liberal movement, calling on Muslim liberals to be careful not to push the broad humanitarian principles that Islam stood for into the background by emphasizing nation and race. Iqbal described European civilization as inhuman, greedy, predatory and decadent. He even quoted authors such as Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, Spengler and Karl Marx taking conflicting viewpoints to condemn its various aspects. He made passionate attacks on European civilization in poems which are pearls of Persian and Urdu poetry. He was essentially a humanist and regarded Islam as a religion of comprehensive humanism. In the later phase of his life, Iqbal displayed reactionary tendencies. He opposed democracy as a system and became hostile to the Indian nationalist movement.

Other Muslim Reform Movements

Over time, movements came into existence for the emancipation of Muslim women and to fight against institutions like purdah. Tyabji, an enlightened and progressive Muslim, was the founder of this movement in Bombay. Sheikh Abdul Halil Sharar (1860–96), an outstanding writer and journalist, organized a veritable crusade against purdah in the United Provinces.

With the spread of liberal ideas among Muslims, the movement to improve the social status of Muslim women and abolish the customs prescribed for them began to gain strength. Along with child marriage, polygamy also started decreasing. Individual Muslims and Muslim organizations established an increasing number of educational institutions for Muslim women across India. Education started spreading among Muslim women. In this way religious-reform and social-reform movements increased and gained momentum among the Muslims as well. The rise of Turkish and Arab nationalism and the establishment of a national secular state in Turkey had the effect of broadening the outlook of Indian Muslims. The rise and growth of the Indian National Movement also increasingly brought Muslims into the orbit of Indian nationalism. The independent labor and peasant movements that later developed rapidly in India and were mostly led by communists, socialists and left-wing nationalists such as Nehru had the effect of making the Muslim masses nationalistic and class-conscious. These movements became the training grounds for people from both communities and areas of cooperation to carry out national and general class tasks. The economic structure and the existing foreign rule urged them to come together and cooperate for common liberation.





















globalization and religion

Globalization was not just about the rise of a global culture that all the people of the world would share, but it was more about how people increasingly created local cultures, traditions and identities within the context of a common global model. It broadly refers to the state of complex connectivity currently found in the world and is viewed in the context of both the compression of the world and the intensification of global consciousness. Some theorists believe that globalization has been occurring throughout history, only its form has changed in different historical periods. Sociologists of the classical period identified globalization solvents in terms of capitalist commodification (Marx), differentiation (Durkheim) and rationalization (Weber). Contemporary sociological theorists, notably Robertson, Giddens and Wallerstein, viewed globalization largely through the mediated category of modernity.

Until the 1990s, this connectivity was seen largely in the context of the rise of global markets. Today this connection is seen in the context of the rise of a global culture. The cultural approach to globalization focuses on several factors, one of them being religion. Religion played an important role in the process of globalization, initially through the expansion of the world religions of Islam and Christianity, and later through the secularization process in Protestantism. However, recent developments were challenging the thesis of secularism. What was being seen instead was a resurgence of religion in what is commonly called the fundamentalist movement. Fundamentalism was seen by Robertson as an attempt to declare a social identity, a search for a new consciousness in the face of the infinite fragmentation taking place in global society. Scott saw fundamentalism as a modern form of a ‘political religion’, an attempt by those who called themselves ‘true believers’ to protest the marginalization of religion in global society. The fundamentalists identified and opposed the agents of secularization and sought the reorganization of political, social, cultural and economic relations and institutions in accordance with traditional religious beliefs and practices. The original movements were apolitical and political in nature and can be classified into (i) the emergence of new religious movements, and (ii) a wave of religious nationalist movements. Niklas Luhmann held that the globalization of society, while structurally favoring the privatization of religion, provided fertile ground for new public influence of religion. We look at the sociological understanding of globalization and its effects on religion in more detail. What was the future role of religion in society?









Just as postmodernism was a 1980s concept, so could ‘globalization’

what is

Can be called the concept of the 1990s. It had begun to replace terms such as ‘internationalisation’ and ‘trans-nationalisation’ as a more appropriate concept to describe ever-increasing networks of cross-border human interaction (Hoogveldt, 1997: 114). Globalization refers to the empirical state of complex connectivity seen everywhere in the world in recent times. Complex connectivity involved overcoming cultural distances through education, employment, consumer culture and intense experiences provided through the mass media and was seen as more important than technological progress and physical mobility (Tomlinson, 1999: 32). .

Held, McGrew and others were of the view that globalization was neither entirely novel, nor primarily a modern social phenomenon, only that its form had changed over time and across major domains of human interaction. However, although significant continuity existed with previous phases of globalization, contemporary patterns of globalization were unique and involved a distinctive historical form, itself the product of a unique meeting of social, political, economic, and technological forces. He presented the progress of globalization in four broad periods of human history, namely, pre-modern, early modern, modern and contemporary periods: (i) In the pre-modern period (pre-1500 CE), the major agents of globalization were three-fold: Political and military empires, world religions and migratory movements of nomadic groups, steppe peoples and farming societies. In this context, globalization was seen as an inter-regional and inter-civilizational encounter. (ii) In the early modern period (1500–1800 CE), there were many factors of globalization. What has been broadly called the rise of the West has been regarded as the principal agent of globalization. It involved the historical process that led to the emergence and development of the major institutions of European modernity, the acquisition of technologies and power resources that were unavailable to any other civilization, and the subsequent creation of European global empires.

  (iii) The modern period (circa 1850–1945), saw a huge acceleration in the spread and penetration of global networks and flows, which began in the early modern period. Exploiting these innovations, the reach of Western global empires, and thus, the explosion of Western economic power and cultural influence. This era saw very broad, deep and socially significant patterns of globalization. (iv) In the contemporary period (1950s onwards), globalization was deeply shaped by the structural consequences of the Second World War and the emergence of a worldwide system of nation states, which are multi-lateral, regional and global regulation and governance. This era also experienced extraordinary innovations in transportation and communication infrastructure, and an unparalleled density of institutions of global governance and regulation. This era not only quantitatively surpassed the earlier period, but also showed a qualitative difference (Held, 1999: 414-430).

Several attempts have been made to define globalization. It was best described as complex connectivity, which refers to the rapidly evolving inter-connections and inter-dependencies that characterize modern social life. Giddens defined globalization as ‘the intensification of worldwide social relations that links distant regions in such a way that local events are shaped by events many miles away and vice versa’ (Giddens, 1990: 64). ). It was a dialectical process because local events could move in the opposite direction, that is, from the more distant relations that shaped them. McGrew also spoke of globalization as ‘just an intensification of global interconnectedness’ and emphasized the multiplicity of relationships involved – goods, capital, socio-institutional relationships, technological advances and ideas that all move easily across regional boundaries. flows (see Tomlinson, 1999). : 2). Reflecting on the complexity of the globalization process, Robertson observed that globalization increasingly imposed constraints but was also distinctly empowering. He defined globalization as a concept that refers to both ‘the contraction of the world and the deepening of consciousness of the world as a whole’ (Robertson, 1998: 8). Let us look at Robertson’s definition of globalization in more detail.

The first part of the definition, i.e. global compaction, included the principles of dependency and the logic of world systems. Compression gives rise to proximity, which can be seen in terms of the shrinking of distances through a dramatic reduction in the time taken to cross distances physically (in travel) or representationally (through information technology) . It also referred to spatial proximity through the idea of ‘pulling’ social ties across distances; The transformation of spatial experiences into temporal existence leads to simultaneous and immediate experiences. Global proximity was reduced to a ‘shrinking world’ or, in McLuhan’s words, a ‘global village’. The United Nations preferred the term ‘Global Neighbourhood’. Factually, proximity was being described as a general conscious presence of a world that was more intimate and more constricted. Figuratively, it implies an increasing urgency and consequentiality, leading to a truly far-reaching relationship.

There is a reduction in losses (Tomlinson, 1999: 3). The global pressure that gave rise to contiguity also refers to the increasing level of interdependence between national systems through trade, military alliances, hegemony, and cultural imperialism. While Wallerstein (1974) stated that the world had been undergoing social compression since the beginning of the sixteenth century, Robertson argued that it had a much longer history (Waters, 1995: 41). Hoogeveld insisted that world compression was not a new idea. It was an innovation in Robertson’s work that he argued that world compression intensifies ‘cosmic consciousness’ (Hoogeveldt, 1997: 117).

More important was the second component of Robertson’s definition, namely the idea of the depth of universal consciousness, which was a relatively new phenomenon. This meant that individual phenomena would be addressed to the whole world rather than to its local or national regions. Not only in matters of mass media and consumer preferences, but in all issues – military – political issues, status of women, etc. For the first time in history, the globe was becoming a social and cultural setting. Thus, in all walks of life, issues could no longer be viewed independently from the local perspective. Globalization had connected the world. The local was raised to the horizon of a ‘single world’. There was an increasing interaction between frames of reference and both simultaneously. Robertson clarified that this does not mean more integration but more integration or systematization, where similar institutions and processes emerge.

in banking, political governance or national expression (national flag, museum, library); In other words, there was more connectivity. Nor did Robertson establish much cohesion; He was careful to say that while it was a single system, it was divided by conflict and there was no universal agreement on what shape the single system should take in the future. In fact, conflicts may be more intractable than previous disputes between nations. Nor does global unity mean a simplistic homogeneity like world culture. It did not mean totality and totality which was holistic and inclusive. Rather, it was a complex social and phenomenological situation in which different aspects of human life were brought into expression alongside each other. This may lead to more emphasis on cultural differences as it was identified in relation to the ‘whole world’. In its distinctively twentieth-century expression of a holistic consciousness, globalization involved the linking of personal and national reference points to general and supernatural contexts; It included the cultural, social and phenomenological relations between the individual self, the national society, the international system of societies and humanity in general (Wates, 1995: 42).



Globalization: A Sociological Understanding

Sociologists have been at the forefront of attempts to give globalization a coherent and rigorous theoretical position. Strangely, globalization, or a concept similar to it, appeared early in the development of the social sciences. St. Simon observed that industrialization was leading to a commonality of practices across the different cultures of Europe. Durkheim’s legacy to globalization was his theories of differentiation and culture. The state and collective consciousness had become progressively more imprecise and abstract to include intra-society diversity. All this means that industrialization weakens collective commitments and opens the way for the breaking down of boundaries between societies. Just as Durkheim identified differentiation, Weber identified rationalization as the solution to globalization. Weber’s concern with the success of rationalization and its spread from the seedling origins of Calvinistic Protestantism to infect all Western cultures, implied homogenization of cultures as well as less commitment to values such as patriotism and duty. But this globalization effect was also limited to Western Europe. Weber saw no possibility of spreading rational cultural preferences to, say, India or China, which he viewed as essentially mired in religious conservatism. Of all the classical theorists, Karl Marx was most clearly committed to the globalization theory of modernization. Globalization greatly increased the power of the capitalist class as it opened up new markets for it. The establishment of a ‘world market’ for modern industry gave not only production but also consumption a cosmopolitan character (Waters, 1995: Robertson, 1998: 15 – 18).

In contemporary times, the development of the term ‘globalization’ as a specifically sociological concept owes its greatest debt to Roland Robertson of the University of Pittsburgh. Robertson stresses that globalization needs to be understood as involving contradictions, resistances and counterbalancing forces and a dialectic of opposing principles and tendencies – local and global, particular and universal, integration and differentiation. Robertson’s main rival for the title of father of the concept of globalization was Anthony Giddens. We look at the contributions of each of these theorists. One of the theoretical debates surrounding globalization in contemporary sociological theory surrounds its inception. Two broad patterns were suggested: (i) the rise of a new era (

  1. ii) Through the powerful intermediary category of modernity.

(I) Emergence of a new era: Martin Albro (1997: 6) accepted globalization on its own terms and in its own time. He spoke of ‘The Global Age’, which he argued had replaced ‘The Modern Age’. The modern age was replaced and superseded by a new global age with its own axial principles and distinctive cultural imagery. The ‘echoic shift’, from pre-modern to modern to global, is rooted in axial principles that place communication, mobility and connectivity at the heart of human life (see Tomlinson, 1999: 38 – 48).

(II) Through the intermediary category of modernity. Under this pattern, three possibilities can be specified.

(i) Globalization seen in the historical context of modernity. Robertson was a strong supporter of the idea. Only within the historical presence of the major modern institutions of capitalism, industrialism and urbanism, a developed nation-state system, mass communication, and so on, could the complex network of social relations that characterize globalization arise. Thus, modernity was understood as a combination of these institutions


Globalization had an essential historical context. Prior to this period, the socio-institutional conditions and resources of the cultural imagination were not exactly in place to enable connectivity. Robertson does not support Giddens’ (1990) view that modernity directly triggered a contemporary type of globalization long before modernity; In the economic field it was even before the rise of capitalism. However, he did not deny that some aspects of modernity greatly increased globalization, that is, modernization accelerated the process of globalization (Robertson, 1998: 170, Hoogveldt, 1997: 116).

(ii) Globalization was seen as a consequence of modernity. Giddens First (1981, 1985) addressed the issue of the emergence of a global system in a general critique of Marxist theory in which he challenged the idea that only the development of the capitalist system determined the modern history of human societies. Giddens claimed that the development of nation-states and their ability to wage war on each other also determined the modern history of human societies. For Giddens, as for Robertson, the dominance of the nation state, which had become a universal political entity, was accompanied by the growth of globalisation. Each was impossible without the other. The world was seen as a network of national societies in a global system of international relations. Later, in his book The Consequences of Modernity (1990), Giddens offered one of the most sophisticated analyzes of modernization and its underlying globalizing properties. Giddens’ approach to globalization was historically closed in contrast to Robertson’s approach which was historically continuous. Using the concepts of time-space distancing, disembedding, and reflexivity, he explained how complex relationships developed between local activities and interactions that took place across distances. He saw globalization as a result of broad features underlying modernity and listed four such institutional features or ‘organisational clusters’: (i) a capitalist system of commodity production (owning private capital and labour); (ii) industrialization (technology requires mass process of production); (iii) the administrative capacity of the nation-state (a good monitoring system); and (iv) military command (for centralization of control within industrial society). He explained that his discussion of globalization focused on modernity, as he saw globalization as a consequence of modernity. Modernity refers to the trends of globalization that have made possible the global network of relations and the spatial spatial distance of more radically extended social ties. Giddens was critical of the undue reliance that sociologists placed on the idea of ‘society’, where it

Means a bounded system. He was of the view that this should be replaced by starting points that focus on how social life was ordered in time and space (Giddens, 1990: 64; Waters, 1995: 48–50).

(iii) Globalization was the result of liberalism of modernity.

Wallerstein saw globalization in its strategic role of maintenance of Western cultural dominance and in its tendency towards universalism and hegemony. The concept of globalization was an obvious object for ideological skepticism because, like modernization, a preceding and related concept, it was intrinsically tied to patterns of capitalist development as it spread through political and cultural spheres. This did not mean that every culture/society had to become Westernized and capitalist, but it meant that they had to establish their position in relation to the capitalist West. Wallerstein focused on the emergence and development of the modern European world order, which he traced from the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries to the present day. Capitalism operates in relation to long-term cyclical rhythms, the central one of which was the regular pattern of expansion and contraction of the entire economy, which over the years has transformed the ‘capitalist world economy into a system primarily based in Europe’.

changed from one that covers the whole globe’ (see Waters, 1995: 23–26; Hoogeveld, 1997: 65–67).

The search for identity was a fundamental sub-concern of globalization, where the construction of a viable identity was a fundamental issue. Modernization, Giddens, with its basic tendency towards differentiation, increased the possibilities of choice, but on the other hand created problems of identity formation at both individual and collective levels. MacDonald (1999) also argued that both individuals and groups marginalized by globalization struggled to establish coherent identities, which we felt threatened by contradictory social imperatives (see Bendall, 2002: 3).


  Other scholars, exploring identity crisis in the context of high modernity and globalization, argued that the fragmented nature of identity in the face of discrimination drives marginalized groups to participate in social movements in search of new identities. In other words, one of the responses to globalization was participation in projects to change the system.

In pre-modern societies identity was seen as synonymous with the ‘core’ or center of existence. Postmodernist thought rejected the notion of a ‘core’ and regarded identity as something more superficial, transient, multiple and manipulable, something that could serve as a counterpoint to discourse. creep into. Giddens (1991) saw a change in self-identity as one of the requirements in the local-global dialectic. In other words, the more decentralized a society, the greater the need to negotiate lifestyle choices from a diversity of options (Ibid: 7).

Identity formation also became a major component in the social mobility of high modernity or globalization as discussed in the works of Heelas, Lash and Morris (1996). Hilas explained that in traditional societies, identity was ascribed and based on an officially accepted form, whereas in a non-traditional society, identity was constructed and people were forced to reflect critically and There were even opportunities to reject what traditional society had to offer. Identity was no longer seen as the inclusion of a non-reflective, indisputable ‘article’ of the self within a tradition, but rather as emerging in a discourse. This was seen as a shift from a passive level of acceptance to an active level of reactivity and critique in a globalized society (see Bendall, 2002: 7).



  globalization and religion

With this brief introduction to globalization in the context of modernity, let us now look at the response of religion to the globalization process. How has the process of globalization affected religion? And how was religion counterproductive? Religion was one of the areas where attempts were made to reconstitute new communities, in the breakdown of familiar boundaries and balances of power in a globalized situation. Religion became a basis for social change in the daily life of the people and at the national level. If religion was seen as one of the most fundamental means of organizing human life, then the seeds of globalization could be found in religion itself. Some scholars suggested that the idea of globalization was put forward by the ‘hyper-globalization’ of some religions, such as the Catholic Church which supported the world as one place (Hopkins, 2001: 1, 4).

A global focus on religion had emerged because of a set of issues: (i) debates about whether societies were becoming more or less secular, (ii) the resurgence of religion (or the spread of religion as a category), and (iii) the rise of church-state and religion-politics conflicts and tensions around the world in the 1970s and 1980s, commonly referred to as ‘radicalisation’. One of the myths of modernity was that religion would be abolished, meaning the world would become secular. Instead religions spread. Mendieta claimed that globalization not only accelerated the process of emergence of new religious movements and the awareness that religion could not be abolished, it also gave religion a new character, that of movements of both religious revival and religious activism. Mendieta, 2001). : 46). These emerging radical movements were perceived as a search for a new consciousness, a search for an identity in response to the new demands of contemporary society. Cultural survival was considered the main reason for religious revivalism. But first let’s look at the role of religion in the emergence of globalization.

Robertson, who was credited with first analyzing globalization from a sociological perspective, had a major interest in trying to distinguish the period during which contemporary globalization reached a point from when it was so well established that a particular pattern or form prevailed. According to Robertson, the expansion of the world religions of Islam and Christianity was instrumental in this process. The expansion of Islam coincided with the expansion of the Arab and Ottoman Empires from the twelfth to fifteenth centuries. By the eighteenth century, it had acquired a presence in diverse fields. Christianity had to wait for Europe’s military and colonial expansion in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries to gain a global presence. Prior to this period, globalization had resulted in the inclusion of tribal farmers in large-scale political systems. these two of Christianity and Islam

Universal religions, both derivatives of the Abrahamic faith, became the universalizers of religions and the most effective globalizers because


They claim that the world was created by a single God and that humanity was a normal force of existence in relation to that God. This gave rise to the argument that humanity formed a single community that devalued geographic localities and political territories, that the world had a single value reference for every individual, and that God proposed a set of legal and moral laws. .

By the sixteenth century, a new and far more important globalizing religious force had emerged, namely Protestantism. Catholicism blurred the relationship between state and church, leading to a series of conflicts between kings and popes. The Reformation resolved the conflict between the state and the church either by subordinating the church to the state (as in England), or by secularizing the state (as in the United States and France). The state could now rely on the political process of nationalism rather than on religious legitimacy for its legitimacy. Thus the power of the state increased and was itself a pre-requisite for globalization (Waters, 1995: 127 – 128). This idea about the central role of the nation-state in the development of globalization was expressed by both Giddens and Robertson as seen earlier. One was impossible without the other.

In modern times, since the 1960s, several sociologists have put forward the hypothesis that religion has become increasingly privatized in the contemporary Western world. Most prominently T. Parsons (1966: 134), P. Berger (1973: 133f), T. Luckman (1967: 103) and R. Belah (1970: 43) interpreted secularism in the modern world to mean that traditional religion was now primarily a matter of personal concern and therefore had lost its ‘public’ relevance. Privatization referred to the limitation of the relevance of religion to the private sphere of an individual’s life, where in some cases the general universe of meaning was confined or fragmented to the level of the nuclear family only. This means that ‘religious preference’ can be rejected as easily as it was adopted (Berger, 1973: 137). Institutional differentiation (what Luhman calls functionally differentiated social sub-systems) and pluralistic personal identities were basic features of modern societies. Secularism was the result of the relative independence of these early sub-systems of society from religious norms, values and justifications, i.e. religion now had a limited legitimizing role in a highly differentiated society; It suffered the fate of compartmentalisation.

What did this mean for religion in general? For an answer, Baer looked to the thesis of Niklas Luhmann (1982), which he felt allowed a frank examination of the problems and potential of religion in contemporary global society. The Luhmanian thesis held that the globalization of society, while structurally favoring the privatization of religion, also provided fertile ground for religion’s new public influence, i.e. religion not only retreated from important aspects of local life, it also created a Institutionally also developed specific sub-systems of its own. By public influence, he meant that one or more religions can become a source of collective commitment; Collective action in the name of specific religious norms now became legitimate (see Baer, 1999: 373). In the Luhmannian scheme, the rise of the specialist reflected the socio-structural situation in modern society, in which professionals became prominent public representatives of social subsystems. Thus, the public importance of a system rose and fell with the public influence of its practitioner. The question that followed was, under what circumstances, would individuals listen to religious leaders, for a new revelation or a revival of old beliefs? Religion needed to provide a service that would not only support and enhance the religious faith of its adherents, but by which it could exert itself with far-reaching influence outside strictly religious circles. It was in this context that contemporary religious movements were of particular interest (Bayer, 1999: 377–78). These religious movements are discussed below under the heading ‘fundamentalist movements’. Robertson saw radical movements as a means of establishing and identifying where the search for local identity was being integrated into a global world.

  fundamentalist movement

Contemporary religious movements challenging the secularism thesis can be seen broadly and generally as radical movements. Fundamentalism, as John Hawley explained, was a complicated term. It first emerged in the United States in the 1920s as a term of self-reference, adopted by a group of Protestant Christians who supported a series of pamphlets called ‘The Fundamentals’ (1910 – 1915) . These writings criticized the evils of modernism, especially scientific rationalism, an ‘unconstitutional’ use of higher criticism of the Bible, and alleged lapses in Me.


oral value. He advocated a return to the ‘foundational principles’ of Christian belief and practice, to the ‘eternal pillars of the ideal past’. Over time, liberal Christians and modernists of a more secular nature began to use the term ‘fundamentalists’ to designate these groups.

who were seen as sufficiently naïve to believe they could reverse history in their favor. A mythic, dogmatic and socially homogeneous Christian past. (These positions were expressed by conservative Christian groups, mainly Evangelical Protestants) (Hawley, 1999: 3).

The Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979 marked the first time the term ‘radicalism’ was widely used. It later referred to religious groups that took political action to reject Western secular modernism in its various forms. As Robertson explained, the term ‘radicalism’ was rarely used outside the United States until the 1970s, and then only on a limited scale. It was only after the Iranian Revolution of 1978-79 that the tendency to talk of universal conservatism arose. Eventually, the term was adopted by people and movements around the world and came to represent an archaic and narrow rigid mindset. Some indigenous movements around the world adopted some of the diagnoses and acknowledged that fundamentalism was fueled primarily by religious and spiritual orientations (Robertson, 1998: 169).

These days, the term ‘radicalism’ is being applied to two different categories of religious movements: (i) to the emergence of new religious movements that were reviving older religions, and (ii) to those called religious nationalists. Movements to wave, expressing themselves as religio-political movements that were clear attempts to create public influence for religion. We look at each of these recent developments separately.


(i) New religious movements

Social theorists observed that by the 1960s, unlike earlier secularism theory, religion was not unilaterally withdrawing from human life. However, the religion was still not the same. A new religious consciousness was emerging that was not merely a re-assertion of traditional religiosity; It was a search for a ‘new consciousness’, a search for a new religious identity and a search for new meanings in the face of fragmentation and discrimination in a modern world; The search for an identity that had a deep, religious quality. These new religious movements, as this emerging new religious consciousness was being called, were the response of contemporary humans to contemporary social conditions, just as traditional religion was the response of humans to the social conditions of the time. The ideology of equality and democracy, the emphasis on youth, the new relativism in human thought, the search for renewal of the self, were characteristic of all new religious movements.

The term ‘new religious movements’ was initially used by social scientists to refer to a wide variety of spiritual movements that emerged in the West after the 1960s. However, it later came to be used chronologically to refer to all types of religions that had established themselves in Western Europe, North America, India and Japan since 1945, and in Africa since the 1890s (Clark, 1988: 907). The term can be used as an umbrella for a diversity of phenomena ranging from cults, sects, spiritual groups or alternative belief systems, to doctrinal divergence within world religions and major churches, to a dubious type of religious fad and spiritual enthusiasm. Had been. The term also included spiritual renewal of the self and of millennial groups. Some new religious movements in India include ISKCON or the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, Rajneeshism, Transcendental Meditation, and the Sai Baba Movement. There were an estimated two hundred indigenous or non-indigenous new religious movements in Japan. The more popular are the Wee Soka Gakkai or Value Creation Society, the Tenrikyo or Heavenly Wisdom and the Rishokoshikai. There were some twenty thousand movements in Africa, some with only twenty members, others several thousand. Some of the bigger ones were Ishvarada, Dima and Aladura. In America, new religious movements were largely known as ‘Jesus’ movements or Pentecostal movements (Wilson, 1982; Clark, 1988). Globalization was enabling the spread of some of these movements, which were using advanced technology currently available to become globally accessible. The nature of these new religious movements has been discussed in detail in the previous chapter.



(ii) Religious nationalist movement

In the 1990s, scholars sensitive to the problem of the emergence of religious groups that took political action leading up to national revolutions suggested a series of alternative terms to designate these conservative, neo-conservative and often militant religious groups. Was. One such term is favored by WR

Thinkers such as Pieter van der Veer and Mark Jürgensmeyer were ‘religious nationalisms’. Jürgensmayer explained that when a religious perspective is aligned with the political and social destiny of a nation, it is called religious nationalism.

Religious nationalists were not merely religious fanatics. For most of the party, they were political activists, making a serious effort to rework the ‘modern’ language of politics in order to provide a new basis for the nation-state. He was concerned not so much with the political structure of the nation-state as with the political ideology underlying it (Jürgensmeyer, 1994: xiii; D’Souza, 2000: 29). Robertson took this edge

Workers saw nationalism as a claim to a deeper identity, a declaration by a local group of political identity in the face of globalization. Nikki Kedey, who questioned whether nationalism was always the main focus of such efforts, proposed the term ‘new religious politics’ (see Hawley, 1999: 3).

Martin Marty and R. Scott Appleby developed the characteristics of fundamentalism (what we here call ‘religious nationalism’) in detail in a famous Chicago study called Fundamentalisms Observed (1991). Radicalism was interpreted as a reaction of the emerging nation-states of the non-Western world against the aggressive, intrusive and threatening features of modernity. For example, Islamic fundamentalism represented a delayed response to the hegemony of European colonial rule after it became an independent nation-state. Religious identity was used as a protective shield against the onslaught of globalisation, which was marked by the penetration of integrated ‘market systems’ that came with different goods, values, beliefs and styles of being. The fear of extinction and threat to survival as a people and as a culture and the loss of distinctiveness in the rise of homogeneity, resulted in the introduction of a comprehensive social order based on religious principles, which governed law, policy, society, economy adopted. and culture. Thus, fundamentalism became totalitarian in its practice and encompassed all spheres of private and public life. Dharma was declared not only a belief but also a way of life. Fundamentalism of this nature was not religious in the classical sense of the word, but a form of secular faith clothed in religious language.

Religious nationalist movements, it was further observed, often invoked authenticity and ‘authentic culture’ as a weapon against the foreign and foreign. However, this authenticity was questionable, as it became difficult to prove what was authentic and what was not. To enforce some traditions and to deny others requires a reconstruction of history, if not its destruction. Historians have taken pains to demonstrate that historically inter-cultural exchange, trade and conquest had made any assumption of authenticity highly problematic. Radical movements then relied largely on invented traditions (Marty and Appleby, 1991: 814–837).

However, radicalism was not a complete negation of modernity. Instead, it was seen to draw selectively on both tradition and modernity and employ every available method of modern science and technology to further its own ends of establishing a distinct identity. Tradition was invoked in the areas of dress, treatment of women, family systems. In an edited book, Religious Fundamentalism and the Human Rights of Women, (1999), Hawley writes that until recently it was insufficiently appreciated that gender issues played an important role in the language of fundamentalism. ‘What is being supported is a divinely sanctioned view of the natural differences between the sexes that make women fit to live within the boundaries and under the protection, even surveillance, of men’ (Hawley, 1999: 3) . Modernity was invoked in the form of modern technological and scientific developments, information technology, modern weaponry, weapons, computers, the Internet, and mass public education. While claiming and propagating indigenization (a contradiction), fundamentalism itself was supported by foreign capital. Marty and Appleby observed that in its strategies and methods, fundamentalism showed a closer affinity to modernism than to traditionalism. Thus, while fundamentalism resented or envied the forces and influence of modernity, it shrewdly exploited its processes and means. It sometimes used democratic processes to come to power (Marty and Appleby, 1991: 827). Lechner argued that where the discontents of modernity were more acutely felt and more clearly defined, new and stronger radical movements were more likely to emerge (see Robertson, 1998: 170).

Fundamentalism, then, was driven by the affinity-identity obsession of ethnic communities and religious groups, which often thirsted for self-respect and dignity. fundamentalism, as seen above, was an attempt to ‘neutralise the other’ and

Establishing one’s own identity. In other words, the question of ‘cultural existence’ was at the core of the issue of religious revivalism. This process can be seen in Eastern European countries that belonged to different cultural communities and ethnic groups after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Their demands for economic autonomy and preservation of cultural identity resulted in ethnic conflicts between the majority Muslim and Christian minority Serbs in Bosnia, the minority Christian Serbs in Yugoslavia’s Kosovo province, and the majority Muslims of Albanian origin. This process can also be seen in some parts of Indonesia today. In India, Hindutva ideology, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) to create communal divisions between the Hindu majority and the Muslim and Christian minorities

Or the religio-cultural and ethnic conflict being experienced in the efforts of the ‘Sangh Parivar’. communities in India.



  Hindu nationalism

Hindu nationalism emerged in the context of the independence movement in India. As Pande observes, Hindu nationalism or communalism developed in the late colonial period, arising concurrently with nationalism, if not projected as its antithesis (Pande, 1994: 13). In the nineteenth century, we see the beginning of the growth and development of the national independence movement. The rise of Hindu nationalism coincided with a phase where religion was sought to be the basis not only of the political struggle for independence, but also of India’s emerging identity. Hindu nationalists were primarily politically disoriented individuals who sought to politicize religion and identify India as exclusively Hindu, to the detriment and exclusion of other religious communities in India. The struggle for nationalism in India was taking place in the context of colonialism.

At the turn of the century, Bal Gangadhar Tilak (1856–1920) was the harbinger of Hindu nationalism in Maharashtra. But he did not form any Hindu organization either inside or outside the Congress and instead remained within the Congress party as an ‘militant’ (Jaffrelot, 1996: 17). From within the Congress, Tilak sought to politically mobilize the people of India to achieve political independence, and he used religious symbolism for this. His organization of Ganapati festival in 1893 and Shivaji festival in 1895 (Chaudhary, 1978: 29) alienated and antagonized the Muslim section of India’s population. By this time, for a section of Indian politicians, the sense of Indian nationalism was acquiring a Hindu character with a note of exclusion (Debury, 1991: 140; Embry, 1989: 158; Mazumdar, 1965: 478). As Varma explained, Tilak was a Sanatanist Hindu, who said in a speech, “The word Sanatan (Eternal) Dharma shows that our religion is very old – as old as the history of mankind. The Vedic religion dates back to time immemorial.” The religion of the Aryans was from the very beginning – religion being an element of nationalism….In the Vedic period India was a self-sufficient country. It was organized into a great nation’ (Verma, 1963: 220-265). .

The meeting of politics and religion was completed in the formation of Hindu Mahasabha. The pro-Muslim bias of the British administration—seen in the granting of various important concessions, one of which was the establishment of separate electorates in 1909—caused the Arya Samaj in Punjab to take a militant, nationalist turn. Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya, who later became the first Vice-Chancellor of the Banaras Hindu University, along with other prominent Arya Samajists, founded the Hindu Mahasabha in 1915, which soon developed into a right-wing extremist Hindu political party (Madan, 1997: 218; Debary, 1991: 159; Klostermaier, 1989: 403).

In 1909 Lala Lajput Rai, an activist and senior member of the Arya Samaj in Punjab, declared that ‘Hindus are a ‘nation’ in themselves, because they represent a kind of civilization in themselves’ (Jaffrelot, 1996). : 19). He was calling for the use of the German word ‘Nation’, meaning people, meaning a community having a definite civilization and culture. This approach explicitly calls for ethnic nationalism as opposed to a regional nationalism. Soon after, in the 1911 census, in contrast to the 1891 census, the Arya Samajists declared themselves not ‘Aryas’ but ‘Hindu’.

While the Congress party, influenced by English universal concepts, defined the Indian nation as all individuals, all communities, who lived within the boundaries of British-Indian territory (a territorial nationalism), some extremist Hindus, especially some Arya Samajists , was more sympathetic with German definitions giving an ethnic basis for nationalism (Smith, 1983: 217), and saw the development of a race as the biological expression of an essential spirit (Graham, 1993: 44). Thus, the regional definition of nationalism was sought to be replaced by an ethnic nationalism by Hin.

Nationalist. India’s nationalism was classified by Smith as a regional, post-independence integration, and not an ethnic nationalism. However, Smith classified German nationalism as an ethnic, pre-independent, pan-nationalism (Smith, 1983: 223, 229).

Initially, the Hindu Mahasabha functioned as a pressure group

Congress. However by 1937, the Hindu Mahasabha was forced out of the Congress


Due to its communalism, by the 1920s, the Hindu Mahasabha had acquired a more explicitly Hindu nationalist orientation on the pretext of returning to the Vedic Golden Age. It sought to maintain ‘chaturavarna’, a distinctive feature of Aryan civilization, and yet develop a union and solidarity between various ‘water-tight (caste) divisions, each with its own social culture and life’ (Jeffrelot, 1996): 19 – 25).

VD Savarkar (1883 – 1966), a Maharashtrian Brahmin and future president of the Hindu Mahasabha from 1937–42, in his book Hindutva: Who is a Hindu? Published in Nagpur for the first time in 1923. It is a core text for nationalist ‘Hinduness’ (the generally accepted translation of Hindutva).

serves as. For Savarkar, culture was inextricably linked with territory and he claimed that membership of a Hindu nation depended on the acceptance of India as both the fatherland and the holy land. He believed that Muslims and Christians look outside India for the holy places of their religion and hence do not consider India as their holy land. In defining Hindu nationalism, he underlined the importance of Hinduism, a religious, racial and cultural entity (Graham, 1993: 45). He strongly opposed Nehru’s concept of a secular state and continued to agitate for complete Hinduisation of India. Savarkar’s Hindutva was primarily conceived of as an ethnic community that possesses a territory, shares similar racial and cultural characteristics and is united by a common flow of blood in ‘our’ caste – three characteristics derived from the mythological reconstruction of the Vedic Golden Age, derived from the ‘Aryan’ race (Klostermaier, 1989: 403; Graham, 1993: 43; Jaffrelot, 1996: 28).

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh or RSS was founded in Nagpur in 1925 under the leadership of Hedgewar (1889 – 1940), a medical doctor but who never practiced medicine. He sought to unite Hindus to stand up to Muslims and radicalize Hindus to hasten the British withdrawal. Due to the division of Hindu society, the RSS focused on Hindu organization (Malkani, 1980: 24, 26). Hedgewar (or Doctorji, as he was called) sought to define the nation in exclusively Hindu terms (Madan, 1997: 221). However, under the leadership of Golwalkar, who took over the leadership of the RSS upon the death of its founder Hedgewar in 1940, the first, coherent interpretation of the doctrine of Hindu nationalism


emerged. In We, or Our Nationhood Defined, published in 1939, Golwalkar, like Savarkar, argued that a nation was the product of a number of factors, including a sense of territory, racial unity, religion, culture and language, but that the factor religion was of particular importance. Was. Golwalkar, or Guruji as he was called, claimed that India had been a ‘nation’ since Vedic times and that ‘non-Hindu people in Hindustan should embrace Hindu culture and religion and Hindu caste and culture for its glorification – claiming nothing, entitled to no privileges – not even civil rights’ (Malkani, 1980: 42; Embree, 1974: 115; Graham, 1993 : 45 – 46). Malkani wrote, ‘This Hindu nation’ was born with ‘Sanatan Dharma’. Sanatan Dharma, this is nationalism. ‘Hindu’ is not a religion, it is a nationality, and all people living in India are Hindus, regardless of their religion (Malkani, 1980: 187, 191). ‘Like Savarkar’s Hindutva, Golwalkar’s definition of Hindu is political rather than religious’ (Heehs, 1998: 117).

The writings of Savarkar and Golwalkar led to the rise of Hindu nationalism in India in the 1920s, and as Pandey observed, this has led to the communalization of politics in India. For nationalists, who were locked in a bitter struggle to overthrow colonial rule in the 1920s and 1930s, communalism appeared as a major political threat, a source of danger to nationalism. Hindu nationalism or communalism was seen as false nationalism (Pande, 1994: 914).

The RSS was strictly organized from the beginning, being the most powerful and most controversial Hindu organization of the time. It claimed to be a cultural organization and was not a registered political party. The RSS gave rise to a large number of front organizations such as the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sabha, a trade union founded in 1964, and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, a religious organization that attempted to articulate a kind of universal Hinduism that embraced various sects. will plant and t

At the same time it has a basic common creed and common practice. Other organizations included Bajrang Dal.

After Golwalkar’s death in 1973, the supreme leadership or ‘Sarsanghchalak’ of the RSS passed to Madhukar Dattatreya, also known as Balasahed Deoras. He was a bachelor since the age of twelve and was a member of the RSS. Echoing the words of Savarkar, he said, ‘We believe in one culture and one nation,

Hindu nation. But our definition of Hindu is not limited to any particular faith. Our definition of Hindu includes those who believe in the principle of one culture and one nation of this country. All of them can become part of Hindu-Rashtra, so by Hindu we do not mean any particular kind of faith. We use the word Hindu in a wider sense’ (see Klostermaier, 1989: 407).

Many Indians who support the idea of a secular, democratic state with equal rights for all its members, regardless of caste, creed or gender, see the RSS as a threat to this state. The most visible expression of militant and radical political Hindutva at the national level is the RSS and its affiliates. Although there are others, they are not very influential like the Ram Rajya Parishad or ‘Kingdom of God Party’ founded in 1940 by Swami Karpatriji Maharaj. other state level only

However, such as the Shiv Sena whose identity was based on Maharashtrianism and not necessarily religion (Klostermaier, 1989: 407).


In his initial understanding of conservatism’s relation to globalization (viewed more generally as a search for fundamentals), Robertson saw radicalism as an attempt to express a society’s identity, a social identity. felt the need to announce. This aspect saw fundamentalism as a reaction to globalisation, resulting from the compression of an inter-social order. Fundamentalism was about discrimination and distinction between self and other. In his recent attempts to analytically understand the more general problem of conservatism, Robertson sees fundamentalism more as an aspect or creation of globalization than as a reaction to it. It was a claim to a deep exclusivity, i.e., a global construction and dissemination of ideas related to the value of exclusivity, the declaration of a special identity. He saw it in terms of the apparent dichotomy of globality-locality. The idea of fundamentalism as a response or resistance to globalization was not abandoned, only built into the general process of globalization. He preferred to see fundamentalism as a ‘search for fundamentals’ in the context of the compression of the world, a more respectful acceptance of people’s actual practices, rather than the term ‘extremism’. radicalism thus formed ways of finding

place within the world as a whole, methods that often involve attempts to increase the power of the groups concerned. It is not necessarily anti-global. It actually involved the community’s search for stable values and beliefs and was an assertion of power. Robertson explained this in terms of a two-stage process – the particularization of the universal and the universalization of the particular. This idea of the right to identity, the ‘struggle for recognition’ as described by Fukuyama (1992), was widespread. Fundamentalism was then a product of globalism, and even though it took an explicitly anti-globalist form, it tended to become part of the distinctive features of globalism (Robertson, 1998: 175 – 178).

In conclusion, it can be seen that for most cultures around the world, religion remained an enduring component of human life. In a globalized situation, religion and secularism co-exist and intertwine, and not a false divide between them. On the one hand, religion remained the basis of national differences, and on the other hand, the basis for the attainment of complete humanity. Thus, religion advances and opposes globalization; In fact globalization had revived religion (Mendieta, 2001: 621). The term ‘fundamentalism’ is being applied to two categories of religious movements today. One, to new religious movements and spiritual fervor that seek a ‘return to basics’ or a new religious response to the social conditions of contemporary society. and two, for religious nationalism which is more of a political expression by religious leaders seeking political identity for a religious culture. Religion in the world was moving in both conservative and liberal directions, i.e. focusing on private religious choices and entering the political and public sphere. Today it is better to speak of global fundamentalists rather than as a worldwide fundamentalist movement and to accept the agenda of each as discrete in its local setting.

Looking at the future role of religion in society, we see that religion and politics were separated after the Enlightenment

The mental period of the secular West, which could not be seen in this way in the pre-enlightenment period of Western culture. (In India such separation may not exist at all according to T.N. Madan, 1983). The socio-cultural chasm of our unequal modern world will continue to generate varying responses from both religious and secular ideologies. The first step in combating radicalism was to appreciate the fundamentalist dilemma. The symbolic and emotional power of radicalism was as authentically modern as it was consistently disruptive (Lawrence, 1999: 99). Understanding the current role of religion in a globalized society may require a shift from the Enlightenment paradigm, without a reductionist approach to religion, politics or culture – in any direction.


sociology of religion

The intellectual bias in sociological theory towards the incompatibility of rationality and religion remains in sociology as a whole. Although sociology takes professional pride in examining unexpected and dismissive stereotypes about human behavior (Ports 2000), it has been slow to move beyond stereotypes of religion. It should come as no surprise that sociology, itself a product of the Enlightenment, should have a long tradition of skepticism toward religion. Karl Marx (Marx and Engels 1878/1964) popularized religion as an alienating and repressive force and Sigmund Freud (1928/1985) emphasized its illusory power, casting a murky shadow over the perceived social relevance of religion . Thus in a recent study on social responsibility, Alice Rossi (2001: 22) explicitly acknowledges its “particular difficulty” and casts astonishment “political liberals and religious skeptics”.

observed that religion emerged as a major influence. Although a distinguished sociologist, survey researcher, and former president of the American Sociological Association, Rossi acknowledged that she “came close to not including a single measure of religiosity” in the family of origin questions (2001: 305).

Despite the fact that highly respected research organizations (for example, the National Opinion Research Center’s General Social Survey) provide cumulative data documenting the persistence of religion as an important dimension of Americans’ lives, social scientific studies Religion is often the forgotten or excluded variable. literature reviews. This has led sociologists to shy away from including religion because of the assumption that religion is disconnected from introspection and social change and that the act of studying religion can be interpreted as legitimizing religious belief. Yet sociologists study small firms, income inequality, and collective violence without any presumptive implication that observed empirical patterns are desirable or that the sociologist has a vested biographical interest in the subject. A research interest in religion is more likely to trigger a hermeneutics of skepticism (cf. Ricoeur 1981). But, as Robert Wuthnau shows (Chapter 2, this section), in sociology as a whole the line between normative interests and empirical questions is quite blurred. As he points out, the related theories of Marx, Webb

Er, and Durkheim provide conceptual frameworks to incorporate regulatory concerns; Thus, for example, a sociologist might study poverty using a Weberian analysis to study social class, without acknowledging that one actually cares about inequality. There are normative implications inherent in all sociological disciplines and the sociology of religion is no more valuable than other fields. A person can be a religious skeptic or a religious theist and still be a good sociologist – that is, able to recognize the importance of religion when examining the social universe.

The sociology of religion treats religion as an empirically observable social fact. Thus it applies a sociological perspective to describe, understand and interpret the multiplicity of ways religion matters in society. Sociologists of religion are not concerned with examining whether God exists or with demonstrating the intellectual compatibility of religion and science. Rather, the focus is on understanding religious beliefs and how they relate to worldview, practices and identity, the diverse forms of expression religion takes, how religious practices and meanings change over time, and their implications, and others. Relationship with spheres of personal and social action. As a social phenomenon, religion is similar to other social phenomena in that it can be studied at different levels and units of analysis and draws on the multiplicity of theoretical concepts and research designs that characterize the discipline.

Why study religion?

Religion is an important construct for understanding social life in contemporary America and other parts of the world. Religion should be of interest to sociologists because (a) it helps shed light on understanding the daily experiences of most Americans; (b) it is a significant predictor of a wide variety of social processes, from political action to health outcomes; and (c) it has the potential to play an important emancipatory role in processes of social change.

Religion and social understanding. Nationally representative surveys (eg, Gallup and Lindsay 1999; Greeley and Hout 1999) document that the majority of American adults have a religious affiliation (59 percent), believe in God (95 percent) and in an afterlife (80 percent). pray (90 percent), and read the Bible (69 percent), and a greater number (40 percent) report regular attendance at a place of worship. Furthermore, 87 percent of Americans say that religion is important in their lives. These numbers in themselves mean that even if it has no explanatory power, religion will still play an important role in the process of understanding how modern Americans define their lives and the social and material world around them. Given the prominence of religion in the US, it is not surprising that socio-religious issues (such as abortion, capital punishment, welfare reform, stem cell research, school prayer, public display of religious symbols, government funding for religiously affiliated schools, etc.) Voucher) a distinctive feature of political debate and judicial case load. Religious institutions also play a widespread role in American society, with denominational organizations, churches and religiously affiliated schools, colleges, hospitals, social service agencies, and religious publishing and media companies contributing significantly to the domestic and international economy.

Several chapters of the Handbook focus on understanding the role of religion in daily life, with several authors providing insight into the rich diversity of practices that comprise the contemporary religious landscape. For example, Helen Rose Abaugh America

focuses on the religious practices of new immigrant groups in the U.S. (Chapter 17). His comparative ethnographic study of congregations in Houston includes, for example, a Greek Orthodox church, a Hindu temple, a Muslim mosque with predominantly Indo-Pakistani members, a Vietnamese and a Chinese Buddhist temple, and Mexican Catholic and Protestant churches. Are included. As Abaugh documents, the ethno-religious practices of these diverse groups permeate American religion as well as urban culture through the physical reproduction of home-country religious structures such as temples, pagodas, and golden domes, and the use of native building materials and artifacts. influence through. At the same time, Abaugh shows that, as it was for nineteenth-century European immigrants, religion is a major factor shaping ethnic adaptation and assimilation patterns of new immigrants. Religion provides a communal anchor that enables immigrants to maintain social ties to the culture and traditions of their home country, as well as giving them access to social networks and structures that pave the way for their participation in mainstream society. does.

Religion as social explanation. Religion not only helps us understand social experiences and institutional practices; It also acts as a power

Influential source for explaining a wide range of social attitudes and behavior. For example, Manza and Wright (Chapter 21) demonstrate that religion exerts a significant influence on individual voting behavior and political party alignment in the US and Western Europe. The religious cleavages he identifies in American society include church attendance, doctrinal beliefs, sectarian identity, and local collective context. Importantly, as Manza and Wright show, religious involvement is not just a proxy for other variables such as social class, ethnicity or region, but exerts an independent influence in shaping voters’ choices. For example, they observe that there has not been a significant reorganization of the Catholic electorate since the 1950s, although Catholics have become more conservative economically, their Republican shift on economic issues being offset by their increasingly moderate position on social issues. is offset.

Religion as a liberating resource. It is common for the mass media to emphasize the negative and defensive aspects of religion. Clearly, this characterization fits somewhat with religion’s role in preserving traditional practices in times of social change and its political use in defensive alignment against modern culture. Furthermore, as John Hall (Chapter 25) elaborates, “there is an undeniably real relationship between religion and violence.” However, the negative aspects and consequences of religion should not obscure the potentially redemptive assets of religion and the resources it provides in the struggle against institutional and social inequality.

Today, diverse faith-based groups challenge inequality in religious institutions and other institutional and social spheres. For example, Richard Wood (Chapter 26) uses his ethnographic research in California to show that community justice projects focused on achieving greater equality in access to socioeconomic resources (e.g., better jobs and health care) have theoretical How faith and religiously based organizational resources are used. for poor, working families). He emphasizes the multi-issue, multi-faith and multi-racial character of faith-based community organizing. When Latinos, whites, African Americans, and Hmong gather together to advocate for health care and share personal experiences and inspirational scriptures, such meetings help build bonds of social trust within and between communities. Does It is a process, argues Wood, that regenerates political culture while working towards a more just society. In short, at many diverse sites and for many different groups (see also McRoberts, Chapter 28; Nietz, Chapter 20; Peña, Chapter 27; Williams, Chapter 22), religion can be used not only in resisting dominance but also as a collective Can become a living resource aimed at eliminating hyperactivity. inequality.


The intention behind this handbook was to bring together current research and thinking in the sociology of religion. Authors were invited to write original chapters focusing on selected aspects of their engagement with the region. For some contributors this involved integrating ideas they had considered and argued over many years, while for other authors it involved discussion of their current research. In any case, the chapters are ambitious; Rather than being reviews of the literature on specific topics, they are comprehensive and coherent without necessarily attempting to dwell on the ambiguities, subtleties, and controversies that characterize the sociological study of religion. The intention is not to settle intellectual debates, but rather by reframing the questions being asked or shifting the frame – in some cases the time, place, methods and constructs – used to research specific questions.

To propose new ways of seeing.

The Handbook provides a compendium for students and scholars who wish to learn more about the sociology of religion and is a resource for sociologists in general who will find that many chapters cover other areas of sociology (e.g., inequality, ethnicity, integrate questions into the life course). identity, culture, organization, political sociology, social movement, health). The collection provides quick access to vibrant areas of inquiry in the sociology of religion. Accordingly, the subject matter covered broadly covers traditional research topics (eg, modernity, secularism, politics, life course) and newer interests (eg, feminism, spirituality, violence, faith-based community action). Some topics have not been included for various reasons, but they are important nonetheless. For example, it discusses questions addressing the direct and indirect effects of religion on local, national, and international economies (cf. Smelser and Swedberg 1994), or the interactions between religion and the mass media (cf. Hoover 1997). Has not been done. The collection however clearly deserves sociological attention.

The aim of the handbook is to clarify the validity of di

Verse theoretical approaches and research design and their applicability to understanding the multi-layered nature of religion as a sociological phenomenon. Reported research findings are comparative historical (eg, Finke and Stark; Gorski; Hall), survey (eg, Chaves and Stephens; Dashefsky et al.; Hout; Manza and Wright; McCullough and Smith; Roof); longitudinal life courses (eg, Dillon & Wink; Shercut); and ethnographic case studies, interviews, and observational (e.g., Davidman; Abbou; Edgell McRoberts; Nieves; Peña; Wood) data. Our ability to understand the multidimensionality of social phenomena is enriched when we have access to a variety of data and are able to entertain the explanatory value of research sites and diverse theoretical perspectives.

This handbook reflects the specific historical and cultural context from which it emerged, namely late twentieth century–early twenty first century American sociology. Most of the authors are American, much of the empirical research discussed is drawn from American samples, and the topics covered largely reflect American discourse. Nevertheless, some authors are non-American and work outside the United States (eg, Baer, Dewey, Lazarowitz, Tabari), and many contributors include a comparative cross-national perspective (eg, Baer, Dewey, Finke and Stark, Gorsky, Dashufsky) , Lazarowitz and Tabori, Manza and Wright, Hall, Wood). The North American/Western perspective expressed is not intended to suggest that religion is not important elsewhere or that the sociology of religion is not exciting, for example, in Asian or Latin American countries. Rather, the sociology of religion is an internationally engaged field (e.g., evident in the number and extent of foreign conferences related to the field). But it would not be practical or intellectually coherent to give voice in a single booklet to important religious trends, themes and attitudes in a broad selection of countries. It is my hope, however, that the basic questions addressed in this section will be useful to scholars working outside American academia and that it will contribute to ferment in the sociology of religion in sites beyond American borders.

The Handbook is divided into six parts. Part I focuses on religion as an area of sociological knowledge. Following this chapter, Robert Wuthnow (Chapter 2), sensitizes readers to some of the tensions in studying religion sociologically and how they can be legitimately sidestepped within the discipline and in terms of interdisciplinary collaboration. Robert Bellah, as already indicated, in Chapter 3 provides a strong argument for the enduring social relevance of religion which crystallizes in various daily rituals. Chapters 4 and 5 focus on religion and the social development of religion as an area of inquiry. Peter Baer traces the consequences of modernity and wider global socio-historical processes on world religions and the creation of diverse social forms of religion. Baer focuses on the boundaries between religion and non-religion and between religions, and considers the process by which these distinctions are made and their social consequences (chapter 4). Grace Dewey (Chapter 5) examines the centrality of religion in classical sociological theory and the subsequent differences in the theory and research of religion in North America (which emphasizes religious vitality) and Europe (where secularism prevails). Elaborates on different relevant reasons for different paths. , She, too, emphasizes the global dimensions of religion and points to the contemporary sociological challenge presented by global religious movements [eg, Pentecostalism, Catholicism, fundamentalism(s)].

Part II deals broadly with the concept and measurement of religion and social change. The first two chapters of this block focus specifically on measurement considerations. Michael Hout (Chapter 6) The Importance of Demography as an Explanation of Religious Stability and Change

throws light on. He shows how changing demographic patterns (e.g., marital, fertility, and immigration rates) change religious composition and levels of church attendance, and he emphasizes the importance of large and detailed data sets to provide direct and accurate results of changing demographics. The retributive effect can be tracked to religion. Mark Chaves and Laura Stephens (Chapter 7) focus on the problems associated with using self-report measures of church attendance as a standard indicator of American religiosity. For example, they discuss how social desirability and the ambiguity between church membership, attendance, affiliation, and religious sensibility can distort survey respondents’ accounts of church habits, thus distorting religious activity over time. can complicate sociological assessments of sustainability.

Chapters 8 and 9 cover the ongoing secularism debate in sociology. Roger Finke A

The other is Rodney Stark, the two sociologists most closely identified with the religious economy model of religious behavior (that is, that inter-religious competition drives religious participation) based on his extensive historical and cross-national research the more explanatory value of his perspective. Attract to argue for. Secularization Paradigm (Chapter 8). They emphasize how supply-side characteristics of a religious market (eg, regulation, interfaith competition and conflict) are responsible for variation in levels of religious commitment. Philip Gorski, in contrast (Chapter 9), draws attention to the interplay between sociological, political, and religious factors in a given historical context. Gorky argues that credible empirical claims for secularism or religious vitality must be based on a much longer historical and much broader geographical frame (for example, religious practices in medieval and post-medieval Europe) than those used in current debates. Should be Furthermore, because Christianity is rife with ebb and flow, any observed decline, Gorsky points out, may be cyclical and reversible.

The interrelationships between theoretical concepts and empirical data on our understanding of the changing dynamics of religion are illustrated in the last two chapters of this section. Patricia Chang (Chapter 10) discusses the changing sociological approaches to the study of religious organizations and the ways in which they converge with and diverge from sociological analysis of non-religious organizations. She elaborates on the importance of the highly decentralized nature of the religious sphere and the diversity of its organizational forms and institutional practices. Wade Clark Roof (Chapter 11) focuses on new forms of spiritual engagement in American society and their increasing autonomy from traditional religious structures and traditional ways of thinking about religion. His analytical schema recognizes the distinctions, but also the overlap, between religious and spiritual identity, and he argues for new definitions of religion that explicitly integrate the more psychological aspects of seeker spirituality with traditional sociological models of religion. Does

The second part of the Handbook deals more explicitly with the relationship between religion and other domains of social behaviour. Part III focuses on issues of religion and life. Darren Shercutt’s research examines the life course dynamics of religious socialization (Chapter 12). He shows that, while parents are the principal agents of influence on their young children, adult children can influence the religious behavior of their older parents, who in turn can influence their adult children, especially when they He himself takes responsibility for the socialization of the children. Penny Edgell highlights the responsiveness of religious congregations to the varying life-stage needs of their members (Chapter 13). She finds that, while churches embrace a traditional nuclear family model, they are increasingly adapting their rhetoric and routines to be more inclusive of the diversity of contemporary families (e.g., single-parent and dual-career families). makes adjustments. Michelle Dillon and Paul Vink (Chapter 14) use longitudinal life course data to examine religiosity and spirituality in the second half of adulthood. In their sample, religiosity and spirituality increased in older adulthood for both men and women, and although the two religious orientations have different significances, both are associated with altruism, purposeful participation in everyday activities, and successful coping with the aging process. Engaged positively with the conversation. In Chapter 15, Michael McCullough and Timothy Smith present a critical review of the rapidly expanding body of interdisciplinary research on religion and health. Focusing on depression and mortality, their meta-analyses indicated that, on average, people who are religiously involved “live slightly longer lives and have slightly lower levels of depressive symptoms” than those who are less religious. experience”.

Part IV focuses on religion and identity. Religion has long played a major role in reinforcing ethnic and national identity and current scholarship additionally recognizes the multiple, cross-cutting ways that religion can

goes hand in hand with gender, sexuality, race and social class. Nancy Ammerman (Chapter 16) argues that while religious institutions are important sites for the construction of religious identity, they are not the only suppliers of religious narratives. Rather, she elaborates that as identity is embedded in different institutional, relational and material contexts, religious and other identity signals are shaped by a number of religious and non-religious spaces (for example, popular evangelical body tattoos, clothing and jewelry in pop culture). In Chapter 17, Helen Rose Abaugh, as already mentioned, elaborates on the ethno-religious practices of new immigrant congregations and shows how

w They mediate cultural assimilation, highlighting the increasing de-Europeanization of American religion and culture. Dashufsky, Lazarwitz, and Tabari focus on socio-historical and cross-cultural variations in the expression of Jewish identity (Chapter 18). For example, they find that Israeli Jews are far more likely than American Jews to follow kosher food laws, but within Israel, Jews of Middle Eastern origin are more likely to do so than Euro-Israeli Jews. have a possibility. The specific religious practices of the various Jewish subgroups are partly as Deshefsky et al. Demonstrate their minority cultural status in comparison to the larger society.

The multiple paths toward the attainment of, or affiliation with, a religious identity means that, as Lynn Davidman argues, one can be Jewish without being observant (chapter 19). She discusses regular ways to integrate a “religious” element into one’s life independent of formal religious involvement. For her respondents, being Jewish included those scripts and practices that were derived from familial, cultural, and historical ties to Judaism and that they perceived as a coherent, but non-religious, Jewish identity. Let’s agree.

Mary Jo Nietzsche emphasizes the “embodiment” of religious identity (Chapter 20). Reviewing the impact of feminist inquiry on the sociology of religion, she discusses the importance of studying religion as found in “women’s place” and their experiences, rather than from an approach of traditional institutional boundaries and theoretical categories. Nietzsche points to the diversity of women’s experiences and observes that in some women’s lives (eg, those who experience personal violence), religion can be a place of oppression, using it to resist patriarchal structures and expectations. Can also be used as a resource.

The chapters in Part V examine the multi-layered relationship between religion, politics and public culture. Jeff Manza and Nathan Wright, as already indicated, examine the consistent influence of religion on individual voting behavior (Chapter 21). Sociologists interested in the dynamics of social movements are necessarily confronted with the organizational and cultural resources provided by religion. As shown by Rhys Williams (Chapter 22), religion and religious communities comprise a natural basis for social movement activism. He discusses the many resources (e.g., ritual, rhetoric, clergy leaders) religion provides with collective mobility and the challenges religious social movements face in negotiating the external political and cultural environment (e.g., political compromise versus ideological purity). .

The multidimensional relationship between religious worldview and ethical-ideological conflict is the concern of Fred Nieves (Chapter 23). Arguing against the use of dichotomous categories (e.g., liberal versus conservative) in studying cultural conflict, Knis’s broader perspective facilitates greater identification of peripheral groups (e.g., Mennonites, Buddhists), and shows that inter- Group ideological nuances and ideologies that embody values (for example, scriptural authority and egalitarianism) can shape public discourse. J Demerath explores cross-national differences in the relationship between religion, nationalism and civil society (Chapter 24). He elaborates on the diverse intellectual and practical ways in which civil religion is understood, and delineates its differential socio-political implications, for example, the fragmented social order that characterizes societies in which two or more Competing civil religions dominate (eg, Israel, Northern Ireland).

John Hall presents a comprehensive analysis of the relatively little-studied theoretical and empirical relationship between religion and violence (Chapter 25). He proposes an exploratory typology to characterize the range of “cultural logics” that underlie the potential for religious violence. Hall discusses the importance of factors such as nationalism, colonialism, the presence of religious systems, interreligious competition, and the establishment’s suppression of countercultural religious movements. Arguing that “there is no firewall between religion and other social phenomena,” Hall notes that while violence is independent of religion in many socio-historical examples, it is, nevertheless, often the “vehicle” and “nothing” for the violent. becomes only the site”. expression of social aspirations.

The three chapters that comprise the final section, Part VI, focus on religion and socioeconomic inequality.

Let’s focus. As noted earlier, Richard Wood (Chapter 26) analyzes the history and character of faith-based community justice organizing. Milagros Peña focuses on the relationship between Latinas’ everyday realities, faith-based community participation, and political consciousness (chapter 27). She shows that the pastoral and community activities of Latinas empower them to be “active agents of social change” who stand up against oppressive social practices. Focusing on the “Border Ray”

Peña’s ethnographic research indicates how the political consciousness of Latinas comes from their daily encounters with poverty, intimidation and violence and their participation in faith-based community groups. are nurtured through mediums and centers that facilitate their mobilization against exploitation. Here too, similar to Wood’s findings, social activism transcends boundaries of religion, caste and social class.

In the third chapter of this volume, Omar McRoberts uses his study of a largely poor, African-American Boston neighborhood to challenge the validity of an earthly/supernatural dichotomy to describe the Black Church (chapter 28). He shows, for example, that many theologically conservative (“otherworldly”) Pentecostal-Apostolic churches engage in prophetic and socially transformative activism. McRoberts also finds that, independent of theology, ideological barriers such as racism and perceptions of government malfeasance can inhibit the readiness of clergy to leverage public funds for church-based social projects. The finding takes on additional significance in light of current government efforts to increase the institutional role of churches and faith-based organizations in welfare provision.

a note to the future

Religion remains an important dimension linking individual life, collective identity, institutional practices, and public culture, and, although in some circumstances it has negative effects (eg, violence), in other situations it carries a redemptive charge (eg , believes). based organization). Sociologists have made significant theoretical and empirical advances in understanding religion, but of course much remains unknown. One of the challenges is in understanding the local and global diversity of religious worldviews and practices and their social and political implications. The emerging body of research on the religious practices of new immigrants fills an important gap in this regard. But other gaps remain. For example, we need to pay close attention to the breadth and depth of religion in different socio-historical contexts. As Philip Gorski (Chapter 9) points out, “setting the present more firmly within the past” provides a richer theoretical and empirical understanding of current trends and cross-national variations in religion. At the micro level, the task is to gain a better understanding of religion as lived in different sociological contexts and to explore how macro structural and cultural changes shape the religious practices of individuals and specific historical groups. Related to this, for example, is the “new” reality presented by the increasing differentiation of religiosity and spirituality after the 1960s. Thus we need to design studies that capture the changing contemporary situation as well as place these paradigms in their socio-historical and geographical context.

Furthermore, since religion has emerged as a powerful explanatory variable in the analysis of behavior in many social domains (e.g., politics, health, social responsibility, violence), we need to consider the potential implications of religion and spirituality in others previously understood. There is a need to be cautious about. Shells. Despite institutional pressures for specialization within sociology, it is clear that many sociologists of religion engage useful ideas and themes that cut across other subfields (eg, organizations, political sociology). Additional areas of interdisciplinary expertise that may be more systematically engaged by sociologists of religion include economic sociology, education, popular culture, and law and criminology. Although researchers have begun to write about relevant topics within these related fields, our knowledge of how religious practices shape and are shaped by activity in these fields is still quite preliminary. .

New Sociology


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