Universität Wien FIND

142098 UE Religious Minorities in South Asia (2021W)

Continuous assessment of course work


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first served).


max. 24 participants
Language: English



Do 13:00-14:30, ab 7.10.


Aims, contents and method of the course

Multiplicity of South Asian culture is manifested, among others, in its religious mosaic. Demographically, however, religious majority in each state has a different faith. Adherents to Hinduism in India and Nepal, Islam in Pakistan and Bangladesh, Buddhism in Sri Lanka outnumber people of other religious faith in these countries.
Thus, quite interestingly, the religious majority in one state finds itself as religious minority in the other one. Political conditions of these minorities differ from country to country in accordance with the nature of the political system in the respective country, socio-political history of the specific religious minority and so on.
There are some minorities not so visible on the political front; Parsees, Bahais, Zikris and Bohras etc., in India and Pakistan.
Likewise, the socio-political state of a religious minority rests on the structure of its beliefs, political history etc.; from integration/peaceful co-existence (Parsess, Bahais, Bohras etc., in India and Pakistan), insurgency (Sikhs in Indian Punjab and Muslim in Indian Kashmir), violent conflicts (Shia’s in Pakistan), Persecutions (Ahmadis, Christians, Hindus and Zikris in Pakistan) and the policy of forsaking and fleeing (Hindus in Bangladesh and Pakistan) etc.
Tracing the history of each religious minority along with the salient components of its beliefs as well as its socio-psychological self-perception in the given country, the course will locate important moments of South Asian cultural, history, law, state-policies, as well as human-right situation.
Further, dealing with the problematic of religious politics the following areas, among others, will be of prime focus: Postcoloniality/Partition of India, Sectarianism, Identity Politics and Identity crisis, Kashmir Issue, Terrorism, Khalistan Movement/Operation Blue Star and pronouncement of Ahmadis as non-Muslims in the Constitution of Pakistan.

• Constitutional Provisions
• Blasphemy laws in Pakistan Penal Code: Implications & Issues
• Institutional Segregation
• Social Discrimination
• Political Segregation/Separate Electorate
• Violent Conflict and Insurgency
• Persecution and Harassment
• Denying professing of religious faith

Assessment and permitted materials

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

Examination topics

Reading list

Select Bibliography
1. Ahmed, Mukhtar (2001) Sectarian Conflict in Pakistan: A Case Study of Jhang. Colombo: Regional Centre for Strategic Studies.
2. Anwar, Mushir (2012) Rights of Religious Minorities in South Asia: Learning from Mutual Experience. (ed.) Islamabad: Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI).
3. Blank, Jonah. (2001) Mullahs on the Mainframe: Islam and Modernity among the Daudi Bohras. London: The University of Chicago Press, Ltd.
4. Hinnells John R. And Williams, Alan (2008) Parsees in India and the Diaspora. London and New York: Routledge.
5. Howarth, Toby M. (2005) The Twelver Shîa as a Muslim Minority in India: Pulpit of tears. New York: Routledge.
6. Khan, Dr. Borhan Uddin and Rahman, Muhammad Mahbubur (2009) Protection of Minorities: A South Asian Discourse. Dhaka: Dhaka University.
7. Mahmood, Cynthia Keppley. (1996). Fighting for Faith and Nation: Dialogues with Sikh Militants. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania Press.
8. Ollapally, Deepa M. (2008) The Politics of Extremism in South Asia. New York: Cambridge University Press.
9. Riaz, Ali and Fair, C. Christine (2011). Political Islam and Governance in Bangladesh (eds.) London and New York: Routledge.
10. SAHR (2010) Religion: A Tool for Discrimination in South Asia? Colombo, Sri Lanka: South Asians for Human Right (SAHR).
11. Swami, Praveen (2007) India, Pakistan and the Secret Jihad: The Covert War in Kashmir, 1947-2004. London and New York: Routledge.
12. Das, Samir Kumar (2010) Minorities in South Asia and in Europe: A New Agenda. Kolkata: Samya.
13. Varshney, Ashutosh (2002). Ethnic Conflict and Civic Life: Hindus and Muslims in India. New Haven and London: Yale University Press.

Association in the course directory


Last modified: Fr 01.10.2021 14:49