Csordas and Kurian, “Catholicism in India”

Csordas, Thomas and Amrita Kurian. 2014. “Catholicism in India” in Routledge handbook of religions in Asia, edited by Bryan S Turner and Oscar Salemink. New York : Routledge.

Excerpt: “Christianity in India has a long, complex and varied history. It accounts for 24,080,016 or 2.3 percent of the total population and is the second largest minority religion in India. Two-thirds of this population is Roman Catholic and almost 14 million Christians are Dalits ….In recent years, the rhetoric and violence of a muscular Hindu nationalism have attempted simultaneously to ‘minoritize’ and make foreign both Christianity and Islam in opposition to an idea Hindu nation ….”

“Neither self-transformation or socio-economic gain fully motivates conversion, and both factors work differently according to the context. Conversion, then, can be a ‘process of dissent’ or ‘tool’ of dissent rather than an ‘end result’ … Likewise, Catholicism can be strategically used within a ‘pragmatic ideology’ as ‘subversive marginality’ …. We have suggested that Catholicism neither was nor is a monolithic religion but is characterized buy a diversity of practices operating at multiple levels across a variety of cultural settings through a range of historical periods. It is a form of identity as well as spirituality for many of its converts, operating in an immensely complicated political field and contributing to ongoing structural transformation and the every-changing cultural mosaic of India.”

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