This book opens the doors to a social and cultural sphere beyond the limited world of the English-speaking elite and provides the basis for an understanding of religious controversy and internal reform. It explores the dynamics of religious interaction and conflict that points toward later developments of communalism and religious separatism still plaguing the subcontinent.
Religious Controversy in British India reveals a world expressed in South Asian dialects that has been closed to many scholars and students of the subcontinent. During the nineteenth century polemical religious literature and those who wrote it mobilized groups and led them back to the "fundamentals. " Sacred texts supporting movements were translated and made available in inexpensive editions. Even texts from the well established oral tradition were put into print. This process was often initiated in response to Christian missionary activity, a response that ultimately expanded to include other religions. In this book, scholars examine the writings of Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs responsible for significant changes within different communities and for a heightened sense of boundary-defining identity.
Kenneth W. Jones is Distinguished Professor in the Department of History at Kansas State University. He is the author of Socio-Religious Reform Movements in British India and Arya Dharm: Hindu Consciousness in 19th-Century Punjab, as well as co-editor of Sources of Punjab History.
"The book is very interesting indeed. The fact that each chapter presents a capsule look at the development of a reformer provides a flavor frequently missing from such volumes. The stories of the reformers highlight the growth of conflict and controversy. " — Ronald Neufeldt, The University of Calgary