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Studies of religious conversion and religious conversion movements have >
rapidly become a central issue in scholarly debate, including discussions
about the nature of religious and social change. What is conversion and
how and why do conversion movements take place? How far was
conversion the result of individual or corporate crises? What was the
relationship between the converts’ earlier world of ideas and practice and
his or her new-found faith? Did conversion involve a ‘burning of
bridges’, or was it simply entrance into an additional socio-religious
circle? How far did conversion encourage upward social mobility, or
stimulate economic and political change?
The papers compiled in this book, which are based on a reading of fresh and original
source material, address these and other issues with specific reference to
South Asia in the nineteenth century. They range from studies of
conversion to Christianity among Muslims, Hindus of diverse
backgrounds and Dalits, to an exploration of conversion and non-
conversion experiences among Indians and Europeans who experimented
with Theosophy, a movement which came into prominence in India
during the third quarter of the nineteenth century.
This volume will be of particular interest not only to those concerned ith socio-religious and cultural developments in South Asia, but is also relevant for scholars attempting to understand the religious conversion
phenomenon in other parts of the world.