India's Religious Pluralism and its Implications for the Economy

Date: Feb, 2002
ODID Working Paper No. 82
Author(s): Barbara Harriss-White (QEH)

While the relation between religion, politics and the construction of the Indian nation is well established, the implications for the functioning of the economy of a plurality of religions in India has not been researched. Indeed a large agenda of research is identified here. In this paper, three questions are examined : (1) why religion has not dissolved as a force in the economy - why it has not been banished to private life; (2) how far are the roles played by religion, and the plurality of religions, efficient; and (3) how far the conditions of production in India may accentuate or even require, as much as be hindered by, the plurality of religions as they are socially constituted in India. Case material on the minorities is brought to bear on these questions.

ODID Author(s)