Abstract for Online Program Book (maximum 1200 characters including spaces)
Contributors to this panel consider dimensions of populist politics in South Asia from the early 20th century to the present, with a focus on the effects of religious majoritarianism on the livelihoods, mobility, and devotional spaces of Muslims in the region. Panelists consider various social imaginaries animating populist sentiments in Pakistan, India, and Sri Lanka, exploring instances in which religious identity has served to reinforce monological visions of the national past, as well as to inspire pan-national sodalities unified through a positive, aspirational vision of the future. Contributors review instances of Hindu and Buddhist populist politics interpellating majority voting constituencies in India and Sri Lanka, highlighting in addition the need for micro-analysis at the community level in order to parse nuanced and overlapping indices of belonging. This includes two contributions offering case studies in the translation of populist political rhetoric to the actual government management of religiously heterogenous devotional spaces: at the premises of the Dafther Jailani shrine complex in Sri Lanka, and at the mausoleum of the hero-deity Gogaji in Gogameri, Rajasthan.