Religion and secularism in contemporary Nepal

Authored by: David N. Gellner , Chiara Letizia

Routledge Handbook of South Asian Religions

Print publication date:  November  2020
Online publication date:  November  2020

Print ISBN: 9780367150778
eBook ISBN: 9780429054853
Adobe ISBN:


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Between 2006 and 2017, Nepal transitioned from being an officially Hindu kingdom to an officially secular federal republican state. Although some Nepalis have upheld a model of secularism that would imply no connection between the state and religion, for most it implies that the state should support all religions equally. Through case studies (1) of conversion and the relation of Buddhism, Islam, and Christianity to the state and to Hinduism; (2) of diverse Hindu responses to secularism; and (3) of the controversy over animal sacrifices at the Gadhimai festival, the chapter examines the effects of the new concepts, propagated by the state especially since 2015, of secularism and of distinct religions and ethnic groups.

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