Commentaries on contemporary Bangladesh give increasing attention to the role of religion, particularly its more “fundamentalist” forms, in public politics. Here we offer an alternative analysis that explores the significance of religion in people's everyday lives, concentrating on its articulation in community politics. We draw on an important local distinction between dharma understood as a moral foundation for life and dharma understood more narrowly as “religion.” Our empirical analysis suggests that it is the former sense of dharma which has greater relevance for the moral order of the community, and is used to evaluate and structure its social and political institutions, including those identified as “religious.” This perspective furnishes fresh insights into the dynamic relationship between religion, politics and social change in modern Bangladesh.
Devine, J.; White, S.C. Religion, Politics and the Everyday Moral Order in Bangladesh. Journal of Contemporary Asia (2013) 43 (1) 127-147. [DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2012.735544]