Author Green, Nile
Article Title Buddhism, Islam and the religious economy of colonial Burma
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Source Journal of Southeast Asian studies. vol. 46, no. 2 (Jun. 2015), p.175-204
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Journal Title Journal of Southeast Asian studies.
Copy vol. 46, no. 2 (Jun. 2015), p.175-204
ISSN 0022-4634
Brief substance Bringing to light the first known Urdu primary source on Islam in colonial Burma, this essay examines the polemical encounter with Buddhism in the years surrounding the Third Anglo–Burmese War. Using the model of religious economy, the Urdu Sayr-e Barhma is contextualised amid the religious pluralisation and competition that accompanied colonisation as a multitude of religious ‘entrepreneurs’ and ‘firms’ rapidly entered the colony. Among them was the Indian Muslim author of Sayr-e Barhma, which provided a detailed account of the history, language and theology of Burman Buddhists and included an account of a public debate which, it claimed, culminated in the conversion of the Thathanabaing (Primate). Against the long-standing historiographical emphasis on the economic roots of anti-Indian sentiments in colonial Burma, this essay points to the religious dimensions of these enduring antagonisms
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