Sohel Rana, a second-year graduate student, has published a book chapter titled “The God Gap? Public Perception on Religion-Politics Mix in South Asia,” in the volume Religion and Politics in South Asia (Routledge, 2021 Second edition). The book is edited by Ali Riaz. The chapter argues that in the past two decades, there has been a rise in religiosity among the populations of South Asia, namely in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.
The rising religiosity is likely to have significant implications on the religion-politics relationship in these countries, particularly on elections. Drawing on the idea of God Gap that religious citizens are likely to support conservative governance and religious political parties, this chapter shows an aberration from this concept in the context of South Asia. It finds that although increasing religiosity among South Asian populations leads to an increasing tendency to support ‘political parties with religious beliefs’, they do not hail ‘religious political parties’ with significant electoral support. The chapter draws on multiple waves of World Values Survey (WVS), and surveys conducted by Pew Research Center, and Asian Foundation since the 1990s in these four countries. It also examines the performance of religiopolitical parties in recent elections.