Rethinking Religion in India: The Colonial Construction of by Esther Bloch, Marianne Keppens, Rajaram Hegde

By Esther Bloch, Marianne Keppens, Rajaram Hegde

This ebook significantly assesses contemporary debates in regards to the colonial building of Hinduism. more and more students have come to understand that the dominant realizing of Indian tradition and its traditions is unsatisfactory. in keeping with the classical paradigm, Hindu traditions are conceptualized as positive factors of a faith with distinctive ideals, doctrines, sacred legislation and holy texts. this present day, even if, many teachers think about this perception to be a colonial ‘construction’. This publication specializes in the various models, arguments and counter-arguments of the thesis that the Hindu faith is a build of colonialism. Bringing jointly different positions within the debate, it offers beneficial old info, arguments and conceptual instruments to ascertain the argument. equipped in elements, the 1st half the e-book presents new analyses of historic and empirical facts; the second one offers a few of the theoretical questions that experience emerged from the controversy at the building of Hinduism. the place many of the members argue that Hinduism used to be created because of a western Christian inspiration of faith and the imperatives of British colonialism, others exhibit that this faith already existed in pre-colonial India; and in its place to those standpoints, different writers argue that Hinduism merely exists within the eu event and doesn't correspond to any empirical fact in India. This quantity bargains new insights into the character of the development of faith in India and should be of curiosity to students of the heritage of faith, Asian faith, Postcolonial and South Asian Studies.

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Another Gorakh-bani verse makes a somewhat different argument for superseding religious boundaries, one that is similar to a view that is often argued by Kabir. Here is Gorakh’s verse: A true Dervish is one who knows [how to find the divine] gate, Who inverts the five breaths, Who stays conscious day and night. That Dervish truly belongs to the caste of Allah. ) 1960: 61) Here Gorakh implicitly juxtaposes the ordinary dervish who knows nothing of Yogic meditation and breath control with the dervish who does practice Yoga.

Attacks on Hindu beliefs and practises by Europeans, particularly by Christian missionaries, certainly did foster responses by Hindu religious intellectuals that led to important changes in Hindu religion. Vasudha Dalmia’s book, The Nationalization of Hindu Traditions (1997), contains an exceptionally clear exposition of some of the ways in which the Christian challenge modified Hindu religion. Similarly, since Indian Independence in 1947, the combined influence of modern media, particularly television, and modern electoral politics have helped create what Romila Thapar (1985) has called a new ‘syndicated moksha’, a standardized and homogenized sort of Hindu religion that did not exist earlier.

Many societies in the world do not even have terms to distinguish between the religious and the non-religious. The conclusion of his chapter is that religion is a concept, just like society or state, which in fact does not exist as a real and distinct phenomenon in the world. N. Balagangadhara, in Orientalism, Postcolonialism and the ‘Construction’ of Religion, attempts to show how religions, as concepts, were constructed in India. To him, ‘Indian religions’, with the exception of Judaism, Christianity and Islam in India, are fictional entities on par with ‘Hogwarts’, the magical school of Harry Potter, and entities like ‘unicorns’ and ‘satyrs’.

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