This examination of Hinduism in the context of modernity will be of interest to all students of Hinduism, as well as to those interested in the sociology and history of religion. Shows Hinduism to be a highly dynamic world-view which challenges western notions of modernity. Considers a broad range of topics including women, the caste system, the self, divinities and gurus. Contains up-to-date discussions of modern Hindu culture and beliefs.
This innovative book offers a dynamic analysis of Hinduism in the perspective of Western notions of modernity. After reviewing definitions of modernity and Hinduism and looking at modernity in India, the author considers Hinduism in relation to Islam and the West. The second half of the book presents key aspects of Hinduism, ancient and modern, in the light of their contrast with modernity. The scope of the book is extremely broad, covering topics such as Orientalism, women, goddesses, gods, and the central problem of contemporary Hinduism - the rise of Hindu nationalism. The book will be of interest not only to students of Hinduism but also to all those interested in the sociology of religion more broadly, and indeed everyone interested in the conjunction of modernity and tradition.
A free open access ebook is available upon publication. Learn more at www.luminosoa.org. The Emergence of Modern Hinduism argues for the importance of regional, vernacular innovation in processes of Hindu modernization. Scholars usually trace the emergence of modern Hinduism to cosmopolitan reform movements, producing accounts that overemphasize the centrality of elite religion and the influence of Western ideas and models. In this study, the author considers religious change on the margins of colonialism by looking at an important local figure, the Tamil Shaiva poet and mystic Ramalinga Swami (1823–1874). Weiss narrates a history of Hindu modernization that demonstrates the transformative role of Hindu ideas, models, and institutions, making this text essential for scholarly audiences of South Asian history, religious studies, Hindu studies, and South Asian studies.
The Oxford History of Hinduism: Modern Hinduism focuses on developments resulting from movements within the tradition as well as contact between India and the outside world through both colonialism and globalization. Divided into three parts, part one considers the historical background to modern conceptualizations of Hinduism. Moving away from the reforms of the 19th and early 20th century, part two includes five chapters each presenting key developments and changes in religious practice in modern Hinduism. Part three moves to issues of politics, ethics, and law. This section maps and explains the powerful legal and political contexts created by the modern state—first the colonial government and then the Indian Republic—which have shaped Hinduism in new ways. The last two chapters look at Hinduism outside India focusing on Hinduism in Nepal and the modern Hindu diaspora.
The Hindu Nation begins with an introduction examining nationhood in India and then traces the political conflict to Nehruvian cultural policy after 1947. In today's world, no religion can claim to be superior to any other. But in pursuing 'modernity' and inculcating the 'scientific' and 'secular' outlook, Nehruvian rationalism created an elite liberal class that was sceptical about the majority religion, but this was not extended to other religions because of a misunderstanding of secularism. In promoting Westernised education, the preservation of local knowledge was neglected and Hinduism lost respect among the educated elite born into it. The elite class became the intermediary with the West, which now dominates the academic study of India. Further, prompted by the sceptical attitude of many liberal Indians, Western academics and intellectuals accord Hinduism less respect compared to other religions and treat it as 'superstition'. Traditional Indians who revere Hinduism but are products of the same lopsided system respond by attributing false value to India's prehistory and its past. Hinduism is not a religion but a collection of practices associated with the space now called India. Author M.K. Raghavendra examines what being a Hindu means and asks whether its practices are reconcilable with global modernity and compatible with justice and egalitarianism. While examining the obstacles a modern Hindu nation faces, including the fixed ways of a large public, this extensively researched book also suggests measures to make India successful as a global power and Hinduism widely respected.
Arguably, the greatest achievement of Swami Vivekananda, one of the most celebrated icons of modern India, was the reconstruction of Hinduism. This he accomplished by reforming the religion in India and changing its image in the West. Indeed, the Hinduism that Vivekananda expounded at the Parliament of World's Religions in Chicago was a new, progressive version of an ancient tradition, devoid of the superstitions and distortions with which it had come to be associated. He revolutionized Hindu faith traditions by turning them into a repository of rational, universal philosophy. This book tries to get to the heart of Swami Vivekananda's legacy and his relevance in the contemporary world. It examines hitherto lesser-known aspects of Swamiji's life and work including his contributions to practical Vedanta, universal religion, science-spirituality and inter-religious dialogue, dharmic secularism, educational philosophy, poetry, and, above all, to the problem of Indian modernity. Despite the abundance of literature available on him, Swami Vivekananda is still not understood adequately, remaining somewhat of an enigma. A fresh reading of the life and times of the Swami by someone who has studied him closely, Makarand R. Paranjape's detailed, thought-provoking account shows that in Vivekananda's visionary thoughts lay the seeds of the creation of a modern India. This book reclaims Swami Vivekananda's stature as a pioneer of contemporary Hindu thought and nationalism.
The state of Goa on India's southwest coast was once the capital of the Portuguese-Catholic empire in Asia. When Vasco Da Gama arrived in India in 1498, he mistook Hindus for Christians, but Jesuit missionaries soon declared war on the alleged idolatry of the Hindus. Today, Hindus and Catholics assert their own religious identities, but Hindu village gods and Catholic patron saints attract worship from members of both religious communities. Through fresh readings of early Portuguese sources and long-term ethnographic fieldwork, this study traces the history of Hindu-Catholic syncretism in Goa and reveals the complex role of religion at the intersection of colonialism and modernity.
Violence has always played a part in the religious imagination, from symbols and myths to legendary battles, from colossal wars to the theater of terrorism. The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Violence surveys intersections between religion and violence throughout history and around the world. The forty original essays in this volume include overviews of major religious traditions, showing how violence is justified within the literary and theological foundations of the tradition, how it is used symbolically and in ritual practice, and how social acts of violence and warfare have been justified by religious ideas. The essays also examine patterns and themes relating to religious violence, such as sacrifice and martyrdom, which are explored in cross-disciplinary or regional analyses; and offer major analytic approaches, from literary to social scientific studies. The contributors to this volume--innovative thinkers who are forging new directions in theory and analysis related to religion and violence--provide novel insights into this important field of studies. By mapping out the whole field of religion and violence, The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Violence will prove an authoritative source for students and scholars for years to come.
This book explores the ways in which modern Hindu identities were constructed in the early nineteenth century. It draws parallels between sixteenth and eventeenth Cecntury Protestantism and the rise of modernity in the West, and the Hindu reformation in the nineteenth century which contributed to the rise of Vedantic Hindu modernity discourse in India. The nineteenth century Hindu modernity, it is argued, sought both individual flourishing and collective emancipation from Western domination. For the first time Hinduism began to be constructed as a religion of sacred texts. In particular, texts belonging to what could be loosely called Vedanta: Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita. In this way, the main protagonists of this Vedantist modernity were imitating Western Protestantism, but at the same time also inventing totally novel interpretations of what it meant to be Hindu. The book traces the major ideological paths taken in this cultural-religious reformation from its originator Rammohun Roy up to its last major influence, Rabindranath Tagore. Bringing these two versions of modernity into conversation brings a unique view on the formation of modern Hindu identities. It will, therefore, be of great interest to scholars of religious, Hindu and South Asian studies, as well as religious istory and interreligious dialogue.
This book presents a study on a postmodernist analysis of classical Hindu law, which has become neglected due to the modernist assumptions about the increasing irrelevance of ‘religious’ legal systems. The book is split into three parts. The first part focuses on the historical and conceptual background of Hindu law, while the second part concentrates on five facets of Hindu law that go beyond tradition and modernity, namely the Hindu marriage law, child marriage, polygamy, divorce, and the maintenance law. Finally, the third part presents a concluding analysis to the preceding chapters, where it presents the postmodern condition of Hindu law.
The most pertinent social, economic and political issues confronting India today center around the question of modernity. In this book, Javeed Alam seeks to untangle the complex, and often contradictory, constructions of modernity. He suggests new ways of approaching modernity which are liberatory, rather than oppressive, and may help in the struggle for a more equitable and just society both within the country and in the wider world.