Inventing Hinduism


An interesting essay by Pankaj Mishra on modern Hindu Identity:

The invention of the Hindu

Hinduism is largely a fiction, formulated in the 18th and 19th centuries out of a multiplicity of sub-continental religions, and enthusiastically endorsed by Indian modernisers. Unlike Muslims, Hindus have tended to borrow more than reject, and it has now been reconfigured as a global rival to the big three monotheisms. In the process, it has abandoned the tradition of toleration which lie in its true origins.

Go to Amardeep Singh’s blog for links to this and other articles, and some very cogent comments on the article. Amardeep Singh points out that Mishra is rehashing an argument he has been making for a while, and what some of the problems with Mishra’s argument might be.

The utility of the Mishra piece is that he is saying things that need to be said again and again, and it is something I can pass along to my aunts and uncles who are not academics but think about these issues.