Introduction/Vasudha Dalmia. I. Historical perspectives:
- A radical reassessment of the Vedic heritage: the Acaryahrdayam and its wider implications/Friedhelm Hardy
- Religious configurations in Medieval India and the modern concept of Hinduism/Heinrich von Stietencron
- 'The Only Real Religion of the Hindus' : Vaisnava self-representation in the late nineteenth century/
Vasudha Dalmia. II. The changing faces of religious authority:
Sankara as Jagadguru according to Sankara-Digvijaya/Angelika Malinar.
- Madhva and the reform of Vaisnavism in Karnataka/Robert J. Zydenbos.
- Practical Vedanta/Wilhelm Halbfass.
III. Law, history and the nationalization of Hinduism:
- The Personal Law question and Hindu nationalism/Dieter Conrad
- History and the nationalization of Hinduism/Partha Chatterjee
- The representation of Gods and Heroes in the Parsi mythological drama of the early twentieth century/Anuradha Kapur.
IV. The category 'Hindu' in political discourse:
- The category 'Hindu' in the political discourse of Nepal/Richard Burghart.
- Counter-concepts and the creation of cultural identity: Hindus in the militant Sikh discourse/Veena Das
- The Vishva Hindu Parishad: a nationalist but mimetic attempt at federating the Hindu sects/Christophe Jaffrelot
- The appeal of Hindu history/Gyanendra Pandey
- Gendered fractures in Hindu nationalism: on the subject-members of the Rashtra Sevika Samiti/Paola Bacchetta. List of contributors.
The essays in this collection seek to set up the genealogy of modern Hinduism. They trace key moments in the formation of Hindu traditions, in their relations as well as in major shifts in their configurations. The endeavour is not only to dismantle colonial and nationalist constructions, but also to seek viable models to reconstruct past traditions.
The first section begins with an engagement with early medieval traditions and with the relationship of the Sanskritic to the non-Sanskritic, of the centripetal to the powerful centrifugal forces, which diversified and regionalized constantly. While connected to each other by a shared cultural context and numerous common features, the post-Vedic Indian religions insisted on sharply demarcated theological boundaries. They defined themselves each in terms of superior access to divine grace and salvation.
The state of affairs was to change radically from the late eighteenth century on, when Hinduism came to be used as a collective term for the non-Muslim religious formations in the subcontinent. Colonial legislation, including the census, transformations in historiography as also the performative traditions contributed to the nationalization and unification of monolithic notions of Hinduism. The politicization of Hinduism in contemporary times forms the concern of the last section. It discusses the creation of the other and analyses gendered aspects in the formation of modern Hindu political discourse. Vasudha Dalmia in a comprehensive introduction locates these essays as part of an engagement in understanding the processes moulding modern Hinduism.
With its contemporary relevance and broad range of perspectives, the volume will attract a wide readership including students and scholars of anthropology, history, philosophy, politics, religion, sociology, and the interested general reader.