ISBN 9781845534608,Rethinking Hindu Identity

Rethinking Hindu Identity






Publication Year 2009

ISBN 9781845534608

ISBN-10 1845534603


Number of Pages 224 Pages
Language (English)


This book provides an antidote to the virulent version of Hindu communalism and cultural chauvinism and seeks to expose the hollowness of the xenophobic claims about Hindu religious identity. It identifies some of the stereotypes about Hinduism and shows them to be without any basis in historical evidence. Contrary to the belief popularized by the Hindu jingoists, it shows that Hinduism, far from being eternal and monolithic, is the youngest of religions and that its supposed tolerant nature is a myth. The book also challenges the `sacredness' of cow as a community identity of the Hindus and draws on a melange of evidence to demonstrate that the ritual killing of this animal was de rigueur much before the arrival in India of Muslims who are stereotyped as kine killers, that its flesh has been very much a part of the early Indian food regimen, and continues to remain so even today in some sections of Hindu society. The story of the cow through the millennia, the author argues, is full of inconsistencies, thus rendering its supposed holiness elusive, indeed as elusive as Hindu identity itself. Written in a riveting style, the essays in this book are an antidote to the Hindu religious fundamentalist mythomania, and will certainly be of value to those interested in the construction of Hinduism and the politics of Hindu identity in cotemporary India.