Author: Antony Copley
Translator(s)/ Editors(s): Antony Copley
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0-19-806282-6
Is religion essentially a matter of private faith, or does it ineluctably play its part in society at large? With this critical question at its core, this insightful volume of essays investigates the nature of nationalism embraced by the religious reform movements of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
The essays comment on the relationship between these movements and Hindutva, and analyse the reasons behind the possible need for a new king of social integration within the Hindu community in India.
Beginning with the premise that any pursuit of an Indian identity in the narrow terms of Hinduness is a radical distortion, this significant volume attempts to investigate why there might be a need for a new kind of social integration within the Hindu community in India.
It looks at the phenomenon of religious reform movements in terms of the larger paradigm of modernisation, and in collusion with the ideas of nationalism and Hindutva. In doing so, it attempts to answer the question - what indeed is the role of religion in society?
The first few essays analyse the influence of key personalities such as Vivekananda, Aurobindo, and Dayanand Saraswati on the rise of ideas which later came to be known as Hindutva. The later essays in the volume address the public-private paradigm more directly as they look at 'feminist' movements associated with Hindutva and more contemporary Hindu reform movements.
In conclusion, the essays demonstrate that while the exact connection between Hindutva and the religious reform movements remain uncertain, it is clear that a specifically religious or Hindu nationalism grew out of the same intellectual climate as the secular freedom struggle.
The volume serves the crucial purpose of answering many questions about the Hindutva movement which have troubled the individual consciousness for a long time. It will be essential reading for students, scholars, political analysts, sociologists, historians, and the informed non-specialist reader.