'Hindusim'-A Western Construction or an Influence?

Syed Hussain, Shaheed Soherwordi
203 South Asian Studies A Research Journal of South Asian Studies   unpublished
Starting from the meaning of the word 'Hinduism' in different periods of time, this essay will proceed to analyse the biases that have been attributed to Europeans writing about Hinduism and India in general, and turn to the efforts made in the twentieth century to overcome these biases. In the light of these arguments, we will endeavour to find a balance between hegemonic European discourse and extreme cultural relativism, and finally discuss the usefulness of the definition of 'Hinduism' as a
more » ... of 'Hinduism' as a specific and unitary religion. This paper will also examine the Western contribution to the creation, adaptation, and understanding of Hinduism, tracing its historical roots, and examining the separation of popular Hinduism from real Hinduism, through authority given to the importance of scripture. This should enable us to justify that it is the Western interpretation and consequently our understanding that has been constructed, not the religion itself.