Friday, April 2, 2010

"Understanding Hinduism" (book)

WQ: Brahmin, what is a good way to try to understand Hinduism instead of just all this British propaganda about light-skinned Aryan invasions bringing Vedic culture to dark Dravidians?
BRAHMIN: There is a new book by an American professor on the subject that gives an alternative history of how the Sanatan Dharma developed.

Wendy Doniger, a distinguished professor at the University of Chicago, is arguably the foremost, and inarguably the most prolific, scholar of Hinduism in the Western world. Apart from translating the Rig Veda, Manu, and Kamasutra into English, she has authored a number of monographs.
"She is at pains to point out that Hinduism, for most of its history, has been in dialogue with other religions, from Buddhism to Islam and Christianity."

When a scholar of her stature brings to bear half-a-century's work and understanding to provide a synthesized account of the subject, it necessarily evokes wide interest. Simply put, the reader is not disappointed. The self-appointed custodian of Hinduism, who threw an egg at Wendy Doniger at a lecture hall in London in 2003, was evidently ignorant of her credentials.

Engrossing account
Doniger comes in a long line of Western scholars who have widened the world's understanding of one of its major religions, Hinduism.... There are enough standard historical accounts of Hinduism in English. Her book attempts an “alternative history”...referring to the [perspectives of] marginalized groups — namely women, lower castes and, yes, animals — rather than one from the perspective of texts written by men of the brahmin community. She also seeks to bring in the vernacular, meaning non-Sanskritic, traditions of Hinduism into the picture. This is what makes the book different. More>>

No comments: