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Hinduism in Public and Private: Reform, Hindutva, Gender and Sampraday

Antony Copley (Editor)
Synopsis 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 kind 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, Hinduism in Public and Private surveys the phenomenon of religious reform movements within the larger paradigm of modernization, and in tandem with the ideas of nationalism and Hindutva. In doing so, it poses and explores the important question—what should be the acceptable role and expression of religion in modern society? The first few essays analyse the influence of key personalities such as Vivekananda, Aurobindo, and Dayanand Saraswati on the rise of ideas that 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 remains uncertain, a specifically religious or Hindu nationalism actually grew out of the same intellectual climate as the secular freedom struggle. With a comprehensive introduction by Copley, this 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.
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About the author

Antony Copley

Antony Copley is Reader in Modern History at the University of Kent, Caterbury. He is the author of The Political Career of C. Rajagopalachari 1937-1954: A Moralist in Politics, C. Rajagopalachari: Gandhi's Southern Commander, Gandhi: Against the Tide and Sexual Moralities in France 1780-1980.

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Bibliographic information

Title Hinduism in Public and Private: Reform, Hindutva, Gender and Sampraday
Author Antony Copley
Format Softcover
Date published: 31.12.2009
Edition Reprint.
Language: English
isbn 195663934
length viii+304p., 23cm.