Understanding Hindu Civilization

The problematic encounter between Westernizing modernity and Hindu civilization is—more than that of Christian missionary activity (continuing unabated in foreign-funded proselytizing), (institutional legacies of) colonial rule and administrative measures, increasing integration into a globalizing capitalist economy (with upper-caste Hindus having ended up the wealthiest immigrant community in the United States), hegemony of new disciplines (history, archaeology, linguistics, psychoanalysis, etc.) now being studied by Indians themselves, Hindu mobilization to defend their traditional values (with the global diaspora beginning to take a leading role)—primarily the challenge of translating between two diametrically opposed taxonomies of knowledge, conflicting ways of organizing the world around us. Given that the Indian state—through its electoral setup, education curriculum, economic policies, etc.—is the single largest determinant of the future of its religious constituencies, the overt and sometimes aggressive politicization of this 'civilizational' agenda in the form of 'Hindutva' was perhaps even more inevitable than is Christian fundamentalism in the United States today.


Some of these dialogues—often multilogues—have been compiled, edited and reformatted into digests that are enumerated as hyperlinks within the last (Dialogues) item under participant's name below. Contributors should feel free to modify their views in the light of the evolving discussions.

The Politics of Iconophilia: Idolatry, Iconoclasm, and the problem of representing God ( Sep 2006 - ) [counters temporarily disabled]

Idolatry, iconoclasm, and aesthetics of the human form: becoming God’s image in the Mirror of (Self-) Recognition [counters temporarily disabled]

The Politics of the female body - Part I: Nudity, Bollywood, and the Hindu Eros (Nov 2005 -  ) [counters temporarily disabled]

The Politics of the female body - Part II: Sexual freedom, caste regulations, and Hindu acculturation in Kerala (Feb 07 - ) [counters temporarily disabled]

The Politics of the female body - Part III: Anglo-Saxon Feminism and the Islamic Hijab (Nov 2005 - ) [counters temporarily disabled]

Does Hinduism exist? [counters temporarily disabled]

Is Sanskrit Dead? [counters temporarily disabled]

Caste, racism, assimilation, and multiculturalism: The politics of acculturation [counters temporarily disabled]

Etymologizing in Sumero-Tamil, Sanskrit & Indo-European: Is ‘comparative linguistics’ just a genocidal ‘scientific’ joke? [counters temporarily disabled]

Between Africans, Meluhhans, and Indo-Aryans: Who are the Dravidians? [counters temporarily disabled]

Ethnogenesis of the Indus-SarasvatÓ Civilization [counters temporarily disabled]

Is ‘Hinduism’ a ‘religion’? dharma, transcendence and the ‘human sciences’ [counters temporarily disabled]

Is Hindutva a ‘legitimate’ expression of ‘Hinduism’? Religion, nationalism and the ‘secular’ Indian state [counters temporarily disabled]

Future of Hindu-Christian relations: a Dialogue about dialogue! [counters temporarily disabled]