The Hindus: An Alternative History

Front Cover
Penguin, Mar 19, 2009 - Religion - 800 pages
14 Reviews
From one of the world?s foremost scholars on Hinduism, a vivid reinterpretation of its history

An engrossing and definitive narrative account of history and myth that offers a new way of understanding one of the world?s oldest major religions, The Hindus elucidates the relationship between recorded history and imaginary worlds.

Hinduism does not lend itself easily to a strictly chronological account: many of its central texts cannot be reliably dated even within a century; its central tenets?karma, dharma, to name just two?arise at particular moments in Indian history and differ in each era, between genders, and caste to caste; and what is shared among Hindus is overwhelmingly outnumbered by the things that are unique to one group or another. Yet the greatness of Hinduism?its vitality, its earthiness, its vividness?lies precisely in many of those idiosyncratic qualities that continue to inspire debate today.

Wendy Doniger is one of the foremost scholars of Hinduism in the world. With her inimitable insight and expertise Doniger illuminates those moments within the tradition that resist forces that would standardize or establish a canon. Without reversing or misrepresenting the historical hierarchies, she reveals how Sanskrit and vernacular sources are rich in knowledge of and compassion toward women and lower castes; how they debate tensions surrounding religion, violence, and tolerance; and how animals are the key to important shifts in attitudes toward different social classes.

The Hindus brings a fascinating multiplicity of actors and stories to the stage to show how brilliant and creative thinkers?many of them far removed from Brahmin authors of Sanskrit texts?have kept Hinduism alive in ways that other scholars have not fully explored. In this unique and authoritative account, debates about Hindu traditions become platforms from which to consider the ironies, and overlooked epiphanies, of history.
 

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Myopic View about the world's oldest set of people and their beliefs.

User Review  - Vikram Jai Singh - Flipkart

The writer is not to be taken seriously. Its very sad when her counterparts in the west have such a deep understanding of Hindus, she seems to be having little access to the actual Hindu life. I would ... Read full review

disgusting

User Review  - khetesh - Flipkart

its an attempt to misguide Hindu by a western missionary sponsred author demean religios and spiritual figure of Hinduism. Read full review

Contents

THE AGE OF FOOLS GOLD?
LOST IN TRANSLATION
DIVERSITY AND SECTARIAN WORSHIP
FOUND IN TRANSLATION
THE BRAHMIN FILTER
SECTARIAN CONTESTS
PURANIC GODDESSES
CHANDIKA THE BUFFALO CRUSHER MAHISHAMARDINI

MYTH HISTORY AND SYMBOLISM
DIVERSITY
THE ZEN DIAGRAM
HINDUS AND HINDUISM BY ANY OTHER NAMES26
SOURCES OF ALTERNATIVE HINDUISMS
WOMEN
FROM DOG COOKERS TO DALITS
HORSES DOGS AND COWSAS POWER POLLUTION AND PURITY
PLURALISM AND TOLERANCE50
HYBRIDITY AND MULTIPLICITY
TIME
GONDWANALAND AND LEMURIA
APRÈS MOI LE DÉLUGE
SPACE
MOUNTAINS RIVERS MONSOON
CONFUSION
BHIMBETKA CAVE PAINTINGS
THE INDUS VALLEY
THE SEALS AND THE SCRIPT
INDUS ANIMALS
THE UNICORN AND OTHER POSSIBLY MYTHICAL BEASTS
GENDERED FIGURES
MOTHERS AND MOTHER GODDESSES
IS INDUS RELIGION A MYTH?
THE END OF THE INDUS
FASTFORWARD
THINGS WITHOUT WORDSWORDS WITHOUT THINGS
INDOEUROPE THE LAND EAST OF THE ASTERISK
LIONS AND TIGERS AND RHINOS OH MY
FUSION AND BRICOLAGE
MUTUAL CREATION
THE TRANSMISSION OF THE RIG VEDA
THE VIOLENCE OF SACRIFICE
THE THREE ALLIANCES
INDIANS AS COWBOYS
THE WIDEOPEN SPACES
THE HORSE SACRIFICE
THE VEDIC PEOPLE
MARGINALIZING INTOXICATION AND ADDICTION
DRINKING SOMA
MRS INDRA AND OTHER FEMALES
POLYTHEISM AND KATHENOTHEISM
AGNI INDRA AND VARUNA
DEATH
THE CITIES ON THE GANGES
CLASS CONFLICTS
KINGS AND PRIESTS
ANIMALS
HUMANS AS SACRIFICIAL ANIMALS
WOMEN
DEATH
FOLKLORE SACRIFICE AND DANGER
THE POWERS OF EVIL AND ADDICTION
THE SOCIAL AND POLITICAL WORLD OF THE UPANISHADS
THE TEXTUAL WORLD OF THE UPANISHADS
KARMA AND DEATH
OVERCROWDING AND RECYCLING
THE PATHS OF REBIRTH AND RELEASE
THE PLEASURES OF SAMSARA
MOKSHA AND RENUNCIATION
CONTINUITIES AND DISCONTINUITIES FROM THE VEDAS
NONBRAHMIN SECRETS
SHRAMANAS AND BRAHMANAS
WOMEN AND OTHER LOWLIFE
ANIMALS
REBIRTH NONVIOLENCE AND VEGETARIANISM
FASTFORWARD
ASCETICISM AND EROTICISM
THE THREE QUALITIES OF MATTERPLUS SPIRIT
THE THREE AIMS OF LIFE
DIVERSITY AMONG THE THREE MAIN TEXTS OF THE THREE AIMS
SQUARING THE CIRCLE
FIVE SOLUTIONS TO THE FOURTH ADDITION TO THE THREE AIMS
RENUNCIATION AND VIOLENCE IN PARTICULAR AND GENERAL DHARMA
NORTH INDIA IN 400 BCE TO 200 CE
THE RISE OF THE MAURYAS
THE AFTERMATH OF THE MAURYAS
THE TRANSMISSION OF THE RAMAYANA AND MAHABHARATA
THE RAMAYANA
THE FORGETFUL AVATAR
BETWEEN GODDESSES AND OGRESSES
THE LOSS OF SITA
THE GODDESS SITA
OGRESSES
ANIMALS
TALKING ANIMALS BESTIAL HUMANS
SYMBOLIC OGRES
THE GOOD OGRE
CHALLENGES TO THE CLASS SYSTEM
ASHOKA
THE RISE OF SECTARIAN HINDUISM
THE ERAS OF THE TWO GREAT POEMS
THE INTEGRITY OF THE MAHABHARATA
THE POLITICAL WORLD OF THE MAHABHARATA
YUDHISHTHIRAS DOG
NONCRUELTY AND NONVIOLENCE
SACRIFICE AND ANTISACRIFICE
YUDHISHTHIRAS HORSE SACRIFICE
THE SUBTLETY OF DHARMA
THE KARMA OF DHARMA
THE TRANSFER OF KARMA
DHARMA MOKSHA AND BHAKTI IN THE GITA
CASTE AND CLASS CONFLICTS
THE NISHADAS
WOMEN
POLYANDRY
THE WORLDS OF THE TWO GREAT POEMS
THE AGE OF DARKNESS INVASIONS PARADOX AND DIVERSITY
SECTARIANISM UNDER THE KUSHANAS AND SHATAVAHANAS
SHASTRAS
CLASS AND CASTE TAXONOMIES
ANIMALS
WHY YOU MAY AND MAY NOT EAT MEAT
THE CONTROL OF ADDICTION
WOMEN
WOMEN IN THE KAMASUTRA
MARRIAGE AND RAPE
MEN AS WOMEN
THE ESCAPE CLAUSE
TIME AND SPACE CHRONOLOGY AND GEOGRAPHY
EARLY TAMIL BHAKTI LITERATURE
SECTARIAN DIVERSITY IN SOUTH INDIAN TEMPLES
TEMPLES AND VIOLENCE
KINGSHIP AND BHAKTI
DARSHAN
WOMEN IN SOUTH INDIAN BHAKTI
CASTE
THE VIOLENCE OF SOUTH INDIAN BHAKTI
INTERRELIGIOUS DIALOGUE IN ANCIENT SOUTH INDIA
BUDDHISM AND JAINISM
CHRISTIANITY AND JUDAISM
ISLAM AND BHAKTI
PROSELYTIZING
THE AGE OF GOLD
MATHEMATICS AND ASTRONOMY
SATI THE WIFE OF SHIVA
PARVATIS CHILDREN
ANIMALS
HORSE SACRIFICES
RESTORING THE MAHABHARATA
INDIA IN THE TIME OF HARSHA
TANTRIC PURANAS
SHIVA THE SKULL BEARER
SHAKTA SHRINES
PROTOTANTRIC GODDESSES
THE SEDUCTION AND KILLING OF MAHISHA
TANTRICS
TANTRA AS SALVATION IN THE KALI AGE
FIGHTING FIRE WITH FIRE THE FIVE MS
SANITIZING THE SYMBOLISM OF TANTRIC RITUAL
WHATS IN IT FOR THE WOMEN?82
CASTE INVERSIONS
DEAD ANIMALS
SHAIVA TEMPLES TANTRIC TEMPLES
SUNNIS AND SUFIS AND SHAIVAS OH MY
ISLAM IN INDIA BEFORE THE DELHI SULTANATE
THE DELHI SULTANATE
HORSES AND HORSE TRADERS
DESECRATION OF TEMPLES
ON THE OTHER HAND
SUFISM
KABIR
HINDUISM UNDER THE DELHI SULTANATE
MOSQUE AND TEMPLE
VIRASHAIVAS
A VIRASHAIVA WOMAN SAINT
THE AVATARS OF VISHNU
ANIMALS
WOMEN
YASHODA AND THE GOPIS
RAMA AND SITA
INTERRELIGIOUS DIALOGUE
KALKI
KALKIS HORSE
THE PARADOX OF THE GOOD ANTIGOD
THE DWARF VAMANA
THE MANLION NARASIMHA
AMAZING GRACE
BLOWING OFF THE ROOF
ACCIDENTAL GRACE
BY THE GRACE OF DOG
PHILOSOPHICAL SCHOOLS
VEDANTIC VENDETTAS IN MEDIEVAL NARRATIVES
SHANKARA STORIES
STORIES OF RAMANUJA AND MADHVA
MONISM AND CONVERSION IN VEDANTA
PHILOSOPHICAL ANIMALS
SHRI VAISHNAVA MONKEYS AND CATS
THE SNAKE AND THE ROPE
ILLUSIONS OF CASTE AND GENDER IN THE YOGAVASISHTHA
THE ILLUSION OF GENDER
THE ILLUSION OF CASTE
THE MUGHALS
BABUR THE HORSEMAN AND HORTICULTURALIST
HUMAYUN THE ASTRONOMER AND ASTROLOGIST
HINDUS UNDER AKBAR
JAHANGIR THE ALCOHOLIC
DARA SHIKOH THE MYSTIC SANSKRITIST
ADDICTION TO OPIUM AND WINE
NONVIOLENCE MUGHAL STYLE ESPECIALLY TOWARD DOGS
NONVIOLENT VOWS OF AKBAR AND JAHANGIR
SHIVAJI AND THE MAHARASHTRIANS
INTERRELIGIOUS DIALOGUE UNDER THE MUGHALS
RELIGIOUS FUSION
TRANSLATING RELIGIONS
ARCHITECTURE AND PAINTING
TULSIDAS AND SITA IN NORTH INDIA
CHANDIDAS CHAITANYA AND RADHA IN BENGAL
TUKARAMS DOGS IN MAHARASHTRA
MUGHAL HORSEMEN AND HINDU HORSE GODS
THREE TALES OF EQUINE RESURRECTION
EQUINE EPICS
MUSLIM MARES IN HINDU EPICS
WOMEN
HINDU SAINTS AND ANTIWIVES AND WIVES
SUTTEE UNDER THE MUGHALS
KSHETRAYYAS COURTESANS IN ANDHRA
EARLY HISTORY OF THE BRITISH IN INDIA
NAWABS AND NABOBS
CONSERVATIVES AND ORIENTALISTS IN THE BRITISH CASTE SYSTEM
THE BLACK HOLE
EVANGELICALS AND OPPORTUNISTSAND THE MISSIONARIES
UTILITARIANS AND ANGLICISTS AND THE REBELLION MUTINY OF 1857
HINDUS UNDER THE RAJ
DEEP ORIENTALISM71
TRANSLATIONS LOST IN COLONIZATION
THE TRANSPOSED HEADS EUROPEAN STYLE
HOW SIR CHARLES SIND93
SHALLOW ORIENTALISM
HORSES IN KIPLINGS KIM
KIPLING THE GOOD BAD POET
SUTTEE UNDER BRITISH EYES
DID SHE JUMP OR WAS SHE PUSHED?
RAMMOHUN ROY AND THE BRAHMO SAMAJ
STRANGE BEDFELLOWS
THE RAJ RIDES TO THE RESCUE
ROMANCING SUTTEE
DAYANAND SARASVATI THE ARYA SAMAJ AND COW PROTECTION
VIOLENCE AND NONVIOLENCE
ALCOHOL AND ADIVASIS IN GUJARAT
CASTE
REVERSE COLONIZATION
POSH AND PUKKA AMERICAN HINDUS
INTERRELIGIOUS INTERACTIONS IN CHICAGO
A VIRTUAL INDIA IN AMERICA
THE AMERICAN APPROPRIATION OF THE GITA AND THE GODDESS KALI
AMERICAN VERSIONS OF HINDUISM
AMERICAN TANTRA
HINDU RESPONSES TO THE AMERICANIZATION OF HINDUISM
THE RIG VEDA REVISITED AND REVISIONEDBLOODLESS SACRIFICES
VEDIC ANIMALS IN THE NEWSSACRED COWS
DOGS HAVE THEIR DAY
RENOUNCING RENUNCIATION
BABURS MOSQUE AT AYODHYA
THE CAUSEWAY TO LANKA
MANY RAMAYANAS
NO MORE RAMAYANAS
THOROUGHLY MODERN SITAS
THE MAHABHARATA
KUNTI AND THE NISHADAS
SEX AND TAXES
HOGWARTS DURGA MARY MINAKSHI AND SANTOSHI MATA
MODERN AVATARS OF THE AVATARSRADHA THE SOCIAL WORKER
THE BUDDHA AND KALKI
THE WORSHIP OF OTHER PEOPLES HORSES
MODERN WOMEN
THE BRAHMIN HEAD AND THE DALIT BODY
SANSKRIT GREEK PALI AND HINDI TEXTS BY TITLE
SECONDARY SOURCES
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