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Geoffrey A Oddie’s Imagined Hinduism

Imagined Hinduism - British Protestant Missionary Constructions of Hinduism, 1793-1900 is a new book by Geoffrey A Oddie – an honorary research associate in the Department of History at the University of Sydney, Australia.

The book explores the emergence and refinement of the idea of Hinduism and the use of the term ‘Hinduism.’ Oddie says that the term was developed by British Protestant missionaries in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Speaking to D.Murali in Hindu Business Line Oddie says

"The word Hinduism includes a vast array of different cults, traditions and sects, and some teachings which contradict others. Ideas of Advaita Vedanta, bhakti and many forms of popular worship are usually implied by the term. Quite possibly, the only thing Hindus have in common is a sense of being Hindu."

Hindustan Times reports

"Whatever conviction there was among travellers that India's faith and worship was a unified pan-Indian system was probably reinforced by a feeling that it was Brahmans who were ultimately in control," says Oddie.

The first modern Indian to perhaps speak of Hinduism as such was Bengal reformist Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Oddie says. "He spoke in terms of 'real' Hinduism and 'fake' Hinduism in the context of rituals like Sati.

The book is published by Sage Publications (https://in.sagepub.com/en-in/sas/home).