Vedantic variations in the presence of Europe: establishing the Hindu dharma in late nineteenth century Bengal
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Barua, A. (2017). Vedantic variations in the presence of Europe: establishing the Hindu dharma in late nineteenth century Bengal. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40613-017-0050-3
Abstract We will offer in this essay an analytic overview of four texts from the second half of the nineteenth century which elaborated different variations on the Hindu dharma. These are Rajnarayan Basu’s Hindu Dharmera Sresthata (‘The Superiority of the Hindu dharma’, 1879), Bankim Chandra Chatterjee’s Dharmatattva (1888, ‘Principles of Dharma’), Bhudeb Mukhopadhyay’s Sāmājika Prabandha (‘Essays on Society’, 1892), and Chandranath Basu’s Hindutva (‘Hinduness’, 1892). These textual constructions of Hindu identity sometimes have different argumentative goals, employ different rhetorical strategies, and draw upon different scriptural resources. Notwithstanding these distinctive variations relating to aims, methods, and styles, they seek to engage Europe as the Other both as a conceptual toolbox whose instruments can be appropriated for reconfiguring the Hindu dharmaand as a dialectical foil which highlights the superiority of the Hindu dharma to its diverse critics. For Rajnarayan Basu, Chatterjee, Mukhopadhyay, and Chandranath Basu, the Hindu dharma is the hermeneutic site for evaluating specific aspects of European modernities and for re-asserting Vedic norms, ideas, and practices through a critical engagement with European modernities. These texts are multi-faceted vignettes into the Bengali Hindu appropriations of European concepts in late nineteenth century Bengal, and also the anxieties about the stability of the Hindu dharma in an age of rapid socio-cultural transformations.
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s40613-017-0050-3
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/264095
Rights Holder: The Author(s).