This is the first academic study of Christian literature in Hindi and its role in the politics of language and religion in contemporary India. In public portrayals, Hindi has been the language of Hindus and Urdu the language of Muslims, but Christians have been usually been associated with the English of the foreign ‘West’. However, this book shows how Christian writers in India have adopted Hindi in order to promote a form of Christianity that can be seen as Indian, desī, and rooted in the religio-linguistic world of the Hindi belt.
Using three case studies, the book demonstrates how Hindi Christian writing strategically presents Christianity as linguistically Hindi, culturally Indian, and theologically informed by other faiths. These works are written to sway public perceptions by promoting particular forms of citizenship in the context of fostering the use of Hindi. Examining the content and context of Christian attention to Hindi, it is shown to have been deployed as a political and cultural tool by Christians in India.
This book gives an important insight into the link between language and religion in India. As such, it will be of great interest to scholars of Religion in India, World Christianity, Religion and Politics and Interreligious Dialogue, as well as Religious Studies and South Asian Studies.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgements; 1 Politics of Religion; 2 The Making of a Genre; 3 Linguistic Choices; 4 Shaping Identity; 5 Christians in India; 6 Message Matters
Rakesh Peter-Dass is Assistant Professor of Religion at Hope College, USA. His research and teaching focus on the intersections of religion with business, language, law and politics.