Imagining Hinduism examines how Hinduism has been defined, interpreted and manufactured through Western categorizations, from the foreign interventions of eighteenth and nineteenth-century Orientalists and missionaries, to the present day. Sugirtharajah argues that ever since early Orientalists 'discovered' the ancient Sanskrit texts and the Hindu 'golden age', the West has nurtured a complex and ambivalent fascination with Hinduism, ranging from romantic admiration to ridicule. At the same time, Hindu discourse has drawn upon Orientalist representations in order to redefine Hindu identity.
As the first comprehensive work to bring postcolonial critique to the study of Hinduism, this is essential reading for those seeking a full understanding of Hinduism.
Sharada Sugirtharajah lectures in Hindu Studies at the University of Birmingham.
'An insightful and extremely well-written book ... essential reading for any scholar.' - Journal of Religious Values
'[The] book delivers what it sets out to do... It is clear, modest, and serves its purpose well. Students of post-colonialism will find it very helpful.' - Journal of Contemporary Religion