The Life of Hinduism

The Life of Hinduism

The Life of Hinduism

The Life of Hinduism


The Life of Hinduism brings together a series of essays--many recognized as classics in the field--that present Hinduism as a vibrant, truly "lived" religion. Celebrating the diversity for which Hinduism is known, this volume begins its journey in the "new India" of Bangalore, India's Silicon Valley, where global connections and local traditions rub shoulders daily. Readers are then offered a glimpse into the multifaceted world of Hindu worship, life-cycle rites, festivals, performances, gurus, and castes. The book's final sections deal with the Hinduism that is emerging in diasporic North America and with issues of identity that face Hindus in India and around the world: militancy versus tolerance and the struggle between owning one's own religion and sharing it with others.

Contributors: Andrew Abbott, Michael Burawoy, Patricia Hill Collins, Barbara Ehrenreich, Evelyn Nakano Glenn, Sharon Hays, Douglas Massey, Joya Misra, Orlando Patterson, Frances Fox Piven, Lynn Smith-Lovin, Judith Stacey, Arthur Stinchcombe, Alain Touraine, Immanuel Wallerstein, William Julius Wilson, Robert Zussman


John stratton hawley and vasudha narayanan

Bangalore and beyond

January 1, 2004, was a happy day for India’s surging middle classes. For the first time in history the Sensex, which measures investments on the Bombay stock exchange, was hovering on the verge of 6,000. Reports issued on that day confirmed that the country’s gnp had risen 8.4 percent in the year just past, and the news sent the stock exchange over 6,000 as soon as it opened on the second. Nowhere could the mood of optimism be felt more palpably than in Bangalore, the graceful southern city on the Deccan plateau that serves as capital of India’s information technology industry. Bands of young revelers roamed through the streets on New Year’s Eve, people ate out, fireworks lit the sky, and there were plenty of parties throbbing with the latest mix of Bollywood hits and Western rap riffs.

Had religion been forgotten in this thrust toward a global future? Not at all. For many years Bangalore’s Christian communities had marked the shift from old year to new with masses and services at midnight, and this year was no exception. Muslims observed the evening call to prayer. Yet nothing could compare with the vast crowds of people who filled the city’s Hindu temples the following morning. Many sought the blessing of Hanuman, the monkey deity whose strength and unwavering devotion to Rama and Sita had earned him his own prominent place in the pantheon. They filed before his massive, twenty-two-foot granite form in Bangalore’s Mahalakshmipuram neighborhood, echoing his devotion with devotion of their . . .

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