Hinduism: A Very Short Introduction

By Kim Knott | Go to book overview

Chapter 6
Hinduism, Colonialism, and Modernity

For you I live, O Allah-Rama.
Show mercy to your slave, my lord.
. . . And if God only lives in mosques,
whose land lies in between?
Can Ram reside in images and pilgrims' stops?
In neither one has he been seen.
The east is the abode of Hari;
Allah's station's in the West.
But Rama and Rahim both lie within my heart,
and there alone is where to seek them.
As many women, men, that have been born:
they're all your forms.
Allah-Rama's little child, Kabir
knows that one as his guru and his pir.

This is part of a poem entitled 'Warnings' by the fifteenth-century bhakti poet, Kabir. He lived in north India at a time when it was under Mughal rule and when Islam was the religion of the rulers. His family, of the weaver's caste, had become Muslims, though their conversion may well have been more a matter of form than conviction. Kabir, at least, was disgusted by the outward practice of both Muslims and Hindus. He believed strongly that God -- who was ultimately without form -- manifested in the hearts of his devotees. Ritual practices, images, symbols, and buildings were all unnecessary.

-65-

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Hinduism: A Very Short Introduction
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Acknowledgements ix
  • Contents xi
  • List of Illustrations xii
  • List of Maps xiv
  • Chapter 1 - The Scholar and the Devotee 1
  • Chapter 2 - Revelation and the Transmission of Knowledge 11
  • Chapter 3 - Understanding the Self 24
  • Chapter 4 - Divine Heroes: The Epic Tradition 38
  • Chapter 5 - The Divine Presence 48
  • Chapter 6 - Hinduism, Colonialism, and Modernity 65
  • Chapter 7 - Challenges to Hinduism: Women and Dalits 78
  • Chapter 8 - Crossing the Black Waters: Hinduism Beyond India 92
  • Chapter 9 - Hindu Dharma, Hinduism, and Hinduisms 107
  • Appendix - The Six Philosophical Systems (Darshana) 116
  • Timeline 117
  • Glossary 121
  • Further Reading 125
  • References 131
  • Index 135
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