The debate regarding Hinduism as a religion has been going on for ages as various scholars document their perspective towards the topic. The main aspects of discussion have been the definition of the term religion,' changes in the perspectives towards the subject and factors that influence this topic. While Balagangadhara discusses the construction of religion under post-colonialism, Oddie analyses the identity of Hindu religion and significance of the term Hinduism. Sharada on the other hand analyses the topic of religion concerning colonialism.
Sharadas discussion on Hinduism is based on whether colonialism has effects on religion and in particular Hinduism. This author takes a stand that there is a need to have religion as a theory to understand the topic comprehensively. While stating the complexities of religion, Sharada is of the opinion that colonialism is a crucial factor in influencing Hinduism. Further, this chapter draws the attention to the presumptions that are the foundations of Hinduism representation. The author of this chapter although recognises the complexity and diversity of Hinduism as a religion, he suggests that the question of the how to speak for tradition should also be taken into consideration. Notably, this chapter also proposes that the dynamics of the process to answer such a question include devising new ways to think about the tradition of religion and developing frameworks that facilitate a more informed understanding and engagement with the topic.
Balagangadhara takes a different perspective towards the topic of religion. According to this author, religion cannot be studied as a theory. Balagangadharas discussion is based on the construction of religion in the post-colonialism period while showing the strengths and weaknesses of the religions in India such as Hinduism. Some of the objections that this chapter present includes referring to religion as Christianity since not everyone agree that Christianity is the prototype of religion. Balagangadharas discussion disregards the fact that religion can be studied as a theory but proposes studying it at different levels.
Oddies chapter is based on the identity of Hindu religion with reference to its origin. He also discusses the significance of the term Hinduism and the role it plays in comprehending the awareness of its origin. Notably, Oddie is in agreement with Sharada and Balagangadhara that colonisation has an impact on religion as a topic and its understanding. According to this chapter, Hinduism has been faced by several dynamics. Oddie further notes that even before colonialism, Hindus had a strong sense of identity regarding religion. This is partly blamed on the prosecution and discrimination this sect suffered especially during the ending period of Mughal rule. Hinduism then is born from Hindu as a result of these peoples feeling of having their own religious ideas, rituals, and customs. Hinduism according to this chapter emanates from British rule, a period that was characterised by religious conflicts. The conflicts were especially between the Christians missionaries and Muslims. Colonization, therefore, had an impact on the formation of this religion since there were threatening factors to the welfare and interests of the Hindu population.
In conclusion, the discussion on the identity and origin of Hinduism and other religions as a whole has been debated for a while now. While some authors agree that religion should be studied as a subject, others disagree. However, one common fact among various debates is that colonisation plays an important role in the identity and the dynamics of religion.
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