British invented the catch-all “Hinduism” in 19th Century

The God of new things

Why Hinduism is as much a political invention as an ancient tradition

By Pankaj Mishra, 12/1/2002


“Indeed, there was no such thing as ”Hinduism” before the British invented the catch-all category in the early 19th century and made India seem the home of a ”world religion” that was as organized and theologically coherent as Christianity and Islam. The word ”Hindu” itself was first used by the ancient Persians to refer to the people living near the river Indus (”Sindhu” in Sanskrit). It later became a convenient shorthand for those who weren’t Muslims or Christians.”Unquote


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