On the meaning and origins of Hinduism

“The term Hinduism … [ was ] introduced in about 1830 AD by British writers. ” [Encyclopedia Britannica, 20 `Hinduism’ 519 ]

“The term Hindu was first imposed on south Asian nations by the Afghan dynasty of Ghori in the 12th century; this term was never used in south Asia prior to the Muslim era and is not even found in early (pre-12th century AD) Brahmanical or Buddhist texts. Such a term and concept has no historical depth in any social, religious, ethnic or national sense past the 12th century when Mohammed Ghori for the first time named his conquered subjects Hindus.” [G. Singh, Sakasthan and India, Toronto, 1999, p. 20]

“Hinduism, as a faith, is vague, amorphous, many-sided, all things to all men. It is hardly possible to define it, or indeed to say definitely whether it is a religion or not, in the usual sense of the word.” [Jawaharlal Nehru, The Discovery of India, New Delhi, 1983, p.75]

“Frankly speaking, it is not possible to say definitely who is a Hindu and what Hinduism is. These questions have been considered again and again by eminent scholars, and so far no satisfactory answer has been given.” [Swami Dharma Theertha, History of Hindu Imperialism, Madras, 1992, p. 178]

“Hinduism defies definition… It has no specific creed.” [Khushwant Singh, India: An Introduction, New Delhi, 1990, p. 19]

“The more Hinduism is considered, the more difficult it becomes to define it in a single phrase… A Hindu may have any religious belief or none.” [Percival Spear, India: A Modern History, Michigan, 1961, p.40]

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