Constructing Colonial Dharma in Calcutta

Brian K. Pennington

in Was Hinduism Invented?

Published in print April 2005 | ISBN: 9780195166552
Published online July 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780199835690 | DOI:
Constructing Colonial Dharma in Calcutta

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This chapter examines a one year run of the Bengali paper Samācār Candrikā to sketch the contours of an elite Bengali Hindu response to missionaries and Orientalists. Among the very earliest Hindu newspapers to survive today, the Samācār Candrikā was published in Calcutta by Bhabānīcaran Bandyopādhyāya and associated with the orthodox Hindu organization the Dharma Sabhā. First formed to protest elements of colonialism, especially the government’s proposed ban on satī, the Dharma Sabhā produced a biweekly, vernacular newspaper in an effort to galvanize broad Hindu support among disparate castes and classes. In so doing, it proffered a version of a homogenous Hinduism with a centralized authority similar to that emerging among reforming organizations such as the Rammohan Roy’s Brahmo Samaj, but with an explicitly traditionalist, Brahmanical agenda. Exchanges with Christian missionaries conducted in the paper also make it an early surviving form of Hindu-Christian dialogue.

Keywords: Hindu newspapers; Hinduism; Calcutta; Samācār Candrikā; Rammohan Roy; Bhabānīcaran Bandyopādhyāya; Dharma Sabhā; satī; Hindu-Christian dialogue; colonialism

Chapter.  13131 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Hinduism

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