Chapter

Hinduism and Social Democratization

Rajeev Bhargava

in Anxieties of Democracy

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780198077473
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199081745 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198077473.003.0007
Hinduism and Social Democratization

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Numerous studies have explored the nature of the faith and religion of the Hindus, the political construction of Hinduism and Hindu nationalism, and the impact of colonial modernity on Hindu faith and practice. However, virtually no one has addressed the question raised by Alexis de Tocqueville in Democracy in America: What is the impact of democracy on Christianity? This chapter discusses how democracy has shaped Hinduism, how Hinduism adapts to the democratic age and becomes a vehicle of social democratization, and what happens to Hinduism in an age that is constantly striving for equality of condition. More specifically, it examines what happens to Hinduism under conditions of what can be called social democratization (social equality, egoistic individualism, and a robust propensity for materialism). The chapter also discusses scripture and ritual in Hinduism, unity and plurality within Hinduism, and the impact of democratization of religion on women.

Keywords: Hinduism; democracy; Christianity; social democratization; social equality; individualism; materialism; unity; plurality; women

Chapter.  12547 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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