Trinidad and Tobago’s own religious thinker and philosopher Dr Anantanand Rambachan is among five top scholars who have reviewed a new book entitled The History of Hindu India, which has just come out of press and gives an in-depth portrayal of Hinduism. It is published by the Himalayan Academy, publishers of the much-rated and authoritative magazine, Hinduism Today. Dr Rambachan is professor of Religion, St Olaf College, Minnesota, and younger brother of this country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Communications, Dr Surujrattan Rambachan. The book is edited by Dr Shiva Bajpai who holds BA and MA degrees from Banares Hindu University and a PhD from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, UK. “The largest civilisation in the ancient world developed in the Indus Valley of India over 5,000 years ago. In the thousands of years that followed, India produced many great empires under which science, art and philosophy flourished. Out of this rich history developed the Hindu religion, today the third largest in the world,” writes the editor.
In his note on The History of Hindu India Dr Bajpai writes that the history of today’s Hindus, one sixth of our human race, extends beyond recorded history. In this book we pick up the threads of Hindu practice evident in the Indus-Sarasvati civilisation, which was the largest and in many ways, the most advanced of the ancient civilisations. From there, we trace the development of Hinduism through the early empires of India, a time of great advances in science, architecture, art and literature—during which Europe was experiencing the Middle Ages. Then came the years of trial by invasion, followed by colonisation and finally, in the 20th century, Independence from the British Crown. Throughout these periods of history, we highlight the people, philosophical ideas and religious practices that are key to the Hindu religion today. “There are six chapters which cover such areas as Hindu Festivals—Holi, Diwali, Mahshivaratri, Ganesh Chaturthi and Navarati; Origins of Hinduism from Ancient Times, Hindu India, Hinduism Endures, India as a Colony, 21st Century India.
On Page 67, the historical dissertation which turned the tide for the West to accept and research Hinduism, Swami Vivekananda in his September 1 address to the Parliament of the World’s Religions stated: “Sectarianism, bigotry and its horrible descendant, fanaticism, have possessed long on this beautiful earth. It has filled the earth with violence, drenched it often with human blood, destroyed civilisation and sent whole nations to despair. Had it not been for this horrible demon, human society would be far more advanced that it is now.” The History of Hindu India is an enriched publication, and it can further enhance the concept of a multi-religious society and diversity in any country. It is power-packed with data, scholarly research and leads one to delve deeper into the pursuit of religious thoughts, thus helping to empower everyone. This book could serve as a useful document even in our own school system so everyone can learn about each other’s religion and practices and habits.
The History of Hindu India is an enriched publication, and it can further enhance the concept of a multi-religious society and diversity in any country.