good article on religion, patronage, and coercion in India

Allen W Thrasher athr at LOC.GOV
Tue Aug 14 19:07:46 UTC 2001

The following is an excellent article on a subject we have been hearing
about a lot:

Giovanni Verardi
Religions, rituals, and the heaviness of Indian history
Annali (Istituto Universitario Orientale, Napoli), 56, 1996, 215-253.

Verardi argues that Brahmanism (not 'Hinduism,' a term he agrees in
rejecting) is a religion of the book (the Veda) which book marks it off
from other religions and makes it incompatible with them, and that it
has an orthodoxy as well as an orthopraxy.  He maintains that Brahmanism
has been willing to exercise coercion, not excluding lethal force, in
maintaining or restoring its hegemony, and that the use of force by the
state has played a crucial role in the decline of Buddhism and lesser
decline of Jainism within India.  He says that the claim that
persecution had to wait until the Muslims comes from a historiography
influenced by Indian or specifically Hindu nationalism and Western
exoticism which wished to find a non-persecuting religion.  This is
backed with much evidence from archeology, art, epigraphy, literature,
and tradition.

Allen Thrasher

Allen W. Thrasher, Ph.D.

Senior Reference Librarian       101 Independence Ave., SE
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