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Handbook of Religion and the Asian CityAspiration and Urbanization in the Twenty-First Century$
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Peter van der Veer

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780520281226

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520281226.001.0001

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date: 06 April 2020

From Village to City

From Village to City

Hinduism and the “Hindu Caste System”

Chapter:
(p.237) 13 From Village to City
Source:
Handbook of Religion and the Asian City
Author(s):

Nathaniel Roberts

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520281226.003.0013

This chapter examines the village within the context of Hinduism and the Hindu caste system in India. M. N. Srinivas argued that “if and when caste disappears, Hinduism will also disappear.” Writing in 1956, he assumed that the secularizing forces of modernity threatened not only Hinduism but all religions with dissolution. In Srinivas's view, Hinduism was more vulnerable than religions such as Islam and Christianity because it lacked a strong institutional structure. Far from spelling the demise of Hinduism, this chapter argues that city life and urbanization have revitalized it. It considers how Hinduism has become a religion in a relatively caste-free environment, a religion that the Dalits can truly call their own. Finally, it discusses the religion of urban Dalits as it relates to worldly ends, moral universalism, and individual choice.

Keywords:   village, Hinduism, caste system, India, city life, urbanization, religion, Dalits, moral universalism, individual choice

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