Hinduism: origins and definitions

  • Ray Colledge
Part of the Macmillan Master Series book series (MMS)


The year 1829 saw the first-known use of the word ‘Hinduism’ in English. Definition is not easy because Hinduism is at least 3000 years old and is followed by hundreds of millions of people. ‘Hindu’ is in fact a Persian word meaning ‘Indian’, and strictly, Hinduism refers to the civilization of the Hindus, the inhabitants of the land of the River Indus. Indian law tells us that a Hindu is a citizen of India who is not a Muslim, Christian, Parsi or Jew. Presumably, this must include Buddhists, Jains, and Sikhs as well; but what of the followers of Hinduism who are citizens of the United Kingdom and other countries?


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© Ray Colledge 1999

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