Ordinary Human Language

by Brian Crane

The Hindus

-Book Cover

The Hindus: An Alternative History by Wendy Doniger

I read this book slowly over my trip to India, and without it, I’m not sure what I would have made of the things I was seeing.

This book is massive and works through the history of Hindu texts and religious practice from the Indus Valley Civilizations all the way up to practice in the Indian diaspora.

The book made India make sense to me, the temples and art, yes, but also the daily oddities of cultural life in a place run through front to back by religion. It was essential reading and really wonderfully written. In fact, given how alien the material was to me, the fact that I was pulled through it so intensely shows that smart can be engaging and charming.

Card files on this book are coming and there’s stuff to say about, among many other things, the travels of Saint Thomas and the relationship between Hindu mythology and the Gospels.

Great stuff.

June-July, India

Posted August 22, 2011