Chapter 9- Women and Ogresses in the Ramayana

Tess Summary: Doniger delves into a new epic and new empire in chapter nine, analyzing the interconnectedness between women, animals, sexuality, dharma, politics, and ogres within the Ramayana. As North India further develops between 400 BCE and 200 CE, new distributions of labor give rise to new economic and political classes resulting in tension among... Continue Reading →

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Chapter 8 – The Three (Or Is It Four?) Aims Of Life In The Hindu Imaginary

By: Lexi Summary:   In chapter eight of The Hindus, Doniger discusses the “complex hierarchical relationship among the three aims of pleasure, wealth and dharma…” (199). She highlights that this information is not necessarily connected to a particular time or social group, but that it is central to understanding the practice of Hinduism and how... Continue Reading →

Chapter 7: Renunciation in the Upanishads

By Burton Summary: Doniger begins with some background on social history in the era before these scriptures were compiled.  She notes that circa 800 to 500 BCE, the eastern Ganges Valley was home to a number of states, some of them oligarchical republics governed by coalitions of Kshatriya clans (165).  Doniger speculates that the weakening... Continue Reading →

Chapter 4 – Between the Ruins and the Text

Blog post by: Hari Summary:             Chapter four principally concerns itself with addressing one overarching question; where were the people who composed the Vedas before they composed the Vedas? (p. 89). Doniger begins the chapter with an excerpt from the Kurma Purana, which details the creation of two gods, Vishnu and Brahma. This creation appears... Continue Reading →

Reactions to The Hindus

Wendy Doniger's The Hindus: An Alternative History is a controversial book. Since its release in 2009, it has been praised, criticized, and debated. It was even the subject of a court case, resulting in the book's banning, destruction, and subsequent republication. In the comments,* please post a link to one unique source that discusses The Hindus and its... Continue Reading →

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