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Global Hinduism Project

Grassroots theology: A continuing, creative intellectual tradition

This project explores the way Hinduism responds to new situations in global contexts around the world.

Interviews in England, Trinidad, Mauritius, Bali, and Thailand, reveal ways in which Hinduism is still alive and growing in response to new landscapes and cultures.

Each of the studies looks at a particular set of religious ideas generated through diaspora movement. From Hindu rituals that draw on the vibrant energies of the Caribbean landscape, to conceptions of the divine adapted to the inter-faith discussions of British society, to Hinduism for Buddhists in a Thai culture that believes in the deities, even though it does not believe in Hinduism - in all of these contexts we see Hindu religious ideas growing through the grassroots theology of everyday experience.

Living traditions

In particular the interviews look at the way in which systematic theology is happening all the time, implicitly through reasoning that generates or is used to explain new developments.

The implication is that ‘theologians’ are not necessarily brahmins, swamis, gurus, sants, or acaryas, but often everyday people. This religious creativity that exists at the grassroots level should be kept in sight.

This project also challenges the approach that sees religion as a timeless ideological system controlled by an elite minority. By contrast, we have here a conception of religious ideas as fed by lived context, within a tradition that continues to grow as it did in the ‘classical’ periods of the past.

Project outputs

This project will paint a picture of the religious creativity of global Hinduism through key resources:

  • A body of qualitative primary interviews for each culture, exploring the rationale behind religious ideas and developments. The goal is to make this series of primary resources on Hinduism in England, Trinidad, Thailand, Bali, and other cultures available to the public through a dedicated website.

  • A monograph publication analysing, explaining, and further exploring the ways in which Hindu theology in each of these diaspora contexts has adapted creatively to a new situation.