, 6 tweets, 2 min read Read on Twitter
Someone asked me: Why do I care how old Hinduism is?

I'm so glad you asked. This is relevant to my research... short #THREAD #Hinduism
I work primarily on premodern India, pre-18th century. I work, among other things, on Hindu-Muslim interactions... Or do I? 16th-century "Hindus" didn't call themselves "Hindus" usually. So should I? That depends, in part, on whether they were part of coherent, larger tradition.
I also read premodern sources that talk about "Hindus" but the meaning is different.

Most commonly, I'm reading a Persian text and they mean "Indian" by the word "Hindu." To catch this and not misunderstand, I need to be thinking about the history of the term "Hindu".
I research modern abuses of history and politicized bastardizations of India's past. A lot of that concerns Hinduism and inappropriately projecting it back into Indian history.

For countering present bias, I use real historical knowledge. Hence, the age of Hinduism comes up.
I teach, among many other things, about the history of Hinduism. Obviously, we gotta figure out where to begin, what to include and not include (for instance, I separate out Indian tribal religions), and what language to use.
So, that's some of why the question of how far back to date Hinduism matters to me, in my own research. Thanks for asking!
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