Hindu identity has long been a controversial topic among scholars of various fields as well as among people who identify themselves as Hindus. There have been various ideas on the origin of Hindu identity, from the ancient Aryan period(Lal, 2016) to the twelfth century(Lorenzen, 1999) and to the British colonial period(Dalmia, 1995). Although there are different ideas on the origins of Hinduism and Hindu identity, many agree that Hindu nationalism emerged during the British colonial period. As nationalism based on religious identity started to emerge, a clear definition of ‘Hindu’ was required. Hindu identity, pre-existed or newly invented, was redefined various ways in the peculiar political milieu and ideological and religious trends of colonial period.
The presentations in this panel try to discuss several aspects of Hindu identity-making in the different periods and contexts. Dr. Myungnam Kang presents a case of abuse of archaeology to make Hindus autochthonous and therefore the oldest people of India. Her study focuses on works of several scholars who contributed considerably to constructing the narrative of the autochthony of Aryans and the primordiality of Hinduism. Dr. Yongjeong Kim figures out the satire of Hindi satirical drama and analyses the factors representing Hindu identity in the late nineteenth century north India. She discusses the Hindu identity with the reference of works of Bhāratendu Hariścandra(1850-1885). Dr. Minha Shin demonstrates the non-Muslim big businessmen’s economic and political views on partition during the period of 1940-47. His work is meaningful in the sense that it puts emphasis on the economic aspects of communalism. Dr. Choonho Lee studies the role of religious buildings of Modi government to consolidate the religious identities. Dr. Ji-Eun Lee turns her vision to the minorities who defy the Hindu identity. She reviews the writings of contemporary Dalit intellectuals and attempts to analyse the logic of separate Dalit identity that survives the all-embracing Hindu identity.