The Emergence of Modern Hinduism (Paperback)

Religion on the Margins of Colonialism

By Richard S. Weiss

University of California Press, 9780520307056, 222pp.

Publication Date: August 6, 2019

List Price: 34.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


A free open access ebook is available upon publication. Learn more at

The Emergence of Modern Hinduism argues for the importance of regional, vernacular innovation in processes of Hindu modernization. Scholars usually trace the emergence of modern Hinduism to cosmopolitan reform movements, producing accounts that overemphasize the centrality of elite religion and the influence of Western ideas and models. In this study, the author considers religious change on the margins of colonialism by looking at an important local figure, the Tamil Shaiva poet and mystic Ramalinga Swami (1823–1874). Weiss narrates a history of Hindu modernization that demonstrates the transformative role of Hindu ideas, models, and institutions, making this text essential for scholarly audiences of South Asian history, religious studies, Hindu studies, and South Asian studies.


About the Author

Richard Weiss is Associate Professor of South Asian Religions at the Victoria University of Wellington. He is author of Recipes for Immortality: Medicine, Religion, and Community in South India.