India Religion Resources:
Reviews and Links


India Religion Products


Welcome to the India Religion Resources page! 

You can click on any of the headings below to view a variety of selected products under those specific topics, or simply mosey down this page to get a better look at featured products, many of which I've read or used for my own enjoyment or research.

All product fulfillment and payment is processed through Amazon. I'm simply recommending products I find to be interesting and/or helpful. For additional options, feel free to search Amazon's catalog in the search bar in the far-left column.

I've also included a few of my favorite links at the bottom, which are, of course, absolutely free to use (and who doesn't like free?).



Ancient India Resources

How did Hinduism and all the other ancient Indian religions come into being? What kind of life and society did Dravidian peoples enjoy before the Aryans came? Click the heading above to find out more ... from Indus Valley and Harappan society to epic allegories of the conquering, legendary heroes, and millions of Hindu gods and goddesses. Or just enjoy the featured product I've chosen below.

Featured Product:

Jaya: An Illustrated Retelling of the Mahabharata

by Devdutt Pattanaik 

This version of the Mahabharata includes in-context line drawings to better illustrate the epic stories. They are nice, but what I found most helpful are the series of explanatory notes following each segment. So not only does it include well-expressed retellings of major stories from the Mahabharata, it also details what certain aspects mean (such as why Yuddhishtira had to accept the Kauravas' invitation to gamble, even though it was a bad idea) and many regional variations.



Buddhism Resources

Click above to find more information on what's happening with Buddhism today, particularly in its birthplace India, with resources on Theravada/Hinayana, Mahayana, and Tibetan Buddhists; holy places like Bodh Gaya; emperors, monks and nuns; and how Buddhists encounter the modern world (peacefully and otherwise) with all its problems.

(Return to Buddhism Page.)

Featured Product:

Family Matters in Indian Buddhist Monasticism

by Shayne Neil Clarke

It would seem scholarly views of Buddhist monks and the family relationships they're ostensibly supposed to renounce have been colored by Western preconceptions. Opening with a Buddhist nun giving birth and the Buddha's response, Family Matters tackles the issue of family relationships and even parenthood according to Buddhist scriptures and custom in India.


Caste System Resources

Click above to learn about the caste system. Whether you're interested in knowing about individual castes (Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya, Sudra) and jatis, caste mobility, the outcaste Dalits, or how caste may (or may not) still impact politics, marriage, and everyday life, check through these resources I've selected. Maybe it will make your search easier. Enjoy!

(Return to Caste System Page.)

Featured Product:

Margins of Faith: Dalit and Tribal Christianity in India

by Rowena Robinson and Joseph Marianus Kujur

To be an outcaste, as in the case of a Dalit or tribal Indian, and to be a Christian, is to be marginalised on many fronts: class/caste, status as part of a minority religion, discrimination within the faith itself from higher caste believers--even in the academic world, where their category as converted Dalits or tribals is often denigrated as a loss of traditional culture. What does it mean to be a Dalit or tribal individual in this context?

Margins of Faith is an ethnographic examination of what that means in various parts of India, where they often meet with a discrimination on par with (or worse than) that of many African-Americans prior to the Civil Rights Movement. Discover what faith and community look like at the edges of the social order.


Christianity in India Resources

Click the link above to view a small selection of books, movies, and products specifically related to Christianity in India. It is a fascinating history and community, with native traditions possibly dating back as far as the 1st century AD -- certainly long before Europeans arrived.

(Return to Christianity in India Page.)

Featured Product:

The Asian Jesus

by Rev. Michael Amaladoss, a Jesuit theologian, writer & speaker from India

Grasp who Jesus is through the lens of Asian concepts such as sage, satyagrahi, and avatar.

Particularly in light of Vatican suspicions of religious pluralism, I was curious whether they're valid concerns, or if this is just an incredibly insightful way of understanding and communicating the deity of Jesus to a culture with very different concepts of divinity and religious practice.



Hinduism Resources 

Click the link above to explore the millions of gods and goddesses of Hinduism, modern and historical devotional movements, and colorful Hindu culture. See Hindu worship and art, temples and foods, pilgrimage and hierarchy, the relationships between castes, and the interplay of different religions in India.

(Return to Hindu Religion Page.)

Featured Product:

Mrityunjaya, the Death Conqueror: The Story of Karna

by Shivaji Savant

Shivaji Savant (Sivaji Sawant) writes the powerful, award-winning story of Karna, cast-off brother and enemy of the Pandavas, in this insightful retelling from the Mahabharata.

Originally a Marathi language classic, I'm told this is an excellent English language translation.


Indian Women and Marriage Resources

Click the link above to see more resources about Indian women as they navigate the traditional patriarchy and structures of family, marriage, illegal dowry, work, and caste in a changing world--a world many of them bravely strive to change, to find joy in, or just to survive. The selections offer perspectives of women from various religions, social classes, and regions, and don't shy away from hard topics. They also showcase the freeing vista of Indian women's imagination as expressed through literature. 

(Return to India Religion Home Page.)

Featured Product:

India Dishonoured: Behind a Nation's War on Women

by Sunny Hundal

This Kindle Single is a shocking expose of India's statistics regarding women, from unpunished rapes and dowry deaths to the disturbing imbalance in sex ratio and the global implications, given that India and China are home to roughly 36% of the world's population, and both display this trend. But it doesn't stop short at holding up a mirror to the problem. It also poses solutions for reform.


Islam in India Resources

Click the link above to find more resources on Islam in India. The Muslim religion arrived via trade in the south, where it is on fairly good terms with other religions. In the north, conversely, it came mainly by sword, as conquerors like the Mughals brought their concepts of faith with them. Discover the peace and conflict of Islam in India, the victory and pain of Partition, Muslim culture and dress, the lives of women, and the beauties of Mughal art and architecture.

(Return to Islam in India Page.)

Featured Product:

My Name Is Khan

Starring Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol

This well-made Bollywood movie is about fictional Muslim character Rizwan Khan, who has Asperger's syndrome, and the woman he marries--a Hindu single mother in America named Mandira. Then 9/11 hits and everything changes. Rizwan is detained. How will he find his way back to the woman he loves...especially when the tragedy of terrorism causes Mandira to reject him?

Kajol is luminous in this. Her character, Mandira, is someone I sympathize with and would want to know. The way they express Khan's perspective via the journal is also moving. This film does a great job of portraying people of a variety of backgrounds and religions honestly--good and bad. There are a few moments in which it departs from the attachment to realism of American film, but that doesn't detract from the strength of the narrative. It's a serious drama, and I was genuinely moved by the tragedy and insightfulness of the storytelling.  


Jainism Resources

Click above to explore resources on the peaceful Jains of India. Learn about their history, holy book, sects, virtues, some famous Jains like Chandragupta Maurya and Vikram Sarabhai, Jain customs, and how they fit into the culture at large.

(Return to Jainism Page.)

Featured Product:

Nuns, Yoginis, Saints and Singers: Women's Renunciation in South Asia

by Meena Khandelwal

This is an exploration of ethnographic accounts from South Asian women who have renounced the ordinary life of wife, family, and ordinary financial security to seek a deeper spiritual awareness as a Jain, Buddhist, Hindu, Bon, or Baul ascetic. Without idealizing the journey, it honors the hardships endured in search of enlightenment and independence.


Jews in India Resources

Learn about the Bene Israel, who had never heard of Hanukkah, as well as Cochin (Malabar) Jews, Ashkenazi Jews, and more. How are their customs the same in India...and how are they different? Take a look at the lives of Jews on the subcontinent--their history, customs, cooking, and experiences in the largely Hindu world around them.

(Return to Jews in India Page.)

Featured Product:

Spice & Kosher: Exotic Cuisine of the Cochin Jews

by Essie Sassoon, Bala Menon & Kenny Salem

The first of its kind, this book displays a medley of history and Indian spices in Jewish Kosher cooking, as it developed among the Cochin Jews of the Malabar Coast over a couple thousand years.


Science on the Subcontinent Resources

Click the link above to find more resources on science in India. Learn more about the intersection of religion and science there, science in medieval India, advances today, and the life stories of some of India's famous scientists of various faiths.

(Return to Science and Religion in India Page.)

Featured Product:

Truth and Beauty: Aesthetics and Motivations in Science

by S. Chandrasekhar, Nobel Prize-winning astrophysicist

Truth and Beauty is a look at the motivations behind scientific inquiry by an award-winning mind in astrophysics. Some love it; others find it hard to follow. I like the idea of the "why"--the linking of hard science with the quest for truth and beauty.


Sikhism Resources

Click above to explore Sikhism, the melding of Islam and Hinduism. Find out what they believe, how they worship, about their Guru Granth Sahib and Guru Nanak, as well as defining modes of dress and culture.

(Return to Sikhism Page.)

Featured Product:

I Take This Woman

by Rajinder Singh Bedi

This short novel by Sikh author Rajinder Singh Bedi is a translated Urdu classic. It can be fairly intense, particularly in its portrayal of domestic violence. But the emotion and sexual tension it unravels in this story of a young widow who is made to marry her dead husband's younger brother makes for an interesting read.


Zoroastrianism / Parsis Resources

Click the link above to find more resources about the little-known Zoroastrians of India, known there as Parsis (or Parsees). What are their beliefs and ceremonies? Who are some famous Parsis? What are the Towers of Silence?

(Return to Zoroastrianism Page.)

Featured Product:

Bohemian Rhapsody

by Queen / Freddie Mercury

I very nearly graced this spot with a more serious something, but I couldn't resist...it's just a fun sing-along by (categorically appropriate) Parsi musician Freddie Mercury, born Farrokh Bulsara, schooled in Bombay/Mumbai. You're welcome.



Selected India Religion Resource Links


There are way too many good resource links related to religion and culture in India to possibly list them all, but here are a few I like:

Comparison of Religions 

This link lets you select different religions to compare side-by-side, according to different aspects, such as origins, sects, and beliefs:

http://www.patheos.com/Library/Lenses/Side-By-Side?path1=x205&path2=x371&path3=x340


Caste System and Social Mobility 

This page provides a more detailed description of caste and its origins, as well as a brief end blurb on modern-day shifts:

http://www.friesian.com/caste.htm

This next one is a paper detailing the movement or stagnancy of low-cast and scheduled caste children in rural and urban sectors. At 49 pages, it's not a quick read, but it's good if you're looking for more specific detail gather from a formal survey:

http://www.isid.ac.in/~pu/conference/dec_10_conf/Papers/AmartyaLahiri.pdf



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I'd like to sincerely thank you all for your support, as well as your 
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