Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism

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Subject: Asian Studies

Edited by: Knut A. Jacobsen (Editor-in-Chief), University of Bergen, and Helene Basu, University of Münster, Angelika Malinar, University of Zürich, Vasudha Narayanan, University of Florida (Associate Editors)

Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism presents the latest research on all the main aspects of the Hindu traditions. Its essays are original work written by the world’s foremost scholars on Hinduism. The encyclopedia presents a balanced and even-handed view of Hinduism, recognizing the divergent perspectives and methods in the academic study of a religion that is both an ancient historical tradition and a flourishing tradition today. The encyclopedia embraces the greatest possible diversity, plurality, and heterogeneity, thus emphasizing that Hinduism encompasses a variety of regional traditions as well as a global world religion. Presenting all essays and research from the heralded printed edition, Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism is now available in a fully searchable, dynamic digital format. The service will include all content from the six printed volumes..

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United Kingdom

(5,216 words)

Author(s): Kim Knott
Hindus first migrated to the United Kingdom in the 19th century, though it was post-World War II when they began to arrive in significant numbers. In the 21st century, however, the majority of UK Hindus are not migrants. They are second and third generation Hindus who were born in England (and in smaller numbers in Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland) to migrant or twice-migrant parents originating from the Indian subcontinent, East Africa, or the Caribbean (Trinidad and Tobago), but include th…

United States

(7,000 words)

Author(s): Vasudha Narayanan
The study of the Hindu traditions in the United States should include not only the history of the Hindus in the United States but also the ideas and practices of Hindu origin that are now distanced from it. While ideas and concepts of Hindu origin have been around in the United States since the early 19th century, the numbers of Hindus increased drastically only after 1965. This was the result of a change in immigration laws, making it easy for technically qualified workers to enter the country.…


(3,316 words)

Author(s): Mikael Aktor
In the more narrow sense, untouchability in a Hindu context is typically articulated as a need of purification after having been in physical contact with certain persons. Normally a bath is required in order to regain purity. An early example of such rules can be found in the Gautamadharmasūtra: "When a man touches an outcaste [i.e. a grievous sinner], a Caṇḍāla [i.e. a person from an untouchable caste], a woman who has just given birth or is menstruating, a corpse, or someone who has touched any of these, he becomes purified by bathing with…