Marx’s discussion on Hindu society and the criticism over Orientalists’ view of India

QIU Yonghui1,2

(1.Institute of World Religions, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences)
(2.Institute of South Asian Studies, Sichuan University)

【Abstract】By summarizing Karl Marx’s discussion on Hinduism and Hindu society and by referring to Orientalists’ academic research and their misinterpretation of India, this paper analyzed research methods and characteristics of Marx and his school, and tried to put forward an academic understanding from the perspective of sociology of religion. We believe that Marx’s “human society” and the Orientalists’ “Eurocentrism” are significantly different in research purpose and academic attitude. In terms of the relationship between the British colonization and religious practices in India, the caste system and village community system of Hindu society, Marx put forward the proposition of the relationship between traditional religious culture and modernization and has made significant contributions to the academic construction of the sociology of religion. His research path and related discussion of religions in society have provided significant inspiration and guidance for studying Indian religious culture and understanding contemporary India.

【Keywords】 Hinduism; Marx; Orientalist;

【DOI】

【Funds】 The National Social Science Fund of China (14AZJ008)

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    Footnote

    [1]. ① Future results of British rule in India was written on July 22, 1853 and published in the New-York Daily Tribune No. 3840 on August 8, 1853, with Karl Marx as the author. Its original text is in English. Its Chinese translation appears in the Marx-Engels Collected Works, Vol. 9, 246–252. British rule in India was written on June 10, 1853 and published in the New York Daily Tribune No. 3804 on June 25, 1853, with Karl Marx as the author. The original text is in English. Its Chinese translation appears in the Marx-Engels Collected Works, Vol. 9, 143–150. The texts of Mark quoted in this paper all come from the second edition of this book by the Central Compilation and Translation Bureau. [^Back]

    [2]. ① For the name, definition, history, and related analysis of Hinduism, see Qiu, Y. Introduction to Hinduism (印度教概论), Beijing: Social Sciences Academic Press, Chap. 2, 3, 4, 5, (2012). [^Back]

    [3]. ② Marx, K. British rule in India, in Central Compilation and Translation Bureau (eds.), Marx-Engels Collected Works, Vol. 9, Beijing: People’s Publishing House, 143–144 (2006). [^Back]

    [4]. ③ Marx, K. British rule in India, in Central Compilation and Translation Bureau (eds.), Marx-Engels Collected Works, Vol. 9, Beijing: People’s Publishing House, 144 (2006). Linga, namely, penis, is the symbol of Shiva, a Hindu god. Jagannatha (Juggernaut) is the embodiment of another Hindu god, Vishnu. [^Back]

    [5]. ④ Marx, K. British rule in India, in Central Compilation and Translation Bureau (eds.), Marx-Engels Collected Works, Vol. 9, Beijing: People’s Publishing House, 149 (2006). According to the translator’s note below the page 149, Hanuman, as a legendary monkey in India, later became the embodiment of Hindu Vishnu. Surabhi, as a legendary cow, was regarded as the god of wealth and land in Hinduism. [^Back]

    [6]. ⑤ Marx, K. Future results of British rule in India, in Central Compilation and Translation Bureau (eds.), Marx-Engels Collected Works, Vol. 9, Beijing: People’s Publishing House, 246 (2006). [^Back]

    [7]. ① Marx, K. Future results of British rule in India, in Central Compilation and Translation Bureau (eds.), Marx-Engels Collected Works, Vol. 9, Beijing: People’s Publishing House, 246 (2006). [^Back]

    [8]. ② Marx, K. Future results of British rule in India, in Central Compilation and Translation Bureau (eds.), Marx-Engels Collected Works, Vol. 9, Beijing: People’s Publishing House, 247 (2006). [^Back]

    [9]. ③ Lin, C. Rise of the Indian National Independence Movement (印度民族独立运动的兴起). Beijing: Peking University Press, 45–46 (1984). [^Back]

    [10]. ④ Marx, K. Future results of British rule in India, in Central Compilation and Translation Bureau (eds.), Marx-Engels Collected Works, Vol. 9, Beijing: People’s Publishing House, 251–252 (2006). According to the translator’s note below the page, the Jagannath Temple in Odisha (East India) is the center for worshiping Vishnu-Jagannath, one of the Hindu gods. The monks in the temple, sheltered by the East India Company, earn much from the mountain pilgrimage of the mass and luxurious sacrifice. During such pilgrimage, they encourage women who live on temples to prostitute; and during sacrifice, some religious fanatics commit suicide or self-torture. [^Back]

    [11]. ① Marx, K. Future results of British rule in India, in Central Compilation and Translation Bureau (eds.), Marx-Engels Collected Works, Vol. 9, Beijing: People’s Publishing House, 252 (2006). [^Back]

    [12]. ② Edward W Said, Orientalism. Penguin Books, 1978. p.3. Said believed that Orientalism, as a metaphor or epitome of the whole West, should actually be used to represent the entire West. In other words, to determine self, the West takes the East as non-self for reference. It is because the East represents non-self that the West can determine self as self, and the East is a necessary given factor for the West to understand itself. [^Back]

    [13]. ③ Max Weber’s research work on the world’s major religions is collected in his Collected Essays in the Sociology of Religion published posthumously. The work includes Christianity and Confucianism, and Taoism in volume one, Hinduism and Buddhism in volume two, and Ancient Judaism in volume three. The volume two is translated into English by two professors, Hans H. Gerth and Don Martindale under the title of The Religion of India, the Sociology of Hinduism and Buddhism. The Free Press of Glencoe, 1962. [^Back]

    [14]. ④ In the rise of religious studies, it is crucial to build a world religions mode. See [Canadian] Smith W. C. The Meaning and End of Religion. Dong, J. (trans.) Beijing: China Renmin University Press, 132 (2005). [^Back]

    [15]. ① [Indian] Guha, R. The Hindu (Sunday Supplement), (2005-6-5). [^Back]

    [16]. ① [French] Malraux, A. Tristes Tropiques, in P. Mishra. (ed.) India in Mind. New York: Vintage Books, 172 (2005). [^Back]

    [17]. ② [Indian] Sen, A. The Argumentative Indian: Writings on Indian Culture, History and Identity. Liu, J. (trans.) Shanghai: SDX Joint Publishing Company, 117 (2007). [^Back]

    [18]. ③ Hermann Kulke, Kings and Cults: State Formation and Legitimation in India and Southeast Asia. Manohar, 1993, p. 240. [^Back]

    [19]. ④ [Indian] Thapar, R. History and Beyond. Shi, Y. (trans.) South Asian Studies (南亚研究), (2) (1981). [^Back]

    [20]. ① Chen, H. South Asian Studies (南亚研究), (2) (1981). [^Back]

    [21]. ② Thapar, R. South Asian Studies (南亚研究), (2) (1981). [^Back]

    [22]. ① Qiu, Y. Introduction to Hinduism (印度教概论). Beijing: Social Sciences Academic Press, 37 (2012). [^Back]

    [23]. ② Marx, K. British rule in India, in Central Compilation and Translation Bureau (eds.), Marx-Engels Collected Works, Vol. 9, Beijing: People’s Publishing House, 145 (2006). [^Back]

    [24]. ① [Indian] Sen, A. The Argumentative Indian: Writings on Indian Culture, History and Identity. Liu, J. (trans.) Shanghai: SDX Joint Publishing Company, 61 (2007). [^Back]

    [25]. ② Luce, E. In Spite of the Gods: The Strange Rise of Modern India. Zhang, S. (trans.) Beijing: CITIC Press Group, (2011). [^Back]

    [26]. ③ Sen, A. The Argumentative Indian: Writings on Indian Culture, History and Identity. Liu, J. (trans.) Shanghai: SDX Joint Publishing Company, 120 (2007). [^Back]

    [27]. ① [Indian] Thapar, R. A History of Indian. Lin, T. (trans.) Hangzhou: Zhejiang People’s Publishing House, 3 (1990). [^Back]

    [28]. ② Marx, K. Future results of British rule in India, in Central Compilation and Translation Bureau (eds.), Marx-Engels Collected Works, Vol. 9, Beijing: People’s Publishing House, 250 (2006). [^Back]

This Article

ISSN:1000-4289

CN: 11-1299/B

Vol , No. 05, Pages 17-26

October 2017

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Abstract

  • 1 Marx’s discussion on Hinduism and Hindu society
  • 2 Orientalists’ view of India
  • 3 Marx’s insight and the criticism over Orientalists’ view of India
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