One of the most intriguing of world faiths, Hinduism is a term used to describe the religious beliefs and practices of more than 800 million people. Yet Hinduism is a religion that lacks a set of core beliefs; there is also no founder, no single scripture nor any central organization. The sheer diversity of beliefs and practices has led some to claim that the term "Hindu" is almost meaningless.
What Do Hindus Believe? argues, however, that there are central threads in this diversity that can be traced through more than three thousand years, from the prehistoric depictions of Hindu deities in the Indus valley civilization, through classical, medieval and colonial periods.
The book's examination of Hinduism in the 21st century discusses the rise of Hindutva or Hindu-nationalism in India and examines beliefs and practices in the Hindu diaspora.
RACHEL DWYER (U.K.), is professor of Indian studies and cinema at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, and holds degrees in Sanskrit, Philology and Gujarati. Her books include Filming the Gods.