Pub. date: 2002 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412950664 | Print ISBN: 9780761922582 | Online ISBN: 9781412950664| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Werner F. Menski
Hinduism is the major religion of India and is a world religion, having been spread beyond India's borders by Indian Hindus who have settled elsewhere. There are about 800 million adherents of Hinduism around the world. Hinduism permeates all aspects of life in India and contains ritual, experiential, narrative, philosophical, ethical, legal, social, material, and artistic dimensions. Hinduism is a complex religion, and there is much variation in belief and practice across the villages of India. Compared to other world religions, the scholarly study of Hindu criminal law has been limited, largely because during and following British rule, criminal justice in India was strongly influenced by Thomas Macauley's secular Indian Penal Code, imposed by the British in 1860. Unlike Imperial China, ancient India was only rarely a unified empire. This absence of centralized political rule meant that the state did not rely on Hindu ideas about punishment. Hindu literary tradition ...