Who is a Hindu and what defines Hinduism as a world religion? In the absence of a historical founder and a single text outlining the tenets of the religion, what unites the bewildering variety of thoughts and practices within the broad umbrella of Hinduism? Does the long, dynamic history of Hinduism corroborate its popular characterization as an eternal, tolerant and non-proselytizing religion? As the subtitle suggests, the course will examine such widespread stereotypes about Hinduism from a historical perspective. In this exciting journey, we will encounter foundational texts, sacred centres of worship, mystical devotional cults, militant ascetic orders and social reform movements. Glimpses of some of the finest pieces of pre-modern Indian religious literature, such as hymns of the Rig Veda and devotional poetry of medieval bhakti saints, will be an added attraction.