- Publisher: Cambridge University Press
- Online publication date: August 2010
- Print publication year: 2010
- First published in: 1820
- Online ISBN: 9780511706929
- DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511706929
William Ward's account of the Hindu communities among whom he served as a Baptist missionary in Serampore in West Bengal was first published in 1811 and reprinted in this third edition in 1817. It was an extremely influential work that shaped British views of the newly defined entity of 'Hinduism' in the early nineteenth century. Ward and his fellow missionaries promoted social reforms and education, establishing the Serampore Mission Press in 1800 and Serampore College in 1818. Ward devoted twenty years to compiling his study of Hindu literature, history, mythology and religion, which was eventually published in four volumes. It provided richly detailed information, and was regarded as authoritative for the next fifty years. It is still an important source for researchers in areas including Indian history, British colonialism, Orientalism and religious studies. Volume 4 includes translations from Hindu sacred texts and philosophical writings, and Ward's own reflections on education.