I am currently confused between these alternatives:
- the sum total of all traditions followed in modern day India?
- the value system of Canakya Pandita, the principal creator of the modern-day India?
- the value system of Mahatma Gandhi?
- the value system of emperor Ashoka, whose emblem India still carries?
- the impressions of people on the other side of the Sindhu river (about people on this side)?
- the impressions of some invaders who could not distinguish the different traditions?
- the common practices of saints of various traditions?
As you see, these are all caustic proposals, but please give a heartfelt honest-ones in answer, because somebody must have thought that "Hinduism" is a good title. My view is that it is a misnomer only used by people ignorant to the roots of the aryan culture or sanatana-dharma. I have studied vedic philosophy for over 20 years and even follow many of it's practical aspects, but calling me a "hinduist" would be an offense, because I don't see Hinduism as a coherent identity, unless we qualify it as Vedic, everything based on the Vedas, including the fifth Veda (puranas and itihasas). I would call "hinduist" a person who is coerced into following some India-related traditions without properly understanding them. Or, the speaker lacks understanding. Because, if he understood, then there would be a better, more scientific designation, both by eastern and western standards.
Also, Buddhism and Christianity have their own sites, so it would be appropriate to specialize on this site just on the Vedic culture. That would also solve the quality problem with answers, because it would be clear what to quote from and where to check references. By Vedic standards, an answer without a quote from the shastra is totally non-expert, actually a disturbance to society (sruti smrti puranadi pancaratra vidhim vina aikantiki harer bhaktir utpatayaiva kalpate). OK, there are 6 philosophical systems derived from Vedas, but each of them has a foundational treatise and commentaries that can be quoted and verified, and they all illuminate some part of the same Vedic body of knowledge.
An what about the title? "Hinduism" is appealing to dummies, but it might scare off experts. There is no such thing as Hinduism, the very term is ill-defined. Sanatana-dharma has been proposed, but I think "Vedic culture" is better understandable for both insiders and outsiders.