- Hardcover: 102 pages
- Publisher: University of Chicago Press; Edition edition (17 November 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1906497389
- ISBN-13: 978-1906497385
- Product Dimensions: 11.4 x 1.5 x 18.4 cm
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,34,754 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Offence – The Hindu Case (Manifestos for the Twenty-first Century) Hardcover – Import, 17 Nov 2009
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About the Author
Salil Tripathi was born in Bombay. He moved to London in 1999 and has written frequently for numerous publications, including the Wall Street Journal, Guardian, Independent, New Statesman, Spectator, Prospect, Index on Censorship, Philadelphia Inquirer, Washington Post, and Salon. He is also senior visiting fellow for business and human rights at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
It is obvious from reading the reviews that is hard for many Indians living in India and abroad, to accept that Hinduism is suffering the same fate as many of the other religions of the world today. That Hinduism has also been taken over in some parts of the world (and in some States in India) by ideologues and zealots. Hard liners who are easily "offended" by views of those they disagree with.
The narrative (almost conversational) tone of the author makes this book an easy read. No shrillness there. The story he presents however is far from pleasant and in parts very uncomfortable. This is more than a story about the literary freedom of an Indian painter who had to leave the country due to extremist reaction to his work or distortions of history to fit in with a purist "Indian" origin of the Aryan civilization.
It is a wake up call to all those who call themselves Indians and those who care about pluralism and the right to co-exist with others whose religious/artistic/moral views maybe different from theirs. This is a good book. A book that should be read by anyone interested in this region or subject. It provides an insight into a darker face of a religion which till now has often been seen as inclusive and non violent.
This author's thesis is that when Hindus protest against the bigots, those protests should not be heeded because (of some perceived anecdotal imperfections of a few among the many billions who have lived and died as Hindus). Wow! What an ORIGINAL thesis! So Christians should not be unhappy about Osama Bin Laden because some who were born in Christian families were also axe murderers etc? THIS is Harvard Scholarship in the 21st century? I do agree that Hindus should wonder where their religion went wrong, if their vaunted tolerance and freedom of thought results in some with Hindu sounding names occasionally turn out to be Marxist fools who would sell their mothers down the drain for a few bucks from certain hate-propagating universities.
A cursory browsing of the internet using such terms as "Wendy Doniger", "Egg misses fat author" or "Limp Phallus Courtright" would instantly reveal why Hindus who encounter such hate-mongers are shocked enough to protest. Doniger, Courtright, and Harvard's own Fuhrer Herr Witzel the Aryan Supremacist, wear cloaks of self-professed Divinity or Religion Expertise as they try to sell books (some through Amazon) peddling child pornography in the guise of "Religious Psycho-Analysis". Courtright claimed that a Hindu text where a toddler shows desire for a fruit or a piece of candy, "represents" the child soliciting oral sex!!! This from a faculty member employed and trusted by a Methodist University (Emory University) to teach your and my kids! Doniger wrote in (un)critical acclaim of this Courtright book, removing all doubt.
Over a hundred thousand Hindus were driven out of their homes in Jammu-Kashmir by Islamic bigots, simply because they were not Islamic. Hindus have no case to take offence? Herr Witzel of Harvard writes that US citizens who send their daughters to learn Indian classical dance are training them to be prostitutes. Hindus have no case to take offence? Courtright, Doniger and Co. abuse Hindu religious books on practically every page of their books. Hindus have no case for offence?
So if modern Hindus point out the (duh!) obvious fact that lowlife bigot pornographers are no scholars, there is "no case" for such protest? Awesome thesis!
If you want to read trash, there are far more talented trash writers than this author or his heroes and heroines of Harvard, Emory and U. Chicago. Save your money. Or wait until it comes down under $0.02. Doniger's and Courtright hard-cover books are headed that way. Wonder why.
At 116 pages, including references, the book is a quick read. But it has not been so easy to review it. I read the book about three months ago. Since then much water has flown in the Ganges, so to speak. The artist, MF Husain, the story of whose persecution in India runs through the book, has renounced his Indian citizenship and taken Qatari citizenship. The book opens with Husain's story, then proceeds to demonstrate how Hindu nationalists are systematically catalysing censorship and bans, and revising history to suit a narrative, which is entirely at odds with India's constitution (which creates India as a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic Republic) and with India's and indeed Hinduism's history as an inclusive philosophical movement. By focusing on Rama as a deity, Hindutva seems to be constructing a discourse on "offence" which is inspired, for want of a better word, by monotheistic religions such as Islam, shunning the richness and plurality of the religion's mythology and traditions. Mr Tripathi constructs his argument using references and conversations with some of India's leading contemporary thinkers and historians, as well as influential cultural icons such as Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindra Nath Tagore. Indeed Mr Tripathi also cites Wendy Doniger, who is not the most popular western commentator on Hinduism but to be fair, Hindu nationalism revivalists in India also have help from native Belgian and American commentators so I say, fair play to Doniger.
This book is a snapshot of India's recent events. It is a book about India's present, not India's past but there is also a disturbing prospect of a future trajectory that is potentially reductive, exclusive and revisionist.
As I mention earlier, some readers, especially of the Hindu persuasion, may feel agitated, frustrated or confused while reading the book. Others will find it thought-provoking and may take on the opportunity to explore Hindu scholarship in detail. Mr Tripathi's is a perspective that needs to be shared widely. India cannot remain India Shining by excluding from its future narrative a good 20% of its people. I rate the book 4 stars because it will not be to everyone's taste and many are bound to take offence.