Top positive review
'Hinduism, Not Hindutva' - is the motto!
18 February 2019
I remember a line from the early days of my reading and it goes like this – ‘If a poet falls in love with you, you will forever be immortalised’. That was the feeling I had when I finished reading this book. On one side are trolls of social media, simply bashing you for any and every point that you express. The validity or otherwise of the point matters the least to them. All that they want is to put you down and insult you. They turn every debate into a bitter argument and leave a bad taste in the mouth. At the other end of the intellectual spectrum are people like Shashi Tharoor. These are the kind of people that you don’t normally mess with, or else they ‘immortalise’ you by writing in reams to prove how dumb you and your opinions are.
This book is co-authored by Shashi Tharoor, the intellect, and Shashi Tharoor, the politician. The intellect Shashi Tharoor begins the book beautifully, elaborating on the core tenets of Hinduism and all the things that make Hinduism not just a religion, but the very way of life worth emulating. Briefly delving on the probable origins of Hinduism, the challenges it faced all along its many millennia-old existence, the ways in which it overcame those challenges and the innumerable saints and holy personae that stand as shining beacons for all the virtues that Hinduism is all about. Ironically, Mr. Tharoor makes you feel proud about being Hindu, more than all the antics and assertions of the so-called saviours of the ‘Hindutva’ brigade.
The second and final part of the book are used by politician Shashi Tharoor, who uses it as a canvas to paint a poor – many times, correctly so – picture about his political opponents, especially those belonging to the Hindutva brigade. Starting from the patriarchs of RSS, Golwalkar and Savarkar, who used hatred for another religion to fuel the passion for their own, touching upon the somewhat sensible life of Deen Dayal Upadhyay, to the present day leaders of BJP, who rode upon paranoia and hatred of a huge scale to attain their political gains, Shashi Tharoor has ‘immortalised’ everyone with his systematic arguments against their narrow ideologies, setting them against the all-encompassing backdrop of Hinduism.
In an age of manipulation through fake-images and messages spread through social media, people have been taught to hate the real soldiers of India’s freedom struggle, forgetting that these ‘Hindutva’ proponents made little or no contribution during the struggle for India’s independence. But Shashi Tharoor is no pushover to let them go easily. His book is a timely and sensible argument against the malady that is ‘Hindutva’, a product of fear and paranoia.
Those belonging to Congress will be all praise for this book. Those supporting the BJP will call this book as biased. But any unbiased reader, especially a Hindu who loves his religion, but doesn’t allow that love to become a license to spew paranoia and hatred against practitioners of other religions, will find this book to be a worthy argument. A sensible read!