Tamil Brahmins
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2010

    Shashi Tharoor’s ‘Why I Am A Hindu’

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    The current state of brazen religious politics led by a chest-thumping menagerie of leaders has been a cause of mortification for many Indians, Hindu and otherwise. When Hindutva is often mistaken for or sold as Hinduism, it is time to set the record straight.

    Why I Am A Hindu
    , running close to 300 pages, is divided into two sections, the first of which offers a brief history of Hinduism. The first chapter is titled “My Hinduism”, presented in what can be called the Devdutt Pattanaik mode. It is a clever and necessary disclaimer underscoring subjectivity – especially useful for times when religious sentiments are easily hurt. Tharoor acquaints us with the kind of Hinduism he was raised with, and, along with a sprinkling of anecdotes, gives an overview of the religion.

    The writer touches upon the ideas of many Indian gods and their multifarious Puranic stories, but also how they are united by the principle of the supreme Brahman. He stresses on the fact that Hinduism has no doctrinal absolutism, which is what makes it such a delightfully democratic faith. He impresses upon his reader that Hinduism is – and can only be – experienced and interpreted subjectively, using this lovely metaphor: “Hindu thought is like a vast library in which no book ever goes out of print; even if the religious ideas a specific volume contains have not been read, enunciated or followed in centuries, the book remains available to be dipped into, to be revised and reprinted with new annotations or a new commentary whenever a reader feels the need for it…”


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