Shashi Tharoor’s understanding of Hinduism is at the same level as a beauty pageant contestant’s understanding of world peace

First of all, I must thank the author Sahana Singh who has summarised Shashi Tharoor’s understanding of Hinduism succinctly with a tinge of humor. The title of this article is taken from her famous tweet. In fact, this tweet inspired me to write this article.

 

- Advertisement - - Article resumes -

Tharoor’s book is politically motivated

Shashi Tharoor’s  bestseller ‘Why I am a Hindu’, is a politically motivated book rather than one on that is a spiritual journey that intends to explore Hinduism. He has written a book which intends to aid the Congress’s push for ‘soft Hindutva.’ His presentation of Hindu faith is filled with cherry-picked references. His book is more inclined towards criticizing ‘Hindutva’ ideology and ‘Mob -lynching’ Hindus as he himself has said in an interview. If terror has no religion, then other crimes should not be seen from the religious angle alone. Thus, his propaganda has come under criticism from many quarters.

Tharoor doesn’t know basics of Hinduism

I was first introduced to Shashi Tharoor’s understanding of Hinduism in his book ‘The Elephant, The Tiger and The Cellphone’. In this book, he dedicates a few pages to the topic of Hinduism in his chapter titled ‘Hinduism and Hindutva: Creed and Credo’. Here he writes.

So I have had no difficulty in saying openly that I am a believing Hindu. But I am also quick to explain what that phrase means to me. I am not a ‘Hindu fundamentalist’ : I see Hinduism as uniquely a religion without fundamentals. We have an extraordinary diversity of religious practices within Hinduism, a faith with no single sacred book but many.

Let us first understand that there are diversities in all religions. Muslims are divided within themselves as Shias, Sunnis, Sufis, Ahmadis, etc. Christians are also divided between Protestants and Catholics. Buddhism is also having Hinayana, Vajrayana and Mahayana differences. Jainism has divisions between Shwetambaras and Digambaras. Thus, diversity is not a unique thing about Hinduism alone.

Next, Tharoor says that Hinduism doesn’t have any fundamentals. I totally disagree with this. The fundamental concept of Hinduism is Dharma i,e, righteousness. Ahimsa, Satya, Purushartha, etc and all other concepts are a subset of this core concept. Tharoor ignores this very basic fact. Since his foundation itself is weak, the structure he builds on it crumbles down in the eyes of an informed Hindu. This reminds me of the Malcolm X’s quote :

If you don’t stand for anything, you will fall for anything.

The Congress party and Mr. Tharoor stand for nothing. Therefore they will fall for anything. I wouldn’t say that Tharoor has the sole objective of grabbing political power, but I am sure that the sole objective of the Congress party has been exactly that. When I examine what Tharoor said in a program on NDTV, it amused me.

If Tharoor believes in ahimsa, he should have criticised those who slaughter cows. He must have criticised those who slaughtered the harmless animal in his home state and made a video out of it. But he focuses only on mob lynchers and thus, falls under the category of people who selectively criticises political opponents, and ignore crimes done by secular population. Of course, I don’t support mob lynchers. I don’t support non-vegetarianism either, because, I embrace the concept of ahimsa completely. This coherence in thought process is missing in Tharoor. My thoughts on this topic are best expressed by the philosopher J Krishnamurthi in his book “The Impossible Question”

If you yourself had to kill the animal which you eat, and saw the ugliness of it, would you eat that animal? I doubt it very much. But you do not mind the butcher killing it for you to eat; in that there is a great deal of hypocrisy.

Tharoor is obsessed with Golwalkar, Savarkar, and Hindutva.

The emphasis that one has given to certain topics can be gauged by the number of times a word is used in a written work/speech. When I search for the word ‘Hinduism’  in Tharoor’s book, Kindle gave me 444 results;  ‘Upanishad’ – 65 results; ‘Veda’ – 103 results. ‘Gita’ gives just 45 results. A search for ‘Satya’ and ‘Ahimsa’ gives 7 and 9 results respectively.

But a search for politically loaded words like ‘Hindutva’ gave 213 results;  Modi gave 46 results; Savarkar gave 52 results; RSS – 34. ‘Golwalkar’ – 65 results. ‘BJP’ gives 71 results. One can see that the emphasis on RSS and BJP is quite significant in his book. In fact, 150 pages of the book are dedicated to political propaganda. Is Tharoor’s understanding of Hinduism heavily affected by its politics? The fact that Savarkar and Golwalkar occupy more space than ‘Satya’ and ‘Ahimsa’ in his book raises important questions about his intentions.

His obsession with Savarkar and Golwalker is quite evident. His final chapter is titled ‘Taking Back Hinduism’, which sounds like an Islamist calling back his fellow men to ‘true Islam.’ The left has quoted some extremist or objectionable quotes of these two figures to push their agenda. But it is not accompanied by the vile and communal propaganda run by Muslim League and Jinnah during the run-up to partition. Their ideas of ‘Hindu Rashtra’ were born because they wanted to safeguard Hinduism and Hindus from the violent and destructive march of Islamic extremism. Thus, whatever objectionable things they have written must be seen in a historical context.

Writings of Golwalkar and Savarkar should be read in historical context

Tharoor doesn’t mention anything about Muslim League’s vile campaign for the formation of Pakistan in his book. In fact, he blames Hindu Mahasabha for the growth of Muslim League. It is a joke because, Hindu Mahasabha was not successful in elections unlike, Congress and Muslim League. How can Muslims be afraid of a party that failed politically? Muslim League managed to unite Muslims as a political force, but Hindu Mahasabha did not succeed. Also, what is wrong if Hindus decide to become a political force in modern in India?

Tharoor is a pawn in revival of ‘Soft Hindutva’ strategy 

Pick a random Hindu today and ask him about Golwalkar and Savarkar and ask them if they know who they are. They will fail to answer the question. In fact, I myself haven’t read their books in spite of being a BJP supporter. Most voters of BJP don’t support lynching or violence. Yes, we already know we are tolerant. We have corrected ourselves throughout our history. The job of liberals is to weed out bad aspects of all religions, not Hinduism alone.

So, why is Tharoor out to ‘Take Back Hinduism’ from those who have taken it away from the misguided liberals like him? The answer is clear. People are fed up with Congress party’s appeasement politics. They are losing election after election. Therefore, the party is reviving the dubious ‘soft Hindutva’ strategy of this party. For that mission, they have deputed the task to the good-looking, glib and suave Tharoor.

Share and Support:
Support OpIndia by paying for content

Most read articles recently

Ghaziabad: Stray dog, mother of five puppies, raped and dragged to death by Nafees and Tauseef

Nafees, one of the accused, has reportedly confessed to the crime of raping the animal several times before dragging her through the streets

Loans waived by Congress govt in MP, but here are the ‘conditions apply’ that farmers should see

One of the main poll promises in the run-up to 2018 elections was farmer loan waiver. Rahul Gandhi and all Congress leaders harped on farmer loan waiver.

Rajasthan Police ends up declaring a true incident as ‘fake news’ on Twitter

In a video being widely shared, a person can be heard complaining about 'Aurangzeb Rule' in Rajasthan and the people sharing the video claim it is from Utambar, Rajasthan.

Here is what connects attack on Akshaya Patra, French NGO against Rafale and demonization of Amarnath Yatra

The web of foreign-funded NGOs that demonised the Amarnath Yatra, French NGO that complained against Rafale in France and the demand to remove Akshaya Patra from midday meals contract

After spreading negativity during Diwali, Times Now is in a festive mood during Christmas

Times Now's tweets reflect the general attitude of the Indian elite towards Hindu festivals. While everything negative is associated with Hindu festivals, an aura of celebratory mood is spread on the occasion of Abrahamic festivals.

Activist opposing Akshaya Patra’s mid-day meal contract thinks ‘Brahmins obstruct India’s development’

The Akshaya Patra has come under criticism recently for not including onion and garlic in its mid-day meals for school children.

PM Modi makes a big announcement: 99% items to soon fall under 18% GST slab or lower

"Today, GST system has been established to a large extent and we are working towards a position 99% things would attract the sub- 18% slab", said Prime Minister Narendra Modi

‘I was a communist, but I fail to understand how talking about Hindus becomes ‘communal’: Hadiya’s father joins BJP

He said that he was a communist since childhood but of late the party is playing dirty vote-bank politics eyeing minority votes.

Why CM Manohar Parrikar was seen inspecting a bridge in Goa and why critics should lay off

It is unfathomable the Parrikar was being coerced to appear at the site of the bridge. On the other hand, it is most likely that Parrikar coerced his medical team to allow him out in the open.

IT magnate Narayana Murthy and ace investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala root for Modi government in 2019

Narayan Murthy and Rakesh Jhunjhunwala both have praised Modi government’s policies in the last 4.5 years of governance

Latest articles

Connect with us

125,810FansLike
98,289FollowersFollow
6,382SubscribersSubscribe

Don't miss these