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The book has been divided into 3 sections and 7 chapters, respectively. The book covers vast areas ranging from the very roots of Hinduism to finally coming full circle to hindutva and today’s Hinduism. Section 1 of the book sheds light on every aspect of religion, principles, its school’s tenets, teacher’s teachings, as well as some of it’s more questionable practices. In Section 2, Tharoor explains today’s politics very well by explaining the ways in which political leaders, strategists, thinkers and their religious allies have attempted to hijack the faith for their own end. Section 3 talks about going back to the true origin and form of Hinduism and rejecting the perversions it has been subjected to and restoring it to its truest essence.

Anybody looking to educate themselves or others, about the actual glorious religion as it was and what the religion has become, will definitely want to give it a read. Students of law and politics and history should give this book a try.

Objective Analysis

The title is very attractive and intriguing, it forces you with immense curiosity to think of an answer and even gets you to indulge in finding your own answer as to why you’re a Hindu personally. The main question that is in the title is actually answered at the very beginning. That said, the choice of such a title is important in our current context, given how we’ve acquired a penchant for the literal. It is too much to expect any appreciation of subtlety or metaphor at a time when our leaders defiantly offer instances from Indian mythology as proof of concept in conferences of science. [Chanda-Vaz, Urmi (2018) Shashi Tharoor’s ‘Why I Am A Hindu’ is a timely reminder of why Hinduism must retain its pluralism https://www.google.co.in/amp/s/amp.scroll.in/article/868932/shashi-tharoors-why-i-am-a-hindu-is-a-timely-reminder-of-why-hinduism-must-retain-its-pluralism].

Probably the most unique thing about the book that most people definitely wouldn’t give a second thought about is that this book has no summary at it’s back. Although considering the fact that this book covers vast and varying topics almost as diverse as the different Hindu religions themselves existing together in India it might be fitting, as writing a brief summary of this book would pose a difficult task.

He talks about the Great Souls of Hinduism, Adi Shankara, Patanjali, Ramanuja, Swami Vivekananda, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, and many others who made major contributions to the essence of Hinduism. The book also touches upon the topic of women and trans people among other controversial issues under Hinduism. Tharoor points out that such beings are not new and they’ve been mentioned in scriptures and can be seen at the sculptures in old temples. The author tries to normalize the opinion about them by taking us back to the roots of Hinduism, where these beings and concepts not just existed but were important and even thriving at times. Some other recent controversial topics like Love jihad and Beef ban have also been discussed.

He explains important aspects of concepts of Hindu philosophy like Purusha bhakti. He has also summarized parts of Bhagvadgita and talked about them in a real questioning sense to make the reader decease their “bhaidchal” or blind faith towards their religion and in turn, makes them question everything and come up with their own logic and answers. He has also discussed the violence committed in the name of faith by the right-wing organizations and their adherence. He claims that India will lose its uniqueness when it comes to religious faiths, beliefs etc. If the religious fundamentalists are allowed to keep going.

The third and final section of the book called Taking Back Hinduism talks about secularism. He also tells us how the author himself encourages and supports it. He wishes to see India in a real secular sense and that we should strive to move above the caste problems and issues. The part where Mr.Tharoor talks about Ganesh is probably my favorite section of the book because I personally relate to Lord Ganesh in so many ways and out of all the Gods I’ve always had a favored corner for him. Just like the author’s, he’s my favorite as well.

Since the author is Mr.Tharoor it’s a great chance to build your vocabulary due to his effortless usage of words. The author claims that he chooses Hinduism above all the other religions he knows not because he feels it is superior but because of its intellectual fit. He elaborates that it’s the religion which falls in line perfectly with his attitude towards life. He further goes on to say, “to accept people as one finds them, to allow them to be and become what they choose and to encourage them to do whatever they like so long as it does no harm to others is my natural instinct.” Another interesting fact about the book and the author is that he has indirectly mentioned people from the BJP with discontent and dislike via taunts portraying them as inadequate yet surprisingly hasn’t mentioned how his party is better than the BJP which is the usual MO in such instances. In a time where dissent and disagreement is so controversial in our country, Tharoor comes up with an amazing book to educate the citizens of the country on what it actually means to be a true Hindu.

Book & Language

The book surely gripped my attention and made me keep on turning pages. The concepts throughout the book are very well defined. The language is clear and convincing. The author’s thoughts flowed well and moved the book along swiftly. It makes for an engaging read. The book is a good informative material as the author has brought us the essential elements in an easy to comprehend manner for anyone looking to have a taste of the real Hinduism. I do love the book for its ease of words but also thankful that every now and then after a page or two the author makes me take out my dictionary. You can find plenty of splashes of Tharoorism in the book.


The best part about the book that I absolutely loved was how the author laid down so much complex and detailed information in a very lay sense so much so that every person could grasp the idea he was trying to put across. Usually, such texts are only deliberated and discussed by scholars and such but I believe after reading this book even an ordinary person could keep his own in a conversational about Hinduism with a scholar. It might feel like to some that this book has been written as to put one religion or party on a pedestal and others down then but after my thorough read, I really felt like that wasn’t the intention of the author even though it might at times sound like it. Unlike most authors claiming to be an authority or scholar on the subject or topic, they wrote about but Mr.Tharoor blatantly tells the readers that he’s not a sanskritist or a Hindu scholar.

He further claims that instead of just telling people what he thinks or found out about Hinduism he writes this book to find out answers for himself and to share the same to the readers so they too can build their own informed opinions. It’s a scholarly work done keeping the lay sense of the world in mind so it’s far more reachable than other books on the topic. Anybody who’s fixed in his ways regarding Hinduism might not like it or even have some problems with the book and go so far to discourage the point the book is trying to make. Considering the party in power right now and the author’s claims that hindutva and hindurashtra have nothing to do with Hinduism but is just a political ideology equipped for votes and such makes this book quite controversial. Most Hindus haven’t actually read the scriptures but just follow the “BHAIDCHAL.” The author explains they’re Hindus of habit and not of learning and so educating people what Hinduism originally is and how far we’ve deviated from the original form, in my opinion, could be devastating to common people’s beliefs as it’s not the scholars who make the religion but the ordinary practitioner of the same at the ground root level. As we all know people fear what they can’t understand. Telling someone they’ve been doing everything wrong could in the absolute sense destroy a person at a holistic dimension.


(The writer is a 4th-year law student at Amity Law School, Delhi affiliated to GGS IPU.)

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