THE WISDOM FUND: News & Views
October 10, 2019
The Wisdom Fund

Why I Am A Hindu -- Book Excerpt

by Sashi Tharoor

My generation grew up in an India where our sense of nationhood lay in the slogan, 'unity in diversity.' We were brought up to take pluralism for granted, and to reject the communalism that had partitioned the nation when the British left. In rejecting the case for Pakistan, Indian nationalism also rejected the very idea that religion should be a determinant of nationhood. . . .

Though the Indian population was 80 percent Hindu and the country had been partitioned as a result of a demand for a separate Muslim homeland, three of India's eleven presidents were Muslims; so were innumerable governors, cabinet ministers, chief ministers of states, ambassadors, generals, and Supreme Court justices. During the war with Pakistan in 1971, when the Pakistani leadership was foolish enough to proclaim a jihad against the Hindu 'unbelievers', the Indian Air Force in the northern sector was commanded by a Muslim (Air Marshal, later Air Chief Marshal, I. H. Latif); the army commander was a Parsi (General, later Field Marshal, S. H. F. J. Manekshaw), the general officer commanding the forces that marched into Bangladesh was a Sikh (General J. S. Aurora), and the general flown in to negotiate the surrender of the Pakistani forces in East Bengal was Jewish (Major-General J. F. R. Jacob).



Sashi Tharoor is a Member of Parliament in India. He has served as executive assistant to UN Secretary-General Kofi Anan. Upon Kofi Anan's departure, he became India's candidate for Secretary-General. He finished second behind Ban Ki-moon.

Bhaskar Menon, "Reality Check for David Cameron's India Quest," undiplomatic times, February 21, 2013

John Pilger, "India Has Become a Dystopia of Extremes," CounterPunch, January 3, 2014

L.D. Russell, "Hinduism," Truitt Center for Religious & Spiritual Life, February 24, 2014

Ram Puniyani, "Why Did Muslim Rulers Destroy Hindu Temples? Facts and Myths," YouTube, June 18, 2014

Eric Margolis, "Beware the Kashmir Volcano," ericmargolis.com, September 25, 2016

Shashi Tharoor, "Why I Am A Hindu," Scribe US; US edition (October 2, 2018), pages 185-192

"Article 370: India Strips Disputed Kashmir of Special Status," BBC.com, August 5, 2019

Dexter Filkins, "Blood and Soil in Narendra Modi's India," newyorker.com, December 2, 2019

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