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). -- pages 185-192

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.

[I am proud to belong to a religion which has taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance. We believe not only in universal toleration, but we accept all religions as true. I am proud to belong to a nation which has sheltered the persecuted and the refugees of all religions and all nations of the earth.--Swami Vivekananda, "Addresses at The Parliament of Religions,", 1893]

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

William Dalrymple, "The Anarchy: The East India Company, Corporate Violence, and the Pillage of an Empire," Bloomsbury Publishing (September 10, 2019)

"Divide et Impera: India's BJP Determined to Complete What the British Began -- Hindu (Hindutva) vs Muslim," The Wisdom Fund

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