At the launch of his new book The Hindu Way: An Introduction to Hinduism, senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor said the title is a misnomer, that there is no Hindu way, there are multiple approaches to how one accesses Hinduism, and this is his interpretation of his faith.
“What is being done (currently) is in no way representative of the fundamental core tenets, faith, practices, belief of Sanatan Dharma, but these things are being done ostensibly in the name of Hinduism, to protect an ideology named after Hinduism, and pursued in a manner which involves chanting the name of a God, of a manifestation of the divine, Jai Shri Ram, which has nothing to do with the Jai Shri Ram we have all learnt to venerate,” the MP said.
The problem, he said, is that “the lofty metaphysics are reduced to something akin to team identity of hooligans, who say ‘my team is always right, I will hit you on the head to tell you that my team is right’.” And, “if that’s the kind of Hinduism these people want to propagate, we don’t want to be part of it.”
The book, published by Aleph Book Company, was launched by Congress leader Karan Singh at Nehru Memorial Museum and Library here, and followed by a panel discussion.
Speaking about how Hinduism is an orchestra, with instruments playing in harmony, Singh said, “Forcing (one) to chant Jai Shri Ram is an insult to Hinduism.” Referring to the Tabrez Ansari incident, he asked, “Is this Hinduism?… I’m a Raghuvanshi, Shri Ram was a compassionate God. Real Hinduism embraces, builds bridges, does not create wars.”
Tharoor also objected to the prescriptive Hinduism that forces one to “abjure beef, chant Jai Shri Ram, Bharat Mata Ki Jai”.
BJP national executive committee member and RSS leader Seshadri Chari said, “There cannot be different Hinduism, yet there are. The same Hindus have brought together the Congress, RSS and JD(U). Hinduism beats all definition. Can space be defined? Defining is comparing, confining to a periphery.”
He added that the Prime Minister and RSS had condemned lynchings, and asked, “In which Veda is Ram mentioned as a God? There are issues far greater than to determine who is and who is not a Hindu.”
Chari said, “We don’t justify one bit what is happening in the name of Hinduism, it is not Hinduism. What is essentially a law and order problem should not be left at the door of the lofty ideal of Hinduism.”