Shashi Tharoor’s latest book ‘The Hindu Way’ launched officially
New Delhi: Congress MP and former union minister Shashi Tharoor's latest book 'The Hindu Way: An Introduction to Hinduism' was officially launched by senior Congress leader Karan Singh here on Thursday.
At a panel discussion on the book later, Tharoor referred to lynching incidents saying what is being done is in no way representative of the fundamental core tenets of Hinduism. He said the incidents had hurt him as a Hindu and a propagator of the religion.
However, he said, the fact is that these things are being done ostensibly in the name of Hinduism and in the name of an ideology named after Hinduism.
The ideology is pursued in a manner that involves chanting the name of a God - 'Jai Shri Ram' - which has "nothing to do with the Lord Ram who we have learnt to venerate and pray", Tharoor said.
He said problem arises when some people reduce the lofty ideals of the religion to the team identity loyalty of "British football hooligan".
"We consider ourselves Hindus and we don't think they speak for us," Tharoor asserted.
Referring to 'Jai Shri Ram' and 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' chants that some insist on, Tharoor said there are these acid test and litmus tests on which if one doesn't oblige it makes that person anti-national.
This is a terrible "conflation of the liberality of the Hindu way versus a much narrower and restrictive way of Indian experience which some people are trying to promote", he said.
Congress leader Karan Singh said that beating a defenceless boy to death and asking him to chant 'Jai Shri Ram' and 'Jai Hanuman' is an insult to not only Hinduism, but it is an insult to the great deity.
He was alluding to the Jharkhand lynching case in which Tabrez Ansari, a young Muslim man, was seen on national television being beaten up with rods while tied to a pole and forced to chant 'Jai Shri Ram' over alleged theft.
"Shri Ram was a compassionate being. Do you think he would like his name being taken while a poor boy is beaten to death? I find the clip intolerable to watch. As a Hindu it hurts me," he said, adding the perpetrators should be ashamed of the act.
JD(U) leader Pawan Verma, who was part of the panel discussion on the book published by Aleph book company, said the real problem has arisen because a bulk of Hindus today are so "adrift from their moorings in terms of what we would consider an acceptable level of knowledge about religion".
"The real crisis in Hinduism is the legitimisation of the lowest common denominator," he said.
Seshadri Chari from the RSS said the criminal incidents in the name of Hinduism is "not Hinduism".
"If you pin down Hinduism to vigilantism and lynching, this is not Hinduism," he said, adding a law-and-order problem should not be connected with the lofty ideals of Hinduism.
Chari said the RSS has condemned lynching incidents in the past.
Speaking at the panel discussion, Chairman of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM) Bibek Debroy said people should not get swayed by transient things and incidents as Hinduism has cannot be looked at in their light.