Why I Am A Hindu

Why I Am A Hindu by Shashi Tharoor is a beautiful book that describes the concept of Hinduism, explores how it’s followers practice it and what sets it apart from other religionsShashi Tharoor has done a brilliant job of creating, what I would like to call, a layman’s guide to Hinduism. I wouldn’t say that he explores Hinduism in detail, but rather creaks open the door just enough to create curiosity; to want to go in there and explore further.

The book has some lovely transaltions of the Rig Veda that explain the concept of God in Hindu philosophy and the creation of the Universe:


Who really knows? And who can say?
Whence did it all come? And how did creation happen?
The gods themselves are later than creation,
So who knows truly whence the great creation sprang?

Who knows whence this creation had its origin?
He, whether He fashioned it or whether He did not,
He, who surveys it all from the highest heaven,
He knows—or maybe even He does not know.

                            — Rig Veda, X.129


Tharoor has sprinkled such beautiful translations of shlokas all over the book, which in turn make you yearn to read the original sanskrit sholkas. I wish he had included those as well. Nevertheless, the book is a joy to read, filled with pages of wisdom and rich history of Hinduism.

The book traces the evolution of Hinduism over time and how it sustained under the political dominance of rulers of another faith. How did India not become a fully Muslim country as other Asian countries such as Maldives, Malaya and Indonasia? What led Hindus to idol worship and how it helped save the religion from extinction? How some practices such as restrictions into temples, child marriage and sati were born and how they became an ugly evil over time? The book tells us all this and more. It explores the reason behind the willingness of Hindus to be tolerant and accepting other faiths.

The book is a treasure cove, which compels you to linger on every thought introduced on every page, making it impossible to rush through the book. It is the kind of book you will want to savour at your own slow pace. This is the first book on the subject where I have identified with the author’s thoughts.

There very few books that have changed my perspective on life and this is one of them. Which books have done that for you?

About the Author

Shashi Tharoor is the bestselling author of 16 previous books, both fiction and non-fiction, besides being a noted critic and columnist. His books include the path-breaking satire The Great Indian Novel (1989), the classic India: From Midnight to the Millenniumn (1997), and most recently, An Era of Darkness: The British Empire in India, for which he won the Ramnath Goenka Award for Excellence in Journalism, 2016, for Books (Non-Fiction).

He was a former Under Secretary-General of the United Nations and a former Minister of State for Human Resource Development and Minister of State for Externmal Affairs in the Government of India. He is a two-time member of Lok Sabha from Thiruvananthapuram and chairs numerous literary awards including a Commonwealth Writer’s Prize, and was honoured as New Age Politician of the Year (2010) by NDTV. He was awarded the Pravasi Bahratiya Samman, India’s highest honour for overseas Indians.

Author: Shashi Tharoor
Genre: Non Fiction
Publisher: Aleph Book Company
ISBN: 978-93-86021-10-6
Publication Year: 2018
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 302
Original Language: English
Country: India.

Get your copy of Why I Am A Hindu here:

A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher. The review, however, is honest and unbiased.

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