Book Review: Hindu Dharma and Culture Wars by Koenraad Elst

Hindu Dharma and Culture Wars
Author: Koenraad Elst
Publisher: Rupa Publishers
Rating: 3/5

Indian Culture forms the soul of modern India in every geographically and psychologically divided state or city. Even though India is known for its vibrant traditions, it becomes equally difficult to understand the altering visions of the world’s largest democracy. While religion and its doctrines have been mutated by the masters or the preachers, the followers still follow the blind alleyway and prefer violence and verbal squabbles as tactics to muzzle intellectual discourse. ‘Hindu Dharma and Culture Wars’ is a doorway that aims to make the people see the façade of truth created by the religious propagandists and exposes the former to more pragmatic and logical ideologies that Hinduism preaches.

Using an opinionated tone, the author, Koenraad Elst, argues the toss and questions the validity of ‘Secular Indian State’. He says that if secularism means separation of government from the religious institution, then the involvement of the Indian constitution in defining the religious laws violates the very first criteria of being called a secular state. Similarly, the author also expresses his disappointment in the fact that the followers of Hinduism follow their masters based on the hearsay, for they have cold feet when it comes to trying out something and then believing it.

Furthermore, the author questions the righteousness of Ramakrishna Mission. The motto of this mission was ‘Sarva Dharma Sambhava’. Elst points out the unjustifiable clause which did not allow the recruitment of people who belonged to other faiths. In the next few chapters, he draws a parallel between monotheism and pluralism. The author also explains the suitability of quotes said by the great leaders in contemporary society. For instance, Gandhi preached ahimsa or non-violence being righteous. But then what about the situations that demand violence? So, if the people believe in ‘non-violence in some situations and righteous violence in other situations’, then what is wrong with this transformation?

In a few chapters that have been penned down after collating experience, prior knowledge and research- the outcome is still controversial. While some arguments may seem palpable, others might just make the readers question the author’s purpose. Nevertheless, I feel that writing such a book with a cocky tone is a risk not many would take.

Overall, this is a bold attempt at expressing honest opinions. There are a few printing errors which can be ignored owing to the interesting content.

*Recommended read for all the religious fanatics

Best wishes to the author!

Buying Link: Amazon

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