Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Book Review: Salil Tripathi’s “Offence: The Hindu Case”

They say good things come in small packages. They also say that it is easy to write an elaborate and lengthy book, but a lot tougher to compress one’s thoughts into a brief and succinct article. Both these are true in the case of well-known and well-regarded journalist Salil Tripathi who has now come up with a neat book which traces the growth of intolerance among Hindu fundamentalists in India. Before you wonder if there isn’t any fundamentalism among Muslims, Christians, Jews etc., let me tell you that this book is part of a series by the publisher, Kolkata based Seagull Books, which has books by different authors make the case for offence taken by Jews, Muslim and Christians.

Tripathi not only writes well, as we all know, but he has also done his research thoroughly. Compressed within the hundred odd half-pages that make this book, you will find titbits of history (lavishly drenched in a fair sauce) on topics such as the Aryan Invasion Theory, destruction of temples by native Indian rulers and Muslim invaders, the various versions of Ramayana, eroticism in temple art etc. I finished the book effortlessly in one sitting and really enjoyed reading it. More power to Tripathi’s pen (or rather his keyboard!)

If at all I have a grudge, it is against the publisher Seagull Books, who in my view, could have brought out a single book with all four components, the Hindu, Muslim, Christian and Jewish cases for offence.

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