Shashi Tharoor pens in his latest book about what it means to be Indian

Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor examines the ideas of nationalism, patriotism, and what it means to be Indian in his latest book 'The Battle of Belonging'
Shashi Tharoor
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Author and politician Shashi Tharoor is back with what he says is his magnum opus: The Battle of Belonging: On Nationalism, Patriotism And What It Means To Be Indian. Taking to Twitter, the Thiruvananthapuram MP says, “It’s among my most solidly researched and passionately-argued works.”

The book, divided into six chapters, explores historical as well as contemporary ideas of nationalism, patriotism, liberalism, democracy, and humanism that have emerged in the 18th and 19th centuries. Tharoor, who has penned over 20 books, makes a stinging critique of the Hindutva doctrine and the Citizenship (Amendment) Act in The Battle of Belonging , which is published by Aleph Book Company. A "Hindu India" would not be Hindu at all, but a "Sanghi Hindutva state", which is a different country altogether, states the Congress MP in the book.

A thread that runs through The Battle of Belonging is a debate about the strengths and weaknesses of patriotism and nationalism. However, Tharoor makes it clear that patriotism is his preferred emotion and sentiment. In several ways, the book seems to be an extension of his 2018 book, Why I Am a Hindu, where he explored Hinduism’s history and the way religion impacted the country’s socio-cultural contours. However, in The Battle of Belonging, the author has replaced the question of religion with identity, which has come to resemble each other today.

Last year, Tharoor’s comment that the BJP would pave the way for creating a "Hindu Pakistan" had sparked a controversy. Following which the saffron party demanded an apology for his remark. The former Union Minister has devoted a chapter in the book to the ‘Hindu Pakistan’ controversy. He writes, “I had inveighed against the ruling party’s attempts to create a Hindutva version of Pakistan since that was not what our freedom movement fought for, nor was it the idea of India enshrined in our Constitution. This is not just about the minorities, as the BJP would have us believe. Many proud Hindus like myself cherish the inclusive nature of our faith and have no desire to live, as our Pakistani neighbours are forced to, in an intolerant mono-religious state.”

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