Salil Tripathi has written a marvellous new book, “Offence: The Hindu Case.”, as part of a series that examines the growing intolerance around us in the name of religion: Kamila Shamsie looks at the Muslim case, Brian Klug at Judaism and Irena Maryniak at Christianity.
Claiming to take a leaf out of the Islamic book, Hindu nationalists are no longer prepared to suffer insult, denigration or offence, past and present, in silence. And offence is found everywhere—in art galleries, schools and universities, books, films, music and online. Hindu nationalists have targeted all these, attacking art galleries and driving artists into exile, tearing down posters they consider obscene, demanding bans on books that don’t conform to their version of history, vandalising research institutes and threatening its academics, forcing film studios to change scripts or musicians to alter lyrics, destroying mosques and abusing Muslims. In the process, they have plunged India into chaos and alienated many sectors of this multicultural society. Most seriously, they threaten the secular India of its founding fathers.
This is a timely effort. The point needs to be made, and made with some force. The recent rise of intolerance across the world is disturbing. And of all the people I know, Salil is uniquely qualified to write this book.
Amit Varma wrote about the book recently, quoting a poem Salil wrote for his mother, Harsha Tripathi, dedicating the book to her. Do read. I believe the poem alone would be worth it!