Tharoor believes that character of Hinduism – a religion that allowed one choice as well as the right to question – is the right one for a modern democracy. “How such a wonderfully capricious faith, so open, so liberal can be reduced by some into a badge of identity akin to that of the British football hooligans, I don’t know, but I don’t want any part of it,” he said.
Referring to the ideas of people like Swami Vivekananda and Mahatma Gandhi, as well as some pioneers of the idea of Hindutva including MS Golwalkar and Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, he stated: “We are living in a country where, on the one hand, the Prime Minister says the Constitution is his holy book and on the other hand, he extols as a hero and instructs his ministry to study the works and writings and teachings of a man, Deen Dayal Upadhyay, who explicitly rejects the Constitution and who says the Constitution is fundamentally flawed.”
Amidst repeated applause from the audience Tharoor said that those who accuse him of advertising his faith for political reasons don’t know that his book is a result of years of reflection. “At least for two-three generations of Hindus I knew, including mine, would practice the faith in private but would find it unseemly to depict it in public. That was the Hindu way,” he said. As a result, space had been ceded to “those who were not only willingly to advertise their Hindutva, but claim it is the only way of being Hindu”. Tharoor believes it is time for “other Hindus to take back our faith.” This, he stated, is what his book sought to do.