Diwali, or Deepavali, the festival of lights that symbolises the triumph of Dharma over Adharma, light over darkness, and knowledge over ignorance, is at hand.
But there is no sign that we are anywhere close to celebrating any of those three symbolic victories.
Far from it, even the judiciary, which ought to know better, has chosen to embrace a form of ignorance in banning crackers, when everyone and his aunt knows that it is stubble burning, construction work, and vehicular pollution that are causing heavy pollution in Delhi, not the once-a-year celebration of the festival of lights with crackers.
The saddest part is that some Hindus, who ought to know better, are as keen on such virtue-signalling as the judiciary and social justice warriors.
This Diwali, it is not my intention to do more breast-beating on this score, but to invite Hindus — in fact, all people — to read good books to dispel their ignorance, and to follow that up by actions to protect Dharma and Hinduism.
There are simply too many books one must read, but I will start with the most recent one, written by Sanjay Dixit, the man behind The Jaipur Dialogues.
A few days ago he released a book titled All Religions Are Not The Same, something that most Hindus tend to forget when they keep repeating the falsehood that all religions are the same. They are not, and there are good reasons why some must gain ground and others lose.
Dixit continues in the tradition of Hindu writers such as Ram Swarup, Sita Ram Goel, and more recently Rajiv Malhotra and Western writers such as Koenraad Elst, Pandit Vamadeva Shastri (aka David Frawley), and Francois Gautier.
All Religions Are Not The Same is my first recommendation for readers this Diwali. It is refreshingly simple and easy to read. Published by Garuda Prakashan, and priced at Rs 399, Dixit’s book is a very good place to start for those labouring under the impression that all religions are the same. Dispelling that bit of ignorance is the best thing any Hindu can do this Diwali.
My second book recommendation is Hindutva: Origin, Evolution and Future, written by my colleague in Swarajya, Aravindan Neelakandan. This deeply researched book will, at the very least, make you understand that Hindutva is not what its critics say it is — a banner under which minorities are targeted — but a process through which we rediscover ourselves, and reconnect with our civilisational past, present and future.
Neelakandan, who is a fan of Babasaheb Ambedkar and an anti-caste warrior, is often critiqued in the social media by more conservative Hindus who do not like his excessive focus on casteism.
As someone who stands between both sides, I strongly urge both critics and fans of Neelakandan’s writing to read this terrific book. It will tell us more about ourselves and our Hinduness than almost any other book I have read. You don’t have to agree with Neelakandan, but you must read him.
But if you do want a book that gives you the other side of caste, you should read Caste As Social Capital: The Complex Place of Caste In Indian Society, by a former professor at the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore, R Vaidyanathan. Caste is difficult to eradicate precisely because it is much more than just an institution of oppression.
My third book is Brahmin Genocide: A Precursor to Hindu Extinction, by Asi (Mahalingam Balaji), which I reviewed for Swarajya some time ago here. If you think the title is a bit over the top and needlessly scary, you should also recall that just a few weeks ago a Tamil Nadu Minister and son of the Chief Minister, Udhayanidhi Stalin, called for the eradication of Sanatana Dharma. And many others agreed.
My fourth book is Anand Ranganathan’s Hindus in Hindu Rashtra: Eighth Class Citizens And Victims of State-Sanctioned Apartheid (you can read my review of his book here).
Even excusing the hyperbole of Hindus being “eighth class citizens” in Bharat, which is not true in all spheres, Ranganathan does us a big service by pin-pointing the precise areas where the state crushes Hindu religious rights by hard-coding this discrimination into the law and in jurisprudence. Regular readers of Swarajya will be familiar with some of these issues, but Ranganathan brings it all in one place to make for an easy read.
It is yet another torch showing Hindus who they are up against. It will illuminate your path from confusion to clarity.
My fifth recommended book is Arghya Sengupta’s The Colonial Constitution, which correctly traces “Ambedkar’s constitution” to its origins in the colonial-era Government of India Act, 1935. Sengupta busts the myth that the Constitution was almost entirely the work of Babasaheb, even though there is no doubt it carries his unmistakable stamp in several segments.
Sengupta suggests that it may be time to review the Constitution, which continued with the colonial tradition of concentrating powers with the Centre — something Ambedkar was insistent on because of his antipathy to caste, and his belief that empowering local government would make things worse for the Dalits.
My sixth book recommendation is Madhu Purnima Kishwar’s The Girl From Kathua: A Sacrificial Victim of Ghazwa-e-Hind (read the review here).
This extensively researched book on the rape and murder of a young girl from the Bakerwal community in Jammu tells us how a terrible crime can be politicised and communalised by the Left-liberal-jihadi ecosystem to shame Hindus as a collective.
As long as the victim is from one community and the accused from the majority community, this toolkit works wonders.
My seventh book is by an Israeli conservative intellectual, Yoram Hazony, author of The Virtue of Nationalism. The Left-Liberal consensus is that nationalism, howsoever it is defined, is a curse since it may lead to xenophobia, jingoism and possible oppression of those who don’t fit into the majority view on nationalism.
However, Hazony says that nationalism is a good thing. More controversially, he adds that the “overwhelming dominance of a single, cohesive nationality, bound together by indissoluble bonds of mutual loyalty” is the only enduring basis of a nation-state.
The same logic should apply to a civilisational state like India, which is a Dharmic Nation, held together by an acceptance of difference and diversity that does not degenerate into disunity and separation.
Hazony’s book is the only one not published this year (it was published five years ago in 2018), but I am recommending it nevertheless because it is an important rebuttal of the Left-liberal position that wants to dismantle the nation-state, even the state itself.
Hazony deserves to be read, even though I came across his work only after Ram Madhav reviewed the book last year (read here).
There are many more books that could be recommended, including Revolutionaries:The Other Story of How India Won Its Freedom, by Sanjeev Sanyal, and Bravehearts of Bharat: Vignettes from Indian History, by Vikram Sampat, but I leave that to others.
For now, having listed my favourites, I would like to move from reading to action.
If these books convince you that you must do your bit for Dharma and the protection of Hindu civilisation, there is one additional idea that I would emphasise.
We may not all know precisely where one can contribute, but we can all contribute resources and money to those organisations that are already out there fighting our battles. A corollary: we must contribute, but consistently, and not just once in a while.
In the recent edition of The Jaipur Dialogues, I came across two ideas that seem worthy of regular financial support.
One is Dharmansh Foundation, which supports a wide range of actions to support Hindus, from Pakistani Hindu refugees who are being decimated by Islamists, to HIndus facing court cases for protecting Dharma, to riot victims, or simply those who were forced by circumstances to convert to other faiths due to economic circumstances.
Do contribute every month, even if it is only a small amount, to Dharmansh Foundation (you can find the details of this Foundation and its activities here).
Another organisation is the Hindu Seva Kendram of Kerala, a state where Hindu demography is under severe pressure from two proselytising faiths.
Among other things, the organisation seeks to rescue women who are targeted for 'love jihad' and conversion, protect HIndu customs and traditions, offer free legal and other services to Hindus who need it, et al.
My most important plea is this: don’t just give once, give every month, even if it is a small amount. It is steady contributions that will help those who dedicate themselves to preserving Dharma in the land of its birth. Dharmic warriors need support not once, not twice, but for as long as necessary.
These contributions should be over and above out donations to temples and long-established Dharmic organisations like Ramakrishna Mission, Chinmaya Mission, Bharat Sevashram Sangh, etc.
Jagannathan is Editorial Director, Swarajya. He tweets at @TheJaggi.
An appeal from Swarajya
At Swarajya, we rely on our readers' support through subscriptions to sustain our media platform. Unlike larger conglomerates, we are unable to relentlessly chase advertising money — our model is largely built on your patronage.
Your support has never been more crucial. We work tirelessly to deliver 10-15 high-quality articles daily, ensuring you receive insightful content from 7 AM to 10 PM.
If you believe India's story has to be articulated in a way it has never been done before without shrugging it off, become a patron (or) subscribe now for ₹̶2̶4̶0̶0̶ ₹1999 and get 12 print issues, unlimited digital access for 1 year, a special India that is Bharat T-shirt (Offer ends soon).
We are counting on you!