The Struggle for India's Soul

The Struggle for India's Soul

The Struggle for India's Soul

Shashi Tharoor

There are over a billion Indians alive today. But are some more Indian than others? To answer this question, one that is central to the identity of all who belong to modern India, Shashi Tharoor explores hotly contested ideas of nationalism, patriotism, citizenship and belonging.

A contest has emerged between two opposing ideas of India: ethno-religious nationalism, versus civic nationalism. The struggle for India's soul has heightened, deepened and broadened, threatening to hollow out and destroy the remarkable concepts of pluralism, secularism and inclusive nationhood that were bestowed upon the nation at Independence. The Constitution is under siege; institutions are being undermined; mythical pasts propagated; universities assailed; minorities demonised, and worse. Every passing month sees new attacks on the ideals that India has long been admired for, as authoritarian leaders and their supporters push the country towards a state of illiberalism and intolerance. If they succeed, millions will be stripped of their identity, and bogus theories of Indianness will take root in the soil of the subcontinent.

However, all is not yet lost. This erudite and lucid book shows what needs to be done to win the battle of belonging – to strengthen everything that is unique and valuable about India.

‘A passionate defence of civic nationalism, it is many books rolled into one, full of erudition interspersed with anecdote. You find the raconteur and the public intellectual vying with each other for attention…but in the final analysis the book hangs together and the message is clear.’ — The Hindu

‘Arguably Shashi Tharoor’s most ambitious work yet… a book that showcases the power of his erudition and perspicacity.’ — The Wire

‘A passionate plea for an ideal of India, an India taken for granted by generations and now seemingly endangered by overt and covert ideas and ideologies that seek to segment it on imagined criteria of “us” and “them”.’ — Mohammad Hamid Ansari, former Vice-President of India

‘A must-read for the sheer brilliance of Tharoor as a writer and for the personal anecdotes and stories he has up his sleeve.’ — The Daily Guardian, India

'The Struggle for India’s Soul is a fighting, passionate book' — The Wall Street Journal

The Struggle for India's Soul


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