The audience at the 67th Author’s Afternoon in this election season got a high dose of politics and ideological narrative from journalist-turned-politician guest author Ashutosh. Not that it was unexpected since his book “Hindu Rashtra” is a telling account of changes sweeping across India seen from the eyes of a journalist with political leanings. Ashutosh took 48 hours to quit his 23-year-old job as a journalist to join the Aam Aadmi Party in 2013. He quit politics and his party in 2016 since “it lacked moral capital”.
Through his book “Hindu Rashtra”, Ashutosh narrates his views about RSS which he describes as a “civilizational project” rather than a political project. His was very vocal about his criticism of “saffronization” of society in India which has ushered in a psyche of fear in the country. He also called Indian politics “surrealistic”. During the course of his interaction with the audience, Ashutosh touched upon some of the much talked about hot topics like Hinduism, Islam, triple talaq, tukde tukde gang, EVM manipulation, IT Act and so on.
Conversationalist Manoj Mohanka raised very persistent questions and even alluded to the fact that Ashutosh was “biased against Hindus”. The author took it in his stride and responded with his reasons. Responding to a question from a student – What is the difference between Hindutva and Hinduism? Ashutosh said, “Hindutva is a political idiocracy which has nothing to do with the ideology of Hinduism.”
The final take of the session, according to the guest author was that – A resilient religion like Hinduism cannot be ruled by one party or one ideology or one leader because of its diversity.
The session was more of a narrative on Indian politics and society which the author has dealt at length in his book.