29 Nov Rediscover India with “The Thinking Indian by Beloo Mehra”
The Thinking Indian is a collection of thoughts and ideas, shared and ruminated with the wisdom of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. How our society, thoughts and actions are all changing and proving the words of Sri Aurobindo true. This book of essays is for you, me and every Indian who thinks he or she matters in the ‘grand scheme of things’ and is not just going with the flow.
Beloo simply highlights the necessity and urgency for all of us to be “Thinking Indian” and not just puppets to be manipulated by media, politics and money. The author merges the views and ideas expressed by them decades ago with the fact and changes permeating in our environment today. As is proven time and again an ignorant and unaware person, state or country opens itself up for loss of freedom of thought, action and deeds. She has divided the book into sections, each highlighting a specific area needing action from us Indians.
“Let us start thinking and think deeply and widely.”
Her aim has been, “How can Sri Aurobindo’s insights help me understand some of these outer sociological-cultural phenomena in deeper way?”
Even on her blog where many more such sage thoughts are shared often I have been pleasantly surprised by the timeless wisdom she shares through Sri Aurobindo’s words. As I started to write the review I almost did a summary and notes kind of post because I wanted to condense and share these thoughts as tips or ideas of what we Indians must do to find our rightful place in the world. I stopped myself since I wish the reader get their own inference and impact from reading the book. In this book each chapter takes nuggets of wisdom from the various books, discourses and speeches of Sri Aurobindo to highlight the need of the hour. She has added her views and thoughts on what is expected from the aware and action oriented Indian. How we can make a difference through a small step, thought in the right direction.
The book has excellent language and the explanations make the understanding of the sometimes deep thoughts easier. The only minus I found was that perhaps the words of Sri Aurobindo could have been highlighted differently from rest of the text as sometimes I took his words as that of the author and vice versa. A few of the paragraphs could have been divided for easier reading and quick grasp but since this book is not for the frothy reader; those wishing to learn of the truth would not not mind diving deep for the nuggets of wisdom.
The book examines our culture, society, religion and inter-religious harmony and their impact on the common man as well as the impact of religious propaganda and its subtle forms, rise of Hindu nationalism. The impact, lure and influence of commercialism and consumerism for us as well as the search for the group soul; a novel concept, pretty similar to herd behavior. Quite relevant and true since we tend to follow similar things, products even for things like choosing popular holiday destinations. Finally the book ends with an essay on the impact of the foreign culture and the search for “India and Indian’ by the Indian-Americans. Further she talks of a concept of Group Soul, a common consciousness that can bring great change.
Beloo’s words are not just to be read but to be understood, thought upon and discussed and to be finally acted upon. She has tried to show the path or direction our minds and ideas should move towards. She sees an India that has found its rightful place in the nations of the world. She also touches upon the utopian dream and impact of the next best thing has had on our lifestyles. Her stint in the US also gives her a unique perspective of understanding the value of our country and the need to bring the changes needed to stop yearning for the west.
The Thinking Indian as the book highlights the common man who is manipulated, unaware but still clings to the corner stone of our way of life, serving as a beacon aiding us to positive actions and deeds. This book is an effort to remind us of our true heritage and the very traits we Indians proudly flaunt. This book is an effort to root out the narrow, bigoted, selfish thoughts that plague our nation today. I still feel this book needs to be read again and again to truly understand and absorb all the nuances and depth of the book.
A thought provoking read since we love our India and India is the best but we can make it better.
(© I received a copy of the book from the author, the views are my own.)
The Thinking Indian: Essays on Indian Socio-Cultural Matters in the Light of Sri Aurobindo
|Pic Courstey –|
This book invites all those concerned with India’s future as a nation and as a civilisation to start thinking and investigating carefully what is said about India in the social-cultural-political discourse and come to one’s own conclusions. For India to rise to her full potential Indians have to start thinking, freely and independently of all ideological preferences and fashionable academic theories, and instead must examine all the data points in the light of the truth of the Indian spirit. Indians must start a personal journey of discovering the Indian spirit, in the Indian way.
The sociological and cultural observations which form the basis of the eight essays in this volume are such that even the most casual observer of India can’t miss. Concerned with popular culture, literature, group identity, religious diversity and the growing consumerist mind-set these essays explore one key question – how can Sri Aurobindo’s insights help us understand some of these outer sociological-cultural phenomena in a deeper way? But in a deeper sense, this aim is inspired by the author’s interest in making sense of the collective Indian socio-cultural experience using an Indian framework, not one that harks back to some golden age of the past, but one that is evolutionary, futuristic and yet firmly rooted in the eternal truths of Indian civilisation and culture. Such a framework is found in Sri Aurobindo’s sociological and cultural writings. His vision helps us see beyond and behind the surface phenomena and uncover some of the deeper truths being expressed through their outer forms.