Of Blurred Religious Identities

Of Blurred Religious Identities

Rohini Mokashi Punekar

SACRED SPACES: EXPLORING TRADITIONS OF SHARED FAITH IN INDIA
By Yoginder Sikand
Penguin India, New Delhi, 2003, pp. 270, Rs. 250.00

VOLUME XXVIII NUMBER 2 February 2004

In the face of state instituted religious violence, the language of hate spewing across the country and the casual acceptance of this in ordinary lives, it is difficult not to stress the significance of this book, its sanity and its timeliness. While there is hardly any aspect of the political, economic, social or cultural life in India that is not stained by considerations of religion and sect, or the violence generating thereof, this is a fact that is known, sincerely bemoaned and endlessly circulated in academic circles of a certain colour; how much sympathy it receives amongst persuasions of other kinds is anybody’s guess.

Journeying on the Raft of Life

I would recommend Paul Coelho’s Like a Flowing River: Thoughts and Reflections if you are looking for (a) a book to carry on a journey, (b) a gift for a student achiever or (c) a mood-elevator.

This is a compilation of 102 stories and articles published in newspapers around the world by one of the most widely read authors of recent times. Unlike some of Coelho’s earlier works (Veronika Decides to Die and Eleven Minutes,

Thinking Beyond Past Folly and Present Greed

In his memoirs, In the Afternoon of Time, the veteran Hindi writer, Harivansh Rai Bacchan expressed a strong preference for the way the Hindi language ought to evolve in the public sphere. Hindi words, he wrote, should constitute the main body of a text, but they should be laced with Urdu and Persian. This would add to the beauty of the prose but not detract from its own distinctive attractions.