[This post is part of a conversation on the new book Being Different by Rajiv Malhotra, now featured at the Patheos Book Club.]
By Indrani Rampersad, PhD Senior Research Fellow (Hidden Cultures Project) The University of Trinidad & Tobago, Trinidad, W.I.
As someone born into the Dharmic Traditions in the Caribbean where my ancestors have lived hundreds of years and where my internal and external space were bombarded by the oppressive presence of persons and institutions that were forcibly, selfishly, and exclusively promoting their Judeo-Christian ideology, I have spent all of my years in a constant struggle to BE myself and to SEE myself in the world around me. I have struggled with the issues that Being Different so brilliantly articulates for people like us who are born into and live most of our lives almost in a Twilight Zone of sorts.
This text bridges the gap between the academy and the masses. It brings the distillation of ideas from a hardcore scholarly level down to one that most ordinary folks can understand.
The text should be prescribed reading for people trying to understand why they find it difficult to “belong” in hegemonic societies, and for those who exercise the hegemony so they can appreciate the violence that they are perpetuating and perhaps do something about it.
People like me are better able to find our bearings in a Judeo-Christian and western world, when we read Being Different. This text, in a way, sets up important navigation directions for the interface between Dharmic and Abrahmic traditions. It is a jewel in the Samudra Manthan.
Many Thanks to the author and to you for choosing this text for discussion.