Reviewer: Dr. Pandya, Head of All World Gayatri Pariwar and Chancellor, Dev Sanskriti University, Haridwar

Since time immemorial, Indian spiritual exemplars had a strong tradition of studying competing schools of thoughts and debating them vigorously; but the recent leaders have ignored the need to analyze and debate Western religions and philosophical systems using Indian frameworks. This has allowed Western paradigms to dominate the discourse while Indian ones have become marginalized. In some ways, Mahatma Gandhi, Sri Aurobindo and Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan did “reverse the gaze” on the West, and this was vital to the formation of Indian identity in the colonial era. Now, for the 21st century, Rajiv Malhotra has launched the renaissance of this old tradition of purva-paksha, and his book Being Different examines the West as the “other” through the lens of dharma. Rather than positioning the dharma schools in tension with one other, its methodology is to contrast dharma from Western systems and thereby identify the signature principles of Indian civilization. This work should become a textbook and it can galvanize a new generation to start a thought revolution (vichar-kranti). I hope spiritual leaders will study Being Different in order to appreciate dharma’s place in the large canvas of inter-civilization debates, and thereby engage today’s intellectual kurukshetra from a position of strength.

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