Being Different: Decolonizing Ourselves by Reversing the Indian Gaze Back at the West


My book Being Different, is not about what is wrong with other people but about what is wrong with ourselves. It describes a problem our people have in the way we see ourselves and the way we see other people. We have colonized ourselves; we have become colonized; we have adopted the Western way of looking at us which the colonial masters did. They installed that way of looking in our minds and we adopted it. So, we have started seeing India as a civilization largely through the Western perspective. And even though it’s Indians doing it and doing it in greater detail but the paradigm is still like the West, left. That hasn’t been properly decolonized. So, to decolonize, we have to do what I am calling ‘Reversing the Gaze’. We have to look back at the west, who they are, why they did what they did and why that particular perspective on us is not really applicable to us. When we start looking at the west from our own Drishti, our own perspective, our point of view it becomes very clear, that you know, several things which we take for granted as sort of universal are not universal, they are western universal, they are western assumptions, western ways of looking and we assume, that these are ‘the universal’. So, in this book, every chapter takes a major difference between Indian civilization and western civilization, between the Dharma and the Abrahamic Religions. It shows how you cannot mix the two, you cannot digest ourselves into them and you know, I do it with mutual respect. The idea of ‘mutual respect’ means we are different but we are not insulting you. We are different, we are pointing out how we see you, rather than one-way conversation where you telling us how you see us, through your point of view. So, this is very new kind of book, it takes courage, takes lot of audacity to do this. Risk because it’s pioneering work which hasn’t been done. And so, it’s’ a book that has spawned lots of debates, lots of discussion, controversy. And I invite you to read it. I am going also to turn this into an e-learning, online learning course. It will take some time. But we are working on it so that one day, you will be able to go online and step by step learn the major ideas of this book.

17 thoughts on “Being Different: Decolonizing Ourselves by Reversing the Indian Gaze Back at the West

  1. Can't wait to read it. As always great service to the nation. Thanks Rajiv ji.

  2. E-learning is an incredible Initiative. Please do it asap. 5 years ago, I read this book and also listened to Rajiv's explanation about 'Being Different'.

    As I teach yoga and meditation, I subtly explain the difference to the practitioners. Everyone is very welcoming and it encourages them to go deeper into the philosophies of Patanjali / Adi Shankara etc.,

    One day, my colleague hugged and thanked me for changing the western lens after I explained 'Being Different' to him.

    Bottomline, E-learning in Rajiv ji's voice will be amazing. He has a phenomenal understanding of the subject and this is one of the greatest thesis that will help to revive the dharmic traditions.

  3. Thanks Shri Rajiv Malhotra. I have also thought like you and appreciate your efforts to awaken the Indian masses. The so called educated Indian people are the main problem. They have been so much influenced and mesmerized by the western culture, values and thinking process that they ignore most of what our culture, values and thinking process has been through our history.

  4. Hinduism to be wiped out by FOREIGNERS CONTROLLING INDIAN MEDIA . Watch why https://www.youtube.com/embed/xwhxzLCy-_g

  5. This is the book I needed when I was growing up as a Hindu teenager. When I heard Pandits speaking of "God".. This lead to so much confusion. Thank you for inspiring me to teach the concepts in this book to a next generation of Hindus.

  6. I have already bought it. Thank you very much rajiv Ji for this great work. Thank you for helping us to discover who we are and how we are different from others! It's an enlightening book! A MUST READ FOR INDIANS especially Hindus!

  7. only few dedicated ppl like him can save our "sanatan dharma"…lv u sir

  8. Rajivji, yesterday, after watching to one of your videos,I stood from my chair and said, " kya banda hai Rajiv malhotra, Salute karta hun usko"

  9. Doing great job ,big thanks from the depth of my heart.Hold this position because things are going to change for India and we need knowledgeable people like you .

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