Such a fascinating thread. Nandu, I just came across your initial dissent of Joe’s view of Hinduism, and works you have read and your own experiences with Hinduism. Thanks for sharing, and all the posts that followed brought fresh new blood to this topic. I too have experienced the dark side of Hinduism, BUT NOT the Hindu mythology and its gods, but the Hindu religion, and the religious zealots who used religion for political purposes. I have not read the books that you cited, so I shall wait for you to cite a few passages from there. Well, we can say, Hinduism is a myth within a myth.
From Arundhati Roy’s essays, I have gathered that the practitioners of Hindu religion are not what the rest of the world thinks of them. As a matter of fact, I attended one of her ‘Author-Talk” series done in conjunction with signing her book, (The Ministry of Utmost Happiness) and she started the talk by these very words, “Westerners think of India as this great land of spirituality but it’s far from it…” Then she proceeded with providing the tragic treatment of the Dalits, and there was pin-drop silence in the auditorium.