Book Review: The Thinking Indian

I am happy to share today a review of  The Thinking Indian: Essays on Indian Socio-Cultural Matters in the Light of Sri Aurobindo  written by Gilu Mishra, a friend and a fellow lover and student of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.

Gilu and I met several years ago in Pondicherry when she joined the institution where I was working at the time, to participate in some structured courses meant to help learners go deeper into some aspects of the wide-ranging thought and works of Sri Aurobindo. I had the privilege of serving as her facilitator for some of this study and research experience. Through this shared exploration and study experience, particularly of the major works related to the social, educational and cultural thought of Sri Aurobindo, we became better acquainted with each other and a friendship began to blossom.

Gilu has advanced degrees in nursing and psychology. Having worked for many years as a healthcare professional at a premier medical facility for many years, she presently works in the area of education of young children, especially at the pre-primary and primary levels. Originally from Kerala, Gilu now lives in New Delhi. As a seeker and life-long learner she writes about some of her reflections and life lessons at “all life is yoga.

Thank you Gilu for this glowing review!
Click on the image to buy the ebook.

I present here some of my views regarding Dr. Beloo Mehra’s e-book ‘The Thinking Indian’, a collection of essays on several Indian Socio-cultural matters, as seen in the light of Sri Aurobindo.

Recently, during a casual conversation with a friend, our topic turned to the method of education being provided in the schools these days. We were talking about how today’s children are not interested in reading and how their thoughts are limited. ‘Thinking out of the box’ is out of question, we opined, but let them at least think! As I was reading through the e-book ‘The Thinking Indian.’ I remembered this conversation and about the ‘thought phobia’ (as Beloo quotes Sri Aurobindo) which has become fairly common now.

In the prelude, Beloo mentions that it is heartening to see people are becoming more open-minded and curious learners. This e-book is an excellent aid for such people, especially the young generation to contemplate about the current events and widen their spectrum of thought. The topics and instances provided in these essays may act as a spark to the light the fire within. All the essays are written in an ‘easy to read’ manner which will definitely appeal to every reader and not only those with an academic frame of mind. There is definitely at least one topic to which every individual can connect.

This e-book consists of nine essays related to Indian socio-cultural matters. Beloo presents a myriad of topics ranging from Spirituality, Hinduism to commercialism and movies! And all topics are contemporary, making them interesting to even the ‘not concerned about what is happening in the world’ younger generation. There is one essay inspired by the movie ‘The Monuments Men’ and there are two essays based on the TV serials ‘Ramayana’ and ‘Mahabharata.’ There is one essay about spirituality being the master-key of Indian mind and another one about Indian culture.

For the one who is more materialistically oriented there are essays on commercialism and the study of Indo-American people where she talks about the evolution of the group soul. I am sure all these essays give a different point of view regarding the matter and would definitely encourage the reader to explore more regarding the same. For example, in her essay ‘Don’t Blame the Culture’ she talks about two sides of a behaviour may be seen simultaneously. One may see some people jumping the queue in a public place and at the same time there may be some people who will let a more deserving person move ahead of them! Presenting such examples, she forces us to think about the individual behaviour rather than the common trend of blaming the culture.


4 thoughts on “Book Review: The Thinking Indian

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  1. This is so very interesting!

    First of all congratulations on your book. I am really glad I came across this blog, as I too come from Sri Aurobindo school of thought having studied in Sri Aurobindo Inst of Education in Kolkata.

    I shall definitely make it a point to read your essays. I am not much aware on Sri Aurobindo’s views on education or socio-cultural matters. However I am well versed with his texts on Rig Veda and Upanishads, and subscribe to his symbolic interpretation of the Vedas (later taken forward by Shri Kapali Sastry and Shri R.L.Kashyap).

    The review of your book “The Thinking Indian” is very interesting, and I shall definitely make it a point to read your book.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Welcome to matriwords!

      Thanks for your kind comment and words of encouragement. I am happy to make your acquaintance through this blog. It is always great to hear from thinkers and writers steeped in Sri Aurobindo’s thought visit the blog. I see that you too write a blog, will surely visit your space soon. I already like the name of your blog – life-affirming in its spirit 🙂

      Being from a social science and education background naturally it is Sri Aurobindo’s social-political-cultural-educational writings that speak most directly to my intellectual temperament. But I often, for the purpose of my own inner seeking, read and try to contemplate on some of his and Mother’s writings on yoga, philosophy, scriptures etc.

      I hope you will enjoy spending your time on some of the posts here. Hope to see you here again 🙂

      Thanks again for visiting and for your encouraging words. Warm regards.


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