Sadhana Summer Reading Challenge

I give you these precious words of wisdom; reflect on them and then do as you choose.
— Sri Krishna, Bhagavad Gita 18.63

We're excited to announce the first-ever Sadhana Summer Reading Challenge! Each week until the beginning of August, we will explore a different topic, from environmental justice to Hindu nationalism. We've selected a featured reading for each week, accompanied by a few additional resources. The "readings" include articles, podcasts, and even a music video, and they encompass a range of diverse viewpoints, which we hope will spark productive debate and inquiry into what it means to be a progressive Hindu. The Summer Reading Challenge will culminate in the launch of the Sadhana Syllabus, an open-source directory of resources on a variety of topics relating to progressive Hinduism.

Throughout the summer, we'll be posting excerpts from the readings and discussion questions on social media; follow Sadhana on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to keep up, and join the conversation. Don't forget to use the hashtag #SadhanaReads!


Weekly Schedule

Week 1 (June 25)

Queerness and hinduism

Featured reading: Podcast, "Sapna Pandya: On Faith, Tradition, and Sexuality" (link) (transcript)

Further readings:

  • Devdutt Pattanaik, "The Real Ramrajya" (link
  • Ruth Vanita and Saleem Kidwai, "Religious Teachers’ Statements on Same-Sex Sexuality" (link

week 2 (July 2)

Environmental justice

Featured reading: Hari Venkatachalam, "One Hindu's Environmental Pilgrimage from Triveni Ghat to Tampa to the Future" (link)

Further readings:

  • The Bhumi Project, "The Green Temple" (link)  
  • Anantanand Rambachan, “Diwali: Hearing Earth’s Cry” (link)

Week 3 (July 9)

Economic inequality

Featured reading: Shailly Gupta Barnes, “The Shakti of the Poor” (link)

Further readings:

  • Anantanand Rambachan, "Hindus and the Poor People’s Campaign: A Religious and Moral Obligation" (link)
  • Nooreen Reza, "Progressive Hinduism and a New Movement Against Poverty" (link)

week 4 (july 16)

Spirituality, gender, and caste

Featured reading:  Nicholas O’Connell, “Subversive Hindu Thought” (link)

Further readings:

  • Anantanand Rambachan, “Freedom from Caste” (link)
  • Nabaneeta Dev Sen, “Rewriting the Ramayana: Chandrabati and Molla” (link)
  • Nivedita Menon, "Bharat Mata and Her Unruly Daughters" (link

week 5 (july 23)

Interfaith Exchange

Featured readings:

  • Qawwali performed by Fareed Ayaz & Abu Muhammad, “Kanhaiya, Yaad Hai Kuchh Bhi Hamari?” (link
  • Nikhil Mandalaparthy, "When the man who wrote Pakistan's national anthem saw the divine in Hindu god Krishna" (link

Further readings:

  • NPR segment, "Why Many Muslims In India Feel Yoga Has Been Weaponized" (link)
  • NPR segment, "Om Alone in India" (link
  • George Wolfe, "Parallel Teachings in Hinduism and Christianity" (link

week 6 (july 30)

Hindu nationalism (Hindutva)

Featured reading: Balmurli Natrajan, "Searching for a Progressive Hindu/ism: Battling Mussolini’s Hindus, Hindutva, and Hubris" (link

Further readings:

  • Gautham Reddy and Alex Shams, "Welcome to the Beef Capital of India" (link)
  • Shaan Amin, "The Dark Side of the Comics That Redefined Hinduism" (link)

week 7 (august 6)

The future of hinduism

Featured reading: Anantanand Rambachan, "Hindu Pride and the Future of Hinduism" (link