January 4, 2002


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Rajeev Srinivasan

Indians will no longer be impressed by Marxist histrionics

PART I: Historicide: Censoring the past... and the present

Second, if Elst, Kak, et al are "pulp historians", I think it would be quite proper to call the leftist-establishment types "court historians" or "hagiographers", as it has been their mandate for the last fifty years to produce hosannahs and hallelujahs to the Nehru Dynasty. Which task, it must be mentioned, they have performed admirably, erasing from history the contribution of such stalwarts as Sardar Patel, Netaji Subhash Bose, Veer Savarkar, et al to the struggle for Independence.

In this context, please see my previous column, Let us now praise famous men. I found an interesting tidbit about Jawaharlal Nehru recently. It turns out that in the recently published Volume 29 of his selected works, there is explicit confirmation of the fact that when India was offered a permanent UN Security Council seat in 1955, Nehru declined, suggesting that China be given one first. No wonder he is the idol of the leftists. All the more reason for them to be dumped forthwith in the waste-heap of history.

Third, it is sometimes the non-professionals in a particular field who come up with the path-breaking insights. Those who are already in the field have their livelihoods to think about, the papers they have presented, the prestigious sinecures they have gained and the legions of eager graduate students who are their disciples. How could they possibly -- it is a human frailty -- stand by and watch this entire edifice be toppled by some brash upstart who makes their life's work look stupid?

It is not difficult to sympathise with them. I am sure this is how church astrologers/astronomers felt when that pesky Galileo Galilei turned up with his absurd ideas about the earth going around the sun. How on earth could the establishment turn itself upside down to support this man's wild ideas? Better to oppose him tooth and nail. Which the Vatican's old guard did, for 300 years, finally accepting the heliocentric view in 1982 or so!

I do hope it will not take India's court hagiographers of the official church of Marx and Nehru another 500 years to get the fact that the Aryan Invasion Mythology is a convenient racist myth. Thapar has been hand in glove with Michael Witzel and others in the counterattack (again ad hominem) against those that would debunk their pet theory (as someone said, they keep shouting the strange device, "No horse in Harappa! No horse in Harappa!"). It must be truly tragic to see something that you've built up your entire career on disappearing into thin air.

In particular, it is clear that the weight of evidence in a dozen fields, such as population genetics, satellite imaging, forensic medicine and so forth, has seriously undermined the entire mythology of an Aryan migration or invasion into India: in fact it is looking increasingly likely that the migration was out of India. This research reserves wider renown.

I think there are three books that I would recommend highly for inclusion in the curricula of schools and colleges. These should be eye-opening to students:

  1. The Raj Syndrome: A Study in Imperial Perceptions, by Suhash Chakravarthy, Penguin India. This remarkable scholarly study, peppered with footnotes from original sources, is a damning indictment of the British-Christian rule in India. In their own words, it shows how the British attempted (and largely succeeded) in constructing a fantasy of India as the uncivilised Other. The depradations of Christian fundamentalists, some of whom like Temple, Monro, et al held influential positions and used them to the hilt to attempt to destroy Hinduism, shows that the religious strife was not confined to the Islamic era, but continued into the Christian era. Chakravarthy, a professor at Delhi University, offers a thorough, original and classic work.
  2. In Search of the Cradle of Civilization, by Subhash Kak, Georg Feuerstein, David Frawley, Motilal Banarsidass. A layman-friendly account of how there is considerable evidence that the first civilization on earth was that of the Indus-Sarasvati river valley. This book brings out the plethora of evidence of Indian cultural influence migrating westward to Europe.
  3. 3.The Invasion that Never Was, by Michel Danino, Mira Aditi Centre. A slim and very well-written book that gently devastates the Aryan Invasion Mythology by marshalling evidence from a variety of disciplines. A suitable antidote to the rantings of the likes of Witzel and Thapar in Frontline magazine.
It is true that the last two books are by authors with a pronounced sympathy for Indian culture and history. Therefore, Thapar and her clan would claim, they must be, ipso facto, biased. But it is Thapar and her crew that are ipso facto biased, as they have a major vested interest to maintain: their entire India-bashing would suffer a grievous blow if it can be shown that there is no such thing as an 'Aryan' and a 'Dravidian', and that India has had a continuous and robust civilization. They believe, because of what Marx said somewhere in a two-sentence off-hand command, that India has nothing positive to contribute to humanity.

In terms of mutilating textbooks, I am impressed by the sheer chutzpah of the leftists in crying "Wolf!" now when they have unhesitatingly done nothing but large-scale bowdlerization for the last fifty-odd years. The West Bengal government in 1989 issued guidelines that said: "Muslim rule should never attract any criticism. Destruction of temples by Muslim rulers and invaders should not be mentioned."

They meant it: they also released an explicit circular relating to textbooks for Class IX. I extract the following from Eminent Historians, pp 63.

Dated 28 April, 1989, it [the Circular] is issued by the West Bengal Secondary Board. It is in Bengali, and carries the number "Syl/89/1".

"All the West Bengal Government recognized secondary school Headmasters are being informed," it begins, "that in the History textbooks recommended by this Board for Class IX the following amendments to the chapter on the medieval period have been decided after due discussions and review by experts."

"The authors and publishers of Class IX History textbooks," it continues, "are being required to incorporate the amendments if books published by them have these aushuddho [impurities, errors] in all subsequent editions, and paste a corrigendum in books which have already been published. A copy of the book with the corrigendum should be deposited with the Syllabus Office",... signed, "...Chattopadhyaya, Secretary".

This is followed by two columns: aushuddho, incorrect, and shuddho, the correct versions. Here are a few samples, from several textbooks, as selected from Shourie.



"Fourthly, using force to destroy Hindu temples was also an expression of aggression. Fifthly, forcibly marrying Hindu women and converting them to Islam before marriage was another way to propagate the fundamentalism of the ulema." Though the 'ashuddho' column reproduces the sentences only from "Fourthly...", the Board directs that the entire matter from "Secondly... to ulema" be deleted.
"Sultan Mahmud used force for widespread murder, loot, destruction and conversion." "There was widespread loot and destruction by Mahmud." That is, no reference to killing, no reference to forcible conversion.
"He looted valuables worth 2 crore dirham from the Somnath temple and used the Shivling as a step leading up to the masjid in Ghazni." Delete "and used the Shivling as a step leading up to the masjid in Ghazni".
"Hindu-Muslim relations of the medieval ages constitute a very sensitive issue. The non-believers had to embrace Islam or death." All matters on this page to be deleted.
"According to Islam law non-Muslims have to choose between death and Islam. Only the Hanafis allow non-Muslims to pay jaziya in exchange for their lives." Rewrite this as follows: "By paying jaziya to Alauddin Khilji, Hindus could live normal lives."
"Mahmud was a believer in the rule of Islam whose core was 'Either Islam or death'." Delete
"To prevent Hindu women from being seen by Muslims, they were directed to remain indoors." Delete
"According to Todd the purpose behind Alauddin's Chittor expedition was to secure Rana Rattan Singh's beautiful wife, Padmini." Delete
"The early Sultans were eager to expand the sway of Islam by forcibly converting Hindus into Islam." Delete
"There was a sense of aristocratic superiority in the purdah system. That is why upper-class Hindus adopted this system from upper-class Muslims. Another opinion has it that purdah came into practice to save Hindu women from Muslims. Most probably, purdah came into vogue because of both factors." Delete
"Apart from this, because Islam used extreme, inhuman means to establish itself in India, this became an obstacle for the coming together of Indian and Islamic cultures." Delete
"The liberal, human elements in Islam held out hope for oppressed Hindus." The entire paragraph beginning with "the caste system among Hindus... was attacked" is to be deleted. Instead, write, "There was no place for casteism in Islam. Understandably, the influence of Islam created an awakening among Hindus against caste discrimination. Lower caste oppressed Hindus embraced Islam."
"It was his commitment to Islam which made him a fundamentalist." Delete

Thus, a complete whitewash of the Islamic role in forcible conversion, massacres, the destruction of temples, which has been amply and meticulously documented by Muslim court historians themselves in Persian (many instances are quoted by Shourie). Merely an insinuation that 'oppressed' Hindus spontaneously embraced 'egalitarian' Islam. Of course, it was not because they may have been coerced at the point of a sword.

They go on to glorify Marxism. Thus, again quoting from Shourie, here are extracts from the West Bengal textbook for Class V:

" Russia, China, Vietnam, Cuba, and in other East European countries, the workers and peasants are ruling the country after capturing power, whereas in USA, England, France and Germany the owners of mills and factories are ruling the country."

"...after the Revolution in Russia the first exploitation-free society was established".

"... Islam and Christianity are the only religions which treated man with honour and equality..."

Says Shourie, "The design is... to attribute evil to the religion of our country, Hinduism; it is to present Islam as the great progressive force which arose; it is to lament the fact that humanity did not heed the teachings of progressive men like Muhammad -- till the "remarkable and comprehensive" Russian Revolution of 1917!"

Where was Romila Thapar's moral indignation when this skewed history was being imposed on the impressionable children of West Bengal?

The crux of the matter: when Marxists genuinely massacre history to meet their propaganda ends, they do not consider it inappropriate. When someone tries to correct this bias, they scream bloody murder. Indians have lived through this drama too many times to be impressed by the histrionics any more.


I have not said anything about cricket for some time, primarily as I was trying to not hurt the sentiments of a sports fan-friend of mine. But I was appalled at the selection of the film Lagaan as the official Indian entry to the Oscars. This, when there was an excellent contender, Monsoon Wedding, that had already proved itself by winning at a major festival. Why on earth will audiences anywhere other than in India want to spend three hours watching a film on cricket? This is surely a disastrous decision. We need some marketing-savvy people in charge, really!

I was dumbfounded by the incident of the referee Mike Denness. Don't Indians realize that the entire game of cricket is funded and therefore owned by them? Some 60-70 per cent of the take comes from India. In effect, all the cricket players are gladiators hired to entertain Indian fans. And the committees and boards and all that are servants of the paying spectator, who, it so happens, is overwhelmingly Indian. Money talks: if Indians do not get what they want, they should walk. Or at least threaten to. The spectre of losing their jobs would concentrate the boards' minds quite wonderfully.

Rajeev Srinivasan

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