Historiography of India

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Thus, there are two points to remember. First, our friends are not just Marxists, they are also Macaulayites. Second, they are Marxists in a special sense. They are Marxists in the sense that they have thought of themselves as Marxists, in the sense that they repeatedly regurgitate a handful of Marxist phrases and assertions. But more than being Marxist historians, they have been establishment historians. Their theories and ‘theses’ have accorded not just with the ‘classics’ of Marxism-Leninism, they have accorded with the ideology of, which in terms of their theory means, the needs of Congressite rulers. ~ Arun Shourie
But history is no respecter of persons or communities, and must always strive to tell the truth, so far as it can be deduced from reliable evidence. This great academic principle has a bearing upon actual life, for ignorance seldom proves to be a real bliss either to an individual or to a nation. In the particular case under consideration, ignorance of the actual relation between the Hindus and the Muslims throughout the course of history - an ignorance deliberately encouraged by some - may ultimately be found to have been the most important single factor which led to the partition of India. The real and effective means of solving a problem is to know and understand the facts that gave rise to it, and not to ignore them by hiding the head, ostrich-like, into sands of fiction.” ~ R.C. Majumdar
It is very sad that the spirit of perverting history to suit political views is no longer confined to politicians, but has definitely spread even among professional historians… It is painful to mention though impossible to ignore, the fact that there is a distinct and conscious attempt to rewrite the whole chapter of the bigotry and intolerance of the Muslim rulers towards Hindu religion... Several writers in India have come forward to defend Aurangzeb against Jadunath Sarkar’s charge of religious intolerance.... Alas for poor Jadunath Sarkar, who must have turned in his grave if he were buried. For, after reading his History of Aurangzib, one would be tempted to ask, if the temple-breaking policy of Aurangzeb is a disputed point, is there a single fact in the whole recorded history of mankind which may be taken as undisputed? ~ R.C. Majumdar

The historiography of India refers to the studies, sources, critical methods and interpretations used by scholars to develop a history of India.

Quotes[edit]

  • “History and Language textbooks for schools all over India will soon be revised radically. In collaboration with various state governments the Ministry of Education has begun a phased programme to weed out undesirable textbooks and remove matter which is prejudicial to national integration and unity and which does not promote social cohesion....” Accordingly, “Twenty states and three Union Territories have started the work of evaluation according to guidelines prepared by the NCERT....”
  • Without weighty grounds, we must not push aside unanimous Indian tradition; else one practises scepticism, not criticism.
    • Hermann Jacobi. Quoted in R.P. Kangle, The Kautiliya Arthasastra, Part III - A Study; 1965, University of Bombay.
  • Muslim rule should never atttact any criticism. Destruction of temples by Muslim rulers and invaders should not be mentioned.
    • Circular, West Bengal Board of Secondary Education, 1989. Quoted in Arun Shourie - Eminent Historians: Their Technology, Their Line, Their Fraud, HarperCollins, 1998. Quoted in Lal, K. S. (1992). The legacy of Muslim rule in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 8. Quoted in Rosser, Yvette In Saha, S. C. (2004). Religious fundamentalism in the contemporary world: Critical social and political issues. Quoted in Rao, R. N. (2001). Coalition conundrum: The BJP's trials, tribulations, and triumphs.[citation needed]
  • "Many of those who read history at Delhi in the mid-1970s and later, still bear the ugly scars inflicted by the thought police of sarkari Marxism. 'There are two interpretations of history', a leading representative of the Red Cretin Brigade used to inform his students casually, 'the bourgeois interpretation and the Marxist interpretation, and the Marxist interpretation is the correct one.' ...Whereas the British Marxists established their reputation by crafting their radical concerns their Indian counterparts took cheeky short cuts. it may also explain why substantive research on Indian history has increasingly become the prerogative of British, and a few American and Australian universities. The presiding deities of Indian historiography have meanwhile devoted themselves to writing politically correct text books that present history as chapters of received wisdom. They have also drafted resolutions for the Indian History Congress and written articles in the press on the Ayodhya issue."
    • Swapan Dasgupta, Indian Express of July 23, 1995. quoted from Lal, K. S. (1999). Theory and practice of Muslim state in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 7
  • For those unfamiliar with modern Indian history: the Marxists, already pushy for acquiring as much power in the institutions as they could grab, were handed a near-monopoly on institutional power in India's academic and educational sector by Indira Gandhi ca. 1970. Involved in an intra-Congress power struggle, she needed the help of the Left. Her confidants P.N. Haksar and Nurul Hasan packed the institutions with Marxists, card-carrying or otherwise. When, during the Emergency dictatorship (1975-77), her Communist Party allies threatened to become too powerful, she and her son Sanjay removed them from key political positions but, in a typical instance of politicians' short-sightedness, they left the Marxists? hold on the cultural sector intact. In the good old Soviet tradition, they at once set out to falsify history and propagate their own version through the official textbooks. After coming to power in 1998, the BJP-dominated government has made a half-hearted and not always very competent attempt to effect glasnost (openness, transparency) at least in the history textbooks. This led the Marxists to start a furious hate campaign against the so-called 'saffronization' of history.
  • What the BJP government claims to offer, what all scholarly historians want, and what is loathed by the Marxists who have dominated the cultural and educational establishment since decades, is glasnost: openness, an end to the dead hand of Marxist dogma in Indian history-writing. However, it is quite wrong to say that the Sangh Parivar takes this job “very seriously”. It took three years before relieving leading Marxists of their influential positions (Prasar Bharati, NCERT, IHC). Most of its new nominees were not up to the job, some because of ill-health (e.g. K.S. Lal and B.R. Grover, both now deceased), some because they had never functioned in an academic setting. It should not be forgotten that for decades, at least since ca. 1970 when the Marxists led by P.N. Haksar and Nurul Hasan were given a lot of effective power in this sector in return for their support to Indira Gandhi, distinctly non-Marxist young historians found their access to an academic career blocked by the Marxist hegemons. Of the new textbooks, some are impeccable and are welcomed as undeniable improvements, e.g. Meenakshi Jain’s presentation of the Muslim period, arguably the most sensitive and controversial part of the series. Some of the others, by contrast, have been criticized or ridiculed even by fair-minded observers.
  • But the negationists are not satisfied with seeing their own version of the facts being repeated in more and more books and papers. They also want to prevent other versions from reaching the public. Therefore, in 1982 the National Council of Educational Research and Training issued a directive for the rewriting of schoolbooks. Among other things, it stipulated that: "Characterization of the medieval period as a time of conflict between Hindus and Muslims is forbidden." Under Marxist pressure, negationism has become India's official policy. (...) India has its own full-fledged brand of negationism: a movement to deny the large-scale and long-term crimes against humanity committed by Islam. This movement is led by Islamic apologists and Marxist academics, and followed by all the politicians, journalists and intellectuals who call themselves secularists. In contrast to the European negationism regarding the Nazi acts of genocide, but similar to the Turkish negationism regarding the Armenian genocide, the Indian negationism regarding the terrible record of Islam is fully supported by the establishment. It has nearly full control of the media and dictates all state and government parlance concerning the communal problem (more properly to be called the Islam problem).
    • Koenraad Elst. Negationism in India: Concealing the Record of Islam, 2002.[citation needed]
  • One of the main purposes of history books, as taught in different countries in the world, is to instill a sense of national pride and honor —in short, to inculcate a sense of patriotism and nationalism. Whether it is the United States, Great Britain, Russia, Germany or China, this is certainly the case today and has been so as long as these countries have existed as modern nations... However, India is a strange and unique country in which history books are often anti-national in nature. India has largely kept intact the British approach to Indian history devised in the colonial era. Students of such textbooks come away apologetic or confused about their country and its traditions. Textbooks in Marxist ruled states of India like West Bengal and Kerala leave their students with a sense of the greatness of Communism... History books in India try to ignore the dominant Hindu ethos of the country and its history before the Islamic period... The real danger in India is not the arising of a chauvinistic nationalism like that of Nazi Germany or Fascist Italy...but a lack of national spirit and historical consciousness that keeps people alienated from their roots and the country divided.
    • Hinduism and the Clash of Civilizations: Dr. David Frawley,2001. quoted in S. Balakrishna, Seventy years of secularism.[citation needed]
  • The whole tenor of this tendentious scheme for "national integration" becomes fully explicit in the following fiat from the Ministry of Education: “Characterisation of the medieval period as a dark period or as a time of conflict between Hindus and Muslims is forbidden. Historians cannot identify Muslims as rulers and Hindus as subjects. The state cannot be described as a theocracy, without examining the actual influence of religion. No exaggeration of the role of religion in political conflicts is permitted… Nor should there be neglect and omission of trends and processes of assimilation and synthesis.” [...] The only way which this ruling sees out of what it calls “the communal strife” is that Hindu history should be substantially diluted and tailored to the needs of Islamic imperialism, and that Muslim history should be given a liberal coat of whitewash or even made to pass muster as national history. This has been the main plank in the platform for “national integration”. Hitherto this Experiment with Untruth was confined mainly to Muslim and Communist “historians” who have come to control the Indian History Congress, the Indian Council of Historical Research, and even the University Grants Commission. Now it has been taken up by the National Integration Council. The Ministry of Education of the Government of India has directed the education departments in the States to extend this experiment to school-level text-books of history. And this perverse programme of suppressing truth and spreading falsehood is being sponsored by a state which inscribes Satyameva Jayate on its emblem. ... But that is about all that can be said in commendation of the scheme sanctioned by the National Integration Council and sponsored by the Ministry of Education. The rest is recommendations for telling lies to our children, or for not telling to them the truth at all.
    • Sita Ram Goel, The Story of Islamic Imperialism in India (1994)[citation needed]
  • This caravan loaded with synthetic merchandise has, however, continued to move forward. Eight years later (1982), it was reported that “History and Language textbooks for schools all over India will soon be revised radically. In collaboration with various state governments the Ministry of Education has begun a phased programme to weed out undesirable textbooks and remove matter which is prejudicial to national integration and unity and which does not promote social cohesion. ... It was pointed out by the leftist professors that the major cause of “communal trouble” was the “bad habit” of living in the past on the part of “our people”. Most of the politicians knew no history and no religion for that matter. They all agreed with one voice that Indian history, particularly that of the “medieval Muslim period”, should be re-written. That, they pleaded, was the royal road to “national integration”.
  • The significant feature of Professor Habib’s Marxist interpretation of medieval Indian history is not that Marxism has absorbed Islam but that Islam has absorbed Marxism.
    • Peter Hardy in Philips, Historians of India, Pakistan and Ceylon. Quoted from Lal, K. S. (1992). The legacy of Muslim rule in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan.[citation needed]
  • Of quite a few casualties of the standards of academic integrity at the hands of self-styled 'secular' academics, those in the field of medieval Indian historiography happen to be the worst.
    • Harsh Narain, The Ayodhya temple-mosque dispute: Focus on Muslim sources (1993)[citation needed]
  • But the worst effect of partition has been that 1947 has tended to produce two historiographies based on territorial differentiation. Comparing the works of Ahmad Ali entitled Culture of Pakistan with Richard Symond's The Making of Pakistan (London, 1950) on the one hand and Humayun Kabir's Indian Heritage and Abid Hussain's National Culture of India on the other, W. Cantwell Smith says that the Pakistani historian 'flees from Indian-ness, and would extra-territorialize even Mohenjodaro (linking the Indus-valley civilisation with Sumer and Elam) as well as the Taj (yet though left in India, the monuments and buildings of Agra and Delhi are entirely outside the Indian tradition and are an essential heritage and part of Pakistani culture, - p.205), and omits from consideration altogether quite major matters less easily disposed of (such as Asoka's reign, and the whole of East Pakistan) The Indians 'on the other hand seek for the meaning of Muslim culture within the complex of Indian 'unity in diversity' as an integral component.'27 So, after 1947, besides the 'objective' and 'apologist', 'Secular' and 'Communal' versions, there are the Pakistani and Indian versions of medieval Indian history.
    • K.S. Lal, The Legacy of Muslim Rule in India, with quote from: Philips, Historians of India, Pakistan and Ceylon
  • Marxist history also lays claim to be counted as objective history. The phrase ‘objective history’ is very attractive, but sometimes under this appellation, all shadows are removed and medieval times are painted in such bright colours by Marxist historians as to shame even the modern age. At others, modern ideas of class-conflict, labour-exploitation and all that goes with it, and many other modern phenomena and problems are projected backwards to fit in the medieval social structure. The word ‘religion’ is tried to be eschewed because it is thought to be associated with bitter memories. If the medieval chronicler cries out ‘Jihad’, it is just not heard: but if he cries aloud persistently, it is claimed that he never meant it. The Marxists or leftists read into history what they think history should be. All this makes the content of Marxist history dubious, needing it to be buttressed by brochures, statements and booklets under a number of signatures. Often, Marxist writers work in groups, mutually admiring each other’s discoveries.
    • Lal, K. S. (1992). The legacy of Muslim rule in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 3
  • It would normally be expected that historical writing on Muslim rule in medieval India would tell the tale of this discrimination and the sufferings of the people, their forced conversions, destruction of their temples, enslavement of their women and children, candidly and repeatedly mentioned by medieval Muslim chroniclers themselves. But curiously enough, in place of bringing such facts to light there is a tendency to gloss over them or even suppress them. Countries which in the middle ages completely converted to Islam and lost links with their original religion and culture, write with a sense of pride about their history as viewed by their Islamic conquerors. But India's is a different story. India could not be Islamized and it did not lose its past cultural anchorage. Naturally, it does not share the sense of glory felt by medieval Muslim chroniclers. But some modern “secularist” writers do praise Muslim rule in glowing terms. All historians are not so brazen or such distortionists. Hence the history of Muslim rule in India is seen through many coloured glasses. It is necessary, therefore, to take a look at the “schools” or “groups” of modern historians writing on the history of medieval India so that a balanced appraisal of the legacy of Muslim rule in India may be made.
    • Lal, K. S. (1992). The legacy of Muslim rule in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 1
  • And funny though it may sound it was decided to falsify history to please the Muslims and draw them into the national mainstream. Guidelines for rewriting history were prepared by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), and a summary of the same appeared in Indian Express datelined New Delhi, 17 January 1982. The idea was “to weed out undesirable textbooks (in History and languages) and remove matter which is prejudicial to national integration and unity and which does not promote social cohesion… Twenty states and three Union Territories have started the work of evaluation according to guidelines, prepared by NCERT.” The West Bengal Board of Secondary Education issued a notification dated 28 April 1989 addressed to schools and publishers suggesting some ‘corrections’ in the teaching and writing of ‘Muslim rule in India’ - like the real objective of Mahmud Ghaznavi’s attack on Somnath, Aurangzeb’s policy towards the Hindus, and so on. These guidelines specifically say: “Muslim rule should not attract any criticism. Destruction of temples by Muslim invaders and rulers should not be mentioned.” One instruction in the West Bengal circular is that “schools and publishers have been asked to ignore and delete mention of forcible conversions to Islam.” The notification, says the Statesman of 21 May 1989, was objected to in many quarters. “A row has been kicked up by some academicians who feel that the ‘corrections’ are unjustified and politically motivated…” Another group feels that the corrections are “justified”. This experiment with untruth was being attempted since the 30’s-40’s by Muslim and Communist historians. After Independence, they gradually gained strength in university departments. By its policy the Nehruvian state just permitted itself to be hijacked by the so-called progressive, secular and Marxist historians. .... Armed with money and instructions from the Ministry of Education, the National Council of Educational Research, University Grants Commission, Indian Council of Historical Research, secular and Stalinist historians began to produce manipulated and often manifestly false school and college text-books of history and social studies in the Union Territories and States of India. This has gone on for years. ... On the one hand, the government through the Department of Archaeology preserves monuments the originals of which were destroyed by Islamic vandalism, and on the other, history text-books are directed to say that no shrines were destroyed. Students are taught one thing in the class rooms through their text-books, while they see something else when they go on excursions to historical monuments. At places like Qutb Minar and Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque they see that “the construction is all Hindu and destruction all Muslim”. History books are not written only in India; these are written in neighbouring countries also, and what is tried to be concealed here for the sake of national integration, is mentioned with pride in the neighbouring Muslim countries. Scholars in Europe are also working on Indian history and untruths uttered by India’s secular and progressive historians are easily countered. .... Thousands of pilgrims who visit Mathura or walk past the site of Vishvanath temple and Gyanvapi Masjid in Varanasi everyday, are reminded of Mughal vandalism and disregard for Hindu sensitivities by Muslim rulers.
    • Lal, K. S. (1992). The legacy of Muslim rule in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 3 (also in K.S. Lal, Historical Essays)
  • And yet some writers delude themselves with the mistaken belief that they can change their country's history by distorting it, or brain-wash generations of young students, or humour fundamentalist politicians through such unethical exercise. To judge what happened in the past in the context of today's cultural milieu and consciously hide the truth, is playing politics with history. Let history be accepted as a matter of fact without putting it to any subjective interpretations. Yesterday's villains cannot be made today's heroes, or, inversely, yesterday's Islamic heroes cannot be made into robbers ransacking temples just for treasures. Nor can the medieval monuments be declared as national monuments as suggested in some naive 'secularist' quarters. They represent vandalism. No true Indian can be proud of such desecrated and indecorous evidence of 'composite culture'. 'History,' says Froude, 'does teach that right and wrong are real distinctions. Opinions alter, manners change, creeds rise and fall, but the moral law is written on the tablets of humanity.' It is nobody's business to change this moral law and prove the wrongs of the medieval period to be right today by having recourse to misrepresentation of history. Manipulation in the writing of medieval Indian history by some modern writers is the worst legacy of Muslim rule in India.
    • Lal, K. S. (1992). The legacy of Muslim rule in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 3 (also in K.S. Lal, Historical Essays)
  • It is an ominous sign of the time that Indian history is being viewed in official circles in the perspective of recent politics. The official history of the freedom movement starts with the premises that India lost indendence only in the eighteenth century and had thus an experience of subjection to a foreign power for only two centuries. Real history, on the other hand, teaches us that the major part of India lost independence about five centuries before, and merely changed masters in the eighteenth century.
    • R.C. Majumdar, History Of The Freedom Movement In India Vol. 1 [1] quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2014). Decolonizing the Hindu mind: Ideological development of Hindu revivalism. New Delhi: Rupa. p. 310-311
  • The only voice which was heard against this nation-wide exercise in suppressio veri suggestio falsi in the field of medieval Indian history, was that of the veteran historian, R.C. Majumdar. For him, this “national integration” based on a wilful blindness to recorded history of the havoc wrought by Islam in India, could lead only to national suicide. He tried his best to arrest the trend by presenting Islamic imperialism in medieval India as it was, and not as the politicians in league with Stalinist and Muslim historians were tailoring it to become. “Political necessities of the Indians during the last phase of British rule,” he wrote in 1960, “underlined the importance of alliance between the two communities, and this was sought to be smoothly brought about by glossing over the differences and creating an imaginary history of the past in order to depict the relations between the two in a much more favourable light than it actually was. ....But history is no respecter of persons or communities, and must always strive to tell the truth, so far as it can be deduced from reliable evidence. This great academic principle has a bearing upon actual life, for ignorance seldom proves to be a real bliss either to an individual or to a nation. In the particular case under consideration, ignorance of the actual relation between the Hindus and the Muslims throughout the course of history - an ignorance deliberately encouraged by some - may ultimately be found to have been the most important single factor which led to the partition of India. The real and effective means of solving a problem is to know and understand the facts that gave rise to it, and not to ignore them by hiding the head, ostrich-like, into sands of fiction.”... But his voice remained a voice in the wilderness. Fourteen years later, he [R.C. Majumdar] had to return to the theme and give specific instances of falsification. “It is very sad,” he observed, “that the spirit of perverting history to suit political views is no longer confined to politicians, but has definitely spread even among professional historians… It is painful to mention though impossible to ignore, the fact that there is a distinct and conscious attempt to rewrite the whole chapter of the bigotry and intolerance of the Muslim rulers towards Hindu religion. This was originally prompted by the political motive of bringing together the Hindus and Musalmans in a common fight against the British but has continued ever since. A history written under the auspices of the Indian National Congress sought to repudiate the charge that the Muslim rulers broke Hindu temples, and asserted that they were the most tolerant in matters of religion. Following in its footsteps, a noted historian has sought to exonerate Mahmud of Ghazni’s bigotry and fanaticism, and several writers in India have come forward to defend Aurangzeb against Jadunath Sarkar’s charge of religious intolerance. It is interesting to note that in the revised edition of the Encyclopaedia of Islam, one of them, while re-writing the article on Aurangzeb originally written by William Irvine, has expressed the view that the charge of breaking Hindu temples brought against Aurangzeb is a disputed point. Alas for poor Jadunath Sarkar, who must have turned in his grave if he were buried. For, after reading his History of Aurangzib, one would be tempted to ask, if the temple-breaking policy of Aurangzeb is a disputed point, is there a single fact in the whole recorded history of mankind which may be taken as undisputed? A noted historian has sought to prove that the Hindu population was better off under the Muslims than under the Hindu tributaries or independent rulers.”
    • R.C. Majumdar quoted in Sita Ram Goel, The Calcutta Quran Petition (1986)[citation needed]
  • Professor D.P.Singhal asserts that, contrary to the general belief, Indians in ancient times did not neglect the important discipline of historiography. On the contrary, they were good writers of history. He states:
    “Ancient India did not produce a Thucydides, but there is considerable evidence to suggest that every important Hindu court maintained archives and geneologies of its rulers. And Kalhana’s Rajatarangini, written in twelfth century Kashmir, is a remarkable piece of historical literature. Despite his lapses into myths and legends, Kalhana had an unbiased approach to historical facts and history writing. He held that a true historian, while recounting the events of the past, must discard love (raga) and hatred (dvesha). Indeed, his well-developed concept of history and the technique of historical investigation have given rise to some speculation that there existed at the time a powerful tradition of historiography in which Kalhana must have received his training.
    • Singhal, D.P. ‘Battle for the Past’ in Problems of Indian Historiography, Proceedings of the Indian History and Culture Society, Ed. Devahuti, D.K. Publishers, Delhi 1979. quoted from Lal, K. S. (1992). The legacy of Muslim rule in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 3
  • The West Bengal Board of Secondary Education had issued instructions in 1989 that ‘Muslim rule should never attract any criticism. Destruction of temples by Muslim rulers and invaders should not be mentioned. (...) With the sway which Marxists have ensured over the education department, each facet at every level will be subjected to the same sort of alterations and substitutions that we have encountered in Bengal – all that is necessary is that the progressives’ government remains in power, and that the rest keep looking the other way.
    • Arun Shourie : Eminent Historians: Their Technology, Their Line, Their Fraud, 1998 (2014), HarperCollins
  • How does this concern square with the guidelines issued by their West Bengal government... - "Muslim rule should never atttact any criticism. Destruction of temples by Muslim rulers and invaders should not be mentioned?
    • Arun Shourie - Eminent Historians: Their Technology, Their Line, Their Fraud[citation needed]
  • In a word, no forcible conversions, no massacres, no destruction of temples. ... Muslim historians of those times are in raptures at the heap of Kafirs [sic] who have been dispatched to hell. Muslim historians are forever lavishing praise on the ruler for the temples he has destroyed, ... Law books like The Hedaya prescribe exactly the options to which these little textbooks alluded. All whitewashed away. Objective whitewash for objective history. And today if anyone seeks to restore truth to these textbooks, the shout, "Communal rewriting of history."
  • Thus, there are two points to remember. First, our friends are not just Marxists, they are also Macaulayites. Second, they are Marxists in a special sense. They are Marxists in the sense that they have thought of themselves as Marxists, in the sense that they repeatedly regurgitate a handful of Marxist phrases and assertions. But more than being Marxist historians, they have been establishment historians. Their theories and ‘theses’ have accorded not just with the ‘classics’ of Marxism-Leninism, they have accorded with the ideology of, which in terms of their theory means, the needs of Congressite rulers.
    • Arun Shourie - Eminent Historians: Their Technology, Their Line, Their Fraud[citation needed]
  • The tale contains an institutional warning also: for this is not the first time that the project to write the history of the freedom movement has been hijacked, and eventually derailed. In the Introduction and Appendix to his three-volume History of the Freedom Movement in India, Dr R.C. Majumdar recorded what happened to the original project – how at his instance the Indian Historical Records Commission passed a resolution in February 1948 that a history of the country’s struggle for freedom ought to be prepared;... how the first volume was prepared;... how the government.. alleged that there had been some differences in the Board about the content of the first volume which had been circulated; how suddenly the Board was dissolved; and the project handed over to a previous secretary of the education ministry; how some of the members become turncoats.
    The result? Mediocre volumes which no one reads, volumes which further what was then the official line… By contrast the British produced their version …. There was the Indian side to the events. This was available at the time in the recollections of those who had led the movement against the British – for many of them were still alive; it was available in their private papers. The Towards Freedom Project was to garner this record. As control over institutions passed to the Leftists, the entire project was yoked to advancing their line and theses.
    • Shourie, Arun (2014). Eminent historians: Their technology, their line, their fraud. Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India : HarperCollins Publishers, citing R.C. Majumdar
  • Like any other imperialism, Muslim and British Imperialisms also created a class of mercenaries and compradores - and here I am talking of intellectual mercenaries; they created a collaborationist tradition or school which endured even after the rulers had left. Marxist historians, for example, belong to the school of Hindu munshis whom the Mughal kings employed to eulogize their rule and their religion, and who wrote servilely to flatter their patrons and whose writings failed to reflect even remotely the feelings, fears, hopes and yearnings of their own subject fellow brothers.
    • Quoted from the preface by Ram Swarup in Gurbachan, S. T. S., & Swarup, R. (1991). Muslim League attack on Sikhs and Hindus in the Punjab 1947.
  • Those who expect from a people like the Hindus a species of composition of precisely the same character as the historical works of Greece and Rome commit the very gregarious error of overlooking the peculiarities which distinguish the natives of India from all other races, and which strongly discriminate their intellectual productions of every kind from those of the West. Their philosophy, their poetry, their architecture, are marked with traits of originality; and the same may be expected to pervade their history, which, like the arts enumerated, took a character from its intimate association with the religion of the people. It must be recollected, moreover,… that the chronicles of all the polished nations of Europe, were, at a much more recent date, as crude, as wild, and as barren, as those of the early Rajputs.... “My own animadversions upon the defective condition of the annals of Rajwarra have more than once been checked by a very just remark: ‘When our princes were in exile, driven from hold to hold, and compelled to dwell in the clefts of the mountains, often doubtful whether they would not be forced to abandon the very meal preparing for them, was that a time to think of historical records?’ ”... “If we consider the political changes and convulsions which have happened in Hindustan since Mahmood’s invasion, and the intolerant bigotry of many of his successors, we shall be able to account for the paucity of its national works on history, without being driven to the improbable conclusion, that the Hindus were ignorant of an art which has been cultivated in other countries from almost the earliest ages. Is it to be imagined that a nation so highly civilized as the Hindus, amongst whom the exact sciences flourished in perfection, by whom the fine arts, architecture, sculpture, poetry, music, were not only cultivated, but taught and defined by the nicest and most elaborate rules, were totally unacquainted with the simple art of recording the events of their history, the character of their princes and the acts of their reigns?” [The fact appears to be that] “After eight centuries of galling subjection to conquerors totally ignorant of the classical language of the Hindus; after every capital city had been repeatedly stormed and sacked by barbarous, bigoted, and exasperated foes; it is too much to expect that the literature of the country should not have sustained, in common with other interests, irretrievable losses.”
    • James Tod, Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan, Routledge and Kegan Paul (London,l829,1957), 2 vols., I quoted from Lal, K. S. (1992). The legacy of Muslim rule in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 3
  • Historical writing and political purposes are usually inseparable, but a measure of institutional plurality can allow some genuine space for alternative perspectives. Unfortunately, post-independence Indian historical writing came to be dominated by a monolithic political project of progressivism that eventually lost sight of verifiable basic truths. This genre of Indian history and the social sciences more generally reached a nadir, when even its own leftist protagonists ceased to believe in their own apparent goal of promoting social and economic justice. It descended into a crass, self-serving political activism and determination to censor dissenting views challenging their own institutional privileges and intellectual exclusivity.
    • Gautam Sen, quoted in Elst, Koenraad (2018). Why I killed the Mahatma: Understanding Godse's defence. New Delhi : Rupa, 2018.
  • What the BJP government claims to offer, what all scholarly historians want, and what is loathed by the Marxists who have dominated the cultural and educational establishment since decades, is glasnost: openness, an end to the dead hand of Marxist dogma in Indian history-writing. However, it is quite wrong to say that the Sangh Parivar takes this job "very seriously". It took three years before relieving leading Marxists of their influential positions (Prasar Bharati, NCERT, IHC). Most of its new nominees were not up to the job, some because of ill-health (e.g. K.S. Lal and B.R. Grover, both now deceased), some because they had never functioned in an academic setting. It should not be forgotten that for decades, at least since ca. 1970 when the Marxists led by P.N. Haksar and Nurul Hasan were given a lot of effective power in this sector in return for their support to Indira Gandhi, distinctly non-Marxist young historians found their access to an academic career blocked by the Marxist hegemons. Of the new textbooks, some are impeccable and are welcomed as undeniable improvements, e.g. Meenakshi Jain's presentation of the Muslim period, arguably the most sensitive and controversial part of the series. Some of the others, by contrast, have been criticized or ridiculed even by fair-minded observers.
    • Koenraad Elst: The Struggle for India's Soul A reply to Mira KAMDAR by Dr. Koenraad ELST, in : The Problem with Secularism (2007) by K. Elst
  • The facts concerning the persecution of Hindus in the pre-modern age were a matter of consensus until recently. For contemporary political reasons, the Congress movement under Mahatma Gandhi and especially under Jawaharlal Nehru thought it opportune to minimize or deny this painful history. They invented a history of Hindu-Muslim bhai-bhai totally at variance with the information given in the primary sources. The job of rewriting history in this sense was subsequently taken up in right earnest by the post-independence generation of vocal Marxist scholars, who gained firm control of the guiding history institutions under Indira Gandhi. For those unfamiliar with modern Indian history: the Marxists, already pushy for acquiring as much power in the institutions as they could grab, were handed a near-monopoly on institutional power in India's academic and educational sector by Indira Gandhi ca. 1970. Involved in an intra-Congress power struggle, she needed the help of the Left. Her confidants P.N. Haksar and Nurul Hasan packed the institutions with Marxists, card-carrying or otherwise. When, during the Emergency dictatorship (1975-77), her Communist Party allies threatened to become too powerful, she and her son Sanjay removed them from key political positions but, in a typical instance of politicians' short-sightedness, they left the Marxists' hold on the cultural sector intact. ...After coming to power in 1998, the BJP-dominated government has made a half-hearted and not always very competent attempt to effect glasnost (openness, transparency) at least in the history textbooks. They ordered the writing of new history textbooks for the schools. This led the Marxists to start a furious hate campaign against the so-called "saffronization" (hinduization) of history... Since some ignorant dupes of these Marxists denounce as "McCarthyist" anyone who points out their ideological inspiration, it deserves to be emphasized that "eminent historians" like Romila Thapar, R.S. Sharma and Irfan Habib are certified as Marxists in standard Marxist sources like Tom Bottomore's Dictionary of Marxist Thought . During the official historians' Ayodhya temple/mosque dispute in 1991, the pro-mosque team's argumentation and several other anti-temple pamphlets were published by the People's Publishing House, a Communist Party outfit. One of the recent textbook innovations most furiously denounced as "saffronization" was the truism that Lenin's armed seizing of power in October/November 1917 was a "coup d'état". And in early 2003, while they were unchaining all their devils against glasnost , the Marxists ruling West Bengal deleted from a textbook a passage in which Mahatma Gandhi's biographer Louis Fischer called Stalin "at least as ruthless as Hitler". Such are the true concerns of the "secularists" warning the world against the attempts at glasnost in India's national history curriculum. History falsification comes in different forms and has concentric lines of defence and attack. At the time of unlimited "secularist" self-confidence and belligerence, this went as far as to deny that any Islamic persecution or oppression of Hindus had taken place. When that proved untenable, it was claimed that intolerance had admittedly existed but that it had been unrelated to Islam, that it was a general phenomenon typical of the medieval period.
    • Koenraad Elst: Religious Cleansing of Hindus, 2004, in: Elst, K. The Problem with Secularism (2007)[citation needed]
  • It is true that in the decades in which India was ruled imperiously by the Congress, the task of writing history textbooks was allotted to Leftist historians who chose to view India’s past through a distorted lens. The most celebrated of these historians, Romila Thapar, has gone so far as to deny that Muslim invaders destroyed the temples of us idolatrous infidels. Undoubtedly, if she were writing about more recent history, she would deny that the Taliban blew up the Buddhas of Bamiyan — and would say that they fell to pieces of their own accord.
  • Given what we have seen of Marxist historians even in this brief book, the brazen-faced distortions – to the point of falsehood – do not surprise me.... That these eminences were in control of journals, of history congresses, and university departments, had another immediate consequence: no one dared question their work. They hadn’t to explain their ‘theses’, they could serve up any concoction as ‘evidence’. In regurgitating the same assertions, they convinced themselves that they were being consistent; in arriving at the same reductionist explanations for diverse phenomena, phenomena millennia apart, they convinced themselves that they were fortifying the theory. In fact, all they were doing was repeating themselves. There was nothing new to be learnt as it had all been explained before! In a word, unquestioned, above being challenged, they slipped into shoddiness, and thus stagnation – Jha’s Address is an illustration of the kind of drivel that came to pass as scholarship.
  • ‘A breed of cerebral czars’ [has ensconced themselves in positions of control] ‘individuals with whom certain institutions have become far too incestuously associated, who not only have the power to hand out tenures but also to send their followers abroad through several new fellowships’... ‘Academic feudalism,’ says a lecturer at JNU, ‘is so acute in History because there are so many opportunities now.’ Academic feudalism – that is, the relations that develop between an influential professor and his protégés – takes many forms. ... Sometimes, the feudal lord treats his followers as ideological allies to further the cause of liberalism or Marxism-Leninism on committees and in the university generally. And sometimes academic feudalism manifests itself as a power-sharing arrangement between a particular teacher and his students to keep ‘outsiders’ out of the staff room. ... In JNU, an eminent nationalist historian, Professor Bipan Chandra, was so well known for placing his students in departmental posts that others did not even bother to apply if they did not have his support. Tripta Wahi, convenor of the Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) and lecturer at Hindu College, DU, says that the appointments made by the senior historian could not be challenged by anyone because of his reputation. ‘Yet the people he has placed in my college are totally mediocre. In fact they are third divisioners whose only claim to fame is that they do not teach any school of History which is at variance with their teacher.’ …Academic feudalism is often the result of doctrinal strife which sometimes spills over into bitter personal animosities … Consequently, a student of DU complains, ‘We have to be very careful. If a post-modernist tutor thinks our work is too traditional he may not recommend us for a scholarship abroad. But if we happen to fall under the supervision of an old-fashioned Leftist who thinks us too post-modernist, he may give us a bad mark…’
    • Sagarika Ghose, ‘The politics of history,’ quoted from Arun Shourie : Eminent Historians: Their Technology, Their Line, Their Fraud, 1998 (2014), HarperCollins[citation needed]
  • The consequences were inevitable. As new central universities were set up – fifteen in the last few years – the protégés of these eminences are the ones who have been appointed to key posts. They have continued teaching the same stuff. They have perpetuated the same patron-protégé relationships. They have used the same techniques of networking, mutual promotion, blackballing and the rest to keep scholars of other hues out. But what is it that they have been perpetuating? More than the line, which is much enfeebled by now in any case, they have been perpetuating mediocrity all round – no one must be brighter than the patron, remember; the touchstone is not academic excellence but personal fidelity to and personal service for the patron, remember. That these eminences were in control of journals, of history congresses, and university departments, had another immediate consequence: no one dared question their work. They hadn’t to explain their ‘theses’, they could serve up any concoction as ‘evidence’. In regurgitating the same assertions, they convinced themselves that they were being consistent; in arriving at the same reductionist explanations for diverse phenomena, phenomena millennia apart, they convinced themselves that they were fortifying the theory. In fact, all they were doing was repeating themselves. There was nothing new to be learnt as it had all been explained before! In a word, unquestioned, above being challenged, they slipped into shoddiness, and thus stagnation – Jha’s Address is an illustration of the kind of drivel that came to pass as scholarship.... They controlled such publications, and others, that of the ICHR, say: but the abysmal quality of articles in them ensured that the control amounted to little.
  • Ideological commitment, or at least a predisposition towards the Left having become a necessary qualification for appointments, for prominence, the entire discipline came to shut its eyes to a pile of evidence on a whole range of issues. It was de riguer to declaim about ‘Hindu communalism’, ... Given their larger presence among the voters in West Bengal and Kerala, in a number of the constituencies that the progressives targeted, eyes had to be shut even tighter lest they spot communalism among Muslims: that had always to be portrayed as a reaction to Hindu communalism; it must never be talked of as something germane to the teachings or teachers of Islam. Even in regard to ‘Hindu communalism’, one had to make out that the ‘communalism’ among Hindus was the doing of one party, of one organization – the RSS – at the most of a few figures: it was not a characteristic of the mass of Hindus... Similarly, one may, indeed one must declaim about the inequities from which women suffer, but one must shut one’s eyes to what the Shariah provides in regard to women. How is it that while our feminists were so vigorous in denouncing the condition of women in Western societies, in India, they did not produce even a few worthwhile studies to explain the curious anomaly, one to which Maulana Wahiduddin Khan once called attention – that while Islam is said to give such high status to women, in every single Islamic society and country, women are in a pitiable condition? Yes, it was absolutely mandatory to denounce what was happening to the environment. But one must not see the incongruity of pouring scorn on the worship of trees, and rivers, on the veneration of nature in general, of such beliefs having been pilloried as ‘animism’ and superstition, and then lamenting the consequences when people began to look upon nature as others had been taught by their religions to do, that is, as something that had been created by God for the ‘enjoyment’ of man.
  • Control had another, in a sense a final consequence. That they controlled journals, university departments, history congresses placed them in the controlling elite. They became parts, and very conspicuous parts of the very establishment that they had been traducing. They could not sustain the pose of martyrdom – they were not the ones who were defying censors and persecution. They were now the censors. They were the ones who were derailing and blocking the careers of others, they were the ones who were blackballing others, destroying their reputations. Everything about them and their positions spoke to their being part of the ruling establishment: the intertwining webs of connections with those in office; the manifest fact that they owed their positions and prominence to those connections; their membership of governmental committees and delegations; the schools and universities to which they sent their children; their perks and salaries. A professor at the Jawaharlal Nehru University today gets around Rs 1,30,000 a month as salary with a dearness allowance. And there is the rent allowance (around 30 per cent of the salary if the person is not living on campus), and then the conveyance allowance. In a country where the poverty line is officially drawn at Rs 12 a day or Rs 360 a month, to get Rs 1,50,000 or thereabouts a month and write fiery essays on the immiserization of the poor comes across as a theatrical performance, the indignation is a bit too obviously worked up. Not the martyrs they would want us to take them to be, rather top dogs revelling in what Northcote Parkinson had called ‘underdoggery’!
  • But these are not just partisan ‘historians’. They are nepotists of the first order. I had documented several years ago the doings of some of them in regard to the appointments in the Aligarh Muslim University. Their doings in the ICHR were true to pattern. How is it that over twenty-five years persons from their school alone had been nominated to the ICHR? How come that Romila Thapar had been on the Council four times? Irfan Habib five times? Satish Chandra four times? S. Gopal three times?…

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