S. L. Bhyrappa

From Wikiquote
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Santeshivara Lingannaiah Bhyrappa (born 20 August 1931) is an Indian novelist, philosopher and screenwriter who writes in Kannada. His work is popular in the state of Karnataka and he is widely regarded as one of modern India's popular novelists. His novels are unique in terms of theme, structure, and characterization. He has been among the top-selling authors in the Kannada language and his books have been translated into Hindi and Marathi which have also been sellers.


It is Impossible to Build Nationalism on a Foundation based on Historical Falsehoods, 2006[edit]

Dr. S.L. Bhyrappa. essay dated 24 September, 2006 titled “It is Impossible to Build Nationalism on a Foundation based on Historical Falsehoods” , Vijaya Karnataka, quoted in Sandeep Balakrishna. 2013. Tipu Sultan : The Tyrant of Mysore. Chennai: Rare Publications.
  • The currently sensational news in Karnataka politics happens to be centered on Education Minister Shankaramurthy who said that Tipu Sultan was an opponent of Kannada because he replaced Kannada, the administrative language of Mysore State, with Farsi. This statement has met with expected reactions from expected quarters. These quarters have also raised a din calling for the Chief Minister to sack Shankaramurthy failing which they would begin a severe agitation. The Education Minister has further clarified that he’s willing to engage in a public debate on the issue. Meanwhile, the actor, director and playwright Girish Karnad together with his associates, K.Marulasiddappa, and former Primary Education Minister, Professor B.K. Chandrashekhar called for a press conference where he has agreed for such a public debate with Shankaramurthy. This has my wholehearted support. But then, they have already passed a judgement that Shankaramurthy’s statement is dangerous and damaging to the nation.
  • After forty years, I read Karnad’s The Dreams of Tipu Sultan. I felt that Karnad had completely whitewashed the Tipu Sultan I had read about and instead, had portrayed him as some kind of a valiant but tragic hero. I say this as someone hailing from the Old Mysore region, as someone who knows more about Tipu Sultan. In the interim, I had also observed Girish Karnad’s statements, activities, and agitations, and had concluded that he was a committed Leftist. But those were his personal beliefs. I had therefore maintained a respectful distance giving credence to the fact that everybody has a right to their own beliefs and convictions. However, after I read The Dreams of Tipu Sultan and Tughlaq again, I decided to research in depth about these two historical characters to understand Girish Karnad’s affinity to historical truths. History has always been one of the areas of my interest. Specifically, I’ve researched Indian history to an extent.
  • The blurb of Tughlaq explicitly states that although the plot of the play is historical, its intent is not to portray history. However, wherever this play has been staged, both the audience and the performers have invariably felt that the Tughlaq of Karnad’s play was the real, historical Tughlaq. ‘A Brahmin was wronged by my officers. You all have seen that I am committed to erasing this injustice and that I’m devoted to walk in the path of justice. This is an unforgettable moment in the history of our kingdom, a kingdom which is splintered due to religious strife. I want equality in my kingdom. I want progress. I want justice that is based on logic. It is not merely enough to have peace; I want the spark of life.’ ‘The most important fact is that Daulatabad is a city where the majority is Hindus. I want to shift my capital to Daulatabad in order to foster greater harmony between Hindus and Muslims.’ Thus goes the Sultan’s words. Further, the statement that ‘the Sultan lapses into ecstasy whenever he witnesses the sight of a Brahmin who is with a Muslim friend’ is intended to evoke a feeling in the audience that Tughlaq was far more tolerant and religiously fair minded than Akbar whom he preceded by about 230 years. But then as per Ibn Battuta, this is the same Sultan who renamed Devagiri to Daulatabad. This is the same Sultan who imprisoned and forcibly converted to Islam, the 11 sons of the southern king of Kampili who rebelled against him (Ibn Battuta, The Rehla of Ibn Battuta, Eng translation by Dr. Mahdi Hussain, 1953, pg 95. Ishwari Prasad’s Qaaunah Turks in India, Vol 1, Allahabad 1936, Pg 65-66. Mahdi Hussain, Tughlaq Dynasty, Calcutta 1963, pg 207-208, quoted in “Muslim Slave System in Medieval India” by K.S. Lal, Aditya Prakashan, New Delhi, 1994). This same Tughlaq didn’t refrain from demolishing Hindu temples and building mosques on the same spot. A mosque named Bodhan Deval exists in the Nizamabad district in Andhra Pradesh. As the name itself suggests, this is a mosque built after demolishing a preexisting temple on the site. Two inscriptions—that are still available—state that this mosque was built during the reign of Muhammad Bin Tughlaq. G.Yazdani, author of Epigraphia IndoMoslemica 1919-20, states on page 16 that “as the name itself suggests, the Deval mosque was a Jain temple, which was converted to a mosque when Muhammad Bin Tughlaq became victorious in his raid of the Deccan.” The original temple’s architecture was star-shaped. However, the Muslims (Tughlaq) replaced the sanctum sanctorum with a pulpit. This apart, the temple was not significantly modified. The original pillars remain intact till date. The carvings of the Tirthankaras on the pillars too, remain intact till date (Sitaram Goel, Hindu Temples What happened to them? Vol II, page 67).
  • According to Abu Nassir Aissi, Sultan Muhammad Bin Tughlaq planted the flag of Islam in corners that had never been conquered before, and had the verses of the Quran recited in places that had never heard them recited before. He put an end to the fireworshipping verses and replaced them with the verses of the Azaan (S.A.A Rizvi, India in Tughlaq’s Time, Aligarh, 1956, Vol I, pg 325). What basis does the playwright have to depict this Sultan as tolerant, other than that of the Marxist propaganda?
  • Sultan Muhammad Bin Tughlaq’s exploits in slave-taking was infamous even in faraway lands. Shihabuddin Ahamad Abbas notes the Sultan’s enthusiasm in this regard as follows: “the Sultan’s ardour in waging war against Kashmir was unabated. The number of prisoners that he took was so staggering that everyday, thousands of slaves were sold at abysmal prices (Masalik-ulabisar fi Mumalik-ul-amsar. Translated in E.D. 111 Pg 580, S.A.A Rizvi, India in Tughlaq’s Time). And it was not just in war. Tughlaq had a fancy for buying and collecting a huge number of foreign and Indian slaves. In every war or an expedition to put down rebels, the number of Kafir female-slaves that the Sultan rounded up was so huge that, as Ibn Battuta writes, “on occasion, a large number of female prisoners were rounded up in Delhi. The Nazir sent me ten of them. Of them, I returned one to the person who brought them to me. But he was not satisfied. My companion took three small girls. I don’t know what happened to the rest of them (Ibn Batutta, ibid).
  • During the Indian freedom struggle, wandering bards, minstrels, and those who sang lavanis used to sing rustic songs that glorified Tipu at street corners, in marketplaces, and fairs. These semi-literate and illiterate people had no knowledge of history. They were patronized by Muslims, especially Muslim merchants and businessmen who gave them bakshish. In the same vein, some playwrights wrote plays glorifying Tipu as a great patriot based on the sole fact that he had fought against the British. Thus informed, the audience and general public began to believe that this was the true picture of the historical Tipu Sultan. Post-independence, our Marxists, vote bank politicians, and religiously-driven Muslim writers, artists, playwrights, and filmmakers portrayed Tipu as a patriot and a national hero. Real history died. The British were depicted as heartless villains for taking two sons of Tipu as hostages. Girish Karnad, who adheres to this tradition of painting Tipu as a national hero takes up this hostage episode in his play and makes Tipu mouth this highly revelatory dialogue of sociology: “A new language has come to our land. A new culture. Angreji! A culture that takes children aged seven—eight as war hostages.”
  • However, taking war hostages was a tradition practiced by Muslim rulers who ruled India. Either Girish Karnad is ignorant of the fact that the British merely followed this existing tradition or he has deliberately suppressed it. Mir Jumla, a general under Aurangzeb defeated and looted the entire treasury of the king of Assam. And he didn’t stop there. He demanded more money and took the king’s sons and a daughter as ransom till the king brought him the money. Mir Jumla also took the sons of the king’s feudatories, Burha Go Hen, Baar Go Hen, Gad Gonia Pukhan, and Bad Patra Pukhan as war hostages. This fact is recorded by Saqi Mustad Khan in Masir-i-Alamgiri, which is Aurangzeb’s authorized biography (5th Al Hijra 1072, which corresponds to 5 January, 1663). During the Mughal rule, every Rajput king had to station at least one son in the Badshah’s court as a sign of respect. The undertone of this arrangement was clear to both parties—the son was a glorified hostage ensuring obedience from Rajput kings. This custom was inaugurated by Akbar and continued thereafter. A Rajput ruler defeated in war had to marry his daughter off to the Mughal king—a wife but nevertheless a permanent hostage. Most Rajput kings agreed to this because of their vanquished status. Maharana Pratap was the lone exception. He refused to send his son to Akbar’s court. When Khurram, who later styled himself as Shahjahan, rebelled against his own father and failed, the father Jahangir, took his son’s sons—his own grandsons—Dara and Aurangzeb as war hostages. But Cornwallis who took Tipu’s sons as hostages treated the boys with the care and propriety that befitted royal heirs, something that none of the Muslim rulers did under similar circumstances. If Muslim war hostages were non-Muslim, they were compulsorily converted to Islam. Now, what was the condition laid down for taking Tipu’s sons as hostages? After he was defeated in the war, Tipu agreed to pay a certain sum of money to the British according to the terms of surrender. But his treasury was nearly empty. Neither did he have anything he could pledge until he could obtain the money. However, could the British merely believe his verbal promise? The British didn’t originally intend to take the young boys as hostages. And once throughout the time they held the boys hostages, they were treated with care and courtesy.
  • The fact that some politicians in their speeches, praise Tipu as the “son of Kannada” is nothing new. Kannada was the official language of the state when the Wodeyar dynasty ruled the Mysore kingdom. However, Tipu replaced it with Farsi. However, as someone who hereditarily hails from a family of village accountants that reported to the Old Mysore State’s Revenue department, I am well-versed with the tax paperwork. Thus, Farsi administrative terms like “Khata,” “Khirdi,” “Pahani,” “Khanisumari,” “Gudasta,” “Takhte,” “Tari,” “Khushki,” “Bagaaytu,” “Banjaru,” “Jamabandi,” “Ahalvalu,” “Khavand,” “Amaldaar,” and “Shirastedaar” that are still in vogue were introduced during Tipu’s time.
  • Tipu also changed the original names of entire cities and towns: Brahmapuri became Sultanpet, Kallikote became Farookabad, Chitradurga became Farook yab Hissar, Coorg became Zafarabad, Devanahalli became Yusufabad, Dindigal became Khaleelabad, Gutti became Faiz Hissar, Krishnagiri became Phalk-il-azam, Mysore became Nazarabad (today’s Nazarbad is the name of a locality in Mysore city), Penukonda became Fakrabad, Sankridurga became Muzaffarabad, Sira became Rustumabad, and Sakleshpur became Manjarabad. Does all this reflect Tipu’s nationalism, his religious tolerance, and his love for the Kannada language?
  • Girish Karnad has taken the title of his play, “ The dreams of Tipu Sultan” from a collection of leaflets written by Tipu in his own handwriting in Farsi. Major Beatson, a Britisher who edited the English edition of this collection gave it the name “The dreams of Tipu Sultan.” I have read this work. Tipu used to be anxious about the fact that he had to have absolute privacy when he was writing this, and later, while reading it. This collection was found in the royal latrine in the Srirangapattanam palace. Tipu’s most loyal servant, Habibulla identified and confirmed that these were indeed written by his master. Today, both the original and the translation are at the India Office in London. When one reads it, the true extent of Tipu’s religious fanaticism becomes clearer. He always refers to Hindus as Kaffirs and the British as Christians. A long-bearded Maulvi frequently appears in his dreams; Tipu goes to Mecca on a pilgrimage; Prophet Mohammad tells a long-bearded Arab, “Tell Tipu that I shall not enter Heaven without Tipu;” Tipu is then on a mission to convert all non-Muslims to Islam and Islamizes all non-Islamic nations. Tipu never talks about modernizing India and is furious that the Christians (British) are the biggest obstacles in his path; he desires to drive them out.
  • Tipu, who embarked on a long campaign of the Malabar and Coorg and left a brutal trail of forcible conversion of Hindus in its wake, refrained from trying a similar stunt in the Mysore region. He needed the support of Hindus after his financial humiliation in the Third Mysore War of 1791, which was when he had to submit his two sons to the British apart from surrendering a large portion of his empire. Therefore, in a move to placate Hindus, he gave a large donation to the Sringeri Shankaracharya Mutt. Our secularprogressives project this incident as an instance of Tipu’s nonsectarianism and religious tolerance.
  • Tipu actually wrote to the Afghan king Jaman Shah and the Caliph of Turkey to invade India and establish the rule of Islam. In his infamous sack of the Mysore palace in 1796, he rounded up the entire palace library containing invaluable ancient Hindu palm-leaf manuscripts, inscriptions, papers, and books, and ordered them to be burnt as fuel to boil gram, which was then used to feed horses.
  • The Muslims in the Malabar speak, read and write Malayalam even today. The same applies to Muslims in Tamil Nadu. However, Muslims in Karnataka speak only Urdu and have remained distant from mainstream Kannada. This is the direct result of Tipu’s imposition of Farsi and Urdu as the only permitted mediums of instruction.
  • The purpose of my essay is not to support Shankaramurthy. Neither is it to condemn historical Muslim personalities. All Muslims in India are our brothers. Our nationalism must grow stronger on the edifice of precisely this brotherhood. However, we cannot strengthen nationalism on the foundation of a false history. Almost a century has passed since we have fearlessly written about and discussed the drawbacks of Hindu society, and initiated reforms accordingly. A society becomes stronger by such candid and honest criticism and analysis. Writing the truth about the history of Muslim rule in India doesn’t mean we are insulting Muslims. All of us need to learn lessons from history. If we are afraid to write the facts of history because it might offend people, if we bury the truth thus and build a false narrative of history, we cannot construct a strong building on such a false foundation.
    • Dr. S.L. Bhyrappa. essay dated 24 September, 2006 titled “It is Impossible to Build Nationalism on a Foundation based on Historical Falsehoods” , Vijaya Karnataka, quoted in Sandeep Balakrishna. 2013. Tipu Sultan : The Tyrant of Mysore. Chennai: Rare Publications.

If a historian, like a novelist, seeks comfort, what is the fate of the truth?, 2013[edit]

Dr. Bhyrappa echoed this in his 8 October 2008 closing essay on the Tipu debate, “If a historian, like a novelist, seeks comfort, what is the fate of the truth?” quoted in Sandeep Balakrishna. 2013. Tipu Sultan : The Tyrant of Mysore. Chennai: Rare Publications.
  • To continue the discussion about Muhammad bin Tughlaq and Tipu Sultan would simply mean piling facts and details. What we instead need to analyze is the political perspective from which history is being taught. I shall first recount my firsthand experience of the nature of the grip of this politics. Around 1969-70, the Central Government under Smt Indira Gandhi mooted a programme whose aim was to foster national integration through education. To this end, it formed a committee headed by G. Parthasarathy, a former ambassador and someone who was close to the Nehru-Gandhi family. Then, I was serving as a lecturer of philosophy in the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) in Delhi, and was selected as one of the five members of this committee. During the inaugural meeting, Mr. Parthasarathy, in the smooth tone of a practiced politician spoke about the aims of the committee, “It is our duty not to sow seeds of thorns in the minds of growing children, which would in future prove to be a hurdle in national integration. Most of our history textbooks contain such seeds of thorns. These seeds are also present here and there in subjects like language and social studies. Our history and other subjects must contain lessons that foster national integration. This committee has been entrusted with such a serious responsibility.”The remaining four members respectfully nodded their heads in agreement.
    I asked: “Sir, I didn’t understand you. Can you please explain with examples?”
    “Ghazni Mahmud broke the Somanath temple and looted it; Aurangzeb demolished the Kashi and Mathura temples and built mosques in their place, and imposed Jaziya…what purpose does these kinds of useless episodes serve in the present time other than sowing seeds of hatred? How will they help in building a strong India of the future?”
    “In that case, aren’t these episodes historical truths?”
    “There are several truths. However, maturity and discrimination lies in using discretion in selecting them.” The rest again nodded their heads in agreement.
    “You gave the examples of Kashi and Mathura. Even today, lakhs of people from various corners of the country visit them each year. All of them can see with their own eyes the sight of enormous mosques, which have been built using the pillars and walls of their sacred temples, which were demolished. They can also see that the original temples—on whose site these mosques now stand— were built recently in a space as big as a cowshed. These pilgrims experience hurt when they witness this sight. When they return home, they describe this sight to their family, neighbours, friends and relatives. Does this fact help in ensuring national integration? We can suppress history in textbooks prescribed for schoolchildren. But how can we suppress it when they go on educational or other tours? Research shows us that over thirty thousand temples were demolished. Can we suppress all of them…”
    Mr. Parthasarathy cut me off and said, “You a lecturer of philosophy. Please tell us what is the purpose of history.”
    “Nobody can say what the purpose of history is. Nobody can predict the direction in which science and technology will take us. Some Western thinkers have written about the Philosophy of History. However, most of this kind of writing is dense. What we need to discuss here is: what is the purpose of teaching history? History is our quest of the truth about our past and the lives of the people of our past. It is a quest which is undertaken using instruments such as inscriptions, records, literary works, remnants, and ruins. Historical truth helps us learn lessons of not making the same mistakes our ancestors did and of imbibing their good qualities…”
    He interrupted me with, “does that mean we can hurt the sentiments of the minorities? Can we cleave the society? Sowing poisonous seeds in the minds of children…”
    “Sir, the very categorization as minority and majority in itself shows that there is intent to divide the society. The concept of ‘poisonous seeds’ contains prejudice. Why should minorities identify a sense of solidarity between themselves and Ghazni Mahmud and Aurangzeb? Aurangzeb’s extreme narrow-mindedness in religious matters caused the Mughal Empire to disintegrate. Akbar’s broad policy of religious toleration helped the Mughal Empire flourish. Can’t we teach these lessons to children without betraying the historical truth? Before we teach the lessons we must learn from history, shouldn’t we teach the actual historical truths? All idealistic pronouncements that cloak the truth are politically motivated. These pronouncements won’t last long. Be it minorities or the majority, unless they develop the intellectual and emotional maturity that comes from facing the truth directly, any education is useless—and dangerous, even.”
    Mr. Parthasarathy nodded. He praised my scholarship and intellectual abilities. During lunch break, he took me to his room separately, placed his hand on my shoulder in a gesture of intimacy, and enquired about my native place. He spoke two sentences in Tamil, which contained one Kannada word, and then said that we were from neighbouring states, and that we spoke brotherlanguages. And then, “your points are valid academically. Write a paper on this topic. But then, when the Government makes a policy that is applicable nationally, it needs to achieve a balance between several competing interests. Pure philosophical aspects don’t figure in there,” he said with a triumphant smile.
    When the Committee met the next day, I continued to hold my position firmly. I argued that history that wasn’t based on the truth was futile and dangerous. Mr. Parthasarathy’s face showed displeasure. I didn’t budge. The morning session concluded without reaching any decision. Mr. Parthasarathy didn’t speak to me after that. The Committee met 15 days later. My name wasn’t included in it. The reconstituted Committee had replaced my name with Arjun Dev, a history lecturer committed to the Marxist ideology. All history and Social Science textbooks that the NCERT produced thenceforth were done so under his direction. These books became textbooks—or became guides to prepare textbooks—in all states ruled by the Congress or the Communist party.
  • Two NCERT textbooks serve as good examples to expose the design of this Marxist group to assault the minds of growing and impressionable children. Both were written by Marxist historians and prescribed as Class XI textbooks. The first is Ancient India by R.S. Sharma, and the other is Medieval India by Satish Chandra.
    According to them, Ashoka’s policy of religious toleration included extending respect even to Brahmins. Because Ashoka had prohibited the slaughter of animals and birds, the livelihood of Brahmins, which depended on the dakshina they received for conducting Homas and Havans, was threatened. After Ashoka, Brahmins ruled over several parts of the splintered Mauryan Empire. This immature reasoning extends even to the temples that were destroyed by Muslim invaders. The reasoning given is that temples were destroyed because the Muslim invaders wanted to loot the enormous wealth they contained! In other cases, it says that temple destructions occurred because of the Sharia law. However, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar in the Decline and Fall of Buddhism (Writings and Speeches, Volume III, Government of Maharashtra, 1987 PP229-38) narrates how Muslim raiders razed to the ground the great Buddhist universities of Nalanda, Vikramashila, Jagaddala, Odantapuri, etc, and committed the genocide of hundreds of thousands of Buddhist monks. Those who managed to escape this mass murder fled to Nepal and Tibet. Dr. Ambedkar then remarks, “The axe fell upon the roots of Buddhism. By killing the priestly class of the Buddhists, Islam killed Buddhism itself. This is the most brutal calamity visited upon Buddhism in India.” When it suits their Hindu-baiting purposes, these Marxists selectively quote Dr. Ambedkar. However, they actively suppress the same Ambedkar—who fought against the Hindu Varna system and became a Buddhist towards the end of his life—who says that Muslims were responsible for the brutal destruction of Buddhism in India.
  • R.S. Sharma, in Ancient India, New Delhi, 1992 Pg 11 writes: “The enormous wealth of the Buddhist viharas attracted the Turkish raiders. They were special targets for the greed of these raiders. The Turks killed numerous Buddhist monks. Despite this, several of them escaped to Nepal and Tibet.” The clever Marxists have tried to suppress a crucial fact here. By calling them Turks (a tribal name), they have tried to conceal the fact that these raiders were Muslims and that they destroyed the viharas motivated by their religion’s strictures. However, they also write that Buddhism in Ashoka’s time was destroyed by Brahmins who coveted dakshina. We do need to appreciate the shrewdness of these worthies who suppress the truth and create falsehood at the same time.
  • Western historians who began to write India’s history by following the European historical method have paved us a good path. But their scholarship was fuelled by an ulterior motive. They had already developed the following narrative: Indian culture is the Vedic culture. The creators of this culture were Aryans, who came into India from abroad. They destroyed the native culture and established themselves here. Thus, everybody who came thereafter were alien invaders. At one stage the Muslims came. Now, the British have come. Therefore, if somebody argued that the British weren’t native to India, they had a readymade response: neither are you. This was institutionalized in universities, and the media. English-educated young men and women carried this perception, too. This narrative also informed that the Rg Veda, held sacred by the Aryans was composed by them when they were outside India. This narrative severed the spiritual bond that connected Indians with India. The result was that over hundred years, Englisheducated Indians suffered a sense of alienation. This narrative also germinated and escalated the discord among some Indians who saw themselves as the native Dravidians whom the invading Aryans subjugated. Those who understand human nature well know that it is easy to beget enmity and that when it is proved that the enmity is based on false reasons, it is still difficult to let go of ill-feeling.
  • The Aryan Invasion Theory was disproved eventually by several researches, which showed plenty of evidence against the occurrence of such an invasion. However, nobody had written a comprehensive work on Indian history from the Indian perspective. In this backdrop, the freedom fighter, Gandhian, distinguished lawyer, member of the Constituent Assembly, eminent scholar, and founder of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Kanhaiyalal Munshi conceived of a project to write a comprehensive history of India. He invited the towering History scholar and researcher, R.C. Majumdar to become the editor. The two entered into an agreement. It was Munshi’s responsibility to provide equipment and money that Majumdar asked for. Additionally, Munshi would have no say in the selection of scholars (who would be invited to write on specific areas of history) and other editorial tasks. Munshi honoured this agreement. Thus came to be written the History and Culture of the Indian People in 11 volumes written by scholars who were specialists in various themes and sub-themes of history. No other work in comparable scope or depth or fidelity to truth has been attempted either singly or jointly in the last fifty years. I had read all the volumes. If one reads a specific section or period as it is classified in these volumes, it provides the complete and up-to-date research done on it including references to primary sources. All that remains is adding contemporary research—if any—and republishing a new edition. My personal collection contains all these 11 volumes.
  • The National Book Trust put out a proposal to translate these 11 volumes into all Indian languages. The proposal was forwarded to the Indian Council for Historical Research (ICHR) because it pertained to history. The ICHR formed a Committee to examine the proposal. The Committee was headed by S.Gopal and included Tapan Roy Choudhury, Satish Chandra and Romila Thapar. By then, the ICHR was completely under the control of Marxists. Expectedly, they recommended that the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan volumes were unsuitable for translation into Indian languages and that the proposal should not be carried forward. And it didn’t stop at just that. It suggested an alternative works that had potential for such a translation. These alternative works were authored by the selfsame Committee members and their other Marxist comrades. Five books authored by the Chairman of ICHR, R. S.Sharma, three books by S. Gopal (son of the renowned scholar and philosopher, S.Radhakrishnan), three by Romila Thapar, two by Bipan Chandra, two by Irfan Habib, two by his father Mohammad Habib, one by Satish Chandra, works of the Communist Party of India’s leading light, E.M.S Namboodiripad, and one book by Rajni Palme Dutt, who was guiding and controlling the Indian Communists in the 1940s. Not a single book by Lokamanya Tilak, Jadunath Sarkar or R.C. Majumdar! (In this connection, it is worth reading Arun Shourie’s Eminent Historians: Their Technology, Their Line, Their Fraud, ASA 1998. Arun Shourie is hated by different groups for different reasons. A defining characteristic of Arun Shourie’s writing is the fact that it delves into the deepest roots of the issue it discusses. Eminent Historians provides the complete list of the remuneration that each person took for the aforementioned translation project.)
  • Towards the end of his life, Gandhiji’s ideas and influence had waned within the Congress party. Nehru was never a follower of Gandhiji’s ideas. Although Nehru had great admiration for the British system of democracy, his heart really lay with Russia’s Communism. After he became Prime Minister, he slowly sidelined most leaders within the Congress. Patel’s death became a boon to Nehru. As President, Rajendra Prasad was reduced to the status of a respectable token. Although leaders like Rajagopalachari and Kriplani quit the Congress party and formed their own outfits, their influence was insignificant. Nehru, who was influenced by a hardcore Marxist like Krishna Menon wasn’t naïve. Although he earned some goodwill in the international community as the leader of the Non-aligned Movement, he had to face opposition from America because the NAM was essentially sympathetic to Communist Russia. The result was India’s loss. However, India’s loss wasn’t Nehru’s loss. Nehru’s worshipful love for the Communist ideology had reached such proportions that his Government and the Indian media routinely chanted the HindiChini bhai bhai (India-China brothers) slogan until India was kicked out of its own territory by China. By then Marxists had occupied the intellectual space in India. For his political survival, Nehru practiced the policy of pitting Hindus against themselves and simultaneously, of appeasing Muslims. This was the tactic the British had instituted for maintaining their colonial hold over India, which Nehru continued. The word “casteism” became a term of abuse reserved only to be used against Hindus. Further, he also spread the perception that secularism was something that only Hindus needed to practice towards Muslims and Christians because being minorities, they were incapable of casteism.
  • Mohammad Karim Chagla was born, raised, and educated in Bombay. He became famous as a lawyer and earned goodwill and respect as a man of integrity. He went on to become the Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court and retired from the position. He recounts in his autobiography, Roses in December that he was desirous of contesting the Lok Sabha elections. He wrote to Nehru requesting him to give a ticket from a constituency in Bombay. The Congress High Command acceded to his request. In its reply, it said that he would be given a ticket to contest from the Aurangabad constituency. In turn, he replied with, “I was born, raised, and I have served the public in Bombay. People know me well here. Why have you given me a ticket in faraway Aurangabad where I know nobody and about which I know nothing?” Nehru’s High Command retorted, “Aurangabad has a large Muslim population. Because you are a Muslim, you contest from there.”
  • I was a small boy when the country achieved freedom and held its initial general elections. However, I’ve witnessed Congress leaders discussing the relative strengths and reach of castes in a particular constituency, and caste-based leaders who needed to be nominated for elections.
  • Indira Gandhi, whose sole aim was to retain and remain in power, required the help of the Communists against her opponents that included the fast-growing Jana Sangh, and the ex-Congress combine of Morarji Desai, Nijalingappa, Neelam Sanjiva Reddy, Kamaraj and others. On their part, the Communists realized that they didn’t have enough strength to capture power on their own. They reasoned that putting their ideology in positions of power was a good alternative. Indira Gandhi thus helped the Communists infiltrate key institutions like the ICHR, NCERT, universities and the media. Additionally, Communist Russia exerted external pressure to make this happen. Nehru and his daughter had by then stooped to a position of weakness, which prevented them from taking a strong stance against Russia even in key domestic matters. Once the Communists were firmly entrenched in the nation’s key intellectual nerve centres, they began to shape the direction of these institutions following the model already laid down by Communist dictatorships like Russia and China. Now, Sonia Gandhi’s UPA Government is anyway dependent on the life support given by the Communists (Note: this article was written in 2008, during the first innings of the UPA Government. Communist parties supported the Government from outside.).
  • When the Leftists began to occupy the Government’s Education department, the History department, and the departments of history, sociology and literature, the media adopted a studied ignorance. When Murli Manohar Joshi, the NDA’s HRD Minister began to introduce changes that emphasized Indianness in our education, these Leftists raised a shrill cry. His changes included things like teaching the contribution of ancient India to science, and beginning classes with the Saraswati Vandana. The media projected this as a major calamity. Congress party workers and social-equality champions took out rallies and raised slogans predicting doomsday for India. Now, when the UPA Government’s Arjun Singh has embarked on a project of severely re-Marxifying education, none of these worthies have raised a word of protest. The media, especially the English media, has been highly supportive of this. The Congress party, whose only aim is to remain in power, has completely lost even the semblance of intellectualism. It remains in blissful slumber content and secure in the knowledge that it can borrow intellectualism from the Left if and when required. However, it has followed the policy of economic liberalization because of its realization that its past experiment with socialism brought India to the brink of bankruptcy. However, the Communists who have accepted this have been unable to break away from Marxism from which they derive their very identity.
  • The tactics of Marxists to capture power in all spheres and at all levels is no different from that of caste politics, which has proved to be a curse upon India. They appoint people sympathetic to their ideology in universities, infiltrate print and television media with their fellow travelers, write glowing reviews of books written by authors loyal to their ideology, sideline authors who hold opposing or alternate views, organize ideologically-motivated seminars and camps to attract young minds to their side, exert influence on the Government to give out awards to people who follow their ideology…they have done this in a systematic manner. Critiquing a literary work by using ideology as the yardstick is the method of literary criticism that Marxists introduced in India. By doing this, they feel they have destroyed traditional measures and conceptions of literary criticism such as Rasa (Feeling or Emotion), Dhwani (Suggestion), and Auchitya (Appropriateness).
  • Truth for the Communists is the position the Party takes. This holds true for values like art and ethics. We don’t need to explain this to people who have read books published by Communist Russia on these topics and sold at dirt cheap prices.
  • I have always been interested in sociology, psychology, history and allied subjects in the humanities. I have done some reading in these. Philosophy is the subject of my profession. Aesthetics was the topic of my doctoral research. However, my proclivity made me turn to writing literature, writing novels specifically. As long as I can remember, my mind has dwelled on the nature of the relationship between truth and beauty, and literature and truth. What is the nature and extent of the freedom that a writer has in recreating an actual historical character, information about whose life and times is based on literary, archeological and other evidences? This question has bothered me at every step. The preface to The Real Tipu written by S.D. Sharma has further intensified my thoughts: “Tipu Sultan has recently leapt from the pages of history to the television screen. This has naturally aroused curiosity about him and his times. It has also caused great controversy. This is because several—especially, people from Kerala—hold the view that the real Tipu was not the same person that is being depicted in the Doordarshan serial. The serial, based on Bhagawan S. Gidwani novel, The Sword of Tipu Sultan is a book filled with falsehoods. It is a narrative that wrongly portrays factual historical events. Doordarshan’s serial has given us a gift that is far from the truth. This controversy made me study Tipu Sultan in detail. When I learnt the truth about him, I was aghast.”
  • Forget Indian cinema, especially Bollywood cinema, which sells titillating products. It is no different with those who write Lavanis. But why do those who write serious literature indulge in titillation of a different kind? Why aren’t they faithful to historical truths? Why don’t they escape from the clutches of historians committed to their ideology and use their independent critical faculties to study and understand historical evidence? S. Shettar (past Chairman of the ICHR) who justifies Girish Karnad says, “In his play about Tipu, Girish Karnad has kept only the play in view and has tried to explore the good qualities of Tipu. Historians, playwrights, and creative artists each have their own ideals.” What are the differences between ideology and ideal here? The litterateur can somehow escape using the parachute of convenience called ideal. However, if a historian too tries to use this convenience, what will be the fate of historical truths? Marxist historians just don’t seem to understand the importance and subtlety of this question. The less said about the litterateurs who are in their clutches the better.
    • Dr. Bhyrappa echoed this in his 8 October 2008 closing essay on the Tipu debate, “If a historian, like a novelist, seeks comfort, what is the fate of the truth?” quoted in Sandeep Balakrishna. 2013. Tipu Sultan : The Tyrant of Mysore. Chennai: Rare Publications.

External links[edit]

Wikipedia has an article about: