Wednesday October 18, 2017
Home India Leftist histo...

Leftist historians creating ‘bogeyman’, imposing ‘legislated history’: 47 historians, scholars

1
2815
Michel Danino. Photo: indiafacts.co.in

New Delhi: A group of 47 eminent Indian historians, archaeologists and scholars of Indian civilization has taken strong objection to recent open letters by historians from India and overseas. Accusing them of creating a “bogeyman” through unjustified charges of “intolerance” and imposition of a “legislated history”, the statement, endorsed by several members of the Indian Council of Historical Research, criticizes what it calls the “Leftist School of Indian historiography” and calls it “a faithful inheritor of colonial historiography”.

In its analysis, the scholars endorsing the just-released statement point out that the Leftist School has reduced much of history to studies of caste and systematically under emphasized India’s original contributions, especially to various knowledge systems. They challenge the Leftist School’s claim to practice “scientific” history, when it has actually neglected large amounts of data, glossed over dark chapters of Indian history and indulged in unethical practices to capture the academic space through political support and suppress dissent and debate.

Finally, the scholars point out that the “values and traditions of plurality” which the two open letters invoked are precisely “those that the Leftist School never practised” and call for an “unbiased and rigorous new historiography of India”.

Hypocrisy and Indian History

A public statement by concerned Indian historians, archaeologists
and scholars of Indian civilization

17.11.2015

On 26 October, 53 Indian historians voiced alarm at what they perceived to be the country’s “highly vitiated atmosphere” and protested against attempts to impose “legislated history, a manufactured image of the past, glorifying certain aspects of it and denigrating others….” This was soon followed by an “Open letter from overseas historians and social scientists”, 176 of them, warning against “a dangerously pervasive atmosphere of narrowness, intolerance and bigotry” and “a monolithic and flattened view of India’s history.”

Such closely-linked statements appearing with clockwork regularity in India and abroad — there have been several more from various “intellectual” circles — are a well-orchestrated campaign to create a bogeyman and cry wolf. They are neither intellectual nor academic in substance, but ideological and, much more so, political.

As historians, archaeologists and academics specializing in diverse aspects of Indian civilization, we wish to respond to these hypocritical attempts to claim the moral high ground. Many of the signatories of the above two statements by Indian and “overseas” historians have been part of a politico-ideological apparatus which, from the 1970s onward, has come to dominate most historical bodies in the country, including the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR), and imposed its blinkered view of Indian historiography on the whole academic discipline.

Anchored mainly in Marxist historiography and leftist ideology, with a few borrowings from postmodernism, the Annales School, Subaltern and other studies, this new School, which may be called “Leftist” for want of a better term, has become synonymous with a number of abusive and unscholarly practices; among them:

  1. A reductionist approach viewing the evolution of Indian society almost entirely through the prism of the caste system, emphasizing its mechanisms of “exclusion” while neglecting those of integration without which Indian society would have disintegrated long ago.
  2. A near-complete erasure of India’s knowledge systems in every field —philosophical, linguistic, literary, scientific, medical, technological or artistic — and a general under-emphasis of India’s important contributions to other cultures and civilizations. In this, the Leftist School has been a faithful inheritor of colonial historiography, except that it no longer has the excuse of ignorance. Yet it claims to provide an accurate and “scientific” portrayal of India!
  3. A denial of the continuity and originality of India’s Hindu-Buddhist-Jain-Sikh culture, ignoring the work of generations of Indian and Western Indologists. Hindu identity, especially, has been a pet aversion of this School, which has variously portrayed it as being disconnected from Vedic antecedents, irrational, superstitious, regressive, barbaric — ultimately “imagined” and, by implication, illegitimate.
  4. A refusal to acknowledge the well-documented darker chapters of Indian history, in particular the brutality of many Muslim rulers and their numerous Buddhist, Jain, Hindu and occasionally Christian and Muslim victims (ironically, some of these tyrants are glorified today); the brutal intolerance of the Church in Goa, Kerala and Puducherry; and the state-engineered economic and cultural impoverishment of India under the British rule. While history worldwide has wisely called for millions of nameless victims to be remembered, Indian victims have had to suffer a second death, that of oblivion, and often even derision.
  5. A neglect of tribal histories: For all its claims to give a voice to “marginalized” or “oppressed” sections of Indian society, the Leftist School has hardly allowed a space to India’s tribal communities and the rich contributions of their tribal belief systems and heritage. When it has condescended to take notice, it has generally been to project Hindu culture and faith traditions as inimical to tribal cultures and beliefs, whereas in reality the latter have much more in common with the former than with the religions imposed on them through militant conversions.
  6. A biased and defective use of sources: Texts as well as archaeological or epigraphic evidence have been misread or selectively used to fit preconceived theories. Advances of Indological researches in the last few decades have been ignored, as have been Indian or Western historians, archaeologists, anthropologists who have differed from the Leftist School. Archaeologists who developed alternative perspectives after considerable research have been sidelined or negatively branded. Scientific inputs from many disciplines, from palaeo-environmental to genetic studies have been neglected.
  7. A disquieting absence of professional ethics: The Leftist School has not academically critiqued dissenting Indian historians, preferring to dismiss them as “Nationalist” or “communal”. Many academics have suffered discrimination, virtual ostracism and loss of professional opportunities because they would not toe the line, enforced through political support since the days of Nurul Hasan. The Indian History Congress and the ICHR, among other institutions, became arenas of power play and political as well as financial manipulation. In effect, the Leftist School succeeded in projecting itself as the one and only, crushing debate and dissent and polarizing the academic community.

While we reject attempts to portray India’s past as a glorious and perfect golden age, we condemn the far more pernicious imposition by the Leftist School of a “legislated history”, which has presented an alienating and debilitating self-image to generations of Indian students, and promoted contempt for their civilizational heritage. The “values and traditions of plurality that India had always cherished in the past” are precisely those this School has never practiced. We call for an unbiased and rigorous new historiography of India.

  1. Dilip K. Chakrabarti, Emeritus Professor, Cambridge University, UK; Dean, Centre of Historical and Civilizational Studies, Vivekananda International Foundation, Chanakyapuri, Delhi; member, ICHR
  2. Saradindu Mukherji, historian, retired from Delhi University; member, ICHR
  3. Nanditha Krishna, Director, CPR Institute of Indological Research, Chennai; member, ICHR
  4. M.D. Srinivas, former professor of theoretical physics; former vice-chairman, Indian Institute of Advanced Study; chairman, Centre for Policy Studies, Chennai; member, ICHR
  5. Meenakshi Jain, associate professor of history, Delhi University; member, ICHR
  6. Michel Danino, guest professor, IIT Gandhinagar; member, ICHR
  7. B.B. Lal, former Director General, Archaeological Survey of India
  8. R.S. Bisht, former Joint Director General, Archaeological Survey of India
  9. R. Nagaswamy, former Director of Archaeology, Govt. of Tamil Nadu; Vice Chancellor, Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi Viswa Mahavidyalaya, Kanchipuram
  10. B.M. Pande, Former Director, Archaeological Survey of India
  11. Dayanath Tripathi, former Chairman, ICHR; former Head, Dept. of Ancient History, Archaeology and Culture, D.D.U. Gorakhpur University, Gorakhpur; former Visiting Professor at Cambridge, British Academy
  12. R.C. Agrawal, President, Rock Art Society of India; former Member Secretary of ICHR
  13. K.V. Raman, former professor of Ancient Indian History & Archaeology, University of Madras
  14. Padma Subrahmanyam, Dancer and Research Scholar
  15. Kapil Kapoor, former Rector, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi; Chancellor, Mahatma Gandhi Antararashtriya Hindi Vishwavidyalaya, Wardha (Maharashtra)
  16. Madhu Kishwar, Professor, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, New Delhi
  17. Chandrakala Padia, Vice Chancellor, Maharaja Ganga Singh University (Rajasthan); Chairperson, Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla
  18. Sachchidanand Sahai, Ph.D. (Paris), National Professor in Epigraphy, Ministry of Culture, Government of India, Advisor to Preah Vihear National Authority under the Royal Government of Cambodia; member, ICHR
  19. J.K. Bajaj, Director Centre for Policy Studies, Former Member ICSSR
  20. Makarand Paranjape, Professor of English, JNU; Visiting Global South Fellow, University of Tuebingen
  21. Nikhiles Guha, former professor of history, University of Kalyani, West Bengal; member, ICHR
  22. Issac C.I., member, ICHR
  23. (Dr.) Purabi Roy, member, ICHR
  24. Jagbir Singh, Former Professor and Head, Dept. of Punjabi, University of Delhi; Life Fellow, Punjabi University, Patiala.
  25. G.J. Sudhakar, former Associate Professor, Dept. of History, Loyola College, Chennai
  26. Bharat Gupt, Former Associate Professor, Delhi University
  27. O.P. Kejariwal, Central Information Commissioner & Nehru Fellow
  28. S.C. Bhattacharya, former Professor and HOD, Ancient History, Culture and Archaeology, Allahabad University; former National Fellow, IIAS, Shimla
  29. S.K. Chakraborty, former professor, Management Centre for Human Values, Indian Institute of Management Calcutta
  30. Amarjiva Lochan, Associate Professor in History, Delhi University; President, South and Southeast Asian Association for the Study of Culture & Religion (SSEASR) under IAHR, affiliated to the UNESCO
  31. R.N. Iyengar, Distinguished Professor, Jain University, Bangalore
  32. Professor (Dr) Nath, former Professor of History, University of Rajasthan, Jaipur
  33. Kirit Mankodi, archaeologist, consultant to Project for Indian Cultural Studies, Mumbai
  34. K. Ramasubramanian, Cell for Indian Science and Technology in Sanskrit, IIT Bombay; Council Member International Union for History and Philosophy of Science; member, Rashtriya Sanksrit Parishad
  35. M.S. Sriram, Retired Professor and Head, Department of Theoretical Physics, University of Madras; Member Editorial Board, Indian Journal of History of Science; Former Member, Research Council for History of Science, INSA
  36. Amartya Kumar Dutta, Professor of Mathematics, Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata
  37. Godabarisha Mishra, Professor and Head, Dept. of Philosophy, University of Madras
  38. R. Ganesh, Shathavadhani, Sanskrit scholar
  39. Sri Banwari, Academic and Journalist; former Resident Editor, Jansatta
  40. S. Krishnan, Associate Professor, Dept of Mathematics, IIT Bombay
  41. Rajnish Kumar Mishra, Associate Professor, Special Centre for Sanskrit Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
  42. Vikram Sampath, Director, Symbiosis School of Media and Communication; former Director of Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) – SRC; historian and author
  43. K. Gopinath, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore
  44. M.A. Venkatakrishnan, former Professor and Head, Dept. of Vaishnavism, Madras University
  45. Sumathi Krishnan, Musician and Musicologist
  46. Prema Nandakumar, Author and translator
  47. Santosh Kumar Shukla, Associate Professor, Special Centre for Sanskrit Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

Next Story

Mohammad Iqbal: The Man Behind Partition and a Pariah in India is Still Sung by Secularists

Iqbal is a pariah in India as many regard him a hypocrite, communal Islamist

0
37
Allama muhammad iqbal
Allama muhammad iqbal at Lahore Museum. Wikimedia

Aug 22, 2017: Indian history has been crafted by the leftists who have done nothing more than distorting the facts to put unfit personalities as honourable. One such person which some great minds in India honour are Mohammad Iqbal, the man behind “Pakistan” who held the idea more of a secular symbol. Even in the past, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee praised him to drum up Muslim votes. However, Iqbal is also a pariah in India as many regard him a hypocrite, communal Islamist.

What many secularists till date fight for is the lack of respect for Iqbal. According to them, the song should have been the national anthem of India.  However, it wasn’t made the song of the nation owing to its Muslim author.

Tarek Fatah, a well-known journalist expressed his views on social media:

He went on by exposing the dark reality behind the nationwide popular song- ‘Sare Jahan se acha’

Now, if we look into our history books we will be able to spot Iqbal for the patriotic song he wrote- ‘Sare Jahan se acha, Hindustan Humara’.

The song became the anthem of the opposition to British India. ‘Tarana-e-Hind’  (song of Hindustan) became the catchy phrase at that time. The under mentioned line became the new sensation as it carried the sentiments graciously.

“Mazhab nahin sikhata apas mein bair rakhna, Hindi hain hum, watan hain Hindustan hamara”

(Religion does not teach us to hate each other, we belong to Hind, our nativeland is Hindustan)

In no time, Iqbal underwent into an outright transformation after his return from England. The man who discerned Hindustan as an amalgamation of Hindu-Muslim, returned as an Islamic philosopher only to become Pakistan’s progenitor. Sooner he became intolerant of Hindus and wrote Taran-e-mili (song of community), which was the negation of the taran-e-hind he wrote formerly.

From Hindustan humara to Chin o Arab hamaara, this is how Iqbal demonstrated multi-faceted character:

“Chin o Arab hamaara, Hindustan hamaara, Muslim hain hum, watan hain sara jahaan hamaara”

(China and Arabia are ours, Hindustan is ours, we are Muslims, the whole world is our nativeland).

Our history books have entirely omitted the fact where Iqbal proposed the two-nation theory, which ultimately led to the partition of Indian subcontinent and plethora of lives suffered. He is even called the father of the nation (Pakistan).

Iqbal addressed Allahabad session of the Muslim League in December 1930 as president of the session:

“I would like to see Punjab, the North Western Frontier Provinces (NWFP), Sind and Balochistan amalgamated into a single state. Self-government within the British Empire, or without the British empire, through the formation of a consolidated North Western Indian Muslim state, appears to be the final destiny of Muslims, at least of North West India”.

He dreamt of Muslims emerging as a Global Power, rising above the political and geographical constraints. The dream of Iqbal is still lived in Pakistan.

This surfaces the question that how can a person with such dogmatic outlook be ever called great? and How can the person because of which the nation witnessed massive bloodshed be ever called great? 

 


NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt. 

Next Story

Ancient Gold Coins from the Period of Great Kushan Dynasty in India

Kushans were rulers of North India in the ancient period about 2000 years ago

0
46
Kushan Dynasty
The symbols used in the gold coins made during the Kushan Dynasty's rule tell us more about the lifestyle of these people. Wikimedia
  • We know very little about the Kushans Dynasty that ruled parts of India approximately 2000 years ago
  • There are many facts about the Kushans that are yet to be confirmed as research and study goes on 
  • A blend of Chinese, Iranian, Greek, Afghan and Indian cultures influence the Kushans’ lifestyle

July 20, 2017: The Kushan Dynasty had ruled many parts of India about 2000 years ago. The academic literature has not dug deep enough to find out about the lifestyle of the Kushans. However, the symbols used in popular gold coins of the Kushan period tell us a little bit more about these people.

The records maintained by surrounding civilizations and dynasties are not proven precise. The sketchy details have only helped in painting a somewhat abstract picture of the Kushans. To this day we do not know the language that was spoken by the Kushans. While some believe that they spoke a form of Chinese, others believe their dialect came from Indo European languages.

Kushans came to India in the 2nd century from China. Click To Tweet

However, it is certain that these people came to India in the 2nd century from China. They were among the many nomads and horsemen, emerging out of the branch of Yuezhi people. The Huns and Mongols also come from the Yuezhi roots.

They are said to be members of the aristocratic elites of Yuezhi people called Guishang. It is believed that is where the word Kushan emerges out of.

When the Kushans arrived in India, their culture and lifestyle were a blend of the influences from Iran, Greece, China, and Iran.

A gold coin was excavated that is believed to be from the Kushan period. The first gold coins were built under the supervision of Vima Kadphises, whose face also appears on the coin.

The gold coins from the period of Kushan Dynasty are some of the largest gold coins in the contemporary periods. A single gold coin is double the weight of Roman’s gold aureus, another widely known coin at the time. It weighs 15.95 grams.

ALSO READ: Ancient India Maritime History: Trade Links With Europe and Southeast Asian Nations 

A portrait of Lord Shiva is also carved on the face of the coin. The Lord can be been standing with the bull Nandi. The coin also depicts a Buddhist symbol of Triratna (three Jewels). Vima Kadphises’ son was a Buddhist.

– Prepared by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394 

Next Story

Five Important Eras in Indian History: How the Indian Map was drawn and redrawn!

Amateur historian named Thomas Lessman takes into account the change in the map of India from 1 AD to the 20th century

0
953
Representational Image. Image source: www.youtube.com

Ever wondered how much the Indian map changed over time?

It’s not only the India-Pakistan partition I talk about; it’s the change in the map of India from 1 AD to the 20th century. An amateur historian named Thomas Lessman has caught these series of shifts. His maps provide a vivid history; they start from 1 AD till the rule of the Delhi Sultanate.

On his Website, Lessman says ” I started drawing maps right after I started reading about history. My earliest maps were crude hand-drawings, but now I’ve got a good computer, a great image program (PhotoShop), and a nice background map. I became frustrated while researching history because it’s hard to find great maps. The best maps are in books that cost more than I make in a week… So I realised if I want free World History Maps, I’d have to make them myself”, mentioned Scroll.in May 2015.

Map of India. Image Source: Thomas Lessman
Map of India. Image Source: Thomas Lessman

Here the important eras are taken into account that changed the look of map of India:

i. The Indo-Parthian and Indo-Synthian era: 1 AD

If one follows the above map, we can see that there exist Indo-Parthian rule and the Indo-Synthian kingdom during this era. Indo-Greeks ruled India for over two centuries, however, the Indo-Scythians migrated from southern Siberia and displaced the Indo-Greeks.

ii. The Kushan Empire: 100 AD

The 100 AD marked the era of Kushan Empire. It was founded under Kujula Kadphises but it was under his grandson, the Buddhist emperor Kanishka, that it reached its peak.

iii. The Gupta and Huna Empire: 400 – 500 AD

Some people called the period from 400-500 AD the ‘Golden Age of India.’ This was the period, which marked the domination of The Gupta and Huna Empire – 400 – 500 AD. The word Golden Age comes from the fact that during this time, literature, art, astronomy, and math flourished in the region.

iv. The Chalukyas: 600 AD

They dominated over southern and central India from 6th to 12th century. The key aspect of this era was the Chakulyan architecture, which along with Kannada and Telugu literature thrived all along their time.

v. The Ghaznavid Empire: 1206–1526

The Ghaznavid Empire moved in and conquered India and finally the Delhi Sultanate. The Delhi Sultanate was a Delhi-based Muslim kingdom that stretched over large parts of the country. The fall of Ghaznavid Empire eventually led to the rise of the Mughal rule in India.

– prepared by Karishma Vanjani of Newsgram. Twitter: @BladesnBoots

ALSO READ: