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Red fort, India. Pixabay

Dr. S L Bhyrappa’s path-breaking novel Enclosure was released in 2007. He also wrote two articles criticizing the politicization of history taught to schoolchildren. He was a member of the first NCERT panel along which was established under the instructions of Smt. Indira Gandhi the Chairmanship of G. Parthasarathy, a diplomat close to the Nehru-Gandhi family. Its task was to integrate the nation through education. At that time Dr. SL Bhyrappa was a reader in Educational Philosophy at NCERT and was selected as one of the five members of the committee. In their first meeting Mr. Parthasarathy, as Chairman of the committee explained the purpose of the committee in typically diplomatic language that it was their duty not to sow the seeds of thorns in the minds of the growing children who would grow up as barriers to national integration and that such thorns are found mostly in the history courses.

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He also said that occasionally one could find them in language and social science courses also that would have to be weeded out and include only such thoughts that went towards inculcating the concept of national integration firmly in the children’s mind. While the others agreed to this proposal, he was adamant about his position of not placing history before politics as he countered the Chairman’s speech and advise by saying that it was not the duty of historians to analyze the political aspects of history but to present the facts clearly to the students who must choose it for themselves. Giving the example of Kashi and Mathura, he argued that many temples were demolished by Aurangzeb for the construction of mosques, the reconstructed temples were relegated to substandard levels stashed behind cowsheds.

Dr. Bhyrappa relates how history was distorted for political motives. Preksa

This issue persisted and while Parthasarathy first praised Bhyrappa on his scholarly perspective, he argued that since the decisions were taken by Indira Gandhi, no dissent would be tolerated in the committee. He stuck to his stand and argued that history that is not based on truth is futile and dangerous. He did not budge even when Parthasarathy showed irritation at his stance. That morning session had closed without arriving at any conclusion. They met again after a fortnight. The committee had been re-structured, without the presence of Dr. S L Bhyrappa. In his place was a lecturer in history by the name of Arjun Dev known for his leftist leanings. The revised textbooks of science and social studies published by NCERT and the new lessons that were introduced in these texts were written under his guidance. These books were prescribed as texts in the Congress and Communist-ruled states or they guided the text-book writers in these States.

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In a speech that he gave Alwas Nudisiri, in October 2005 he argued that the Marxist historians had significantly distorted the ancient and medieval Indian history. This is illustrated greatly in the chapters of the decline of Buddhism, where they blamed the Hindu priests for the eventual downfall of Buddhism in India. They also have a negative tendency of selectively quoting Dr. Ambedkar while forwarding their own agenda but disregard the fact that he had written that the Muslim invaders were the principal cause of the decline of this religion as they destroyed the learning centers of Nalanda, Odontopuri, Vikramshila, which led the monks to flee to Nepal and Tibet. He repeatedly accuses the Marxists of quote Ambedkar whenever it is convenient for them to denigrate Hinduism, but ignore his inconvenient words and writings. Remarkably he praises the sophistry of the Marxists — hiding the truth about Turks being Muslims, but creating the falsehood that Brahmins deprived of dakshina were responsible for the decline of Buddhism after Ashoka. Latin rhetoricians called such a tactic suppressio veri, suggestio falsi.

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