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Identity (Distortion & Appropriation) | 11-11-2015 - The debate over rewriting the history textbooks of India has been re-ignited and as usual emotions are running high ...
What makes it even more troublesome is the dominance of north India, especially the Gangetic plains in the textbooks which fails to reflect the diversity and plurality, diversity and variegated hues of Indian history. The south finds a flimsy mention with Cholas, Satavahanas etc. the Vijayanagar Empire is largely ignored despite it lasting almost as long as the Mughal Empire and its historical importance in shaping the socio-political and economic milieu of large parts of India.
There is also hardly a mention of the Chalukyas, Gurjaras, Pratiharas, Kashmiri dynasties, Kakatiyas, Rastrakutas, and Ahoms. Do we read about the Eastern Gangas and Palas of Bengal who ruled for four centuries each? Or the Western Ganga dynasty, which ruled from 350 C.E to 1000 C.E? Many times, these dynasties and empires ruled areas larger than the largest European countries for centuries. And then we have the bewildering absence of any history of the Northeast in our textbooks.
Then there is the third issue of the exclusion of Dalits and Tribals from these books. [...] There is no reason why history should be a bland political narrative especially of foreign overlords and their shenanigans. History has to be an organic and vibrant entity, which relates to everyday life and India as a living civilization.
The sixth flaw in history writing is India’s interaction with the world down the ages. The strong maritime traditions of India, the spread of its ideas and philosophies across the world and the various influences imported by India are lacking in emphasis.
Human civilizations do not develop in isolation. In fact, interactions with the world is an important part of the history of any country and civilization. It is more so with India, which has exerted tremendous influence on the socio-political and economic development in the Indian Ocean Region and the Central Asia.
India has always had a strong maritime tradition: the world’s first international trading port is Lothal in Gujarat from where Indian ships sailed to Arabia, Iran, Africa and Babylonia, carrying with them not just goods but people and ideas. Harappans maintained trading posts as far as the northern reaches of Afghanistan and as early as 3rd century BCE, Odia sailors were navigating the waters of South-East Asia. These trade relations led to the flowering of the rich tradition of cultural exchange and spread of knowledge systems across Asia.
Nov 22, 2010 - Subhas Chandra Pattanayak Post-independence politicians have reduced Orissa to a state of inanity.
francoisgautier.me › 2015/10/30 › why-s...
Oct 30, 2015 - We see more and more today that Indian History has to be rewritten according to the latest linguistic and archaeological ...
Not only that, but British and Marxist historians, eager to give prominence to the Congress, which was in the first place a British institution, robbed of their true places in history giants, such as Sri Aurobindo, who, apart from being the avatar of the ‘supramental’ age, was the early prophet of Indian independence, when all Congress wanted was a few crumbs from the British. As a result, very few Indian children know about Sri Aurobindo today.
The Prime Minister inaugurated in 2007 a museum of Indian history in the Lokh Sabha annexe in Delhi, which was conceived by Somnath Chatterjee, Speaker of the Parliament till 2008. One is extremely surprised to see that for the communists, Indian history stars with Ashoka, a politically correct king because he was supposed to be Buddhist, then passed on to Akbar, another acceptable figure to Marxists & Muslims, as he was an ‘enlightened’ emperor (but pretty ruthless in his early reign), then practically jumps to Subash Chandra Bose, Mahatma Gandhi and Nehru, who are given prime importance in this museum. Not a word about Sri Aurobindo, Tilak or Bipin Chandra Pal, the real revolutionaries of the Indian Independence Movement.
www.livemint.com › Opinion › Views
Jun 15, 2015 - The debate over the need to re-write Indian history textbooks is heating up and, yet again, it is likely to ...
Indian history textbooks need to be rewritten. Opponents will argue that the current government will use this opportunity to insert “right-wing biases” but this is no excuse for perpetuating outdated scholarship and the biases of colonial and Marxist historians. Indian historians tend to mix up the evidence with their opinions. This happens everywhere to some extent as all history is written from some perspective, but mainstream Indian historians are notorious for doing so.
Perhaps one way forward is for the next generation of textbook authors to separate the hard evidence from their interpretations. This will have two good outcomes. First, it will make the author’s opinions more transparent. Second, it will encourage students to think more critically and draw their own conclusions.
This will have the added advantage of making the subject more an exploration of the past rather than the memorizing dates.
Sanjeev Sanyal is the author of Land of the Seven Rivers: A Brief History of India’s Geography (2011).
www.outlookindia.com › article › does-i...
No. BJP's doctoring of history, so reminiscent of totalitarian states, is an attempt to turn the clock back and, if- possible, ...
"History" of a particular kind is vital for the Sangh Parivar, to consolidate its claim to be the sole spokesman of the "Hindus" who have to be convinced that their interests and emotions are and have always been unitary and inevitably opposed to those of Muslims or Christians, regardless of differences of caste, gender class, immense regional variations. There had once been a certain fit between such assumptions and the habit, derived in part from the British, of slicing up Indian history into "Hindu" and "Muslim" periods, treating religious communities as unchanging blocs and defining eras in terms of the religion of rulers. All this changed as history-writing came of age and progressed beyond the deeds of kings and great or evil men. The BJP's doctoring of history, so reminiscent of totalitarian states, is an attempt to turn the clock back and, if possible, do away with history altogether.
(Sumit Sarkar is Professor of History, Delhi University. This article first appeared in the Times of India, 2 December 2001 and is reproduced here courtesy Delhi Historians Group)
The Hindu November 18, 2015
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 practises; 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 underemphasis 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 practised. We call for an unbiased and rigorous new historiography of India.