Tuesday, December 15, 2020

. Negationism in India, and in De Morgen



1.      Negationism in India, and in De Morgen


(Doorbraak, 5 April 2020; translation of koenraadelst.blogspot.com 14 Dec. 2020; I do plenty of writing in Dutch, and once in a while correct the gross and massive disinformation about India.)

On March 25, 2020, the Flemish daily De Morgen (DM) published a double page on "How India is rewriting history", contributed by Delhi correspondent Aletta André, and prominently mentioned my name. Let's take the opportunity to educate an ignorant audience about some basic facts, because India is a domain where disinformation has been leading the way for too long.



An introductory general observation, which cannot have escaped the editorial board’s notice, is the completely one-sidedness of the article. There is a debate about historiography in India, and a newspaper can do its readers a service by reporting on it, preferably objectively. However, this piece is not a report on a debate, but a loudspeaker for one of the two warring parties within that debate. Any attempt to create even the appearance of impartiality is missing here. This is allowed, but as a reader you had better realize it.

Another observation is that this kind of article on Hindu nationalist history rewriting is a regular feature, which I have seen popping up many times since 1988; but that this one is original in that it for the first time leaves unmentioned the temple/mosque dispute in Ayodhya. There, the Babar Mosque stood on the site of the ruined temple of Rama's birth, which all parties involved knew or admitted to have existed, until the Communist "eminent historians" in the late 1980s argued without reason that there had never been a temple there. Almost immediately, they were joined by utterly ignorant foreign Indologists and India-watchers in the media.

Those who held to the time-honored consensus, or presented new evidence for the temple, were told by the Alettas of that time (like me now, and for that matter, then as well) that “his sources are in question”, or other excuses to ignore his evidence. But the evidence continued to pile up and was taken seriously by the Court. It ordered an archaeological investigation of the site, and the temple remains were finally revealed. The 'eminent historians' were allowed to come and explain their allegations on the witness stand, and one by one they imploded: “I am not an archaeologist”, “I have never been to Ayodhya”, “I signed that statement because my colleagues also did”.

In 2019, after 69 years of judicial process, the Supreme Court finally assigned the disputed site to the Hindus so that they can rebuild the Rama Birth Temple. The Eminences do not want to be reminded of their foul play in the lost historical debate about Ayodhya, and the friendly media are still playing their game: that debate has suddenly disappeared into oblivion, also in this DM article. For all those years it served as an illustration to throbbing articles like this on "history rewriting", and it indeed illustrates that scientific (slandered as "Hindu-nationalist") historiography requires a rewriting of the now dominant version.



The story begins anecdotally with the successful agitation by Hindus for the renaming of Aurangzeb Marg (street). As a historian, I am not a fan of the erasure of old names either; but on the other hand, now that there is so much pressure to erase the name Cyriel Verschaeve, who was merely wrong-headed but killed no one himself [a once-famous Flemish poet, with streets named after him, who in old age had recruited Flemish young men for the German Eastern Front troops in World War II, and whose name is now being scrapped from streets’ nomenclature], and now ally but “war criminal” Marshall Foch [French World War I leader, after whom the central square of my home town and WW1 hotspot Leuven was named, but now held responsible for fanatically wasting many thousands of young lives] has disappeared from the streets of Leuven, why not the name of Moghul Emperor Aurangzeb, who has killed thousands?

Well, it is just one reason to put the spotlight on historian Prof. Audrey Truschke work on this Aurangzeb. I have already given my thoughts on it in writing (see chapters 13 and 18 of my book Hindu Dharma and the Culture Wars, 2019). She had no other answer than to block me on Twitter. "There is only evidence for a handful of destroyed temples under Aurangzeb", as Aletta André quotes Audrey Truschke? Not at all.

Firstly, there is the continued accumulation of archaeological evidence. With the regularity of a clock, the Archaeological Survey of India finds remains of temples in mosques. Under the rule of the Congress party, the excavators were forbidden to say a word about it, but now it is spoken about openly, as it should in a democracy. (Same phenomenon for terrorism: if the police used to track down a terror network, they were stopped or sabotaged from above, while now they can go their own way; so that India has become measurably a lot safer.)

Secondly, the Aurangzeb court records themselves are the best evidence of the tens of thousands of temple destructions. These contain both the destruction orders and the reports of their implementation. Most of the documentary evidence about Islamic iconoclasm, from the Chachnama on the Arab conquest of Sindh in 712 onwards, is indeed of Muslim origin and is quite open about the Muslim eradication of "idolatry". Often visible remains of the destroyed temples were built into the new mosques to demonstrate the triumph of idolatry. It is only since the 20th century that some Muslims under modern-Western influence have become somewhat embarrassed about their own religious fanaticism, so that they began to minimize or deny their own iconoclasm -- a negationist trend of which the presently-discussed article is an offshoot.


Modern standards of values

The attempt to whitewash Islam's role is a case of the cardinal sin against historiography: the projection of modern standards of values ​​onto a past in which they did not apply. (This includes e.g. the modern secularist inability to empathize with the seriousness of pre-modern people about their religion.) In modern propaganda, it is unfortunate to have to admit that your favorite religion has caused a lot of destruction and slaughter and the destruction of many important temples. That is exactly what Aletta thinks she can accuse the Hindus of: "violate history with their contemporary prejudices." No, when Muslim conquerors and their chroniclers speak of "thousands", which archaeology confirms, it is "doing violence to history" to say there were "only a few".

It is further said in this article that Aurangzeb "protected countless temples" (from whom?), Or that he "left thousands of other temples". Many important temples have indeed been destroyed, and the mosques in place are standing evidence of Aurangzeb's violent Islamization policy and as many rebuttals of Truschke's whitewash.

But de minimis non curat praetor [“an important man does not busy himself with trifles”], so the operation was not 100% impeccable, there were indeed some shrimps that managed to escape. By tricks or bribery, the Hindus were able to save even the eminent yet remote Jagannath Puri temple; for Truschke such are temples that Aurangzeb "left alone", but they actually were on his list of cultural property to be destroyed. Nonsensical though the whole argument may be, it is nonetheless useful to crime lawyers: "Yes, Your Honour, the facts have been proven, my client did indeed commit those murders. But! Still you will acquit him, because look at how many people he has left alive! "

Anyone who wants to fuss about the number of temple destructions can do so scientifically. Take the thousands of renowned cases of Islamic temple destruction and show that a different scenario applied there. In 1990, the book Hindu Temples: What Happened to Them by Sita Ram Goël was published, with a presentation of the Islamic doctrine of iconoclasm from Mohammed onwards, but above all with a still very incomplete list of 1862 destroyed temples. There are many more, and many more have been discovered in the last 30 years, but let's start with that list. A scientific statement is falsifiable, as Karl Popper taught us. Well, there you have 1,862 falsifiable statements: go for it, prove them wrong if you can. But in those 30 years, neither Truschke nor anyone else has been able to (or even dared to try to) disprove one of them.



Aletta André's other authority, Manu Pillai, tries to debunk the abundant evidence with two excuses well-known in India. One is that at the time there was "no generalization in terms of Hindus and Muslims", ​​so that there was vagueness about these identities. You have already had conflicting opinions, disputant doctores, with genuinely meant conclusions from multi-faceted sources that turn out to be wrong on closer examination; but this assertion of Pillai is really nonsense to which no source gives cause.

Indeed, there were sometimes temporary trans-religious alliances, as in the Crusades (e.g. between the Christian Templars and the Shiite Muslim Assassins, both enemies of the Caliphate) or the Reconquista, which nonetheless remain unmitigated examples of Holy War. Such vagueness has been common among Hindus with their tradition of pluralism; but there is no source of ambiguity about Hindu or Muslim on the part of the Muslim leaders. The Muslims were sometimes confused about the many different Hindu communities (that is how the Buddhists were called the "shaven Brahmins"), but they were all Pagans in any case, destined for slavery or hell. Or show me a Muslim who confuses a mosque with an idolatrous temple. As a great precedent justifying the aggression against the Hindus and Hinduism, the Prophet and his iconoclasm were again and again invoked, especially the destruction of the 360 ​​images of gods in the Kaaba, Mecca.

That basic fact of Islamic aggression against the infidels since Islam’s beginnings is systematically obscured by the Truschkes and Pillais, as it refutes their easy excuse that the conflict-centred description of the Muslim conquests "dates back to British colonial times". Again and again the Islamophile provincials try to put blinders on their audience so as not to see the foreign and precolonial dimension of Islamic imperialism.




"1,200 years of slavery"

Hence, there was nothing wrong with Narendra Modi's quoted reference to "1,200 years of slavery". The Islamic invasion did not take place all over India at the same time, in that sense the choice of "1200" is somewhat arbitrary, but his point was that colonization started not with the British but with the Islamic invasion. And that is absolutely correct.

The Caliphate, the Sultans and the Mughals severely oppressed the Hindus (e.g. win your lawsuit against your neighbour if you convert to Islam) and exploited them (toleration tax for unbelievers), literally trafficking millions as slaves, and always considered themselves as foreigners to India. Until the end of the Mughal Empire in 1857, the court and judicial language was Persian, and numerous Muslim administrators (contrasting with the Britons sent to India) did not speak any native language. The only difference is that, in addition to their exploitation, the British also imported a number of valuable novelties, which cannot be said of the Arabs, Afghans and Turks. Furthermore, the post-colonial Britons have accepted that their former colonization of India is called by its proper name, while the Muslims make great scandal if you characterize the sultanates as colonial regimes.

Furthermore, Pillai is very selective in his historical evidence. Knowledgeable disinformers won’t allow themselves to be caught in explicit lies, they mislead their audience by, for example, keeping some facts out of the picture, or by misrepresenting actual facts. The cited temporary alliance of Emperor Aliya Rama Raya of Vijayanagar with Sultan Adil Shah in 1558 may seem a compelling example of multicultural cosiness to naive people, but it does not exactly constitute an argument in the real world for the symbiosis of Hindu and Muslim, quite the contrary.

Because what was the sequel? Rama Raya included two Muslim units in his army, exemplarily multicultural. But in 1565, an alliance of sultans attacked him, and they fought at Talikota. He was winning the battle, but then the consciences of the two Muslim generals began to gnaw. They defected, captured Rama Raya and beheaded him. That is what can happen, especially to a Heathen.

A similar case where an untypical blur between Hindu and Muslim proved fatal was the crucial break-in from the fringes of India to the heartland in 1191-92: King Jayachandra of Kanauj sought to settle his feud with King Prthiviraj Chauhan of Delhi by inviting the aid of Sultan Mohammed Ghori. This Ghori lost to Chauhan at Tarain but was pardoned. He returned a year later, defeated Chauhan at Tarain and beheaded him; and a little later it was also Jayachandra's turn. He may have been Ghori’s ally for a while, but to Muslims he was primarily a Pagan. In the following two years, the greatest iconoclasm in history took place in the Ganges plain, in which, among other things, the Buddhist universities (both buildings and scholars) were razed to the ground. The lack of clarity between Hindu and Muslim that Pillai tries to talk us into, the neglect of their intrinsic hostility, is what led to the catastrophes of Tarain and Talikota in real history.

Finally, according to Pillai, the written sources may contain exaggerations: the countless Muslim testimonies of massacres among Hindus "served to praise the sultans to heaven". It does not follow from this that they are false, without any further indication. But suppose that such flattering false attribution of agency has indeed happened: what does that say about the ideology that applied in their environment, namely Islam? Extermination of the disbelievers and their shrines is indeed glorious there, for it is a faithful imitation of the example of the Prophet.



The word has surfaced: negationism [from French négationnisme]. Does that term, known from Holocaust denial, really apply, or is it just a rhetorical exaggeration? Indeed, in this minimizing discourse, we find some typical techniques used by Holocaust deniers. The above argument that Aurangzeb "had also saved a lot" is frequently found in denier literature: "Hitler could hardly have made work of the destruction of the Jews: see how many still there are, with their own state and all!"

Very typical is the frequent swapping of rule and exception. Holocaust deniers make the most of small successes over fringe events. For example, it is no longer claimed that Hitler refused to shake hands with the American athlete Jesse Owens during the Olympic Games because he was black. The negationists had always denied this urban legend, they say triumphantly. Possibly, but that little correction doesn't diminish the fact of the Holocaust.

For example, the favourable elements that Truschke can cite about Aurangzeb's personality are correct, e.g. that he was an ascetic and was very careful with public money (for example, he refused payment from the treasury and took his father Shah Jahan to task for having wasted money on prestige projects such as the construction of the Taj Mahal), but these do not detract from his campaigns against Hinduism. On the contrary, they come from the same basic motif, namely his piety: because it was moulded by Islam, it did not lead to charity or yoga or anything, but to jihad.

Also common is that most of them tell demonstrable untruth, but genuinely believe what they say. The difference is only in social acceptance. Holocaust deniers marginalize themselves, but they willingly make that sacrifice because they think it serves the truth. Something like Christian martyrs who would rather give their lives than convert to Islam or atheism with a knife to their throats: no doubt courageous and consistent, but also tragic because their “true faith” was a delusion that did not become the truth just because they gave their lives for it. There was simply no resurrection, no abolition of sin and of mortality through it, no virgin birth. The faith for which they make a heroic sacrifice remains no less a delusion.

This combination of truthfulness and delusion also explains why some negationists, after further study, still grow away from negationism, either from specific beliefs (for example, many have come back from their earlier denial of the mass murder in Babi Yar, Ukraine, under the influence of new evidence) or of Holocaust denial as such (e.g. my fellow Orientalist Christian Lindtner, an ex-denier). But, to reiterate, their apparent sincerity does not alter the fact that their negationist position was or is mistaken.

Jihad deniers, by contrast, bathe in social recognition and approval, both in India and internationally. Perhaps not from the numerical majority (most Europeans and most Hindus see through the Islamophile excuses) but because of the official circles in politics, education and the media. They flourish and are given all kinds of benefits, rewards and promotions. Most members of the vocal class are conformists and therefore gravitate towards these unfounded but approved opinions pro Islam, without realizing the true facts in this history dispute. However, the logical structure of their denial techniques is the same.


But: although the denial of the crimes of Muslim conquerors and Nazis is the same, are the crimes involved therefore similar? In India there are some who speak of "Hindu genocide" or "the Hindu Holocaust". When the French-Indian journalist François Gautier founded a museum in Pune for the extermination struggle against Hinduism and the Hindu movement against it, there were voices that wanted to call it the Hindu Holocaust Museum. Eventually it was named the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Museum after the great freedom fighter, Shivaji Bhonsle (17th century), but at first that Holocaust reference was one of the contenders. My advice was also sought, and I strongly urged not to make that mistake.

In the first place, it is not very diplomatic to go against Jewish sensibilities with this. Although the term "Holocaust" first referred to the Armenian Genocide, it has gradually become a kind of property of the Jewish community, which would take it as very unpleasant if anyone else tried to make off with it. Beside the votaries of the state of Israel, the Hindu nationalists have almost no friends abroad, so they’d better respect them.

Secondly, the term once again draws attention to other people's experience, while the uniqueness of the Hindu experience still remains underexposed. There are indigenous terms, and it is now necessary to choose one as the default term and promote it. These include Hindū-vaṁśa-vicchédana or Hindū-saṁhāraṇa, "genocide of the Hindus". Since I also find that term imprecise, I will stick to the more general Hindū-hatya, "slaughter of the Hindus." That term follows an old pattern, e.g. the Śākya-hatya, the slaughter of the Śākyas, the ethnic group to which the then very aged Buddha belonged (by an illegitimate grandson of the Śākya state leader who was hurt in his honour, so not for doctrinal reasons). The term leaves undecided what exactly was the nature of that slaughter.


Millions dead

The massacre of Hindus, according to the Muslim chronicles themselves, has left easily more than six million dead; as well as millions of slaves, and all kinds of other forms of personal damage, and enormous (not indirect but very deliberate) cultural destruction. You even come close to the 5.3 to 5.7 million official deaths of the Jewish Holocaust if you consider the 20th century alone. At least two million people, mostly Hindus, were killed during the Partition of 1947 (and more in Bengal over the following years); official historiography minimizes those figures and presents them as essentially symmetrical, which is quite incorrect. The surviving Hindu-Sikh “migrants” were all true refugees who left their homeland only under duress or threat, while most of the Muslims who moved to Pakistan were genuine “migrants” (Mohajirs) to the Promised Land which they had carved out themselves and supported in very large majority in the ballot box. In 1971 the Pakistani army, with local accomplices, committed a massacre in East Bengal, with at least 80% victims in the Hindu minority, and the Muslim victims were also killed for anti-Hindu reasons: they still wore saris and no Muslim clothing, their language was not Arabized etc., so they were still considered half Hindu. The death toll, according to the government of the Bangladeshi state, was three million.



To say that a mass murder killed more than six million people feels like a kind of sacrilege to some. Note how conformist sources like Wikipedia regarding the Holodomor, Stalin's mass murder in Ukraine in 1932-33, which was of a similar magnitude (Walter Duranty of the New York Times, who publicly denied the Holodomor, privately estimated a 10 million dead), insist on keeping the death toll as low as possible. Well, I am not an expert on the Holodomor figures, I will leave them undecided for now, but Muslims have certainly killed more than six million Hindus. Historian K.S. Lal estimated more than 80 million between 1000 and 1526, all while acknowledging that demographic figures from the Middle Ages are inevitably inaccurate. He wrote this more than 40 years ago, and since then no further research has been done about it, because thematizing the crimes of Islam would be a very bad career move.

But for that death toll they had over thirteen centuries, from the Arab-Caliphal conquest of Sindh in 712 to the terrorism of recent years, and a very large country with a huge population. The mass murder of the Hindus was therefore much less intense than the Holocaust. Those who say the Holocaust was the worst crime in history are right in this respect, that it was unusually thorough. For example, Edith Stein was a Catholic nun of Jewish descent, but that could not save her: the Nazis made it clear that all born Jews were targeted, they could not escape their innate identity.

This is what justifies the term genocide: merely belonging to the Jewish birth-group was sufficient for extermination. The Hindus, on the other hand, always had the option of escape through conversion, except in acute conflict situations. They were not prisoners of their biology. Islam does not decree to physically exterminate the Heathens, only to wage jihad against them until they submit. There may be plenty of deaths during that jihad, but that is not the end in itself, only collateral damage to the goal set by the Quran, namely world domination.

I am not going to venture into a more precise estimate of the death toll. Like Audrey Truschke, I studied Sanskrit and Persian, but for years I have lost interest in the specifics of Islamic history, I only discuss Islam when current events require me to do so. After all, the general picture of the ideological roots of Islamic crimes is perfectly clear, the only remaining thing to do now is to make the right policy decisions regarding Islam. So I am not going to deal with the reporting of massacres and iconoclasm any further, fortunately there is a new generation of scholars in India ready to do that work.

So much for the subject of negationism, which De Morgen exemplifies here.


“Increasingly radical”

Representing the contemporary context of that "rewriting" of history also requires some rectifications. The article’s subtitle addresses an "increasingly radical Hindu nationalism". Ever since that movement caught my attention in 1989, I have never seen it described in the world media other than as "increasingly powerful" and "increasingly radical"; this is how press correspondents justify the space they claim from their editor-in-chief for the subject. That was true even at the movement’s lowest point in 2009, after the BJP’s second consecutive election defeat, when its enemies in India danced on its corpse and even predicted the impending end of Hinduism: a "post-Hindu India", their openly advertised goal.

The primary fact in India's religious conflict is that Hinduism is fighting for its survival in its only homeland, while the "minorities" (in fact the Indian branch of powerful and wealthy multinationals) are only angling for additional conquests. In addition, Hinduism is steadily declining, also numerically, mainly because, unlike its challengers, it has no strategy and no ideological backbone, and especially no political leadership. It remains to be seen whether there is any radicalization against this background.  

The Hindu nationalist party BJP (Indian People's Party) has never been more powerful than after its election victory in 2019, at least in a strict party-political sense. But more radical? Only liars and their ignorant parrots can say that. Compare the party program in the years after 1951 with that of today, and you see the opposite. At the time, for example, there was talk of a "Hindu state" as the target. In marginal circles belonging to the mass organization RSS (National Volunteer Corps, which spawned the BJP) you can still hear this, but not with their leaders, and the party discarded that ideal during its 1980 refounding. Today, even the term "Hindu" is being questioned: "Every Indian is a Hindu", claims the RSS chairman, Mohan Bhagwat.

The BJP is still a nationalist party, and almost only Hindus vote for it, but programmatically it is certainly no longer a Hindu party. There are a number of discriminations against Hindus in the Constitution. You read that right: there are a number of legal privileges for the minorities and disadvantages for the Hindus. This mainly concerns the right to founding and managing their own schools and places of worship, two sectors crucial for a religion’s flourishing. Those of the minorities are independent and inviolable, those of the Hindus can be nationalized at any time and plundered by bureaucrats. That is why a number of Hindu sects have approached the court with varying degrees of success to have themselves recognized as a non-Hindu minority -- a race to the exit that is non-existent among minorities.

In India, citizens are not equal before the law according to religion (so it is not, as claimed here, a "secular state"), and it is the majority that is disadvantaged. A majority that allows itself to be minorized: it is bitter reality in the largest democracy in the world, but it is something that you cannot get explained abroad. Incidentally, that explains my own involvement in this tangle: a Fleming was needed to understand how a majority can be disadvantaged and allow that to continue. [Explanation: within Belgium, the Flemish are linguistically the majority but have always been, and in a few respects still are, second-class citizens, and this is partly due to their non-assertive nature.]

This is all the more curious because other societies with legally established inequality give a kind of justification for this that does not apply in India. In the US, blacks enjoy the privilege of "affirmative action"; it is debatable whether this is a just and effective response to the historical oppression of blacks -- but no one disputes the very fact of that oppression. Well, in India the Hindus have never oppressed the Muslims (nor the Christians), just the opposite. So here you get the absurd situation where the majority pays "compensation" for their own oppression to the offender community.


Ideologically lost

The Modi government has not taken any initiative to rectify this inequality, especially enshrined in Articles 25-30 of the Constitution. (It has, however, overruled Article 370 that gave privileges to the state of Kashmir, but the terms the terms “Hindu” and “Muslim” formally do not appear in the laws underlying that controversy.) One of its MPs introduced a bill to that effect in 2018, but the government has not supported it nor mobilized a public opinion basis for it, and nothing has come of it. The reason is that the BJP has been so brainwashed by decades of "secularist" propaganda that it barely remembers its pro-Hindu origins and is ideologically lost. Former party chairman LK Advani showed himself to be an ideological babe in the wood by stating that "a party needs no ideology, only the offer of good governance", the long-standing mistake that governance can be ideologically neutral.

The history rewriting and the underlying Hindu radicalization that prompted Aletta André to write this article is simply non-existent. This also applies in the field of historiography. At the end of the first Modi administration in 2019, education minister Prakash Jadevkar was asked by some politically conscious people in his constituency what he had done about the grotesque distortion of history in the textbooks, and he proudly declared that he had not changed a letter in it. So he militantly chose the anti-Hindu camp, an example of how BJP leaders today have no higher (albeit futile) ambition in life than a pat on the shoulder from their enemies. The history rewriting and the underlying Hindu radicalization that prompted her to write this article is simply non-existent.


How history was rewritten

The Hindu mentality has not only been conditioned into an inferiority complex by "1,200 years of slavery", it is especially after independence that there has been a systematic undermining of Hindu self-respect and a progressive elimination of Hindu moves against it. That was mainly the work of the first Prime Minister (1947-64) Jawaharlal Nehru, a native Hindu who hated Hinduism (like the ex-Catholic popist-eaters here), his education minister Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (Muslim fundamentalist), his daughter Prime Minister (1966- 77 and 1980-84) Indira Gandhi, her secretary PN Haksar and her education minister Nurul Hasan. The rewriting of history was a central item on their agenda.

It started with Nehru himself, who in his book The Discovery of India presents some strong examples of negationism. For example, he speaks of Mahmud Ghaznavi, who organized a series of raids in India around 1000, including temple destructions, and he claims: “Architecture interested Mahmud...” This refers to his conquest of the city of Mathura and the speech to his army when they entered the temple complex. around Krishna's birthplace. He praises it to heaven: "Here are magnificent temples as strong as the faith of the faithful. Surely it took an army of angels years to build it…” In his pretended silliness, Nehru ignores the blatant sarcasm of that speech, which culminated in the order to destroy all the temples. And so it happened. Later, the birth temple was rebuilt, but destroyed again by the aforementioned Aurangzeb, and replaced by a mosque. It still stands today, as one of the countless "silent witnesses" of Truschke's and Pillai's spectacular wrongness.

The whitewashing of Muslim rule accelerated under Nehru's daughter Indira. In a power struggle within the Congress party, she needed the support of the Communists, who in return demanded and gained control over culture and especially education. Their first priority was to establish a curriculum that would "promote integration between Hindus and Muslims" ​​by obliterating any memory of historical conflict and oppression. As if in Germany, in order to spare everyone, they were to delete all references to the crimes of the Nazi regime. A then education bureaucrat told me how, at the first announcement of that policy, he protested that a history book should simply report the facts; he was promptly promoted away.

In 2002, competent minister MM Joshi made a clumsy attempt at a correction, but it was without consequence. The situation since then has been that Indian youth has been presented with a very streamlined rewritten version of history. The current government has done nothing about it and is not making any moves. It has filled the relevant administration with incompetent RSS-BJP gerontocrats whom it wanted to thank for their services rendered to the organization, and who have neither the expertise nor the dynamism to change the game. Aletta André's outrage over a "history rewriting" (actually a rectification of the Communist rewritten history, a glasnost) is simply devoid of a real-world object.



Most India watchers live in a fantasy world, with India as a secular state (which it is not) threatened by an increasingly monstrous Hindu nationalism. To keep the flame burning, they regularly tell a scare story to keep the blushing virgins in a state of alarm and hatred against resisting Hinduism. In doing so, they are making a good career move, becoming spokesmen for a confluence of interests between the Islamic internationale, the missionary lobby and cultural Marxism, each of which has declared war on Hinduism for its own reasons. If, on the other hand, they were to show a realistic, let alone a favorable image of militant Hinduism, then some degree of exclusion awaits them. So the eternal return of articles on the alleged cunning of the Hindu Chauvinists will be with us for some time.

1 comment:

Gururaj B N said...

It seems to be that the British rule of 200 years brought a serious disconnect between us and our past, especially by changing the education system pursuant to T B Macaulay's minutes which wanted to produce Indians who learnt English and thought like the English and served the empire. So also, in Law, the Common law was imposed from above obscuring the administration of justice which had prevailed in India on the basis of Yajnavalkya Smriti and Mitakshara. This British tradition was successfully continued by Nehru and his successors. BJP and RSS leaders are stupid and lack basic knowledge of India's past. They know what Golwalkar told them about India's past. They dare not face the hue and cry which will arise, if they undertake the correction of History. Loudmouths like Prakash Jawader can hardly be trusted to even think about it.