a r t i c l e s    o n    h i n d u i s m
Beware of the academic fascists
By Saradindu Mukherjee

In a genuine academic debate over selection of facts and their interpretation, people should be graceful enough to accept their folly, if and when it is exposed. As Union HRD Minister Murli Manohar Joshi correctly put it (HT December 2): “Who says they are respectable?

They have received government support for 25 years.

There is a large section of people who say they are distorting history — there was a conspiracy to keep out anyone who did not have a Leftist view. I say India is a huge country and these are not the only people. This is academic fascism.”

It must be noted that the ‘academic fascists’ are an ideological front for pan-Islamic fundamentalists, and in this lofty mission they have the support of the Nehruvians.

Hence, they have to flaunt their anti-Hindu credentials and that explains their desperate attempt to repeatedly rub the Hindu psyche by referring to their alleged fondness for beef in the nebulous past, or rationalise every indignity suffered by the Hindus. To some extent, it was perhaps the by-product of a ‘wounded civilisation’ and the resultant slavish mentality but mainly it was nurtured to provide the essential mindset for a political ambience and voting behaviour under the Nehruvian set-up. The Japanese call it the kokutai — the fundamental character of the State.

The post-Independence polity was sought to be nurtured on such a self-defeating mindset to kill the very soul of India. No wonder the ‘academic fascists’ are consistent in their revolutionary role as the foot soldiers of the Islamic ummah.

Hence the centrality of beef in their discourse. Even if we accept that beef was indeed on the menu, what is the big idea talking about it so vociferously aeons after it became a taboo. Besides being insensitive and gross, it has the ulterior motive of encouraging those insisting on cow slaughter.

Look at its political dividend for some. As against this grossness, they take extra care to keep quiet on the seminal concepts of kafir, jehad and ghanimah. While spread of Islam is superlatively described, there is not a word on how it expanded — its ideology and mechanism, not a word on the devastation and degradation of the polytheists and the pagans. Some of these historians are now claiming that they believed in giving ‘different theories’: but why not give at least the basic facts if not different theories about the other credal beliefs? It is this selectivity which exposes them as propagandists.

I have no hesitation in saying that India’s hesitant approach to counter Islamic terrorism and grasp the significance of jehad even after being one of its longest suffering victims emanates from this terrorised and confused mindset. If the purpose of studying history is to understand the past, so that it helps us to grasp our present better and also be our guide to act appropriately in future, then history has to be objective. Why then blow up the irrelevant part of proto-history and smother other relevant facts? Is this history?

Leave aside this ‘scientific’ and ‘rational’ methodology, no historian can claim that their written words alone constitute the ultimate historical wisdom, and especially if they happen to be public sector historians. As Fernand Braudel says: “History is always being begun anew; it is always working itself out, striving to surpass itself. Its fate is shared by all the social sciences. So, I do not believe that the history books I am writing will be valid for decades to come. No book is ever written once and for all, and we all know it.” This is what a historian of Braudel’s stature (about whom it is said that he could have been the first recipient of the Nobel prize if there was one for historical studies) thinks of his own work.

As for modern Indian history, one of the textbooks proclaim that “the Mughal empire still commanded respect in the country”. In saying that, they certainly ignore the agonies of the kafirs who saw their world crashing before themselves. It fails to record as to how and why the Marathas, Jats, Sikhs and others rose in revolt.

As for the British rule, they are rightly credited with giving us the concept of “rule of law” and “equality before law” while not disclosing the provisions of the Cornwallis Code which stopped the amputation of limbs and provided for the testimony of non-Muslims against Muslims in criminal cases previously prohibited in Muslim law. It goes on to say that, “Previously the judicial system had paid heed to caste distinctions and had differentiated between the so-called high-born and low-born. For the same crime, lighter punishment was awarded to a Brahmin than to a non-Brahmin.”

There are serious omissions too. Warren Hastings is mentioned without his most important gift to Indians — the Asiatic Society, Raja Rammohan Roy’s Gift to Monotheists has been wrongly dated to 1809 (actually 1804-5). While its ‘weighty’ arguments against the polytheists and views favouring the worship of a single god are admired, its critique of prophethood — central to monotheistic creed as well as his views on Muslim rule in India are suppressed.

The Hindu-Muslim communal differences are solely ascribed to the “perfidious Albion”, while the role of the Wahabists and Faraizis is completely ignored. It is like ignoring the role of Al-Qaeda, Jaish-e-Mohammed etc. while studying Islamic terrorism in our own times. The exclusivist and intolerant elements inherent in Islam are smothered and the “racial arrogance” of the British is highlighted.

A student of Indian nationalism is never told about the stirring message of Vande Mataram while Iqbal gets considerable coverage.

Extra-territorial loyalty and obscurantism inherent in the Khilafat and fanaticism of the Moplahs are hidden. Similarly suppressed is the role of the communist party in supporting the Partition and opposing the Quit India Movement. Thus, students are never told about all those forces which are bent on destroying India.

The writer teaches history at Hansraj College, University of Delhi, and is member, Indian Council of Social Science Research



Copyright © 2001 - All Rights Reserved.

a r t i c l e s    o n    h i n d u i s m