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Sunday, May 26, 2024

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Sunday, May 26, 2024

Rightwing lobby revising Indian history

The saffron brigade is desperate to inject the young students with their agenda

Sushil Kutty

A revision of Indian history is on the cards. Meaning children will unlearn Aurangzeb and get well-versed in Raja Bhoj and Gangu Teli. For those who do not know, the royal was someone to marvel about while Gangu Teli was hardly worth mentioning, but in the rewriting of Indian history, Gangu Teli will get his due while every effort will be made to showcase Raja Bhoj.

Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami, one of the most ardent advocates of rewriting Indian history—the beacon-in-chief­—wants the reinstatement of an Ahom King of the current day Assam in India’s history. The King’s name is hard to pronounce because not everybody gets it right like Arnab Goswami.

The last few days, ever since the Amar Jawan Jyoti was shifted and merged with the National War Memorial Jyoti, Goswami has nothing else to talk about except complete the rewriting of India’s history; from the ancient to the modern and if in the process the medieval is cut short, even disappeared, Arnab Goswami and his tribe of revisionists wouldn’t mind.

Goswami is by the way in the august and illustrious company of Maj. Gen. GD Bakshi, Col. RSN Singh and Pushpendra Kulshrestha. All three are rightwing and bend to Arnab Goswami’s leadership and will even as they are careful not to rabble-rouse though they often lose their patience on Arnab’s primetime TV show defending Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s worldview.

That being said, Modi is not unaware that he was not elected to rewrite India’s history though he willy-nilly manages to chip away at modern Indian history’s foundations, especially the history of India after Independence, denying Jawaharlal Nehru his place in history and lending Mahatma Gandhi a modicum of acceptance, while leaving it to the RSS and VHP to go back into the hoary, and the holy parts of the subcontinent’s history!

To these keen wannabe rightwing amateur historians, they have no room for the left-liberal historian of the likes of Bipin Chandra and Romila Thapar, who they consider have distorted history to suit their ideology, in which there is no place for what they call “mythology” and who also believe that the honorific ‘Great’ applies only to Akbar; and Aurangzeb and Babar are great secularists.

The rightwing retelling of the history of India—promoted by Arnab Goswami & Co—draws its inspiration from the likes of French historian Francois Gautier and Sanjeev Sanyal, principal economic advisor to Prime Minister Modi, who is a fierce critic of Nehruvian socialism.

Sanyal is no historian, but he dabbles in it and wouldn’t mind if it’s rewritten lock, stock and barrel. But while he is gaga about Modi and the resurrection of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose in the popular lore, he is also a great admirer of Manmohan Singh’s 1991 liberalisation reforms.

Sanyal was a guest on Goswami’s show a couple of days ago and while there, he held forth on the urgent need to rewrite Indian history from the root fast-forward to yesterday, up to the last 24 hours. Sanyal has no respect for historians of the Romila Thapar brand, who he has accused of “double standards”. Sanyal, now backed by Arnab Goswami and Maj. Gen GD Bakshi, wants history rewritten by “revisiting primary sources.”

Historians who want to rewrite Indian history are livid at the manner in which King Ashoka has been raised to greatness. They have their own ideas why Ashoka converted to Buddhism. The whole Kalinga war and following tale of remorse does not cut ice with these historians. And in the rewriting of the history of India, “things will be set right!”

Sanyal has written a book ‘The Ocean of Churn’ which actually tells the story of the proposed rewriting of India’s history under the tutelage of the Modi regime. The way Ashoka and Akbar, and Aurangzeb, will be treated along with Raja Bhoj and Maharana Pratap, will be just the tip of the iceberg.

The meddling with the history of India is a serious and humongous project and while it tells of history in the making in more ways than one, it will also involve a lot of erasing of history. There will also be a lot of unlearning—entire chapters, in fact. Already, Jawaharlal Nehru is playing second fiddle to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, and the Mughals, the entire lot of them, are ‘aakranta’ or invaders, so strike their names off Delhi’s roads.

For the history rewriters, Chanakya is greater than Ashoka, who was a Buddhist under the spell of the Jain, and the Golden Age of Bharatvarsha was that of the Mauryas under Chandragupta Maurya. The “Hindu India” will return and the modern rightwing historian will do the returning. India will live in the ancient past. In yoga and in the idea of zero.

Revisionist historians are on the job. Sanjeev Sanyal with Modi looking over his shoulder will be one among many “historians” who will do the retrofitting of India’s ‘Golden Age’ to the present. (IPA Service)

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