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August 19, 2002

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Varsha Bhosle

Towards Balkanisation, Part II

Towards Balkanisation, Part I

Responding to my previous essay, a furious "secularist" from West Bengal wrote, "nowhere did we come across the stuff you mentioned in the books. And neither do they appear today. If they [Left Front] had really called Khudiram Bose a terrorist they would have lost half of their seats in the assembly. I am sure like all air-headed media persons of present genre, you have either done scant research or very 'selective' research. And why sully Dr Amartya Sen's name? Has he endorsed that question paper that you mentioned?"

If this were a lone case, I may have ignored it. 'Twas not. You see, in the dorks' world view, not only are the distortions by our "eminent" historians God's Own Truth, but anybody who denudes these eminences, too, is an air-head, a liar and a bigot. So let me expand on what I had only fleetingly mentioned, in the misguided belief that "received wisdom" hadn't yet made the uncritical Bong an unparalled ignoramus.

Once upon a time, a group of school teachers from West Bengal sent Arun Shourie a circular relating to textbooks. Dated April 28, 1989, it was issued by the West Bengal Secondary Board, and carried the reference number "Syl/89/1." It said, "All the West Bengal Government recognised secondary school Headmasters are being informed that in History textbooks recommended by this Board for Class IX, the following amendments to the chapter on the medieval period have been decided after due discussions and review by experts. The authors and publishers of Class IX History textbooks are being requested to incorporate the amendments if books published by them have these aushuddho [errors] in all subsequent editions..."

Mr Shourie, in his serialised exposÚ on what can aptly be called pinko history, listed some 40 such amendments. I reproduce but two:

  1. Bharatvarsher Itihash, by Dr Narendranath Bhattacharya, page 89:
    Aushuddho -- "Sultan Mahmud used force for widespread murder, loot, destruction and conversion."
    Shuddho -- "There was widespread loot and destruction by Mahmud."
    (That is, no reference to massacres and forcible conversions.)

  2. Itihasher Kahini, by Nalini Bhushan Dasgupta, page 132:
    Aushuddho -- "According to Todd, the purpose behind Allauddin's Chittor expedition was to secure Rana Rattan Singh's beautiful wife, Padmini."
    Shuddho -- Delete.
    (The British army officer and historian, Col James Todd, in his celebrated book, The Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan, wrote about Allauddin's obsession with Padmini. However, to sustain the fiction of its being a "popular legend," such references, of course, had to be deleted.)

The disturbed teachers also furnished Mr Shourie with extracts from the textbook for Class V, Bharut Kahini, by G C Rowchoudhury. One of these was: "Islam and Christianity are the only religions which treated man with honour and equality..." Notice that not a single "eminent" historian has ever sued Mr Shourie for publishing these "lies."

The textbook for Class XII -- Modern India by Bipan Chandra -- assessed the entire National Movement and its leaders thus: "The speeches and writings of some of the militant nationalists had a strong religious and Hindu tinge. They emphasised ancient Indian culture to the exclusion of medieval Indian culture... They tried to abandon elements of composite culture. For example, Tilak's propagation of the Shivaji and Ganapati festivals, Aurobindo Ghose's semi-mystical concept of India as mother and nationalism as a religion, THE TERRORISTS' OATHS BEFORE GODDESS KALI, and the initiation of the Anti-Partition agitation with dips in the Ganga could hardly appeal to the Muslims."

Reader Subir is obviously ignorant of the connection between Bankimbabu's Anandmath, Vande Mataram, the oaths taken before Ma Kali by Bengal's freedom fighters, and Khudiram Bose. Maybe that's because in the widely used textbook, Sabhyatar Itihash by Dr Atul Chandra Ray, Bankim Chandra is not mentioned at all. Also, in this pinko treatment of Indian history, Swami Vivekananda gets one line while Karl Marx gets forty-two...

Subir, in his eagerness to defend "secular" education, also says, "If they had really called Khudiram Bose a terrorist they would have lost half of their seats in the assembly." Hahahahahaha... talk about na´ve. Here's what the CPI-M's Sudhir Ray said on March 30, 1993, during a debate in the Rajya Sabha on the SAARC Convention (Suppression of Terrorism) Bill: "Therefore, this Bill should be passed. At the same time, I also support Shri George Fernandes that there are two types of terrorism. Shri Khudi Ram and Shri Bhagat Singh were also terrorists..."

You'd think that George, too, had called Khudiram a terrorist. In fact, what George had said was: "I would say that there are two types to terrorism, one is international level terrorism and other is national level terrorism. In our country, terrorism does not mean merely whatever is happening in Kashmir and Punjab but, for instance, it also includes as to how terrorising treatment is being meted out by the Government..." That is, terrorism by the State.

Actually, the 1989 board directive ordering distortions of history was hardly a first. In 1982, the NCERT had issued a similar one on the rewriting of textbooks. Among its stipulations: "Characterisation of the medieval period as a time of conflict between Hindu and Muslims is forbidden." Thus, according to Bipan Chandra's Modern India, "To declare Akbar or Aurangzeb a 'foreigner' and Pratap or Shivaji a 'national' hero was to project into past history the communal outlook of 20th century India."

The hatred that pinkos and "secularists" have for Chhatrapati Shivaji is quite understandable - considering that Aurangzeb could never defeat the Hindupad Patshahi established by the Maratha and advance south of Golconda. Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and southern Karnataka have a lot to thank Shivaji for. However, the NCERT's Social Studies textbook for Class IX stated that Aurangzeb's empire extended all over Bharat and Afghanistan except Kerala and the northern hill regions of UP, Nepal, Bihar and Assam! [The Deccan Chronicle. June 22, 2000]

Chapter 91 of Jawaharlal Nehru's Glimpses of World History states, "So adventurers rose all over India, adventurers who were native to the soil... Each man or group played his or its own hand and was prepared to send all the others to the devil... there were frantic attempts to carve out kingdoms and get rich quickly, and to plunder..." The title of the chapter? "The Sikhs and the Marathas" -- in which, Shivaji is "a gallant captain, an ideal guerilla leader and adventurer"!

"Adventurer," according to the Merriam-Webster, is a soldier of fortune; "one who engages in risky commercial enterprises for profit"; "one who seeks unmerited wealth or position especially by playing on the credulity or prejudice of others." Yup, this tome is the fountainhead of every distortion present in our textbooks.

Thus, Prof Nalini Taneja of Delhi University, in her article "In the Name of History: Examples from Hindutva-inspired school textbooks" -- one faithfully propagated by organisations like secularindia.com, dalitstan.org, mughalstan.com, tamil.net -- slams the present government for restoring dignity to mediaeval Hindu rulers with, "Shivaji and Rana Pratap were fighters for national liberation. All the 'Hindu' kings who fought for their kingdoms against the Moghuls are presented as such... In the text books from Maharashtra, the medieval history of Maharashtra begins and ends with Shivaji. All other historical figures exist only in reference to him."

And lo and behold, the CPI-M's mouthpiece, Ganashakti, says in its own article, "Education BJP style: Saffronisation of Books," that "The medieval history of Maharashtra begins and ends with Shivaji. The text book of the fourth standard has 19 chapters and 75 pages exclusively on Shivaji. All other historic figures exist only in reference to him." Wow, that's some coincidental similarity of thought and expression between objective professors and the Communist party...

Just last year, pinkos raised a stink over the NCERT's deleting of certain offensive and unauthenticated assertions from history books. Among them:

  1. On page 21 of Modern India, the textbook for Class VII written by Arjun and Indira Dev: "The Jats, after establishing a state in Bharatpur, conducted plundering raids in the region around Delhi. They also participated in the court intrigues."

  2. In Satish Chandra's Medieval India for Class XI: Guru Tegh Bahadur "in association with one Hafiz Adam... had resorted to plunder and rapine, laying waste the whole province of the Punjab."

What are the results of such "education," you may ask. Well, apart from the ignorance radiating from "secularist" readers, such a curriculum becomes a breeding ground for dweebs of the foulest kind. Like one Anand Vivek Taneja, "a student of History of Ramjas College, Delhi University," who has recently been elevated to commentator status by tehelka.com and The Hindu. Among his pearls of wisdom about the Scindias: "They looked like a bunch of robber baron scumbags. Which isn't far from the truth, because the Scindias were originally plain Shindes, Maratha musclemen who led the 18th century marauding hordes that terrified the hell out of the rest of India. The Marathas were no 'freedom fighters' that later historiography makes them out to be, but a bunch of unpleasant rampaging freebooters with more than the standard freebooter disregard for life and property. In classic robber baron style, they got themselves forts, and pandits, and became consecrated kings... Jerks."

This, about the dynasty of Ranoji Shinde, who seized the fortress of Gwalior, the notorious prison of the Mughals, in 1738. This, about the house of Mahadji Shinde, who defeated the army of the Honourable East India Company, forced it to accept the Treaty of Sabli, took control of Delhi, and secured Mughal recognition of Maratha overlordship. This, about the single most formidable Hindu power which made a successful attempt for the supremacy of the subcontinent. This, about the empire that covered practically all of central and northern India -- extending from Thanjavur (Tamil Nadu) to Attock (Pakistan). This, about the only empire whose rallying call was "Hindvi swarajya, swadharma, go-brahman pratipaalan" (Hindu self-rule, spiritual and social duty, protection of cows and Brahmins).

I won't be surprised if this obnoxious maggot -- I say this with force because his article contains a certain reference to the late Rajmata that is nothing less that libelous, so much so that rediff will not allow me to repeat it here; check out the paragraph preceding the one I've quoted -- turns out to be a relative of Nalini Taneja.

And, finally, why did I sully Dr Amartya Sen's name? Had he endorsed the question paper that I (and the Solicitor General of India) mentioned? Well... on Friday, the good professor released a report on the findings of the Pratichi Trust, which was established with his Nobel prize money, and whose major focus is the elementary education in India. Among the issues Dr Sen emphasised at the release: "The overarching need is to overcome the rigid barriers of class division," the need for parent-teacher committees, and greater responsibility shown by the teachers' unions.

In short, more pinko bilge. Not a single word about the Communists' intellectual fascism, not a word about the authenticity of historical data in the pinko curriculum (oh there are many quotes on "saffronisation" of history). Not a word even in the report by the Trust that the Leftist economist set up to investigate and improve upon facets of education...

"Scant research"? Moi...?

Towards Balkanisation, III: Missionaries
Towards Balkanisation, IV: Catholics
Towards Balkanisation, V: Adivasis

Varsha Bhosle

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