The Marxist Theory of History interprets the Bhagavad Gita as a stratagem for class oppression and paints Hindu society as fundamentally oppressive
As we have noted in the earlier parts of this series, the Marxist framework of history was applicable to entire human history as laid down by Karl Marx in his infamous The Communist Manifesto. His followers simply accepted it on faith. Accordingly, they considered it their job merely to place facts, persons, and events with as much suitable details available of any society into this frame. Thus a ‘scientific’ and working class-oriented historical account was ready. Everything had to fit into it. They even invented a new term for it: scientific history-writing.
This new colour of history was fundamentally superior to the earlier ‘accounts of kings and their deeds’. Any event or person that did not fit into this pre-conceived frame was to be rejected or ignored. There was no difficulty to pursue this method even if no available records or facts supported their formulations of "scientific," "progressive," and "reactionary."
For over a century, Marxist historians have contributed towards this new, progressive history on the strength of vagueness and wild guesswork. Thus, ‘possibly’ and ‘might have happened' were the methods used to arrive at their predefined conclusions for which there was no solid evidence. After all, they had to write – evidence or no evidence – a comprehensive historical account of the Indian conditions in terms of class-struggle.
Thus, the Bhagavad-Gita of Lord Krishna was nothing but a clever stratagem of inducing land-serfs to remain in the service of their feudal lords without asking anything for themselves. To a Marxist, there was nothing sublime or philosophical or grand about this great work. To their eyes, it was composed for the higher "castes" by the wily Brahmins to preach class cooperation or to encourage warfare etc, according to D.N. Jha. Similarly, the Mahabharata could have been a class struggle between the Brahmins and Kshatriyas on the one hand and between the Vaishyas and the Shudras on the other. Traditions of the ancient Hindu Dharma, rituals, regarding the cow as sacred etc, were cleverly inducted by the Brahmins to maintain their hold. We shall consider these and other distortions in some detail as the representative instances of the hatred expressed by the Marxist historians towards Hinduism.
In their project of oversimplification of history to support Marxist theory, it became not only necessary to ignore some important details of every period but also to grossly falsify them. The main (but not the only) reason to do this was that according to the Marxist theory, all of history only comprised only four time-divisions based on the mode of production. In this fantastic formulation, each succeeding period was progressive compared to its predecessor. That is, each preceding period necessarily had a socio-economic and cultural system that was by definition backward or reactionary compared to the succeeding, ‘progressive’ one. Thus, Feudalism was progressive compared to the Slavery period but reactionary compared to capitalism.
Along with this successive progressiveness formula, the Indian Marxists simultaneously concluded that Islam has been a ‘progressive’ religion whose ‘tenets preached equality between the rich and the poor’ and other fiction. On the other side, Hinduism was rotten because of its faith in ‘idol-worship’ and ‘the evils followed from it.' It is beyond comprehension how R.S. Sharma (and all Marxists) regard idol-worship of Hindus as a self-evident evil while they see no evil at all in the Islamic sanction of slave trade, polygamy and other barbaric Shariat laws, the inbuilt hatred for the ‘Kufr’ which is nothing but a declared intolerance for other religionists, and the integral role of violence and politics in Islamic practices. However, to our Marxist historians, all these are progressive tenets because Islam is a ‘progressive’ religion. In his Communal history and Rama’s Ayodhya, R.S. Sharma has not only accumulated anti-Hindu feeling, but displays a practiced habit showing a sweet attitude towards Islam, which the Communists all over the world had adopted since the beginning of the Cold War. As we notice even today, this became a fixed Marxist habit with the passage of time.
However, our anti-Hindu Marxists found themselves in dire straits when they were faced with incontrovertible proofs about a well-developed social order or a great contribution to art and culture in pre-Islamic, Hindu India. Their formulation would be hilariously ridiculous if only it was not so destructive and serious. Owing to their blind adherence to Karl Marx's Great Theory, they had already concluded based on the "laws" of social development that because the Islamic period is recent, born after the thousands of years old ancient or Hindu period, it must be superior!
Therefore, they laboured hard to find out hints from Hindu scriptures that could show the corresponding (Hindu) society as extremely exploitative, backward etc. Those scriptures, ancient Indian science, literature, art and architecture and innumerable other facts discovered in various excavations etc. contained so many things which clearly pointed at the fact that compared to other parts in the world, the culture, civilisation, philosophy, science, technology in ancient India were highly developed. However, the Marxist historians deliberately distorted these genuine historical facts in their attempt to show only faults in pre-Islamic India.
For example, they summarily rejected the traditional recognition of the Gupta Period as the Golden Age of India and asserted that it was a society ‘full of exploitation’ where ‘the higher classes were steeped in luxury while the lower classes were doing hard labour’. It goes without saying that this was a general statement, and purely a guesswork, which can be said about any society at any time without any chance of error. But the deception played by our Marxists was to forget this generic logic of the relationship between the exploiter and the exploited as applied to the pre-Islamic period. However, in analysing the Islamic period, they repeatedly asserted how this period was a time of development, brotherhood, mutual understanding and growth of a so-called ‘composite culture’ in India. Details of Muslim oppression of Hindus and the struggle of Hindus against this alien oppressive rule were totally disregarded or at best very summarily dealt with. Thus, things like class–struggle, native-foreigner struggle etc during the Muslim period were painted as efforts at evolving a composite culture!
Facts and details were distorted to support the predetermined conclusion of proving the Islamic rule in India as good and progressive. This is most notable in all those religious oppression and administrative dictates of Muslim rulers on the Hindu populace. None of these bigoted Farmans etc were given any place in this kind of ‘progressive’ historical writing. By refusing to take notice of this stark reality of several centuries in the medieval Indian history, the Marxist historians displayed a stubborn, political mindset. They went to the extent of insisting on showing sympathy and understanding for foreign brigands like Timur and Mahmud Ghazni. They took umbrage if any Hindu historian mourned the the success of those brigands.
We can turn to R.S. Sharma again. Here is what he writes.
Quite naturally, R.S. Sharma does not mention their religious motivations and aims and the atrocities and senseless killings they perpetrated. But when Ramesh Chandra Majumdar mentions the atrocities committed by those very brigands in India, Prof. Sharma tauntingly writes:
It is clear that R.S. Sharma's cavalier attitude demonstrates neither any concern for the victims, the murdered, humiliated and exploited Hindus, nor any kind of class analysis but only his obstinacy to side with Islamic invaders, marauders and murderers at any cost. This attitude can be understood only by recognising the deep hatred in the mentality of our Marxist historians towards anything Hindu. No other explanation can make sense of this senseless siding with alien invaders and mass murdering religious bigots. The attitude insists on showing no regrets for oppression of the Hindus, neither in the past nor in current affairs.
Thus, in their political stubbornness to paint the pre-Islamic, Hindu period inferior, and painting the Islamic period as a time of progress and development, the Marxist historians have resorted to a double falsification. To take a good example, if we compare the approach of the Marxist historians towards the Bhagavad-Gita and Koran it becomes clear as daylight how a double standard has been adopted. In fact, the Bhagavad-Gita has been taken as an ordinary composition which ‘justifies class exploitation’ while Koran has been praised as a great scripture playing a noble social role. Although the Koran has ample material for a Marxist to evaluate the social, economic and cultural condition of contemporary Arab society and its social, economic, intellectual and moral standards, our Marxist scholars have consistently and deliberately overlooked it. On the contrary, an attempt has always been made to stress the "progressive" role of Islam first in the Arab society and afterwards elsewhere, including India. In the references to Islamic precepts and practices, the Muslim faith has been left untouched, un-analysed as if no class analysis is required there.
It is indeed strange that this is the youngest religion about which maximum literature and recorded history is available. Given this fact, how is it that no Marxist has so far undertaken a thorough ‘class analysis’ of Islamic scriptures and history? The possible answer lies hidden in the political needs of today. Indian secularism too, reflects this in the unstated party line of the Marxist writers to shy away from all uncomfortable truths about the Islamic past and present, here or elsewhere.
To be continued