Romilayana: Romila Thapar’s Hatred of Hindu Dharma Disguised as History Writing

The concluding episode of Romilayana dissects line-by-line, some of the most egregious distortions of both Hindu and Muslim history of India
Romilayana: Romila Thapar’s Hatred of Hindu Dharma Disguised as History Writing

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Romilayana: Romila Thapar’s Hatred of Hindu Dharma Disguised as History Writing

THE FOLLOWING UTTERANCES OF ROMILA THAPAR deserve serious consideration:

“The ‘Golden Age’ of the Guptas represents a series of paradoxes. It is described as a period of Hindu renaissance. (But) the main artistic achievements were Buddhist…

“In spite of the emphasis on nonviolence as essential to the best Hindu tradition, the glorification of Samudragupta is largely based on his prowess as a military conqueror.

The same characteristics as are associated with Indian spirituality can be found in many other ancient cultures… which sections of (ancient Indian) society were given to spiritual activities…? Obviously only a small section.

“… as for example the plays of Kalidasa, hardly points to the existence of much spirituality in court circles.  

“(In Hindu tradition) the four aims of man are described as Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha. Of these only the last connotes pure spirituality.

“Some of the major events in the Indian tradition are associated with violence, a case in point being Bhagavad-Gita and the Mahabharata war.

“Other reasons (for Muslim rulers destroying temples) can be found when one turns to the tradition of Hindu kings and enquires whether any of them were despoilers of temples and idol-breakers.”

And so she goes on and on in this vein.

All the aforementioned rhetorical statements follow one after another in Thapar’s article. There is neither any reference quoted nor any event described. Any serious reader can fathom the understanding of the writer in matters relating to culture, non-violence, spirituality, the Bhagavad-Gita or the Mahabharata.

Let alone the topic of Hindu Dharma, which is according to Thapar, “an ideology invented in the twentieth century.” It is crystal clear she has never studied or perceived such serious subjects as the Hindu concept of non-violence, spirituality, Bhagavad-Gita or the Mahabharata.

Yet she has made comments in a decisive manner as though no contrary views are even worth looking at. To regard non-violence and heroism on the battlefield as opposing phenomena is childish to say the least.

Further, why is Romila Thapar so eager to reject claims, which no one ever put forward in the first place? Who has suggested that in ancient India, a large number of people used to be involved in spirituality? Or that the courts of kings in ancient India were steeped deep in spiritual atmosphere?

After making many such rhetorical comments in her article, Romila Thapar proposes to adopt apparently, the Marxist method in the study of history, though she has cleverly avoided naming it. However, her “method” implies a search for ‘technological changes’, ‘economic structures’, ‘labour’, ‘distribution’, ‘produce’, ‘struggle between communities’ and ‘economic tension’.

According to her, it is only after searching for all these elements can the real history of ancient India be found. That is, the real history “free of all false Hindu glorification,” in her book. What is more, “it is only then that we shall understand not only the true nature of the impact of Islam in Indian history but in fact the true nature of all the forces that have gone into the creation of the Indian past.”

This last sentence of the article is rather amazing, as it has a definite conclusion which hardly corresponds with what has been stated in the entire article. It shows that her mind was actually more concerned with projecting a favourable image of the Muslim period of Indian history while writing about the ancient Hindu period. The “method” she has chosen is to paint the Hindu period in black colours, by hook or crook, so that the Muslim period, that is ‘the impact of Islam’ becomes brighter or at least less ugly than what it was.

The entire article creates the impression that Romila Thapar wants to present – come what it may – all good Hindu traditions in a less than favourable light. Unfortunately, this tendency continued in her writings for the decades to come. She and her associate Marxist historians have tried to present all time-tested wisdom as found in the Upanishads, Puranas, Mahabharata, Ramayana etc., and acknowledged as Dharmic expositions, as myths.

Anything good, noble, appealing and attractive in the Hindu philosophical and literary corpus is labelled as purely imaginary. In other words, they have nothing to do with the reality of the times when this literature came into existence.

On the other hand, have these Marxist “historians” or their Western counterparts ever labelled Abraham, Moses, Noah’s Ark and various descriptions in the Bible or Prophet Mohammad’s revelations as myths? The unambiguous answer is a resounding “no” because Romila Thapar and her ilk have a fundamental hatred against Hindu Dharma. And hatred of Hindu Dharma is one of the definitions of Marxist history writing in India.


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