Sita Ram Goel's letter to Romila Thapar is an exemplary work that combines solid historical scholarship and fearlessness in confronting a powerful opponent
The first thing about Left-Liberals is the fact that they’re bullies and miraculously transform themselves as victims the moment someone stands up to them. A defining character-trait of a bully is a complete absence of manners and decency. Even a brief perusal of the “works” of the likes of Ram “perfumed” Guha, (late) Girish Karnad, (late) U R Anantha Murthy, T.M. Krishna, et al reveals this fact. Needless, they all took their lessons from that arch-bully Nawab Nehru. A little known fact of Nehru’s career as a wily politician is that when challenged, he would beat a temporary retreat, then go behind the scenes and write flowery, flattering letters dipped in honeyed language to persuade his opponent to “please let me have my way just this once.” Those were vastly different times and Nehru got away with his perfidy. However, once he was confident that his authority as Prime Minister and party supremo was unchallengeable, he bared his fangs and hunted down and finished off the same opponent with a zealotry matched only by a medieval sultan.
This is the exact playbook that the Nehruvian history establishment followed under the leadership of Czarina Romila Thapar. And like Nawab Nehru, her gang either expelled or finished off the careers of all scholars and historians who did not toe the Communist line. Yet, there were undaunted men and women who were not only not afraid of their bullying but actually stood up to them and punched back twice as hard. In the political realm, the indomitable Chakravarthy Rajagopalachari ensured that Tamil Nadu would never have a Congress government. In the realm of history writing, doughty fighters like Sita Ram Goel, Arun Shourie, Koenraad Elst, David Frawley, and Meenakshi Jain led the fight from the front at great personal cost. It took a long time, but truth prevailed: names like Romila Thapar, Irfan Habib, Bipan Chandra, and D.N. Jha have deservedly become obscenities and swearwords. Think about it: would you like to be called “Romila Thapar?”
Of these Sita Ram Goel was the master-boxer who did not give the dictionary meaning of say, “charlatan” as “a person falsely claiming to have a special knowledge or skill.” He simply uttered the word, “charlatan.” And provided us a great model at calling out charlatanism:
1. Suffer them not
2. Confront them head on
3. Be independent
4. Watch them squirm and then lose their ground when they start abusing and defaming you personally
5. The final stage: when they play victim
Recent history shows that all of these have rung true in real life.
One cite scores of instances of this in Sita Ram Goel’s writings but a letter that he wrote to Romila Thapar in 1991 serves as a superb illustration of this model. In it, Goel rebuffs Romila Thapar and her gang’s phoney claims that Muslim invaders and rulers did not destroy Hindu temples and forcibly convert Hindus, to say the least. By itself, the letter is an exemplary work that combines solid historical scholarship, adherence to truth, and fearlessness in confronting an opponent armed with formidable political and institutional power.
Here are some excerpts included in the appendix of his monumental, two-volume work, Hindu Temples: What Happened to Them. Emphases have been added.
We return to the Marxist professors…
We have cited from eighty histories written by Muslims over a period of more than one thousand years. We have also cited several Islamic inscriptions which confirm what the historians say. The citations show how Hindu temples continued to be destroyed over a vast area and for a long time. We have added no editorial comments and given no communal twist to the events that took place. All along, we have kept to the actual language used by the Muslim historians.
We wonder if the professors will dismiss as a mere listing of dates the evidence we have presented. What we expect from the professors is that they will come forward with historical analysis and interpretations so that the destruction of Hindu temples mentioned in the Muslim narratives gets explained in terms of economic or political or any other non-religious motives.
We stick to our position, namely, that it is the theology of Islam which offers the only straight-forward and satisfactory explanation of why Muslim conquerors and rulers did what they did to Hindu places of worship. We have provided full facts about that theology, as also about the history of how it took its final shape. It would be most welcome if the professors come out with their comments on the character and meaning of this theology. In fact, we look forward to a Marxist explanation of it. What were the concrete material conditions and objective historical forces which gave rise to this theology in Arabia at that time?
Next, we refer to the second point which the professors had made in their letter to The Times of India [sometime in August 1986]. They had said that acts of intolerance have been committed by followers of all religions…We do not share their philosophy of separating the Buddhists, the Jains and the Animists from the Hindus. But we agree to use their terms for the time being and request them to produce:
1. A list of epigraphs which record the destruction of Buddhist and Jain monuments and Animist shrines by any Hindu, at any time;
2. Citations from Hindu literary sources describing destruction of Buddhist and Jain monuments and Animist shrines by any Hindu, at any time;
3. The Hindu theology which says or even suggests that non-Hindu places of worship should be destroyed or desecrated or plundered, or which hails such acts as pious or meritorious;
4. A list of Hindu kings or commanders whom Hindus have hailed as heroes for desecrating or destroying or converting into Hindu places of worship any Buddhist or Jain monuments or Animist shrines;
5. A list of Buddhist and Jain monuments and Animist shrines which have been desecrated or destroyed or converted into Hindu places of worship in the remote or the recent past;
6. The names and places of Hindu monuments which stand on the sites occupied earlier by Buddhist or Jain monuments or Animist shrines, or which have materials from the latter embedded in their masonry;
7. Names of Buddhist, Jain and Animist leaders or organizations who have claimed that such and such Hindu monuments are usurpations, and demanded their restoration to the original occupants;
8. Names of Hindu leaders and organizations who have resisted any demand made by Buddhists or Jains or Animists for restoration of the latter’s places of worship, or called for legislation which will maintain the status quo, or cried “Hinduism in danger,” or staged street riots in support of their usurpations.
We think that this sort of concrete evidence alone can decide the question of the limits to the logic of restoration of religious sites…
If the professors fail to come out with answers to questions posed by us, and to present the evidence in support of their statements, we shall be forced to conclude that far from being serious academicians, they are cynical politicians hawking ad hoc or plausible explanations in the service of a party line. In fact, we shall be justified in saying that they are…Stalinists. Stalinism...is an exercise in suppressio veri suggestio falsi in pursuit of a particular end.
To be continued