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Why Indian Marxist Historians are Worse than Communist Historians of Soviet Russia and Maoist China
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Why Indian Marxist Historians are Worse than Communist Historians of Soviet Russia and Maoist China

Early Indian Marxists were tutored by the USSR and Chinese Communist ideologues and surpassed them in falsifying and inventing Indian history

Shankar Saran

Shankar Saran

To appreciate how universal have been the characteristics of Marxist history writing let us take an example from Soviet Russian Marxist history writing. An old teacher and Soviet educationist, Vladimir Svirsky, wrote in 1987:

Not long ago a program was shown on television in which a reporter asked a 10th grader with an interest in history, “Who succeeded Lenin as Head of the Soviet government?” How was he to know?! I am certain that tens of millions of viewers wrinkled their foreheads and wondered, “Yes, who?” It pointed out one of the many blank spots in our history as it is taught. The yawning voids in it – that is the source of our chief troubles. I have read many history books, beginning with those published immediately after the [second world] war. Not only have names been expunged from them, but many events as well: the monstrous excesses at the time of collectivization didn’t happen, the famines of the 30s didn’t happen, the persecution of genetics and cybernetics didn’t happen, the stagnation of the economy didn’t happen…Nothing happened to cloud the sunny picture or spoil the smooth telling of the myth that has taken shape over the decades. It seems that the authors of textbooks see as their main aim not to explain the vents of the past, not to reveal their causes and effects, not to teach youngsters how to utilize the lessons of the past but to skillfully ‘hoodwink’ them and bury the truth as deeply as possible

This is, in nutshell, the crux of the Soviet variety of Marxist history writing. Comparing it with the Time Capsule incident the similarity with the Indian variety of Marxist history writing is evident. It was, therefore, very natural that the Soviet Marxists from the beginning taught serious lessons about the precepts and practice of Marxism to their faithful Indian followers. The Soviet books, booklets and various journals and newspapers kept on arriving here for decades. It must be kept in mind that their theoretical and practical value used to be always very decisive for our Marxists. Hence the Indian Marxists have definitely learnt much form them. What was not taught directly by the Russian and Chinese Marxists has been learnt by their industrious Indian followers by copying and using their political instinct.

Incurable Addicts of Soviet Russia

In 1956 the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev himself presented in the 20th Congress of the Party, a partial but detailed report with a horrible presentation of the atrocities and massacres of millions of Russian people including top-ranking leaders enacted on the behest of Stalin and the economic, military failures due to the Stalinist policies. The entire world knows about it from that year itself.

Do we find any mention of those Soviet realities - the most significant chapters of 20th century history - in the books of our Marxist historians? The fact is that the Indian Marxists have been worse than the Soviet writers. Soviet historians had to consider for their bread and butter, besides threats to their life, a constant fear of torture-cells and Gulag if they tried to deviate from what was ordered to write or conceal. But the Indian Marxist historians? What kept them from writing the truth? What compelled them to purvey falsehood in the name of writing history? The Indian Marxists willingly presented a completely false picture not only of the Soviet Union and Red China but also their own country. Just for political gains.

The Indian Marxist historians went on feeding the innocent Indian students with falsehood for the sole purpose of fulfilling the current needs of communist politics in this country. For example, Prof. R.S. Sharma has devoted a full thirty-nine pages to the Soviet Union in his book Vishva Itihas ki Bhumika[i] (An Introduction to World History) written in 1951. This is the same fairy-tale of the miraculous progress of the Soviet Union due to the communist revolution, its impressive achievements and the USSR as the best democracy in the world.

But consider the art and political cleverness of Prof. Sharma’s writing. When Sharma wrote the book, Stalin had occupied the position of the great ideologue and an unprecedented leader of world communism. The book, therefore, has a full-page picture of Stalin (P. 214) but only a small one of Mahatma Gandhi (P. 263) and other word leaders. But even while showing such devotion our eminent Marxist historian has not have taken any excerpt from Stalin’s famous history book, the Short Course, because that might have raised suspicions in the mind of a reader regarding the entire enterprise pf socialism. So, on the one hand our Marxist historian praised the Soviet achievements and Stalin beyond belief; and on the other hand, he has completely bypassed all the ugly and dark facts of the Soviet history mentioned in the then great book, just to make sure that only a good impression should be left in the minds of his Indian readers about the communist theory, practice and leadership. What kind of history writing was this? It remains a wilful falsification of history. It is nothing but communist propaganda.

Bipan Chandra
Bipan Chandra

Not that our Marxist historians ever changed their attitude to falsify history. So much so that even after the disintegration of the Soviet Union they remained as devoted to communism that they could not write anything other than praise for the ‘achievements’ of Soviet socialism.

And so, if these historians can falsify the history of the most famous period of the contemporary era, will they have any hesitation in distorting centuries-old history? If a Marxist historian could conceal in 1951 the well-known record of Soviet horrors, if in 1971 they could entirely cover up the devastating politics of the Communist Party of India and the Muslim League during 1940-47 leading to the partition of India, if they could make Mahatma Gandhi insignificant in 1973 while writing the history for the Time-Capsule, what could prevent them from presenting Vishnugupta Chanakya, Muhammad Ghori, Alauddin Khalji, Babar or Aurangzeb in any light they liked or in removing significant details of the life of those days or inventing falsehood?

For instance, in Bipan Chandra, Amalesh Tripathy, and Barun De's book, Freedom Struggle, there is not even a passing reference to major events like the two-nation theory of the Muslim League, its resolution demanding a partition of India, the support given to it by the CPI and the unprecedented violence by the Muslim League against Hindus. The Partition of India has been referred to in this book in a roundabout manner blaming it on some ‘communal forces’. In fact, it cleverly conveys a hint that the Hindus played the major and fundamental role in creating communal forces, without giving any proof. The message of the entire book: To hell with imperialism, Long Live socialism, Hindu consciousness is nothing but communalism, Hindu nationalists albeit unwittingly were responsible for communalism, and Marxists have been the most positive leaders of the country.

The Deadly Congress-Communist Alliance in Independent India

In addition to this tendency to indulge in wholesale falsification, a Congress–Communist alliance took shape in Indian politics at the Centre almost from since India became independent. This enabled Marxist historians to capture most of the influential academies including universities. Their grip on history writing (and other social science subjects) only increased with time. As a result, they have written, and managed to propagate a totally distorted historical account about every aspect and every period of Indian history. History textbooks still try to propagate a eulogy of Soviet communism. A decision to remove from circulation certain books written by well-known Marxist historians invited a chorus of ‘saffronisation’. Is it not strange that those who should have been accused for falsifying history were posing as victims? They have their disciples working in various fields who only read the same falsified history for years. Those fed on convictions of the Marxist kind have become an integral part of the mental setup of a large number of our educated masses.

This is the reason why more than half of the curriculum of the Centre for Political Studies in JNU is filled with socialism and allied topics as if there is nothing else in the subject of Political Science. And this is also the case with the course revised a few years ago. The original curriculum looked like it was a ‘Centre for Socialist Propaganda’. Even today, well-known professors and titled academicians from JNU are busy printing and circulating Lenin’s propaganda pamphlets, many of which were regarded by Lenin himself as meant only for the current Russian politics and unsuitable for sending to other countries!

To be continued

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