The Myth of Composite Culture is Nothing But Pro-Pakistan Propaganda
Notes On Culture

The Myth of Composite Culture is Nothing But Pro-Pakistan Propaganda

For upholding the myth of the composite culture, it is mandatory to refer to every Islamic aggression and invasion by using a polite and non-pejorative word: arrival.

Shankar Saran

Shankar Saran

In the name of communalism, an incredible line of propaganda has been unleashed by the Marxist historians for the last six decades. According to this propaganda, calling the period from the thirteenth to eighteenth century as the Islamic period or referring to the atrocities on their Hindu subjects in any form is ‘communalism’. They maintain that communalism is the direct outcome of such ‘false’ and ‘exaggerated’ accounts written by imperialist historians and communal Hindu historians in history books.

Our Marxist historians usually point to historians like Elliot-Dawson, Jadunath Sarkar or R.C. Majumdar in the list of alleged communal authors. But if we prepare a complete list of all scholars, Indian and foreign, Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Jain and Jew authors and their works including not only well-known European historians but also all Arab historians, all Pakistani historians, all Buddhist, Jain and Jew historians and Encyclopaedia Britannica and Encyclopaedia of Islam this is the picture we get: all these works mention something called ‘the Muslim period in India’ and the atrocities committed therein on kafirs or non-Muslims.

The Myth of Composite Culture

The concept of ‘composite culture’ is often flaunted in the writing and speeches of the Marxist historians. By this they mean an Indian culture that was "developed" with the contribution of Islam. According to them, in this composite culture, both Hindus and Muslims are said to be partners in the Indian culture. Hence they find it problematic to discuss pre-Islamic Indian culture without sarcasm. It is worth noticing that the Marxist historians very insistently describe Islamic invasions as an "arrival" in India. They use this cosmetic touch even when it was not just a single invasion but aggression by different kinds of invaders, innumerable times and spread over centuries. Yet, Harbans Mukhia writes

The Turks came to India as a brave, fighting ruling class out in search of territory rather than as religious missionaries with sword in hand.

Mark the words. An invading horde is called a "brave class." One wonders why such compulsory honourifics need to be applied for a marauding band motivated by religion and plunder. In such self-imposed compulsion Harbans Mukhia also made a ridiculous proposition: How can these mediaeval Turks go to any other country as a "ruling class"? Romila Thapar also refers to the Islamic invasion of India as “the coming of the Muslims”.

In fact, for upholding the myth of "composite culture," it is mandatory to refer to every Islamic aggression and invasion in a polite and non-pejorative word, "arrival." Consequently, the regimes of such invaders would not be called a foreign rule. Notwithstanding the fact that most of the highest commanders, advisors, courtiers and officials of such a ruler were declared outsiders, the Marxist historians insist upon not calling it a foreign rule! With all such mandatory falsification. they create the basis to establish the hot air balloon of ‘composite culture’.

It is this kind of history writing that made Dr Ram Manohar Lohia conclude the following about the Marxist school, which

makes its victim and readers fearful, immoral, without determination and vigour, and perhaps docile too.

Speaking bitterly about foreign historians, such as Ferishta who came mostly accompanying the invading victors, Lohia said that perhaps they first formulated this shameful ‘harmonisation’ between the invaders and the invaded, and thereby making a ‘composite’ culture. Rejecting vehemently such a construct, Lohia added that the Indian historians who repeat this wicked proposition, “do not know the difference between surrender and harmonisation”, and thanks to these kind of historians “the Indians today don’t know the difference between shame and pride”. In fact, Lohia returned to the point again and again that ‘surrender’ (of Indians to some Islamic invaders) should not be construed as ‘harmonisation’, and it is a strange, wrong view of history ensuing in a cowardly attitude in the Indians.

The first question: if this composite culture in India was formed due to Islamic contributions, why did it fail to develop in any other country where Islam "arrived?" For example, Persia (Iran) Mesopotamia (Iraq) and Gandhara (Afghanistan) had great cultures before the advent of Islam. After Islam conquered (or, ‘arrived’ in) those lands, even the traces of these pre-Islamic cultures vanished from the lands. Why didn't a "composite culture" develop there? Even if we accept for a moment that of all the countries where Islam "arrived" and ruled, only India developed this rare composite culture, the other question remains: why did this same composite culture disappear instantly from Pakistan, a part separated from India? Why did Pakistan change into a pure Islamic culture on the lines of Iran and Afghanistan?

Ruins of Muhammad bin Qasim's Mosque
Ruins of Muhammad bin Qasim's Mosque

Not just that. Why are only the Indian Hindu-born Marxists so very emotional about this composite culture? Why do innumerable Muslim intellectuals of India remain totally unconcerned about or indifferent towards a culture made by the "participation of both Hindus and Muslims?" Instead, they always care about all issues Islamic and not "composite."

A serious contemplation will bring forth only one answer: the "composite culture" in India is not a contribution but a colossal failure of Islam. Failure to accomplish total military and ideological victory over India. Failure to accomplish total conversion of the Hindu society to Islam. In the final analysis, the so-called composite culture was born out of that failure to destroy Indian civilisation, its Dharma, its culture, its spiritual treasure, its philosophical traditions and its determination. In other words, the so-called compositeness is just the opposite of what the Marxists assert. It is the result of Hindu resistance to Islamic exclusiveness, and not any "partnership" in making a mixed culture. That is why Pakistani intellectuals and most of the Muslim intellectuals in India as well, never show any regard, much less an attachment for the so-called composite culture. They are still attracted to and proud of the exclusive Arab-Islamic culture even when they have been living in India practically like the Hindus in many respects.

The so-called composite culture is not only a myth but superstition that only Marxist intellectuals believe in. It would be no different with say, Bipan Chandra. He believes the truthful accounts of history to be the enemy of communal harmony and therefore wants to censor them for building a secular society and polity, little realising that it helps the contrary purpose.

With such fake claims, the Marxists have undertaken a grand enterprise of covering up the uncomfortable history of many centuries, not only of India but the world as well. The effort is truly stupendous as the large mass of accounts and analyses recorded by Muslim historians, thinkers and chroniclers for several centuries have divided the period of history in a similar fashion. The concepts of jahiliya (the period before the advent of Islam) and dividing the earth into Dar-ul-Islam (land of Islam) and Dar-ul-herb (land of war, yet to be Islamised) are neither British nor Hindu constructs. They've been a common jargon in Muslim writings and polity denoting a basic social and political change with the conquest (‘arrival’ if you like) of Islam in any country. There is absolutely no dispute about the meanings of such basic concepts. Therefore, how is it possible to dispute that with an Islamic conquest, the history of a land underwent a fundamental change as a rule? How is it possible, then, to deny periodisation of the history of such a land with the time denoting the fateful change?

Take the example of Pakistani textbooks. They teach that the history of Pakistan commences from the year 712 CE when Sindh was attacked by Mohammad bin Qasim, a general of the Arab Khalifa. The importance of that date was not insisted upon by any British, nor is it treated as outlandish in that country. The date is permanently engraved in Indian (and Pakistani) memory for different reasons for different communities. Pakistani historians refer to the Mughal rule in India and the previous sultanates as the ‘history of Pakistan’. Is this identification of periods in the Muslim psyche of both India and Pakistan a contribution of the British historian, James Mill?

And when we observe the writings of our Marxists and now, Left-Liberals, we find them echoing the same Pakistani line of history. However, their "sense" of historical "analysis" undergoes an instant and sweeping change when the Hindu-Muslim question arises in the context of modern India. Here they do not take recourse to a ‘class’ analysis and always dress up their speeches and articles with communal expressions of Hindu nationalism versus minorities. Have the Marxists historians ever classified Salman Khurshid and Arun Jaitley in one category, as upper class of rulers, and thus putting them on the same side in their social division? Never. They regard even rich and influential Indian Muslims as representatives of ‘minorities’, whose social concerns and political interests are naturally different because they are Muslims!

To be continued

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