A walk down memory lane to uncover the manner in which history was used as a tool to create three generations of deracinated Hindus
If little knowledge is dangerous, too much knowledge is fatal. But thanks to the prevailing Regime of Gizmos and the Dictatorship of Apps which has turned everyone into experts on everything, nobody knows nothing of, let alone substance, even basic things like how and where our food grows. Small wonder that 99 per cent of the folks rioting against the CAA are little more than cannon-fodder and weapons in a deadly war being waged against the Indian State and the Sanatana Civilisation by a section of its own citizens. This section can be subdivided into two: the obvious first comprises the gun-toting, bomb-exploding, sword-wielding, and stone-pelting Faithful Soldiers of a Peaceful Faith; the unclear second comprises an amorphous alphabet soup that facilitates, enables, supports, apologies for, and in some cases, even directs the first. This second section can further be broadly divided into three categories: (i) the original and deeply-entrenched ideologues who have infected almost all spheres that influence public discourse; (ii) similarly committed moneybags who fund and spread this infection (iii) the victims of the sustained child abuse of (i) and (ii). It is the third sub-subcategory that should concern us the most.
Shudder to think that she might one day become a judge. Or a powerful anti-India lobbyist like Indira Jaising. Or a lawmaker. Shudder to think how many such law students are out there.
At a much deeper level, this “law student” is just one of the innumerable victims of the sustained child abuse of three generations of Hindus, a child abuse that was accomplished to this degree of finesse using primarily one weapon: history and its wholesale distortion. Ananda Coomaraswamy’s lament that a single generation of English education will permanently cut Hindus off their roots is now passé. Such nineteen year-olds are akin to brain-plucked, ethereal creatures floating randomly, directionless but perfectly primed to be picked at will and used in the service of every perverse “cause.”
The sooner Hindu “warriors” realize that this is the true nature of the beast, the better they will be equipped in their responses. In this exercise, a study of the roots of this wholesale, criminal distortion of history is invaluable.
This is the full story of how it was done.
… It is an ominous sign of the time that Indian history is being viewed in official circles in the perspective of recent politics. The official history of the freedom movement starts with the premise that India lost independence only in the 18th century and had thus an experience of subjection to a foreign power for only two centuries. Real history, on the other hand, teaches us that the major part of India lost independence about five centuries before, and merely changed masters in the eighteenth century.
Wrote one of the greatest and encyclopaedic historians of the world, Ramesh Chandra Majumdar in the preface to the first volume of the three-volume, definitive History of the Freedom movement in India published in 1962. Whereas his general editorship chronicled India's freedom struggle in the last volume of the 11-volume magnum opus The History and Culture of the Indian People, his History of the Freedom movement in India (HFMI) treated the epochal topic independently and gave us a work of history that remains unsurpassed even today. A natural classic. That it is the work of just one man is a great inspiration and a lesson of life in its own right.
The story of how it came to be written deserves multiple retellings not in the least because it was deliberately, disgracefully suppressed and buried till the waning of the socialist decades. Most importantly, the story needs to be told for the sake of our children of today, and their children of tomorrow. To urgently halt the further breeding of the kind of nineteen year-olds that we noticed earlier.
That our Marxists and their current variant, Left-Liberals, have subverted our history among other things is largely well-known. But early on, the roots of the rot had begun to sink in deep and take shape elsewhere.
In 1948, RC Majumdar submitted a proposal to the government to write an official history of the freedom struggle, a fact that he records in some detail in the appendix of volume 1 of HFMI. This first-ever proposal on this much-needed endeavour was accepted.
What happened next is best narrated by Dr BN Pandey in his review of volume 1 of Majumdar's HFMI.
In 1952 the ministry of education appointed a board of editors for the compilation of the history. Professor Majumdar was appointed by the board as the director and entrusted with the work of sifting and collecting materials and preparing the draft of the history. However, the board as consisting of politicians and scholars, was least likely to function harmoniously. Perhaps this was the reason why it was dissolved at the end of 1955.
If anything, this gives away the fact that political interference began on Day One to the obvious detriment of scholarship, which must essentially rest on truth. And Dr Pandey's moderate language merely throws a hint of what exactly had happened. His language is also a reflection of an era where restraint in public life and in utterances was highly valued.
Yet this is not the full story. The actual reason the board was dissolved lies elsewhere. Dr Pandey continues:
In [the first] volume the distinguished author has shown ample courage and sound scholarship in approaching some very controversial and delicate questions. On the question of Hindu-Muslim relationship in pre-British India he refutes the commonly-held view that the Hindus and Muslims lived in harmony before the advent of the British and that the Hindu-Muslim tension was the outcome of the British policy to divide and rule. These two communities, the author holds, lived as "two separate communities with distinct cultures and different mental, and moral characteristics" (p 33). He argues that the Hindu leaders, including Gandhi and Nehru, deliberately ignored the fundamental differences between the Hindus and Muslims and made no serious efforts "to tackle the real problem that faced India, namely how to make it possible for two such distinct units to live together as members of one State (p xix).
However, it was merely the board that was dissolved. The project was very much alive. As Dr Pandey notes, it remained "in balance for a year" after which the government entrusted it to a single scholar named Tara Chand, a Congress-friendly ex-bureaucrat in the education ministry who was India's ambassador to Tehran from 1951-56. Published in 1967 by the publications division, ministry of information and broadcasting, this, tragically, remains the official history of the freedom struggle (the title is the same as that of RC Majumdar's) till date.
But then, RC Majumdar was undeterred in his quest to author the most authentic history of the freedom struggle of his own countrymen: to keep their hopes and pains and sacrifices and spirit and struggles and tears ever-fresh and to preserve the vast forest of their heroic memories watered and evergreen. For yet another of Bengal's proud sons, this was not merely a project: it was in many ways akin to working towards the same goal with the same spirit that animated our freedom struggle for Majumdar had lived it. It was national service in the truest sense of the word.
And so, with meagre resources, he worked alone and completed the majestic three-volume work in just seven years. It is still the most comprehensive, authoritative and unchallenged work on India's freedom struggle. This point has a significant bearing on what will follow.
Three crucial observations emerge from this saga.
First, the seeds for the politicisation of the history establishment were sown when politicians were appointed to a scholarly board, a place they had no business to be.
Second, the precedent of slaughtering historical truths was set because Majumdar would critically examine the roles played by Gandhi and Nehru in the freedom struggle, a taboo that would certainly infuriate the first and currently-serving, socialist prime minister. In the words of Dr NS Rajaram, "What was Majumdar's crime? He refused to bend history to suit the interest of the Congress." And so, the stage was set for rampant historical distortions at the hands of Marxist pamphleteers for the next fifty-odd years at all levels: from the school to the university. The distortions remain even as we speak.
Third concerns the timeline. On the one hand, we have a project that begins at the dissolution of the board in 1955 to restarting the project in 1956-57 to its eventual publication by the government in 1967: a project that had the complete backing of the government and resources on demand. On the other, we have the illustrious example of a committed scholar working alone, who published the monumental three-volume HFMI five years before the "official" version of the same epoch. This point too, has an important bearing on what will follow.
India’s education minister back when the project's proposal was conceived and submitted by RC Majumdar was Jawaharlal Nehru's Man Friday, Maulana Azad. He was succeeded by three equally, dynasty-friendly education ministers. It was during the tenure of the ultra-loyal dynasty lackey, Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed that Tara Chand's sanitised apology for history was finally published. It was the selfsame Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed who signed the Emergency proclamation.
Thus came about the systematic marginalisation and banishment of a towering historian, scholar and true patriot which went hand in hand with the construction of a Marxist grand narrative of Indian history that was elevated to vile levels and has come to be the mainstay of our history narratives. Had the historical truth about Hindu-Muslim relations been told, we wouldn’t today be witnessing the craven, mindless, and perilous support that a substantial section of Hindu millennials are providing to the Masjid-inspired riots against the CAA.
The aforementioned saga hopefully provides a real-life illustration of the fundamental manner in which history impacts and shapes public discourse.
In hindsight, R.C. Majumdar’s banishment was just the beginning. The nightmare that unfolded next will be narrated in full detail in the subsequent parts of this series.
To be continued