Sunday, December 7, 2014

Of Farting Fascists and History Textbooks

Saffronising textbooks: Where myth and dogma replace history

Danish Raza, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, December 07, 2014
First Published: 09:40 IST(7/12/2014) | Last Updated: 13:34 IST(7/12/2014)
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other Nazi leaders, Himmler and the curator of the SS-Ahnenerbe Walther
Wüst, provided some ideological support to Bose’s political agenda.
Wüst spoke about the need to work closely with Bose and contemplated
holding a German-Indian congress of Indian scholars representing both
countries. Yet, except for these utterances, neither Himmler nor Wüst
did anything specific to support Indian nationalists.
Bose delivered an emotional speech for British soldiers of Indian
origin, who were captured by the Wehrmacht in Africa and who were held
in Germany as POWs. He said to them: Hitler is your friend. He is the
friend of the Aryans, and you will return to India as the liberators of
your motherland. The Indian Kshatriya legacy was not the only Oriental
culture that attracted Himmler and his ideologists when they were
working to construct their racist Indo-Aryan warrior religion.
In addition to Hinduism, the Reichsführer SS was also interested in
the militant Samurai Zen philosophy of Japan as well as the occult
scriptures of Tibetan Buddhism. Indeed, one of the goals of the famous
SS expedition to Tibet headed by Ernst Schaefer in 1939 was to find in
the Lamaist monasteries scrolls containing secret Aryan teachings.
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Bunch of saffron monkeys-no-nothings wanna teach me history? That will be the day.
...and I am Sid Harth
    This utterance brought to mind the instructions Krishna issued to
    Arjuna, demanding from the latter to attack his kin and kill them. In
    the same speech, after mentioning unworthy human beings who were going
    to be murdered (an indirect reference to the Jews), Himmler assured his
    listeners: These deeds do not inflict any damage on our inner selves,
    our souls, and our characters. In the same manner, Krishna assured
    Arjuna that the latter acts would not pollute his higher self by
    completing his murderous duty: Whatever I do, it cannot pollute me. […]
    The one who merges with me, frees himself from everything, and he is not
    bound by his deeds
    Thus, Himmler encouraged the members of the SS to conduct their
    murderous acts, unemotionally in a cool detached manner just as Krishna
    instructed the charioteer Arjuna.
    On the whole, the Posener Speech was focused on the spiritual
    dimensions of war and the conduct of the warrior, which is the chief
    element of the Kshatriya philosophy of Hinduism. The German diplomat
    and undercover U.S. agent in Nazi-Germany Hans Bernd Gisevius concluded:
    There is no doubt that for Himmler the Bhagavad Gita is the book of the
    Great Absolution.
    IB TIMES: During the war, there was a community of
    Indian nationalists living in Berlin. The most prominent among them was
    Subhash Chandra Bose, who met with many top Nazi officials, including
    Himmler, Ribbentrop, Goering and Hitler himself. Is it true that Himmler
    was generally interested in helping Bose to achieve independence for
    India, whereas most of the other German leaders only used Bose in a ploy
    to stoke anti-British sentiments in India?
    MR. & MRS. TRIMONDI: The practice of Yoga was
    already well known during the Nazi regime — but we do not know whether
    Himmler did Yoga exercises or not. We only know about his plan to
    introduce meditation practices and spiritual retreats for the elite
    members of the SS in a special center located at Wewelsburg, a medieval
    Himmler confided to Felix Kersten: I admire the wisdom of the
    founders of Indian religion, who required that their kings and
    dignitaries retreat every year to monasteries for meditation. We will
    later create similar institutions.
    IB TIMES: Did Himmler (and other top Nazi leaders)
    use the Bhagavad Gita as a kind of an ideological blueprint for the
    Holocaust and World War II?
    MR. & MRS. TRIMONDI: Several historians believe
    that Himmler’s notorious Posener Speech in front of a hundred SS
    officers in 1943 was highly influenced by the spirit of the Bhagavad
    In this particular speech, Himmler stressed that if the destiny of
    the nation called for it, every member of the SS had a duty to conduct
    drastic measures brutally and without pity and without regard to blood
    relationship and friendship.
    Two years later, in 1927, as a twenty-seven year old man, Himmler
    already came to occupy the high position of the Stellvertretender
    Reichsführer SS.
    Much of the agenda articulated in Haiser’s book could be found later in the ideology and the structure of the Black Order.
    Himmler was also familiar with the writings of the Italian
    philosopher Julius Evola, a fascist prophet of the Kshatriya ideology.
    IB TIMES: Is it true that Himmler always kept a copy of the Bhagavad Gita in his pocket and read passages from it every night?
    MR. & MRS. TRIMONDI: Yes, this is true. In fact,
    it has been well documented by Felix Kersten, his Finnish masseur, that
    Himmler liked to indulge in philosophical monologues in his presence.
    The Reichsführer SS called the Gita a high Aryan Canto. Kersten also
    reported that Himmler read the Vedas, especially the Rig-Veda, the
    speeches of the Buddha, and the Buddhist Visuddhi-magga. Himmler made
    frequent references to karma, especially when he was talking about
    He also believed in reincarnation: With one life life is not
    finished. What good and bad deeds a man has done has an effect on his
    next life as his karma.
    IB TIMES: Discuss Himmler’s fascination with Yoga and what he sought to gain from this practice.
    Strange as it may sound, the greater part of the book deals not with
    Freemasons but with the Indian caste system. Haiser praised this caste
    system as the most reasonable and the most sophisticated social model.
    He also glorified the Kshatriya (the Warrior) caste as the natural
    leaders in society. Haiser also compared the decline of the caste
    system in India to the decadence of Western culture. As a way to prevent
    this decline, the author proposed the creation of a well-organized,
    international and racially pure elite order of warriors that he called
    the All Aryan Union (all-arischer Bund). In addition, he advocated for
    an all-Aryan world revolution and for the emancipation of the Kshatriya
    from above.
    Haiser derided the so-called lower races as crows, rats, sparrows,
    louses and fleas and also endorsed the reintroduction of slavery. He
    envisioned a society in which the Kshatriyas would not be permitted to
    mingle with other races. In addition, he drew attention to the Hindu
    cosmology of global eras: the Yugas, the Holy Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu
    and Shiva, and the Indian law code of Manu, which he interpreted as a
    guidebook on how to keep the Aryan race pure.
    After familiarizing himself with all these ideas Himmler wrote
    excitedly in his diary: A wonderful book […] I agree with most of it.
    One needs such books. They encourage those who instinctively feel what
    is right and what is wrong, but do not dare to think about it because of
    their false education. Kshatriya caste [is what] we have to be. This
    is the salvation.
    On one occasion, Himmler recited to other people the following
    passage from the Gita, in which Krishna says to Arjuna: Every time when
    man forgets the sense of justice and truth, and when injustice reigns in
    the world I become born anew, that is the law.
    Having read these words, Himmler added: This passage is directly
    related to our Führer. He did arise during the time when the Germans
    were in the deepest distress and when they did not see any way out. He
    belongs to these great figures of light (Lichtgestalt). One of the
    greatest figures of light reincarnated himself in our Führer.
    Based on this statement, one can assume that perhaps Himmler viewed Hitler as a manifestation of Krishna and himself as Arjuna.
    IB TIMES: Did Himmler envision the SS as a modern version of the ancient Kshatriya Hindu warrior caste?
    MR. & MRS. TRIMONDI: This was really a sensation
    what we discovered in the archives: In 1925, shortly before he became a
    member of Hitler’s SS, Himmler read about the Freemasons and
    anti-masons in Their Fight for World Domination by an Austrian writer
    named Franz Haiser.
    MR. & MRS. TRIMONDI: He must have known it. At
    the same time, we should remember that Western racist intellectuals
    usually divided Indian society into two castes: light-skinned Aryan
    conquerors (priests, warriors and merchants) and dark-skinned indigenous
    Dravidians or Chandalens — the latter expression goes back to a
    Sanskrit word Chandala – or, ‘The Untouchables.’ Himmler surely viewed
    the Roma as a part of this outcast group.
    IB TIMES: Bhagavad Gita partially focuses on the
    adventures of Arjuna, the world’s greatest warrior. Did Himmler
    fantasize that he was a 20th-century Arjuna fighting for the glory of
    the Aryans? Did Himmler view Hitler as his god Krishna – like a
    reincarnation of god Krishna?
    MR. & MRS. TRIMONDI: When speaking about the
    Aryan culture proper and the old German or Nordic gods, Himmler clearly
    viewed them as parts of the same spiritual ideology.
    In this sense, Himmler was indeed fighting for the glory of the
    Aryans. Thus, Himmler was convinced that the thunderbolts mentioned in
    both Indian and European mythologies were references to the
    super-weapons of Aryan Gods, who possessed incredible knowledge of
    However, we do not know whether Himmler identified himself with
    Arjuna or not. At the same time, considering the fact that he did indeed
    compare Hitler to Krishna, it is quite possible that he cast himself as
    the character of Arjuna.
    IB TIMES: As Reichsführer of the SS, Chief of the
    German Police, Minister of the Interior and head of the Gestapo and the
    Einsatzgruppen killing squads, Himmler was responsible for the murder of
    millions of innocent people. How did he reconcile such brutality with
    the tenets of Hinduism, which is generally peaceful?
    MR. & MRS. TRIMONDI: The image of Hinduism as a
    totally peaceful religion is a widespread fallacy. In fact, one can find
    plenty of martial aspects in Hindu culture, which had been emphasized
    by various individuals even before the Nazi period, during Hitler’s
    reign, and even today by the extreme right wing in Europe and elsewhere.
    For example, in his introduction to a popular edition of the Bhagavad
    Gita, Leopold Schroeder, a student of ancient India, wrote that this
    poem describes the powerful ethics of Kshatriya (Warrior) religion at a
    time when the warriors and kings of India provided a spiritual
    leadership instead of the priestly caste.
    It is very likely that Himmler used this particular edition of the
    Bhagavad Gita. It was the Kshatriya, the ancient Hindu warrior caste,
    and its ethical ideals that fascinated the Nazis so much among other
    elements of Indian history and culture.
    IB TIMES: Aside from millions of Jews, Himmler was
    also responsible for the mass murder of up to half-million Roma
    (gypsies). Was he not aware that the Roma are also of Indian descent?
    MR. & MRS. TRIMONDI: Indeed, Germany had been a
    true center for Sanskrit studies in the nineteenth century. To be exact,
    there were scholars and writers in this field who either put the
    emphasis on the peaceful aspects of Indian culture (e.g. Johann
    Gottfried Herder and Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling) or pointed out
    the nihilistic side of Buddhism or Shankara philosophy (like Arthur
    However, with the radicalization of German nationalism, writers began
    to put more emphasis on the martial aspects of Hindu culture. One of
    the first who tried to blend the warrior ideology of ancient India with
    Aryan racism was Houston Stewart Chamberlain, an English-born author who
    lived in Germany and who was later held in a high esteem by the Nazis.
    IB TIMES: Is it true that Himmler could read and speak Sanskrit fluently? Where and how did he learn such a difficult foreign language?
    MR. & MRS. TRIMONDI: We do not have any evidence
    that he mastered Sanskrit. However, Himmler did not need to read this
    ancient tongue since he always had Wüst by his side.
    By constantly interacting with Himmler, Wüst was directly involved in
    his philosophical and ideological projects, and he could provide an
    answer to any linguistic questions coming from the Reichsführer SS.
    In 1937, Himmler chose Professor Walter Wüst to serve as the
    president of the SS-Ahnenerbe. Two years later, Wüst became the curator
    of this notorious organization. Incidentally, in addition to being one
    of the leading Sanskrit scholars of his time, Wüst served as the
    president of the Maximilian University in Munich. In the academic
    world, Orientalists from this particular university were considered the
    top experts in their field.
    Wüst was keenly interested in extracting ideas from the Vedas and
    Buddhism of the so-called Aryan tradition in order to give National
    Socialism a religious dimension. One slogan of his was: Also above India
    hovers the sun-sign of the Swastika.
    To Wüst, Hitler appeared as the manifestation of a Chakravartin – Indo-Aryan world emperor.
    Wüst tried to support this particular speculation by verses from
    classical Indian scriptures. Moreover, in one of his emotion-driven
    speeches, he compared Hitler with the historical Buddha.
    IB TIMES: Germany’s fascination with ancient India
    and its culture began in the 19th century, no? That is, long before the
    advent of the Nazis. Is it correct?
    MR. & MRS. TRIMONDI: Himmler kept a diary where
    he not only listed the books he read but also provided extensive
    comments on these manuscripts. His entries regarding India and Indians
    were always very positive.
    Himmler’s Indian reading list started in 1919 [before the Nazi Party
    was formed] with a German translation of a novel called Mr. Isaacs: A
    Tale of Modern India by Marion Crawfords. Six years later, in 1925,
    Himmler also praised Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha as a magnificent book.
    Himmler was also drawn to The Pilgrim Kamanita by the Danish author
    Karl Gjellerup, which was a contemporary best-seller. In his diary,
    Himmler commented: A precious narration. The content is the teaching of
    Gjellerup’s book quoted several verses from the Vedas, including: The
    one who kills believes that he is killing. The one who has been killed
    believes that he dies. Both of them are wrong, for one doesn’t die and
    the other doesn’t kill.
    Later, Himmler delivered some of these same philosophies in his speeches to his SS officers.
    In the 1920s and the early 1930s, Himmler read some popular books
    about Hinduism and Buddhism. Yet, his actual interest in classic Hindu
    texts came later, when he founded the SS-Ahnenerbe, the brain trust of
    the Black Order, a group of highly qualified academics and occultists
    that attempted to forge the ideology of a racist warrior religion.
    Himmler, directly responsible for the deaths of millions of Jews and
    others as the architect of the Holocaust, was a complex and fascinating
    man. He was also obsessed with India and Hinduism.
    International Business Times spoke with two experts on German culture to explore Himmler and Hinduism.
    Victor and Victoria Trimondi are German cultural philosophers and
    writers. They have published books on religious and political topics,
    including Hitler-Buddha-Krishna-An Unholy Alliance from the Third Reich
    to the Present Day (2002), a research about the efforts
    by National-Socialists and Fascists to construct a racist Indo-Aryan
    warrior ideology with strong roots in Eastern religions and
    IB TIMES: Heinrich Himmler was reportedly fascinated
    by Hinduism and ancient Indian culture, and he read the Bhagavad Gita,
    among other classic texts. How and when was he introduced to Indian
    culture? Was it prior to his joining the Nazi party or afterwards?
    Farting Fascist and Fierce Sanghi-Bhangis
    Heinrich Himmler: The Nazi Hindu
    By Palash Ghosh@Gooch700 on April 10 2012 10:46 AM
    The swastika is an ancient Indian Hindu syymbol Reuters
    More than 65 years after the fall of the Third Reich, Nazi Germany
    remains an obsession with millions of people around the world.
    Adolf Hitler was one of the most prominent historical
    figures from the 20th century, evoking both disgust and fascination.
    While other totalitarian regimes from that period — including Fascist
    Italy and Imperial Japan — have largely faded from the public’s
    consciousness, Nazi Germany still exerts a powerful hold on many for a
    variety of reasons.
    Among the most interesting and perplexing aspects of the Nazi regime
    was its connection to India and Hinduism. Indeed, Hitler embraced one of
    the most prominent symbols of ancient India — the swastika — as his
    The link between Nazi Germany and ancient India, however, goes deeper than just the swastika.
    The Nazis venerated the notion of a pure, noble Aryan race, who are
    believed to have invaded India thousands of years ago from Central Asia
    and established a martial society based on a rigid social structure with
    strict caste distinctions.
    While scholars in both India and Europe have rejected and debunked
    the notion of an Aryan race, the myths and legends of ancient
    Vedic-Hindu India have had a tremendous influence on many nations, none
    more so than Germany.
    Perhaps the most fervent Nazi adherent to Indian Hinduism was
    Heinrich Himmler, one of the most brutal members of the senior command.
    A few things to keep in mind and not get carried away by rhetoric on either side. One, the congress using history books to set up a Gandhi-Nehru hagiography is definitely true. We have all seen that aspect of the Congress be it in naming projects / roads or in the distinct lack of enthusiasm Cong govts showed in celebrating birthdays of other great past leaders etc. This trend definitely needs a rewrite. How many people outside TN know the history of the Dravidian movement in TN or the progressiveness of a Ramasamy Naicker who despite his anti-Brahmin feelings was respected by many Brahmins for his deep thinking (including C Rajagopalachari at whose funeral Naicker openly wept)? How many people even know that Gandhi considered Rajagopalachari as his conscience keeper? How many people know of Narayana Guru in Kerala who helped modernize the Ezahva community which was synonymous with poverty and degradation by upper castes before he came along? All our kids know of the Buddha and Mahavira thanks to history books but then why not about Maharashtra's Bhakti movement saints who helped revamp Hinduism in the state (like Jananeswar Maharaj or Eknath Maharaj) and should be held in respect even if people don't want to believe in the miracles attributed to them? Just the social thinking change they wrought is worthy of respect. We are taught about Bairam Khan who was young Akbar's mentor but not about Samarth Ramdas who helped Shivaji resist the Mughals and arguably but for the Sikhs and Marathas at the time of Aurgangazeb we would have become a Muslim country. Even if we take away the obvious religious connotations to that, the fact that Guru Gobind Singh and Samarth Ramdas (through Shivaji) prevented the country from becoming a Muslim country should be a large enough event in history to attract attention of historians? But no, our JNU crowds would not want that because Marx had declared that religion was the opium of the masses. So they instead become strange bedfellows of minority groups who consider Hindus Kafirs but enemy's enemy is a friend so to keep the Hindu right at bay they are happy to sleep with minority crackpots. So what if the minority also believe in God but with a different name? This is not to say that most of the minority are that way and therein lies the rub.
    The right would have us believe that all minorities especially of the Islamic variety are terror suspects by default which is bunkum. A simple math equation. If even 1% of India's 140 mn Muslims were terrorists in waiting that would mean 1.4 mn terrorists on the prowl. If even 1% of them in any given year decided to suicide bomb the country, that would make 14,000 suicide bombings a year or 40 a day. We are nowhere near that number. Why? Because the basic assumptions are nonsensical. Yes, many of them may feel we are Kafirs and may look down on idol worship but then so do we look down on "Mlechas" or even sub-sects of Hindus we don't agree with (strict Iyengars wont even touch Prasad from a Siva temple for example and some of them actually believe that Iyers who lead decent lives can become Iyengars in a future birth!). Does that make them terrorists? No. So let us not expect that someone who looks down upon us for religious beliefs (assuming they do) is a terrorist. We however treat Muslims differently from others who may look down upon us because in our minds they are still "invaders" or the "spawn of invaders" who humiliated us. Well, the fact that Muslim invaders humiliated and ruled over us wont change by oppressing current day Muslims. We need not however feel too worried about history being unkind to us because such topics only matter to a backward looking people. Today we are on the cusp of history where if we get it right we can be a true superpower and people will look up to us for what we are and we wont need to reinvent history to feel good about ourselves. so the faster the right wing gets that idea and focuses its considerable energies on making us ready for the rest of the 21st century by focusing on what is relevant now (scientific education, healthcare, hygiene etc.) rather than fighting with has beens like Romila Thapar, the better.
    That said, by all means make changes to books where recorded history is warped (like not giving due importance to say a Samarth Ramdas or a Shivaji or a Guru Gobind Singh). By all means also ask for grants to do proper histographical research to unearth say genetic evidence of our antiquity or to see if relics from the past can be found to prove some of our mythology (but please not passing off the bull in some Indus Valley seal as being Nandi as some historian once tried to do with very tenuous proof if at all). By all means also organize cultural programs on the side or Bal Vikas type Sunday classes outside schools to tell our kids about our mythology but please please do not rewrite books without proper scientific evidence and please focus on how to make us great now rather than proving that the Pushpak Vimana was a spacecraft.... We can either make our kids scientific by temper and yet respectful / proud of our past and ready to make us a great nation or we can brainwash them with unproven stories and not give them the critical thinking skills required to make us a true superpower. The choice is ours to make...
    see more
    Orange Brigade must have learned their lesson on Hinduism to-day.
    When a burbur murderer who did inexplicable crimes in India and raised numerous skull towers of defeated soldiers, is eulogized and even a Delhi road is named after him I.e. Babur, it is not difficult to understand the Indian history has been grossly and criminally distorted. It has to be corrected. Let the pseudo seculars cry.
    An excellent essay by Sumit Sarkar, “Hindutva
    and History,” examines exactly why control over the writing of history
    is so central to Hindu nationalism. See Sumit Sarkar, Beyond Nationalist Frames: Postmodernism, Hindu Fundamentalism, History.↩
    Originally published by Oxford University Press
    in 1985. The book sees Oedipal overtones in the story of Ganesha’s
    fight with his father Lord Shiva, when Shiva beheads his son who refuses
    to let him see Ganesha’s bathing mother, Parvati. Courtright also
    speculates about the possible phallic symbolism of Ganesha’s trunk. This
    application of Freudian psychology to Hindu mythology is strongly
    resented by some practicing Hindus who see it as both culturally
    inappropriate and blasphemous.↩
    In the 1930s scholars such as Sir Mortimer
    Wheeler envisaged the invasion of India by chariot-borne “Aryan” tribes
    sweeping through the passes of the Hindu Kush. Modern scholars instead
    envisage a slow seepage of pastoralists speaking Indo-Aryan languages
    and believe that there was no such people as “the Aryans,” just tribes
    of ethnically diverse speakers of several related languages who migrated
    to India from the Levant, where the earliest inscriptions in these
    tongues can be found in northern Syria. ↩
    Ideas which the Nobel laureate V.S. Naipaul developed in his most recent nonfiction book on Islam, Beyond Belief: Islamic Excursions Among the Converted Peoples (Random House, 1998). Naipaul’s views on Indian Muslim history have contained many parallels with those of Golwalkar.↩
    Nagpur: Bharat Publications, 1939, p. 37.↩
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    Exacerbating the problem in the long term is the absence of accessible, well-written, and balanced histories of India.19
    The most widely available introductions to the subject—the two Penguin
    histories, one covering the period up to the arrival of the Muslims by
    Romila Thapar, the other by Percival Spear, who takes the story up to
    Indian Independence—are both fine scholarly works, but somewhat dull and
    This as much as anything else has allowed myths to replace history
    among the members of India’s middle class, who are keen consumers of
    fiction, but have surprisingly little home-grown nonfiction to interest
    them. One of the remarkable features of the recent spectacular burst of
    creativity among Indian writers has been that few writers are drawn
    either to serious biography or narrative history. Though Indian
    historians produce many excellent specialist essays and numerous learned
    journals, it is impossible, for example, to buy an up-to-date and
    accessible biography of any of India’s pre-colonial rulers.
    Here perhaps lies one of the central causes of the current
    impasse. It is not just up to the politicians to improve the fairness
    and quality of India’s history. Unless Indian historians learn to make
    their work intelligible and attractive to a wider audience, and
    especially to their own voraciously literate middle class, unhistorical
    myths will continue to flourish.
    declarations of war against academic history itself,
    against the craft of the historian, against practices that authenticate
    historical knowledge…. When history is mobilized for specific political
    projects and sectarian conflicts; when political and community
    sentiments of the present begin to define how the past has to be
    represented; when history is fabricated to constitute a politics of
    hatred and violence, then we [historians] need to sit up and protest. If
    we do not then the long night of Gujarat will never end.18
    In May 2004, to the amazement of everyone, and in
    defiance of every opinion poll, the BJP-led coalition was narrowly voted
    out of office, and the Congress returned to power for the first time in
    six years.
    One of the first actions of the new
    government was to fire J.S. Rajput, the man who had supervised the
    preparation of the BJP’s textbooks, and to authorize schools to return
    to the old textbooks if they wished, pending a full review of the entire
    question. In the meantime, government schools are allowed to use their
    own judgment in choosing between the two sets of books which give, in
    many cases, mutually contradictory accounts of the same events. This
    seems a very Indian compromise.
    At the moment, following
    Congress’s surprise election victory, the BJP is in disarray. But there
    can be little doubt that this only a temporary truce: both sides are
    passionate about their cause and believe that the other is guilty of
    deliberately distorting the truth. The last election result was more
    about the economic complaints of the rural poor than a referendum on
    Hindutva, and the BJP has recently shown every sign of hardening its
    position on such religious matters.
    see more
    Reading Jain’s work, you get the impression that there is
    one homogeneous group called Muslims who ride around India doing
    terrible things, looting, pillaging, and building piles of skulls, and
    another group called Hindus who suffer silently under the Muslim yoke.
    It’s totally unhistorical. The word “Hindu” was not used as a religious
    term until the nineteenth century, and in medieval sources there is no
    one term for Muslims. There are over thirty pages of temples being
    destroyed, and no sense at any point that Hindus and Muslims were living
    side by side, interacting on a daily basis, on every level. The book is
    deeply and distastefully anti-Muslim.
    It is not just that the textbooks are historically
    invalid: in the aftermath of state-sponsored pogroms in Gujarat in April
    2002, when over two thousand Muslims were hunted down and murdered,
    Indian historians fear that the propagation of such divisive myths can
    only lead to yet more violence; and they point out that it was in
    Gujarat that the state’s history textbooks were first rewritten.17
    Professor Neeladri Bhattacharya of Jawaharlal Nehru University has
    written that the new textbooks are so inaccurate that they represent
    nothing less than
    Most controversial of all, however, was the medieval
    textbook by Meenakshi Jain. Her work was strongly criticized for
    depicting medieval South Asia as a paradise laid waste by barbarous
    Muslim invaders. Page after page is filled with atrocities as a
    succession of Hindu kingdoms engaged in “yet another glorious chapter of
    struggle” to resist the “Turkish yoke” before succumbing in a bloodbath
    of corpses and desecrated temples:
    Everywhere [the
    Muslim ruler] ravaged temples, pillaged cities and collected untold
    wealth…. The defenseless residents fled to the temples for refuge. The
    city was taken, its temples destroyed and denuded of their treasures and
    great numbers of the fleeing inhabitants slain.16
    While some of the massacres and desecrations described
    in the book undoubtedly did take place, others seem far-fetched. Just as
    the writers of the Old Testament thought it appropriate that their
    patriarchs should live for several hundred years, so medieval
    chroniclers tended to flatter the rulers for whom they wrote by
    exaggerating their potency in battle. Professor Narayani Gupta of Jamia
    Milia University in Delhi, who has vigorously campaigned against the new
    textbooks, told me:
    The following year the syllabus was modified and several million
    copies of a new set of history textbooks were distributed nationally.
    They were all written by right-wingers who were not known as serious
    historians. As Romila Thapar pointed out in the Hindustan Times,
    the fact that the BJP failed to recruit any reputable historians from
    within Indian universities showed that the confrontation was not
    “between Leftist and Rightist historians but between professional
    historians and politicians sympathetic to the Hindutva persuasion
    [Golwalkar’s term for Hindu nationalism].”13
    Academic historians were horrified, and the organization
    representing them, the Indian History Congress, passed motions calling
    for the withdrawal of the textbooks. They also produced a booklet
    listing over one thousand errors, typos, and illiterate statements in
    the new books14
    : a textbook on modern India, for example, omitted any mention of the
    assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, allegedly because of “space
    The new BJP government moved quickly to take on
    India’s historical establishment, and lost no time removing left-leaning
    historians from positions of power. On November 31, 1999, less than
    three months after the election victory, Romila Thapar was blocked from
    reelection to the Indian Council for Historical Research, which sponsors
    the work of scholars. Soon afterward she and several colleagues were
    removed from the Prasar Bharati, a group charged with reviewing the
    historical content of what is broadcast on the state-run Indian radio
    and television. They were replaced by political appointees,
    nonhistorians from the ultra-nationalist far right, who also took over
    India’s major academic funding bodies. One of the appointees, K.S. Lal,
    was quoted as saying, “People who were labeled communalist are now in
    power. Now it’s our turn to write the history.”11
    the mid-1980s, BJP-ruled states had begun to issue, in regional
    languages, new textbooks that followed the party line on India’s history
    and generally demonized Muslim rulers. The RSS also issued
    “saffronized” textbooks (saffron being the holy color of Hinduism) for
    use in its own nationwide network of schools, the Shishu Mandirs.12
    When the BJP came to power nationally, they extended this pattern
    across the country. In 2000, as an interim measure, numerous deletions
    were made from the existing history textbooks. A passage pointing out
    that cows were eaten in the Vedic period was, for example, removed from
    Thapar’s Ancient India without her permission. Any suggestion
    that medieval Indian civilization might have developed its extraordinary
    richness specifically because of its multiethnic, multireligious
    character was suppressed.
    see more
    During the 1980s, the Hindu right rose slowly to
    power, partly as a result of a dispute that focused attention on the
    destruction of a temple. The argument turned on whether Mir Baqi, a
    general of the Mughal emperor Babur (1483–1530), had built his mosque at
    Ayodhya over a temple commemorating the birthplace of the Hindu god
    Lord Ram. Although there was no evidence to confirm either the existence
    of the temple or even the identification of the modern town of Ayodhya
    with its legendary predecessor, Hindu organizations began holding
    rallies at the site, campaigning for the rebuilding of the temple.
    Finally, during the 1992 rally, a crowd of 200,000 militants, whipped
    into a frenzy by BJP leaders and shouting “Death to the Muslims!”
    attacked the mosque with sledgehammers. One after another, as if they
    were symbols of India’s traditions of tolerance, democracy, and
    secularism, the three domes were smashed to rubble.
    Over the next
    month violent unrest swept India: mobs went on the rampage and Muslims
    were burned alive in their homes, scalded by acid bombs, or knifed in
    the streets. By the time the army was brought in, at least 1,400 people,
    almost all of them Muslims, had been slaughtered in Bombay alone. It
    was a measure of how polarized things had become in India that this
    violence apparently augmented the BJP’s appeal to the electorate. In
    1992, the BJP won 113 seats in parliament, up from 89 in the previous
    election. In 1996 that proportion virtually doubled, and the BJP became
    the largest party. After the 1999 general election, with 179 seats, they
    were finally able to take power.
    Macaulay made fun of Indian classical learning as "medical doctrines which would
    disgrace an English farrier, astronomy which would move laughter in girls
    at an English boarding school, history abounding with kings thirty feet
    high and reigns thirty thousand years long, and geography made of seas
    of treacle and seas of butter."
    Maybe he was not talking about the old scholarship and learning, but rather the ridiculous 'gups' and theories of uneducated enthusiasts of 'Hindu learning' who were too lazy to study the actual, intellectually very challenging classics of Indian literature and learning, and instead relied on made-up folk tales.
    There are many of these people in the Sangh Parivar. They will kill off true Hindu scripture and philosophy with their over-simplified and politically motivated revised versions, many of them pure fabrication by fanatics with nothing better to do. Deep learning is unknown to them, and an absolute commitment to truth in the pursuit of knowledge equally so. I don't just fear for our curriculum. I fear for traditional Sanskritic learning still being kept alive by traditional Sastris and traditional scholars. At least Western language education did not directly intrude into their world. But these people and their made up knowledge will.
    SiDevil.. it came with holocaust million of hindus murdered... in the name of religion
    Such examples of tolerant collaboration were impressive. Yet they
    were only one aspect of a more complex picture. Large-scale desecration
    of Hindu monuments had undoubtedly taken place when Turkish warlords
    first swept into India in the twelfth century. Indeed several of the
    first Muslim sultans were energetic iconoclasts and made a point of
    building their mosques from the rubble of destroyed temples, in some of
    which you can still see the defaced sculptures of their Hindu
    predecessors. This iconoclasm continued intermittently as regional
    sultanates sprang up across India during the thirteenth and fourteenth
    In slightly overstating the case for Hindu–Muslim amity the
    Nehruvian textbooks gave the Hindu nationalists an opening as they began
    to gather strength during the 1970s. The first stirring against the
    existing orthodoxy was felt in the aftermath of India’s Emergency of
    1975, during which elections were postponed and civil liberties were
    suspended. When the Congress Party was defeated in the elec-tion that
    followed, losing power for the first time since Independence, Nehru’s
    daughter, Indira Gandhi, was replaced by Moraji Desai, who famously used
    to begin his day by drinking a glass filled with his own urine. The RSS
    found Desai’s government more receptive to their ideas than Congress
    had ever been, and Desai indicated that he was prepared to withdraw from
    circulation several history textbooks that the RSS objected to—though
    his government fell before it could do so.10
    The coming together of the great civilizations of the Middle East and
    South Asia under Muslim rule produced new hybrids in all spheres of
    life, and this was something that the textbooks concentrated on. In both
    Urdu and Hindi languages of great beauty mixed the Persian and Arabic
    words of the Muslim new incomers with the Sanskrit-derived vernaculars
    of northern India. In music the long-necked Persian lute was combined
    with the Indian vina to form the sitar. In architecture the monumental
    buildings of the Mughals—such as the Taj Mahal—reconciled the indigenous
    styles of the Hindus with the arch and dome of Islam, to produce a
    fusion more beautiful than either.
    The Nehru-era school textbooks were the work of the greatest
    historians of their day, among them Professor Romila Thapar and R.S.
    Sharma, who tended to come from the left-leaning elite. Their work
    emphasized that Islam was spread in India not by the sword—there is no
    evidence of forced mass conversions—but by the example of the mystical
    Muslim Sufis, the holy men of Islam, some of whose teachings fused with
    those of the Hindu devotional Bhakti movement. They also emphasized the
    religious tolerance of many of the Mughal emperors, especially Akbar
    (1542–1605), who patronized Hindu temples and visited Hindu holy men.
    The same was also true of his great-grandson, Dara Shukoh, who had the Gita translated into Persian and who wrote The Mingling of Two Oceans,
    a comparative study of Hinduism and Islam which emphasized the
    compatibility of the two faiths and the common source of their divine
    revelations. Many other great Mughal writers showed similarly syncretic
    tendencies: Mirza Ghalib, a Muslim and the greatest of all Urdu poets,
    wrote praising the Hindu holy city Benares as the Mecca of India, saying
    that he sometimes wished that he could “renounce the faith, take the
    Hindu rosary in hand, and tie a sacred thread over my shoulder.”8
    see more
    Partly as a result of Nehru’s firm action, the Hindu nationalists were
    an insignificant political force during the first decades of Indian
    independence. With the RSS in disgrace, the triumphant Congress Party
    was able to disseminate its view of history without any interference.
    From the early 1960s, government-issued history textbooks accepted that
    the Hindus’ ancestors had come to India from West Asia and that they
    arrived as migrants. The textbooks also emphasized the creation in
    medieval India of a “composite culture.”7
    Golwalkar looked for inspiration to the Nazi thinkers of the 1930s.
    He believed an independent India should emulate Hitler’s treatment of
    religious minorities, which he thoroughly approved of: “To keep up the
    purity of the Race and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her
    purging of its Semitic Race, the Jews,” he wrote admiringly soon after Kristallnacht:
    Race pride at its highest has been manifested there.
    Germany has also shown how well-nigh impossible it is for Races and
    cultures having differences going to the root to be assimilated into one
    united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindusthan to learn and profit
    by…. The foreign races in Hindusthan [i.e., the Muslims] must adopt the
    Hindu culture and language, must learn to respect and hold in reverence
    the Hindu religion, must entertain no ideas but those of glorification
    of the Hindu race and culture […and] may [only] stay in the country
    wholly subordinated to the Hindu nation, claiming nothing—not even
    citizen’s rights.
    During Partition in 1947, the RSS was responsible for
    many horrifying atrocities against India’s Muslims, and it was a former
    RSS member, Nathuram Godse, who assassinated Mahatma Gandhi for (in RSS
    eyes) “pandering” to the Muslims. In the aftermath of this murder, Nehru
    decided to deal with the threat he believed the Hindu Nationalists
    posed to the nation and denounced the RSS as a “private army…which is
    definitely proceeding on the strictest Nazi lines.”6
    Madhav Golwalkar, the early RSS leader still known
    simply as “the Guru,” was the man who first formulated what later became
    the official RSS/BJP position on Indian history. He broke with
    conventional Indian views and the consensus of scholars in two ways. One
    was in his understanding of Indian prehistory. Most archaeologists,
    then as now, took the view that India had been settled during the second
    millennium BC by a group of peoples who spoke Indo-European—or
    Aryan—languages, and who arrived in India in an eastward migration from
    Golwalkar disagreed. He believed that the Aryan ancestors of the
    Hindus were indigenous to India—in contrast to India’s Muslims, who
    invaded India and still looked to Mecca as the center of their faith.4 As he wrote in We, or Our Nationhood Defined: “The Hindus came into this land from nowhere, but are indigenous children of the soil always, from times immemorial.”5
    also diverged from the usual Indian consensus about India’s successive
    medieval Muslim conquerors. The invasion of Hindu and Buddhist India by
    Central Asian Muslim Turks and Mughals between the twelfth and sixteenth
    centuries tended to be seen by historians associated with the British
    Raj essentially as a long sequence of pillage, in clear contrast, so the
    British liked to imagine, to the law and order that the British
    colonizing mission allegedly brought to India in the nineteenth century.
    In reaction to this British view, the Congress Party tended to
    emphasize that Hindus and Muslims were one people, ethnically
    indistinguishable from each other, whose culture had come to fuse over
    centuries of coexistence; any differences between the two were said to
    be the result of colonial policies of divide and rule. Golwalkar took a
    different line. The real enemy according to him was Islam: “Ever since
    that evil day, when Moslems first landed in Hindusthan, right up to the
    present moment, the Hindu Nation has been gallantly fighting to shake
    off the despoilers.”
    see more
    The roots of the current conflict can be traced back to
    two rival conceptions of Indian history that began to diverge in the
    1930s, during the struggle for freedom from the British Raj. While the
    Indian Congress Party, led by Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru,
    tended to emphasize national unity and sought to minimize historical
    differences between Hindus and Muslims in order to form a united front
    against the British, a rather different line was taken by India’s more
    extreme Hindu nationalists. Some of these formed a neofascist
    paramilitary organization, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), or the
    Association of National Volunteers.
    Like the Phalange in Lebanon, the RSS was founded in direct
    imitation of European fascist movements. Like its 1930s models, it still
    sponsors daily parades in khaki uniforms and requires militaristic
    salutes; in fact, the RSS salute differs from that of the Nazis only in
    the angle of the forearm, which is held horizontally over the chest. The
    RSS aims to create a corps of dedicated paramilitary zealots who will
    bring about a revival of what it sees as the lost Hindu golden age of
    national strength and purity. The BJP, the Hindu nationalist party which
    ruled India from 1999 until last May, was founded as the political wing
    of the RSS, and most senior BJP figures hold posts in both
    organizations. The BJP is certainly much more moderate than the RSS—like
    the Likud in Israel, the BJP is a party which embraces a wide spectrum
    of right-wing opinion, ranging from mildly conservative free marketeers
    to raving ultra-nationalists. But both organizations believe, as the
    centerpiece of their ideology, that India is in essence a Hindu nation
    and that the minorities may live in India only if they acknowledge this.
    see more
    In November 2003, at the School of Oriental and African Studies in
    London, I was acting as moderator of a lecture on the great Hindu epic
    the Ramayana given by the celebrated Sanskrit scholar Professor
    Wendy Doniger, who was once Courtright’s teacher. Midway through the
    lecture, a man stood up, walked threateningly toward the podium, and
    threw an egg at Doniger, which narrowly missed her. During the questions
    that followed the lecture, Doniger faced a barrage of insults from a
    group who had come with the egg-thrower, and who maintained that as a
    non-Hindu she was unqualified to comment on their religion. Other
    lectures on India have since been broken up in similar circumstances.
    Within India, mobs mobilized by the Hindu right have occasionally
    attacked art exhibitions, libraries, publishers, and movie houses for
    their alleged unpatriotic and anti-Hindu bias; but for the first time
    the campaign now seemed to be spreading onto campuses worldwide.
    Nor is it just foreign scholars who have been targeted. The historian D.N. Jha, who wrote The Myth of the Holy Cow,
    which pointed out the considerable historical and archaeological
    evidence that beef was routinely eaten during the Vedic period in the
    first millennium BC, received many death threats; his book was withdrawn
    in India. “This is terrorism,” he told the press after he heard about
    the plan to arrest Laine. “The entire community of scholars and liberals
    have to fight it together. People have been frightened into silence—and
    politicians seem to encourage it.” Romila Thapar, the most celebrated
    historian of early India, who has also received death threats for her
    historical work, was equally incensed: “The scope for a dispassionate
    look at history and scholarship is growing less in the country,” she
    said. “It is frightening.”
    see more
    In his book, Laine wrote that Shivaji’s parents “lived apart for most
    if not all of Shivaji’s life,” adding that “Maharashtrians tell jokes
    naughtily suggesting that his guardian Dadaji Konddev was his biological
    father.” This was interpreted as a suggestion by Laine that Shivaji was
    illegitimate; after a horrified review was published in a Marathi
    weekly magazine, a series of protests began. In October an elderly
    Sanskrit scholar whom Laine had thanked in his acknowledgments was
    beaten up and had his face smeared with tar. To forestall further
    violence, in November the book was withdrawn from the Indian market by
    Oxford University Press, and an apology for causing offense was issued
    by the author.
    The Indian newsmagazine Outlook ran its story of the
    attack on the institute across two pages under the banner headline “A
    Taste of Bamiyan,” and most of the leading Indian papers carried
    editorials attacking what one referred to as the “Talibanization” of
    India. “We cannot have the mob write our history for us,” said Indian Express.
    Unluckily for Professor Laine, the attack took place in the
    months leading up to India’s general election and the book soon became
    an election issue. The militants who carried out the attack held public
    meetings announcing that they wanted every Indian named in the book’s
    acknowledgments to be arrested, questioned, and tried. Opening his
    campaign in Maharashtra, the then prime minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee,
    issued a “warning to all foreign authors that they must not play with
    our national pride. We are prepared to take action against the foreign
    author [Laine] in case the state government fails to do so.”
    The cause of this violence was a brief mention of the institute in the acknowledgments of a short scholarly book, Shivaji: Hindu King in Islamic India
    by James W. Laine, a professor at Macalester College in Minnesota. The
    book, which had been praised by scholars when it appeared in the spring
    of 2003, was a study of Shivaji Bhonsle (1627–1680), the Hindu guerrilla
    leader from western India who successfully challenged the Mughal Empire
    and eventually had himself crowned as Chatrapati (“Lord of the
    Umbrella”) of an independent Maratha state. Shivaji is now regarded as a
    near-divine figure by many Hindu nationalists. He is also the
    particular folk hero of Maharashtra, the region around Pune and Bombay,
    whose airport, station, and museum have all been renamed in his honor.
    In India, and among the Indian diaspora, a passionately
    contested battle is taking place over the interpretation of Indian
    history. Debates about rival versions of Indian prehistory or the
    struggles among the religions of medieval South Asia—the sort of
    arguments that anywhere else would be heard at scholarly
    conferences—have in India become the subject of political rallies and
    mob riots. Parallel with this there has been a concerted attempt by
    politicians of the Hindu far right to rewrite the history textbooks used
    in Indian schools and to bring historians and the writing of history
    under their direct control.1
    On January 5, 2004, an incident at one of India’s leading centers
    of historical research, the Bhandarkar Oriental Institute in the town
    of Pune, southeast of Bombay, demonstrated how serious things had
    become. Just after 10 AM, as the staff were opening up the library, a
    cavalcade of more than twenty jeeps drew up. Armed with crowbars, around
    two hundred Hindu militants poured into the institute, cutting the
    telephone lines. Then they began to tear the place apart.
    The militants overturned the library shelves, and for the next
    few hours they kicked around the books and danced on them, damaging an
    estimated 18,000 volumes before the police arrived. More seriously
    still, they severely damaged a first-century manuscript of the great
    Hindu epic the Mahabharata, as well as a set of palm leaf
    inscriptions, some important relics from the prehistoric site of
    Mohenjodaro, and a very early copy of the Rig Veda—the world’s oldest
    sacred text—once used by the great German scholar Max Mueller.
    see more
    India: The War Over History
    William Dalrymple
    April 7, 2005 Issue
    Shivaji: Hindu King in Islamic India
    by James W. Laine
    Oxford University Press,144 pp., $39.95
    Ganesha: Lord of Obstacles, Lord of Beginnings
    by Paul Courtright
    Oxford University Press,296 pp., $26.95 (paper)
    Early India: From the Origins to AD 1300
    by Romila Thapar
    University of California Press,586 pp., $48.00; $18.95 (paper)
    Beyond Nationalist Frames: Postmodernism, Hindu Fundamentalism, History
    by Sumit Sarkar
    Indiana University Press, 280 pp., $37.95
    A History of India, Volume 2
    by Percival Spear
    Penguin, 304 pp., $14.95 (paper)
    Beyond Turk and Hindu: Rethinking Religious Identities in Islamicate South Asia
    edited by David Gilmartin and Bruce B. Lawrence
    University Press of Florida,384 pp., $59.95; $24.95 (paper)
    The Myth of the Holy Cow
    by Dwijendra Narayan Jha
    Verso, 120 pp., $14.00 (paper)
    History in the New NCERT Textbooks: A Report and Index of Errors
    by Irfan Habib, Suvira Jaiswal, and Aditya Mukherjee
    Kolkata: Indian History Congress, 129 pp., 50 rupees
    see more
    How did Indian Muslim and Christian come into existence, who burnt the temples and destroyed them.. should be party of history..recorder history.. why would secularist shut up on it.
    Farting Fascists and Indian History
    ...and I am Sid Harth

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