What would be the fate of TRUTH if a Historian turns to be a Fiction author?
[A copy of an article written by Shri S L Bhyrappa in Vijaya Karnataka, 27th September, 2006).]
During 1969-70, the Central Government under Smt. Indira Gandhi, with a mission to integrate the nation through education had established a committee under the Chairmanship of G .Parthasarathy, a diplomat whowas close to Nehru-Gandhi family. At that time I was a reader in Educational Philosophy at NCERT and I was selected as one of the fivemembers of the committee. In the first meeting Mr. Parthasarathy, theChairman of the committee had explained the purpose of the committee in his diplomatic polite language: “it is our duty not to sow the seeds of thorns in the minds of the growing children which will shapeup as barriers for the national integration. Such thorns are mostly seen in the history lessons. Even we can find them occasionally in the language and social science lessons. We have to weed out such thorns. We have to include only such thoughts which will inculcate the concept of national integration in the minds of the children.This committee has this great responsibility on it.”
Other four members were nodding their heads respectfully. I said:
“Sir, I am not able to understand your words. Will you please explain with some illustrations? “
“Gazni Mohammed had looted Somnath Temple, Aurangzeb built the mosques by demolishing the temples in Kashi and Mathura, he collected jizya – is it helpful to build a strong India under the present circumstances by conveying such useless facts, other than generating the hatred in the minds?”
“But are not they the historical truths?”
“Plenty of truths are there. To use these truths discriminately is the wisdom of the history”
The remaining four members simply nodded their heads by saying “yes, yes”.
“You gave examples of Kashi and Mathura. Even today every year lakhs of people go to these places from all nooks and corners of the country as pilgrims. They can see very clearly the huge mosques built using the same walls, pillars and columns of the demolished temples ,they can also see a recently built cow shed like structure in a corner, behind the mosque, representing their temple. All the pilgrims are distressed to witness such awful structures. They describe the plight of their temples to their relatives after they return home. Whether this can create national integration? One can hide the history in the school texts. But can we hide such facts when these children go on excursions? The researchers have listed more than thirty thousand such ruined temples in India. Can we hide them all? . . . . .”
Mr. Parthasarthy interrupted me by asking “you are a professor of Philosophy. Please tell us what the purpose of history is?”
“No body can define the purpose of history. We do not know how thethings shape up because of the development of science and technology in the future. Some western thinkers might have called it the philosophy of history. But such thoughts are futile. Our discussion here should be, what is the purpose of teaching history? History is seeking the truth about our past events, learning about the ancient human lives by studying the inscriptions, records, literary works, relics, artifacts etc. We should not commit the same blunders that our predecessors committed, we have to imbibe the noble qualities that they have adopted, historical truths help us to learn all these things.. . . .”
“Can we hurt the feelings of the minority? Can we divide the society? Can we sow the seeds of poison . . . .”
He stopped me with these questions.
“Sir, the categorization on the lines of majority and minority would itself result in the division of the society or that would be a strategy to divide the society. This idea of ‘seeds of poison’ is prejudiced. Why should the minority think that Gazni Mohammed, Aurangzeb are their own people? Mughal kingdom was destroyed by the religious bigotry of Aurangzeb. Mughal kingdom was at its pinnacle because of Akbar’s rules for religious harmony; can’t we teach such lessons to the children without offending the historical truths? Before teaching the lessons to be learnt from the history, should we not explain the historical truths? These ideals of hiding history are influenced by the politics. This trend will not last long. Whether they are minority or majority, if the education does not impart the intellectual power to face the truth and the resultant emotional maturity then such education is meaningless and also dangerous.” I said.
Parthasarathy agreed. He appreciated my scholarship and ability to think. During lunch break he called me separately, indicated his closeness to me by touching my shoulders, enquired about my native place.
He asked me to write a Kannada word, and spoke two sentences in Tamil thus emphasized the fact that we are from neighboring states, speaking the sister languages.
Afterwards he said with a winning smile, “your thoughts are correct academically. You write an article about this. But when the government formulates a policy governing the entire nation, it has to combine the interests of all the people. Puritan principles do not serve any purpose.”
Next day when we met, I struck to my stand strongly. I argued that history that is not based on truth is futile and dangerous too.
Parthasarathy showed his irritation on his face. I did not budge. The morning session closed without arriving at any conclusion.
Parthasarathy did not speak to me again.
After a fortnight again we met. The committee was re-structured, my name was not there, in my place a lecturer in history by name Arjun dev with leftist ideas was included in the committee. The revised text books of science and social studies published by NCERT and the new lessons that were introduced in these texts were written under his guidance. These are the books which were prescribed as texts in the congress and communist ruled states or they guided the text book writers in these States.
(I am quoting this instance taken from my presidential speech at Alwas Nudisiri, second conference held on October 21, 22, 23-2005).
NCERT books for XI standard, Ancient India is written by a Marxist historian R.S. Sharma and Medieval India written by another Marxist historian Satish Chandra, when reviewed, one can observe that how members belonging to this group had a scheme to invade the minds of growing children.
According to them Asoka preached to respect even (stress is mine) Brahmins by advocating the quality of tolerance. He had banned the ritual of sacrificing the animals and birds, performance of yagnas were stopped due to this ban, Brahmins lost their share of dakshina (cash gifts) and their livelihood was affected. After Asoka, Maurya kingdom was disintegrated and many parts of this kingdom came underthe rule of Brahmins. How childish it is, to say that a highly influential religion, which had spread all over India and even crossed the borders to reach foreign shores declined because of dissatisfied Brahmins who were deprived of their dakshina (cash gifts).
Muslims demolished the temples to loot the riches and wealth accumulated in these temples — this explanation softens their actions. In some other context they may even say the looting may be according to the laws of Shariat which again paints the events as insignificant.
Dr. Ambedkar in the section, the decline and fall of Buddhism (Writings and Speeches volume III, Government of Maharashtra 1987 pp 229-38) after explaining the events like Muslim invaders destroying the universities of Nalanda, Vikramasheela, Jagaddala, Odanthapura etc., brutal killings of the Buddhist monks, escape of Buddhist monks to Nepal, Tibet to save their lives says, “the roots of Buddhism were axed. Islam killed the Buddhism by killing priestly class of Buddhism. This is the worst catastrophe suffered by the Buddhism in India.”
These Marxists who quote Dr. Ambedkar whenever it is convenient for them to denigrate Hinduism, ignore nicely these words ‘the decline of Buddhism in India is due to terrifying actions of Muslims ‘of Dr. Ambedkar, who fought against the caste system in Hinduism throughout his life and at the end embraced Buddhism; this may be it is one of the important philosophies of Indian Marxists. R.S. Sharma the author of NCERT text Ancient India, New Delhi, 1992 p 112 writes, “Buddha viharas attracted Turkish invaders because of their wealth. They were the special greedy targets for the invaders. Turks killed many Buddhist monks. Despite these killings, many monks escaped to Nepal and Tibet.”
Here the clever Marxists have hidden the fact that Muslims destroyed these religious places as dictated by Shariat by calling Muslims of Turkey with a tribal name Turkish. At the same time they write that Buddhism declined during Asoka’s reign because of Brahmins who were deprived of their dakshina (monetary gifts). One should appreciate their cleverness to hide a truth by creating an untruth.
The English scholars who started writing Indian histories on the lines of European history have introduced a cunning idea behind their scholarship. First they established that Indian culture is Vedic culture. The creators of this culture are Aryans who were outsiders. Aryans established themselves by destroying the local civilization. All the invaders who came later were outsiders. Muslims came. After them we (English) came. Therefore if we are not natives of this country, you are also not natives of this land. English strengthened this argument in the universities, media and also in the minds of the English educated people.
Rig-Veda the so called religious text of Aryans was written when they were outside India. That means the basic religion of Indians was originated from a foreign land. This argument severed the spiritual relationship between India and Indians. English educated Indians were struggling with this alien feeling for about 100 years. This argument sowed and enraged the feelings of hatred and racial hostility between Aryans who were outsiders and the Dravidians the natives of this land. It is easy to create the feelings of hatred and hostility. But the people who know the human psychology can understand that it is very difficult to come out of such feelings even after knowing that the reasons quoted in support of these arguments were proved wrong.
Although the research conducted in the later periods discovered many facts which disapproved the Aryan Invasion theory, nobody has written a complete history of India from the Indian point of view. Under such circumstances, freedom fighter, follower of Gandhi, famous advocate, the member of Constitution Drafting Committee, a great scholar, founder of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Kanhiahlal Munshi had planned to write a complete Indian history.
He invited an eminent scholar and researcher R.C. Majumdar to be the editor of this book. Both of them entered into a contract. As per the terms of the contract Munshi should supply all the equipment and finance that is required by Majumdar. But he should never interfere in the matters of choosing the historians to write various sections, and also in the ensuing discussions. Munshi was committed to this agreement.
Majumdar and his team of scholars published 11 volumes of a complete, objective and scholarly book, ‘THE HISTORY AND THE CULTURE OF THE INDIAN PEOPLE’. In the last 15 years nobody has written a book like this singly or jointly.
National Book Trust had proposed to translate all these volumes in all the Indian languages. The proposal was sent to ICHR (Indian Council for Historical Research) The ICHR committee comprised of Communist leaning people like S.Gopal, Tapan Roy Choudhary, Satish Chandra, Romilla Thapar etc. They had recommended that these volumes from Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan are not suitable for translation and hence the proposal should be rejected.
This ICHR committee e suggested alternative books for the translation into Indian languages, which were written by either these members of the committee or by their other Marxist comrades. Their list included five books of ICHR president R.S. Sharma; 3 books of S. Gopal (the son of scholar philosopher S. Radhakrishnan); 3 books of Romilla Thapar; 2 books of Bipin Chandra; 2 books of Irfan Habib; 2 books of his father Mohammed Habib; one book of Satish Chandra, books of E.M.S. Namboodripad, then senior leader of Communist Party of India; and the book of British Rajni Pamdatta (who was controlling Indian communists during the decade of 1940s)
But there was not even a single book of Lokamanya Tilak, Jadunath Sarkar or R.C. Majumdar!
(One has to refer Arun Shourie’s EMINENT HISTORIANS: Their Technology. Various groups hate Arun Shourie for various reasons.
Shourie is special, in the sense that he will investigate thoroughly until he reaches the roots of any subject which he intends to write. In the book Eminent Historians, Sri Shourie has investigated about these writers and has unearthed the details of who had recommended the books for translation and who has received what remuneration how much fees and in what form.)
The influence of Gandhian thoughts had declined in the Congress Party in the last days of Gandhiji. Nehru never followed Gandhian thoughts. Though he had great admiration for the democracy of England, in his heart he had love for the communism of Russia. After he came to power he gradually sidelined other congress leaders. The death of Patel was a boon to him. Rajendra Prasad as a President was only a formal head. Rajaji, Krupalani though they formed their own parties, were not influential enough. Nehru was not innocent though he was under the control of a radical communist like Krishna Menon. He was well known in the international circles because he was one of the leading figures who followed the global non-alignment policy but yet he was disliked by western countries like America as the non alignment policy had the strong support of communist Russia. As a result India suffered a loss.
India’s loss was not Nehru’s loss. He was so much devoted and had a strong faith in communism that his government and the entire Indian Media was chanting the mantra, Hindi-Chini Bhai Bhai as a daily ritual till China forcibly kicked us out of our own land. In the meantime communists (Marxists) had occupied the Indian intellectual world. Nehru had a scheme to divide Hindus and to please the Muslims for his political survival. Nehru adopted the same strategy that British used to continue their regime in this country.
Secularism means a word of contempt used to address only Hindus. Secularism means our duty towards Muslims and Christians. Nehru spread the message that minority will never be secular. M.C. (Mohammed Karim) Chagla in his autobiography, ‘Roses in December’ writes, he was born and brought up in Mumbai. He was a lawyer in the same city, earned a great name as an honest person. Later he retired as the Chief Justice of Mumbai High Court. He wanted to contest for Loksabha. He wrote a letter to Nehru asking for a ticket for one of the constituencies of Mumbai. He was given a ticket from Aurangabad constituency through a letter from Congress high command. He had written a letter in reply to the high command letter, “I was born and I grew up in Mumbai, I am familiar with the people of Mumbai by serving them. Why did you give me ticket for the unfamiliar Aurangabad?” Nehru’s high command answer for this letter was,
“Aurangabad is a Muslim majority constituency. You are also a Muslim. So you can contest from that constituency. “
Indira Gandhi had one and only aim of retaining the power, so she needed the support of communists to crush the Jansangh and the old guards of Congress like Morarji Desai, Nijalingappa, Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy, Kamraj and others. Communists knew pretty well that they cannot occupy the seat of power directly, so they devised a plan so that at least their theories would capture the seat of power.
Therefore Indira Gandhi helped them to enter and occupy the posts in the universities, media, ICHR, NCERT etc. Communist Russia also pressurized to follow this path.
Nehru and his daughter had become so close to Russia that they were not in a position to oppose her strongly. Communists somehow learnt the tactics from the dictatorial administration models of Russia and China to take the reins in their hands completely after occupying the vital places in the intellectual life of the country. This still continues even the lifeline of UPA government of Sonia Gandhi is in the hands of communists.
Media pretended silence when leftists occupied the education and history commissions, the departments of history, social science, literature and other subjects of the universities in our country. Leftists raised their voices when Murali Manohar Joshi from NDA government tried to bring the changes like Indianising the education, directing to mention the contributions of the ancient India to science while teaching science, advising to begin the day in the schools with Saraswathi Vandana. Even media projected them as great calamities. Congress members and the proponents of equality started a movement because they could visualize the rising storms in the country due to these changes. Nobody from these groups are objecting when Arjun Singh is resurrecting the leftist agenda in its extreme form. Media, specially the English media, in fact is encouraging this trend.
The only aim of Congress is to retain the power and it lacks the original thinking. It is sleeping blissfully in the thought of borrowing it from the communists. But it is following the liberal policies, thinking that the economic policies of the previous government had damaged the economy. Communists have accepted these policies in their hearts and are unable to come out of the clutches of Marxism, the very basis of their identity.
The methods adopted by the leftists to spread their roots are not different from the bane of caste politics in India. They systematically execute the tasks of appointing people who are loyal to their theories in the universities, presenting their own theories through newspapers, television and other media, getting appreciative criticisms for the books written by their favorite writers, devising plans to banish the writers from the opposite group, spreading their messages by organizing seminars frequently to attract the growing minds, getting awards and titles for their own men from the government. They have started a system of literary criticism for evaluating the books in the light of the standards defined in their theories. They think that they have reduced to the dust the traditional concepts of criticism like pure literature, aesthetics, imagery, context etc.
Even the truth in case of communists would be the stand taken by their party, similarly other values like art, morals etc. I need not explain these things to the people who have read the books written about these topics published by the communist Russia and sold at cheaper rates in India and in other countries.
I am always interested in the sociology, psychology history and other branches of humanities. I have studied all these subjects to some extent. Philosophy is my professional subject. Soundarya Meemse is my research field. But I am interested in the literature, I started writing novels. Truth and beauty, specially the relationship between the truth and the literature is haunting my mind. How much liberty an author has while creating the historical characters which are clearly defined by the inscriptions, records, relics, excavations and other evidences? I am haunted by this query- what is the nature of this liberty?
The statements made by the author of ‘The Real Tipu ‘(Kannada translation “Tipu – nija swaroopa” by Pradhan Gurudatta, Sahithi Sindhu Prakashana, Nrupathunga Road, Bangalore 1) H.D. Sharma in his preface in the matter has stimulated my thoughts: “Tipu sultan has recently leaped from the history books on to the small screen. This has created a special interest about him and his period. This has raised a serious debate. Because many people – specially the people from Kerala – feel that Tipu was not like he was shown in the TV serial. (The serial is based on the novel ‘The Sword of Tipusultan’ by Bhagwan S. Gidwani is full of lies and has twisted the facts.) TV serial has contributed the untruths in its own way. This raging debate motivated me to make a detailed study about Tipu. When I learnt the facts I was shocked.” (This is the English translation of Pradhan Gurudat’s Kannada translation quoted by Mr. Bhyrappa in the article.)
Of course, one should not think about the Indian, specially the Bollywood people who are experts in selling their thrilling, colorful entertainments. Even the people who write ballads are fromthe village fairs and dramas. But why people who write serious literature create thrilling, entertaining scenes of different type?
Why do not they be loyal to the historical facts? Why do not they release themselves from the clutches of the historians of their ideology and try to interpret the historical evidences thinking independently? The historian S. Shettar (ICHR president) who supported Girish Karnad says, “Girish Karnad while writing a drama on Tippu sultan was searching for his good qualities only with the purpose of writing a drama. Dramatists and historians and creative writers will have their own ideals.”
(Vijaya Karnataka, 27th September, 2006).
Please read Oh History! My History!
February 18, 2020 at 7:10 pm
Dear Namita, thanks for the visit. Sorry. The online archives of Vijaya Karnataka no longer carry the original of Shri SL Bhyrappa’s article of 27 September 2006: What would be the fate of TRUTH if a Historian turns to be a Fiction author?
My post is about 14 years old. I am not sure of the exact date of its publication. It might be around the time soon after the Kannada article appeared in the Newspaper.
During that time ,or a little later , a few other versions of the same articles were posted on the net.
Please check :
Rashtra Varta ; Sunday, October 8, 2006
What would be the fate of the truth if a historian seeks advantages like a fiction author?
BlogSpot : RAMBLING : SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2006 : Bhyrappa and Karnad
Sorry. I have not been of much help.