12th March 2018 was an amusing day, when NDTV decided to publish an article on Political Parties Rewriting Books. But the biggest irony of that article was that it was written by Romila Thapar, the living legend of agenda-based distortions in academic history. She tried to suggest (in her article) that history textbooks cannot be subject to the whims and fancies of political change. I aim to demonstrate the hypocrisy behind these words of hers and the genuine necessity for a transformation in our textbooks.
For sake of argument, let us ignore the fact that this suggestion (of “no change in history books”) came from Romila Thapar and analyse it objectively. Should history textbooks be changed every time a different party gains power? The answer is no. But one can’t hide behind this argument when sheer lies are being taught to children. For example, if I had a textbook that somehow said:
“Evolution is just a theory that has no correlation with the truth. No one actually saw a monkey turn into a man”.
You surely would ask for a change in the book, whatever party you are from. Why? Simply because it’s a delusion that you do not want children to study and ingrain into their minds. Previous governments have left ludicrous suggestions in the minds of little children, that the government needs to eradicate. Therefore, although every party in power should not change books for the sake of displaying political muscle, genuine distortions call for a change. In this regard, I shall try to prove two important things to the reader:
- That firstly, the textbooks that were left by the Congress government by 2014 needed to be changed.
- And secondly, Romila Thapar herself has been a part of the brigade of bigoted historians with political motives.
Let us begin with a brief overview on the kind of textbooks we have in India right now. And please note that this is after all the alleged “rewriting of history by BJP”. I myself have examined the amount of falsifications in a young student’s book, to prove the necessity for a refinement. I would even like to quote Smriti Irani’s famous speech in parliament:
History taught to standard 6th. I quote, madam speaker, “Kashmir is a much demonised land today that the State militates against… The atrocities of the Indian State”…There is a single prescribed textbook on Shivaji all over Maharashtra. Teachers from the schools in Bombay have expressed great difficulty in controlling emotions. One of them said, “The schools that have active enrollment of Muslim students are rushed through the chapter on Afzal Khan and Shivaji’s confrontation. It is a politically and socially loaded connotation. I can’t meet eye to eye with Muslim students, so I start my chapter with an apology. There are many Afzals in my class.”. As said by the teacher teaching in the 6th standard.
I do not attribute these specific distortions to Romila Thapar. But when such things are being taught to children, is it not fair to ask for books to be changed? How can you argue that this is about “political parties”, when such things have been written and even commissioned irresponsibly by certain governments? Therefore change is a must in such situations.
But here is where Romila comes into the picture. Now, she conveniently says political ideology cannot change the truth. What a brilliant note to self! She has literally legitimised historical distortion in India, and has born audacious political motives during her active years. She suggested so many things that fell in line with the Marxist view of history, including an uncanny bigotry towards Hinduism, half baked knowledge, lies, lies and more lies.
In her history books, she has placed massive emphasis on this idea of Hindus actually having an Aryan identity. Let’s have a look:
Notice how there is a massive emphasis on “Aryans arriving to India”. No reference of it being a theory, no reference of there being massive evidence against. Just a bold assertion. Aside from that, she subtly incorporates the highly flawed ‘nasal index’ concept by saying that Dravidians or “Dasyus” had “flat noses”. She doesn’t stop there; naturally Marxism in India not only involves dividing based on caste, but also language. Therefore, she must obviously mention that they spoke different languages. As though that was not enough, she goes on to say that we apparently worshipped different Gods. Obviously, no historical evidence to back any of these claims. No quotations of scriptures of the time, no scientific evidence, just gutted declarations of massive divisions. In fact, the scriptures and DNA tests have proved the opposite of what Romila propogates here. But naturally, Mrs. Thapar has not made her motives clear enough, so do not worry oh Class 6 student. For if you answer the following questions that are only on Aryans (because that is what Ancient India was, wasn’t it?), one day you can become a Marxist too!
If only she stopped there. But you guessed it: she doesn’t!
“Indra was the favourite god, because he was strong and he could strike down the demons and the enemies of the Aryans”. Seriously? Firstly, there is no logical basis to announce Indra as the “favourite God”, because there’s nothing like that in any Veda, Upanishad, Purana, Itihasa or any documented piece of evidence for that matter. So it naturally makes you wonder- why would she bring up “favourite god”? Well, voila! Here’s the answer: “he could strike down the demons and enemies of the Aryans”.
Really? Is that what India’s “most eminent historian” resorts to? Indra, who is the king of Devas is perceived to somehow be pro-Aryan. But there is no logical basis to assume that. Much like her comrades, she wants you to believe that Rakshasas were “dark” and therefore “Dravidian”. Anyone who is therefore against Rakshasas is “fair” and therefore “Aryan”. So since Indra was perceived to be fair by the Marxist brigade, hallelujah! He not only struck down the enemies of Aryans but is suddenly their favourite God.
She does not stop there though. She goes on to pull every desperate attempt of misrepresenting Indian culture, just as every member of the Communist pseudo-intellectual squad has done. This time, she pronounces: “there is literary evidence” through hymns, stories and poems” to say that beef eating was a “common practice amongst Aryans”. In fact, she stands by these statements to this day and has brought them up on various occasions:
Of course, every source of firsthand Vedic information will condemn cow slaughter as will none mention the permission of beef eating. Her beloved literary evidence seems to work against her this time though, because if I quoted to you: Rig-veda (10.87.16), Manu-samhita (5.48-49), (Mahabharata, Anu.115.47) and tens of scriptures. One sample verse from the Atharva Veda (10.29.1) says:
The slaughter of an innocent, O Krityā, is an awful deed. Slay not a cow, horse, or any mortal.
Let us agree to something: laughable, yet equally sorry things that were taught to Indian children at one point in time due to political inclinations and biases. And it is even more saddening when people responsible for that, go on to talk about objectivity and worry about history “being corrupted” now. Dear NDTV journalists, apologists and bigoted historians like Mrs. Thapar- please understand that we cannot be fooled anymore. If I as a fifteen year old student can see through your silly suggestions, don’t you dare underestimate the rest of the nation.