Friday, July 14, 2017

Hindutva: Legacy of the British Raj?

Colonial-era British historians deliberately distorted the history of Indian Muslim rule to vilify Muslim rulers as part of the British policy to divide and conquer India, says American history professor Audrey Truschke, in her recently published book "Aurangzeb: The Life and Legacy of India's Most Controversial King". These misrepresentations of Muslim rule made during the British Raj appear to have been accepted as fact not just by Islamophobic Hindu Nationalists but also by at least some of the secular Hindus in India and Muslim intellectuals in present day Pakistan, says the author.  Aurangzeb was neither a saint nor a villain; he was a man of his time who should be judged by the norms of his times and compared with his contemporaries, the author adds.

Demolishing Myths: 

Madhav Golwalkar, considered the founder of the Hindu Nationalist movement in India, saw Islam and Muslims as enemies. He said: “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".

Professor Truschke systematically dismantles
myths about India's Muslim rulers as being hateful and bigoted tyrants who engaged in rape and pillage of Hindus and carried out widespread destruction of Hindu temples across India. Hindu Nationalists led by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who considers Golwalkar "worthy of worship, are using false history to play victims of "brutal" Islamic rule and to justify their hatred and violence against Indian Muslims today.

Hindu Nationalists' False Narrative:

Truschke explains how the Hindu Nationalists have used colonial-era distortions of history and built a false narrative to justify their hatred and violence against India's Muslim minority. Here's an excerpt from her book:

"Such views have roots in colonial-era scholarship, where positing timeless Hindu-Muslim animosity embodied the British strategy of divide and conquer. Today, multiple websites claim to list Aurangzeb's "atrocities" against Hindus (typically playing fast and loose with the facts) and fuel communal fires. There are numerous gaping holes in the proposition that Aurangzeb razed temples because he hated Hindus, however. Most glaringly, Aurangzeb counted thousands of Hindu temples within his domain and yet destroyed, at most, few dozen.....A historically legitimate view of Aurangzeb must explain why he protected Hindu temples more often than he demolished them."

Misguided Pakistani View:

The false narrative about Aurangzeb has been accepted as fact not just by Islamophobic Hindu Nationalists in India who use it for their own purposes, but also by at least some of the Muslim intellectuals in present day Pakistan. Truschke singles out Pakistani playwright Shahid Nadeem to make this point in her book:

"Across the border in Pakistan, too, many endorse the vision of an evil Aurangzeb. As Shahid Nadeem, a Pakistani playwright, recently put it: " Seeds of partition were sown when Aurangzeb triumphed over [his brother] Dara Shikoh". Such far-fetched suggestions would be farcical, if so many did not endorse them."

Some British educated secular Indian leaders have also been misled colonial-era historical narrative of Muslim rule pushed by the British. For example, India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, thought Aurangzeb was too Muslim to rule India. Nehru described Aurangzeb as "a bigot and an austere puritan" and called him a dangerous throwback who "put back the clock". Here's a quote from Nehru used by Truschke to make her point:

"When Aurangzeb began to oppose [the syncretism of the earlier Mughal rulers] and suppress it and to function more as a Moslem than an Indian ruler, the Mughal empire began to break up".

The Real Aurangzeb:

Here's an excerpt from Truschke's article in Wire.in that explains how she sees "historical Aurangzeb":

"Aurangzeb, for instance, acted in ways that are rarely adequately explained by religious bigotry. For example, he ordered the destruction of select Hindu temples (perhaps a few dozen, at most, over his 49-year reign) but not because he despised Hindus. Rather, Aurangzeb generally ordered temples demolished in the aftermath of political rebellions or to forestall future uprisings. Highlighting this causality does not serve to vindicate Aurangzeb or justify his actions but rather to explain why he targeted select temples while leaving most untouched. Moreover, Aurangzeb also issued numerous orders protecting Hindu temples and communities from harassment, and he incorporated more Hindus into his imperial administration than any Mughal ruler before him by a fair margin. These actions collectively make sense if we understand Aurangzeb’s actions within the context of state interests, rather than by ascribing suspiciously modern-sounding religious biases to him."

Truschke is not alone in the above assessment of Aurangzeb. Marathi writer Nagnath S. Inamdar, the author of  "Shahenshah: The Life of Aurangzeb",  recalls visiting a prominent Hindu temple whose priest told him that it had come down in his family that not only had Aurangzeb left the temple intact, but also authorized a recurring annual donation for its maintenance. Further diminishing the idea of a puritanical figure, Inamdar also found old manuscripts with love sonnets composed by Aurangzeb.

Real History in Persian:

Truschke says the original history of the Mughal rule was written in Persian. However, it is the English translation of the original work that are often used to distort it. Here's what she says about it in her book:

"The bulk of Mughal histories are written in Persian, the official administrative language of the Mughal empire but a foreign tongue in India today. Out of necessity and ease, many historians disregard the original Persian text and rely instead on English translations. This approach narrows the the library of materials drastically, and many translations of the Mughal texts are of questionable quality, brimming with mistranslations and abridgments. Some of these changes conveniently served the agendas of the translators, especially colonial-era translations that tend to show Indo--Muslim kings at their worst so that the British would seem virtuous by comparison (foremost here is Elliot and Dowson's History of India as Told by Its Own Historians). Such materials are great for learning about British colonialism, but they present an inaccurate picture of Mughal India."

Comparison with Contemporaries:

On temple destructions, Truschke says that the "Hindu rulers were the first to come up with the idea of sacking one another’s temples, before Muslims even entered the Indian subcontinent. But one hears little about these “historical wrongs”".

University of Texas Professor Donald Davis, a scholar of Hinduism, agrees that “there is no question that medieval Hindu kings frequently destroyed religious images as part of more general rampages”.

Invasions of various parts of India by Shivaji Bhonsle's Maratha forces were extremely bloody and destructive affairs. Maratha raiders led by Shivaji raped, pillaged and plundered the people, mainly Hindus,  in the territories they captured.  Some of these events are documented in Sir Jadunath Srakar's Shivaji and His Times. Shivaji Bhonsle was a contemporary and rival of Aurangzeb.  He is now revered by Hindu Nationalists as a hero who allegedly protected Hindus from Aurangzeb in the second half of the 17th century.

Aurangzeb-Shivaji Conflict Not Religious:

Professor Truschke debunks the Hindu Nationalist portrayal of Shivaji-Aurangzeb conflict as being Hindu-Muslim war. She argues in her book that "the Mughal-Maratha conflict was shaped by craving for raw power that demanded strategic, shifting alliances. Shivaji allied with numerous Islamic states, including Bijapur, Golconda, and even the Mughals when it suited him (sometimes against Hindu powers in south India). Shivaji welcomed Muslims within his army; he had qazis (Muslim judges) on his payroll, and Muslims ranked among some of the top commanders".

She says that "Mughal alliances and the imperial army was similarly diverse, and Aurangzeb sent a Hindu, Jai Singh, to besiege Shivaji at Purandar."

Summary:

Aurangzeb was neither a saint nor a villain; he was a man of his time who should be judged by the norms of his times and compared with his contemporaries.  Colonial-era British historians deliberately distorted the history of Indian Muslim rule to vilify Muslim rulers as part of their policy to divide and conquer India, according to American history professor Audrey Truschke. Professor Truschke has systematically dismantled all the myths about India's Muslim rulers as hateful and bigoted tyrants who engaged in rape and pillage of Hindus and carried out widespread destruction of Hindu temples across India. Hindu Nationalists led by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi are using false history to justify their hatred and violence against Indian Muslims today.
Related Links:
Here's an interesting discussion of the legacy of the British Raj in India as seen by writer-diplomat Shashi Tharoor:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dN2Owcwq6_M





Haq's Musings

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Hindu Supremacist Yogi Adiyanath's Rise in UP

Hinduization of India

Globalization of Hindu Nationalism

Hindutva Distortion of Indian History Textbooks

68 comments:

D. Khan said...

Budhism cleansing by Hindus 84000 temples destroyed Buddhist killed and burned alive by first Brahamin king of Shunga empire

Anonymous said...

Facts about Ashoka's massacre and destruction of Kalinga:

1. It was the bloodiest and the most infamous war ever fought between State of Kalinga (present-day Odisha) and Mauryan Empire.

2. The war was fought in 261 B.C. and was won by the Mauryan Dynasty.

3. The Mauryan army was led by Emperor Ashoka while the Kalinga army was led by Raja Anantha Padmanabhan.

4. The Battle of Kalinga began in 8th year of Ashoka’s rule. Before the battle started, Ashoka sent a letter to King of Kalinga or Kalingaraj where Ashoka asked for complete submission of Kalinga to the Mauryan Empire. This was refused by Kalingaraj.

5. Ashoka’s grandfather, Emperor Chandragupta Maurya tried to conquer Kalinga once but was unsuccessful.

6. Emperor Bindusara, father of Emperor Ashoka, was in a process of territorial expansion but the independent feudal republic of Kalinga was a major hindrance both politically and economically.

7. Emperor Bindusara also made attempts to conquer Kalinga but was defeated.

8. After death of Emperor Bindusara, Emperor Ashoka took a complete charge to annex the State of Kalinga.

9. When Raja Anantha Padmanabhan declined the proposal of complete submission to Mauryan Empire, Emperor Ashoka led an enormous army to Kalinga.

10. The Battle of Kalinga was the only battle in which Emperor Ashoka was present physically.

11. The battle was fought on Dhauli hill and later the whole State of Kalinga was turned into a bloody battlefield.

12. The battle was fierce and claimed the lives of 150,000 warriors of Kalinga and 100,000 Mauryan warriors.

13. It is being said that the battle was so fierce that in aftermath of the battle, Daya River flowing next to the battlefield turned completely red because of the bloodshed.

14. Several thousands of men and women of Kalinga were deported.

15. Emperor Ashoka did win the Battle of Kalinga and the State of Kalinga was eventually annexed by Mauryan Empire but the sheer number of lives lost and the sight of hundreds of thousands of dead and wounded scattered all other the battlefield filled Emperor Ashoka’s heart with remorse and grief.

16. It is said in oral history that one woman of Kalinga came to Ashoka after the war and said that the battle took away her husband, father and son from her and she has nothing to live for. Those words moved Emperor Ashoka so much that he adopted the Buddhism and walked the path of Ahimsa or non-violence.

17. After the Battle of Kalinga, Emperor Ashoka ended his military conquests and completely stopped the territorial expansion policy of Mauryan Empire.

18. Edicts of Ashoka have records of the response of Emperor Ashoka to Kalinga War.

19. After the battle, Ashoka embraced the concept of Dhammavijaya or Victory through Dhamma.

20. Ashoka sent missionaries to Srilanka, Macedonia, Greece and Syria to spread the message of Buddhism and peace.

P. Jain said...

How the Buddhists and Jains were Persecuted in Ancient India.

https://karthiknavayan.wordpress.com/2012/06/27/ow-the-buddhists-and-jains-were-persecuted-in-ancient-india/


“… Hiuen-Tsang, who visited India from 629 to 645 AD, describes the influence of a south Indian Brahmin queen on her husband who ordered the execution of many thousand Buddhists including 8,000 in Madurai alone. Kalhana’s Rajatarangani (written by a Shaivite scholar about 1149 AD and the first Brahmin account of India’s historic past from the time of Yudishthira) relates that Mihirikula, the Hun ruler was converted by Brahmins (in 515 AD) and unleashed a wave of violent destruction on Buddhist monasteries in Punjab and Kashmir. He reports (verse 290 in book 1) that “crows and birds of prey would fly ahead eager to feed on those within his armies reach”. He proudly proclaimed himself as the killer of three crores. … … – Buddhism that had been strong in India in the 7th Century was completely obliterated a century later.”

There are many who seem to believe that brutality and bloodshed were the sole preserve of Muslim rulers and that Hindu rajas lived in an idyllic ocean of peace and tranquility. Unfortunately, an examination of the history of the Indian sub continent does not support such an uninformed opinion.

Gaining and retaining power is a brutal business all around the world, and has been so, all through history, with the possible exception within Buddhist societies where brute violence is rare. Many people genuinely believe that Hinduism has always been a tolerant religion that assimilated other peoples and ideas without bloody conflict. That is how they teach it! The ugly scars of brutality in the history of all peoples, are sanitized in school history books. The ruling powers, everywhere, want to play down the politics of past racial or religious persecution. This has the result in our case that many people hold the opinion that brutality and violence in India were exclusive to ‘invaders’ like the Greeks, Mongols, Turks and even the British. While these were the `invaders’ easily condemned by the history books, it can be mentioned that most of the Arya, Scythian and Jat tribes, who came to India probably from central Asia, could also be described as ‘invaders’.


----------------

Many local rulers, probably at the urging of their Brahmin ministers and priests, now began to ruthlessly exterminate the previously dominant Buddhist and Jain faiths. Although the class of Kshatriyas had completely vanished from history during the thousand years of mainly Buddhist rule they were reinvented at this time to serve Brahmin interests. No doubt the rich lands and treasures of their defenseless monasteries and temples also gave material incentives to this religious fervor and many Buddhist and Jain stupas and monasteries were plundered and Hindu temples established at their sites.

Similar material motives had actuated religious persecutions in many lands including those by the Catholic and Protestant nobles in England during the much more recent period of the Reformation. There are many Hindu references to support this looting and plunder including the unedited versions of the original Puranas even though most Buddhist and Jain accounts were destroyed. Hiuen-Tsang, who visited India from 629 to 645 AD, describes the influence of a south Indian Brahmin queen on her husband who ordered the execution of many thousand Buddhists including 8,000 in Madurai alone. Kalhana’s Rajatarangani (written by a Shaivite scholar about 1149 AD and the first Brahmin account of India’s historic past from the time of Yudishthira) relates that Mihirikula, the Hun ruler was converted by Brahmins (in 515 AD) and unleashed a wave of violent destruction on Buddhist monasteries in Punjab and Kashmir. He reports (verse 290 in book 1) that “crows and birds of prey would fly ahead eager to feed on those within his armies reach”. He proudly proclaimed himself as the killer of three crores.

Ameer A. said...

It is very sad to see that so many of our so called cultural elites rely on colonial English authors and Hindu Nationalist hate literature, instead of doing their own research on the subject. There is a viscous hate campaign against Aurangzeb in India.

Riaz Haq said...

Ameer: "It is very sad to see that so many of our so called cultural elites rely on colonial English authors and Hindu Nationalist hate literature, instead of doing their own research on the subject. There is a viscous hate campaign against Aurangzeb in India. "

I agree with you Ameer. It's sad indeed. But it's understandable given the powerful influence of the Brits on western educated South Asians. They do need more critical thinking skills, not just accept things on face value.

Usha said...

Jizya was abolished by the third Mughal emperor Akbar, in 1564. It was finally abolished in 1579.

However, Aurangzeb, the sixth emperor, re-introduced and levied jizya on non-Muslims in 1679. His goal was to promote Islam and weaken the Hindu religion. Aurangzeb ordered that the collected jizya be used for charitable causes to support the increasing number of impoverished and unemployed Muslim clerics in his empire. Unlike other Mughals he did not enhance or promote the arts and music but spent more on piety across the empire. Hindus were outraged and numerous small-scale revolts resulted. The jizya rate was more than twice the zakat tax rate paid by Muslims led to mass civil protests of 1679 in India. In some areas revolts led to its periodic suspension such as the 1704 AD suspension of jizya in Deccan region of India by Aurangzeb.

Riaz Haq said...

Usha: "The jizya rate was more than twice the zakat tax rate paid by Muslims led to mass civil protests of 1679 in India. In some areas revolts led to its periodic suspension such as the 1704 AD suspension of jizya in Deccan region of India by Aurangzeb"


JIzya is a tax paid by non-Muslims and Zakat is a tax paid by Muslims. In addition, Muslims also pay 10% of agriculture products as ushr that non-Muslims are not required to pay. In an agrarian economy of 1600s, Muslims carried a much bigger burden of taxes than their Hindu counterparts in India.

Zakat and jizya both require minimum assets on which payer has to be required to pay. Neither apply to the average people, the poor and the needy.

Aurangzeb's jizya imposition had no effect on average non-Muslims in India.

Non-Muslims are not required to serve in the military but those who choose to join military service are exempted from payment of jizya as are those who can not afford to pay.

Truschke talks about it in her book as follows: Aurangzeb gave tax breaks to hard-hit regions, canceling the jizya for Hyferabad in 1688-89 because of drought and remitting the jizya for the entire Deccan in 1704 in consideration of the toll of famines and war.

Aurangzeb's decision to impose jizya was not motivated by religious bigotry but by his effort to placate the ulema who were suspicious of Mughal kings sincerity. But many of Aurangzeb's nobles, including prominent Muslims and royal family members such Jahanara, Aurangzeb's eldest sister, lampooned the jizya as a poor administrative decision.

An article in Spiritual World (http://www.spritualworld.com/)gives a different perspective on that controversy.

Aurangzeb abolished 65 taxes on general population that led to an annual loss of 50 million rupees to his exchequer. That put him under pressure to find newer ways to mobilize revenue, and Jizya was one of them.

But why target only Hindus? Because he was already extracting certain levies from Muslims, which Hindus were not paying.

All Muslims had to pay Islamic taxes such Zakat (2.5% of savings), Ushr (10% of agriculture products) and charity charges such as
Sadaqah, Fitrah, and Khums, from which Hindus were exempted.

Aurangzeb was possibly striking a balance by imposing Jizya.

http://www.newscrunch.in/2015/08/while-hindus-paid-jizya-aurangzeb.html

Khalid B. said...

Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb: Bad Ruler or Bad History?

By Dr. Habib Siddiqui

https://www.albalagh.net/general/0093.shtml


Fortunately, in recent years quite a few Hindu historians have come out in the open disputing those allegations (against Aurangzeb). For example, historian Babu Nagendranath Banerjee rejected the accusation of forced conversion of Hindus by Muslim rulers by stating that if that was their intention then in India today there would not be nearly four times as many Hindus compared to Muslims, despite the fact that Muslims had ruled for nearly a thousand years. Banerjee challenged the Hindu hypothesis that Aurangzeb was anti-Hindu by reasoning that if the latter were truly guilty of such bigotry, how could he appoint a Hindu as his military commander-in-chief? Surely, he could have afforded to appoint a competent Muslim general in that position. Banerjee further stated: "No one should accuse Aurangzeb of being communal minded. In his administration, the state policy was formulated by Hindus. Two Hindus held the highest position in the State Treasury. ... During Aurangzeb's long reign of fifty years, many Hindus, notably Jaswant Singh, Raja Rajrup, Kabir Singh, Arghanath Singh, Prem Dev Singh, Dilip Roy, and Rasik Lal Crory, held very high administrative positions. Two of the highest ranked generals in Aurangzeb's administration, Jaswant Singh and Jaya Singh, were Hindus. Other notable Hindu generals who commanded a garrison of two to five thousand soldiers were Raja Vim Singh of Udaypur, Indra Singh, Achalaji and Arjuji. One wonders if Aurangzeb was hostile to Hindus, why would he position all these Hindus to high positions of authority, especially in the military, who could have mutinied against him and removed him from his throne?

...Historian Shri Sharma states that while Emperor Akbar had fourteen Hindu Mansabdars (high officials) in his court, Aurangzeb actually had 148 Hindu high officials in his court. (Ref: Mughal Government) But this fact is somewhat less known.

------


Now let us deal with Aurangzeb's imposition ofthe jizya tax which had drawn severe criticism from many Hindu historians. It is true that jizya was lifted during the reign of Akbar and Jahangir and that Aurangzeb later reinstated this. Before I delve into the subject of Aurangzeb's jizya tax, or taxing the non-Muslims, it is worthwhile to point out that jizya is nothing more than a war tax which was collected only from able-bodied young non-Muslim male citizens living in a Muslim country who did not want to volunteer for the defense of the country. That is, no such tax was collected from non-Muslims who volunteered to defend the country. This tax was not collected from women, and neither from immature males nor from disabled or old male citizens. For payment of such taxes, it became incumbent upon the Muslim government to protect the life, property and wealth of its non-Muslim citizens. If for any reason the government failed to protect its citizens, especially during a war, the taxable amount was returned.

It should be pointed out here that zakat (2.5% of savings) and ‘ushr (10% of agricultural products) were collected from all Muslims, who owned some wealth (beyond a certain minimum, called nisab). They also paid sadaqah, fitrah, and khums. None of these were collected from any non-Muslim. As a matter of fact, the per capita collection from Muslims was several fold that of non-Muslims. Further to Auranzeb's credit is his abolition of a lot of taxes, although this fact is not usually mentioned. In his book Mughal Administration, Sir Jadunath Sarkar, foremost historian on the Mughal dynasty, mentions that during Aurangzeb's reign in power, nearly sixty-five types of taxes were abolished, which resulted in a yearly revenue loss of fifty million rupees from the state treasury.

Sami said...

When Marathas invaded Bengal in 1742, they committed all sorts of barbaric and sinful acts. Jadunath Sarkar quotes a contemporary account of Bengali Poet Gangaram describing the atrocities committed by the Maratha soldiers:
They dragged away the beautiful women, tying their fingers to their necks with ropes. When one Bargi (a Maratha soldier who was supplied with his mount and arms by government) had done with a woman, another seized her; the women shrieked in the agony and ravishment. The Bargis after thus committing all sinful acts, set these women free. Then, after looting in the open, the Bargis entered the villages. They set fire to the houses, large and small, temples and dwelling places. After burning the villages, they roamed about on all sides plundering. Some victims they tied up with their arms twisted behind them. Some they flung down and kicked with their shoes. They constantly shouted, ‘Give us Rupees, Give us Rupees, Give us Rupees.’ (pp. 49-50) (bold ours)
In the footnote of the same page, Sarkar writes:
The Maratha soldiers were notorious for their practice of gang-rape in invaded territories from a very early time. In 1683 when they invaded Goa districts under the eyes of their king Shambhuji, they committed this kind of outrage. A contemporary Portuguese account of that war states: “These enemies were so barbarous that when a woman appeared very beautiful (lit., best) to them, five or six of them violated her by lying with that woman alone. (p. 49) (bold ours)

Anonymous said...

Both British and Hindutva historians have painted the Mughal Emperor as villain for thir own purpose, here’s how, by BRIJENDRA SINGH

http://www.altgaze.com/?p=2156


Dr. BISHAMBHAR NATH PANDE’S VIEW
The late scholar & historian, Dr.Bishambhar Nath Pande’s research efforts exploded myths on Aurangzeb’s rule. They also offer an excellent example of what history has to teach us if only we study it dispassionately. Mr. Pande was ranked among the very few Indians & very fewer still Hindu historians who tried to be a little careful when dealing with such history. He knew that this history was ‘originally compiled by European writers’ whose main objective was to produce a history that would serve their policy of divide & rule.
In his famous Khuda Bakhsh Annual Lecture (1985) Dr. Pande said: “Thus under a definite policy the Indian history text books were so falsified & distorted as to give an impression that the medieval (i.e., Muslim) period of Indian history was full of atrocities committed by Muslim rulers on their Hindu subjects & the Hindus had to suffer terrible indignities under Muslim rule and there were no common factors (between Hindus & Muslims) in social, political & economic life.”
Therefore, Dr.Pande was extra careful. Whenever he came across a ‘fact’ that looked odd to him, he would try to check & verify rather than adopt it uncritically. He came across a history text book taught in the Anglo-Bengali College, Allahabad, which claimed that “three thousand Brahmins had committed suicide as Tipu wanted to convert them forcibly into the fold of Islam.” The author was a very famous scholar, Dr.Har Prasad Shastri, head of the department of Sanskrit at Kolkata University. (Tipu Sultan (1750-99), who ruled over the South Indian state of Mysore (1782-99), is one of the most heroic figures in Indian history. He died on the battle field, fighting the British.)
Was it true? Dr. Pande wrote immediately to the author & asked him for the source on which he had based this episode in his text-book. After several reminders, Dr. Shastri replied that he had taken this information from the Mysore gazetteer. So Dr. Pande requested the Mysore university vice- chancellor, Sir Brijendra Nath Seal, to verify for him Dr. Shastri’s statement from the gazetteer. Sir Brijendra referred his letter to Prof. Srikantia who was then working on a new edition of the gazetteer. Srikantia wrote to say that the gazetteer mentioned no such incident and, as a historian himself, he was certain that nothing like this had taken place. Prof. Srikantia added that both the prime minister & commander-in-chief of Tipu Sultan were themselves Brahmins. He also enclosed a list of 136 Hindu temples which used to receive annual grants from the sultan’s treasury.
It inspired that Shastri had lifted this story from Colonel Miles, History of Mysore, which Miles claimed he had taken from a Persian manuscript in the personal library of Queen Victoria. When Dr. Pande checked further, he found that no such manuscript existed in Queen Victoria’s library.
FALSE HISTORY PROVIDED BY BRITISHERS
British historian Sir Henry Elliot remarked that Hindus “had not left any account which could unable us to gauge the traumatic impact the Muslim conquest and rule had on them?” Since there was none, Elliot went on to produce his own eight-volume history of India with contributions from British historians (1867). His history claimed Hindus were slain for disputing with ‘Mohammedans’, generally prohibited from worshipping and taking out religious processions , their idols were mutilated , their temples were destroyed , they were forced into conversion & marriages , & were killed & massacred by drunk Muslim tyrants.

Riaz Haq said...

Throughout India’s freedom struggle, the RSS was subservient to the British, with its leadership prohibiting participation in mass movements.


https://thewire.in/124685/rss-hindutva-nationalism/

On March 18, 1999, the then prime minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, issued a postage stamp commemorating K.B. Hedgewar, the founder of the RSS, as a great freedom fighter before an audience that consisted mostly of Sangh cadres. This move, Shamsul Islam wrote, was an attempt “to pass off a pre-independence political trend represented by the RSS as a legacy of the anti-colonial struggle whereas in reality the RSS was never part of the anti-imperialist struggle. On the contrary, since its inception in 1925, the RSS only tried to disrupt the great anti-imperialist struggle of the Indian people against the British colonial rulers.”

Hedgewar, the freedom fighter, was a pre-RSS Congressman, arrested and sentenced for a year’s imprisonment for his role in the Khilafat movement (1919-1924) – and that was his last participation in the freedom struggle. Soon after his release, Hedgewar, inspired by Savarkar’s idea of Hindutva, founded the RSS in September 1925. And this organisation, throughout the rest of its life under the British Raj, remained subservient to the colonising power and opposed the mass movements for India’s freedom in every phase of the struggle.

By the end of the decade in December 1940, when Gandhi had launched the satyagraha for Quit India, a note from the home department of the colonial government reveals that RSS leaders met the secretary of the home department and “promised the secretary to encourage members of the Sangh to join the civic guards in greater numbers,”. The civic guards was set up by the imperial government as one of the “special measures for internal security.”

RSS and its opposition to Quit India movement

A year-and-a-half after the Quit India movement was launched, the Bombay government of the British Raj noted in a memo, with considerable satisfaction, that “the Sangh has scrupulously kept itself within the law, and in particular, has refrained from taking part in the disturbances that broke out in August 1942.”

However, as in the previous case of the Dandi March, the cadres of the RSS were frustrated by their leaders who were holding them back from participating in the movement. “In 1942 also”, Golwalkar himself pointed out, “there was a strong sentiment in the hearts of many…. Sangh is an organisation of inactive persons, their talks are useless, not only outsiders but also many of our volunteers did talk like this. They were greatly disgusted too.”

But the RSS leadership had a curious reason for not participating in the struggle for independence. In a speech given on June 1942 – months before an unnecessary, British-made famine was to kill at least three million Indians in Bengal – Golwalkar said that the “Sangh does not want to blame anybody else for the present degraded state of the society. When the people start blaming others, then there is basically weakness in them. It is futile to blame the strong for the injustice done to the weak…Sangh does not want to waste its invaluable time in abusing or criticising others. If we know that large fish eat the smaller ones, it is outright madness to blame the big fish. Law of nature whether good or bad is true all the time. This rule does not change by terming it unjust.”

Riaz Haq said...

https://www.pressreader.com/india/the-indian-express/20170415/282458528827742

When asked to discriminate against Shias, he (Aurangzeb) replied: What connection have earthly affairs with religion. And what right have administrative works to meddle with bigotry....If this rule were established, it would be my duty to extirpate all Hindu Rajahs and their followers. Wise men disapprove of the removal from office of able officers." Aurangzeb's administration included numerous Hindus, including Raja Ragunatha, who headed the treasury.


https://aeon.co/essays/the-great-aurangzeb-is-everybodys-least-favourite-mughal


Aurangzeb’s most controversial state killing is his execution of Tegh Bahadur, the ninth Sikh guru, in 1675. In the mid- to late-17th century, Tegh Bahadur caused unrest in Mughal-controlled Punjab, thereby posing a threat to state security and Aurangzeb’s authority. Contemporary Mughal sources do not even mention his execution, probably because, from a state perspective, it was unexceptional. Many moderns perceive this episode as a case where an Islamist king sought to stamp out Sikhism in its early days. A commonly repeated story is that Aurangzeb asked Tegh Bahadur to convert to Islam and then executed him when the Sikh guru stood firm in his faith. Given Aurangzeb’s typically harsh actions against state enemies, I find it unlikely that conversion, even if offered, would have saved Tegh Bahadur.


It was Aurangzeb’s preoccupation with state security that led to his policies toward Hindu temples, an issue that looms large in the public’s imagination in India today. Contrary to the contemporary view of Aurangzeb as a temple destroyer, thousands of Hindu temples adorned the landscape of Aurangzeb’s India, and the vast majority were still standing at the end of his rule. Plentiful evidence attests that Aurangzeb issued orders protecting Hindu and Jain temples, and granted temple associates land and other favours. Aurangzeb even chastised Muslims who troubled pious Brahmins.

Riaz Haq said...

Aurangzeb an excuse for Hindu Right to voice anti-Muslim feelingsDhairya Maheshwari DHAIRYA MAHESHWARI

https://www.nationalheraldindia.com/interviews/aurangzeb-an-excuse-for-hindu-right-to-voice-anti-muslim-feelings

Is there a difference between the outlook of Western scholars and Indian scholars towards Aurangzeb?


Some of the points that I make in the book are matters of scholarly consensus across the board, such as that we lack evidence for the popular view that Aurangzeb destroyed thousands of Hindu temples. Other arguments that I put forth are more controversial. But history is a scholarly discipline united by a common set of approaches and ethics, rather than a practice divided by nationality.

Who is more responsible for demonising the legacy of Aurangzeb– the British colonialists or the Right?

The Hindu Right has a long history of adopting colonial-era ideas, and their views on Aurangzeb are no exception. That said, British colonialism in India ended seventy years ago, and I do not think that its legacy excuses the hate-mongering we see among the Right in India today. Hindu nationalists despise Aurangzeb--or who they think Aurangzeb was, anyways--for largely disreputable reasons, including as a way of voicing anti-Muslim feelings.You mention in your book that Aurangzeb is as unpopular in Pakistan as he is in India. How, in your view, is he viewed in contemporary Pakistan?


Aurangzeb has a mixed reputation in modern-day Pakistan. Some Pakistanis malign him as a bigot, similar to the common Indian view. But other Pakistanis cherish Aurangzeb as the one truly Muslim king in the Mughal line. My book argues against the myth of Aurangzeb the Pious, just as it argues against the myth of Aurangzeb the Bigot.Wasn’t it paradoxical that while ordering demolition of temples, he also handed out huge grants to the Hindu community at the same time? Was it just statecraft?

I think that "just statecraft" is a bit dismissive. Political explanations go a long way toward explaining Aurangzeb's two-pronged policy of destroying and protecting Hindu temples. However, as I contend in the book, religious considerations were also likely involved in imperial decisions vis-a-vis individual temples, although not the types of religious considerations that Aurangzeb's modern detractors have written onto this premodern king.In a column you wrote this year, you say that many Indians “recoiled” at the thought of Hindu nationalism for much part of the 20th century. But there has been a surge in popular support for this ideology in the last decade or so, more so since 2014.

As a scholar on South Asia, how do you explain these changing attitudes of Indians, who, as you say, have been more of less into secular politics?

I think a layered explanation is probably most useful. We are witnessing a surge of religious nationalism worldwide. I think it's also relevant that India has moved far enough away from independence that living memory of the independence struggle is basically gone. Additionally, political corruption and changing economic approaches have played into the rise of Hindu nationalist political parties.

Riaz Haq said...

#India’s Turn Toward Intolerance. #Hindutva #Islamophobia #cow #Modi #economy #jobs #BJP

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/17/opinion/indias-turn-toward-intolerance.html

Narendra Modi’s landslide victory as prime minister of India in 2014 was borne on his promises to unleash his country’s economic potential and build a bright future while he played down the Hindu nationalist roots of his Bharatiya Janata Party.

But, under Mr. Modi’s leadership, growth has slowed, jobs have not materialized, and what has actually been unleashed is virulent intolerance that threatens the foundation of the secular nation envisioned by its founders.

Since Mr. Modi took office, there has been an alarming rise in mob attacks against people accused of eating beef or abusing cows, an animal held sacred to Hindus. Most of those killed have been Muslims. Mr. Modi spoke out against the killings only last month, not long after his government banned the sale of cows for slaughter, a move suspended by India’s Supreme Court. The ban, enforcing cultural stigma, would have fallen hardest on Muslims and low-caste Hindus traditionally engaged in the meat and leather industry.

It would also have struck a blow against Mr. Modi’s supposed priorities: employment, economic growth and boosting exports. The $16 billion industry employs millions of workers and generated $4 billion in export income last year.

More disturbing was his party’s decision to name Yogi Adityanath, a Hindu warrior-priest, as chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, and a springboard to national leadership. Mr. Adityanath has called India’s Muslims “a crop of two-legged animals that has to be stopped” and cried at one rally, “We are all preparing for religious war!”

This development led the analyst Neerja Chowdhury to observe: “India is moving right. Whether India moves further right, and Modi begins to be looked upon as a moderate, I think that only time will tell.”

On Tuesday, India’s film censor board, headed by a Bharatiya Janata Party stalwart apparently intent on protecting Mr. Modi and the party from criticism, ruled that a documentary film about one of India’s most famous sons, the Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen, cannot be screened unless the director cuts the words “cow,” “Hindu India,” “Hindutva view of India” — meaning Hindu nationalism — and “Gujarat,” where Mr. Modi was chief minister at the time of deadly anti-Muslim riots in 2002.

This might seem like merely a farcical move by Hindu fanatics, if it were not so in line with much else that is happening in Mr. Modi’s India, and if the implications for India’s democracy weren’t so chilling. But this is where Mr. Modi has brought the nation as it prepares to celebrate 70 years of independence on Aug. 15.

Riaz Haq said...

Joanna Lumley's India: is her TV show guilty of airbrushing history?
Joanna Lumley has returned to the land of her birth to celebrate India and walk in her ‘family’s footsteps’. But does her series overlook British oppression in the former colony – and her own ancestors’ role?

https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2017/jul/19/joanna-lumley-india-is-tv-show-guilty-of-airbrushing-history

The trouble with Joanna Lumley’s India, currently showing on ITV, is that despite the promise to “celebrate” modern India and “walk in my family’s footsteps”, this isn’t the full story of Joanna Lumley’s India, and certainly not her family’s. Within minutes of the first episode, there is an omission. Strolling through Kolkata, formerly known as Calcutta, she points out the British-inspired architecture. But she fails to mention that St John’s Church, the first Anglican cathedral on the subcontinent, was built by James Agg, her great-great-great-great-grandfather and the first of her ancestors to arrive in 1777.

Perhaps she isn’t aware of the lineage. But it is not hard to trace it back. Or maybe it’s because of those four chilling words: British East India Company – the trading corporation turned “aggressive colonial power”, as the historian William Dalrymple put it, whose activities brought the word “loot” (from the Hindustani lut) into the English dictionary, and from which Agg seems likely to have made his fortune.

Not that you would think the company at all chilling from the revised history offered here. The company “bought some land” in Bengal, “started exporting” and then Kolkata “grew richer and richer”. These soundbites are not factually inaccurate. Yes, the capital of West Bengal grew “richer and richer”. But for who?

For men like James Agg, the “son of a common hard-working stonemason” as he is described in the memoirs of William Hickey (the two arrived on the same ship). Agg joined the EIC Army in 1781. By 1796, he was back in Britain a very rich man, one of the era’s nabobs or “Englishmen who flourish”. According to the 19th-century writer and traveller John Sullivan, such men acted “like a sponge, drawing up riches from the banks of the Ganges and squeezing them down upon the banks of the Thames”.

This is worth knowing not only because it’s the kind of family detail promised by the show, but also for the insight it offers into the poverty Lumley points out in Kolkata, for which no adequate context is given. The EIC was not just a bunch of merchants, but a military force that subjugated and plundered India throughout the 18th and early 19th centuries. In Bengal, the first region to fall to the British, the immediate outcome was full pockets for the westerners and poverty for the citizens. Indians were blocked from trading, were forced off their land by impossible-to-pay taxes, and saw their world-renowned textile industry destroyed.

The poverty of this once-great city, Lumley tells us, is down to “conflict and politics”. Perhaps I misheard. She must have said “conquest and policies” – such as the 50% tax on income, the extraction of which was routinely helped along by torture. Defaulters could expect to be caged and left in the burning sun. Or at worst, to quote Edmund Burke’s 1795 testimony in Parliament about the horrors inflicted upon Bengali women, “they were dragged out, naked and exposed to the public view, and scourged before all the people ... they put the nipples of the women into the sharp edges of split bamboos and tore them from their bodies”.

Riaz Haq said...

Top #Trump aide Steve Bannon believes #Muslims, #MidEast, #Pakistan are primeval: Joshua Green in his recent book. .... Joshua Green, author of "Devil's Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, And The Storming Of The Presidency" on NPR's Fresh Air: "I talk a little bit about Bannon's time in the Navy. He was on a destroyer in the Persian Gulf right during the Iran hostage crisis and described to me the Middle East, Pakistan as being almost primeval. He considered Muslims these frightening, threatening people who ultimately wanted to invade the West. And I think that that is where a lot of his anti-immigrant, Islamophobic ideas really started from"

http://www.npr.org/templates/transcript/transcript.php?storyId=537885042

Riaz Haq said...

Is critical thinking a Western concept?

By Don Watson

https://www.britishcouncil.org/voices-magazine/critical-thinking-western-concept


Educators agree that critical thinking is a crucial skill for the 21st century, but is it harder to teach in some cultures than in others? Burmese educationalist Win Aung argues that critical thinking has a longer history in the East than many have recognised. The British Council's Don Watson reports.

According to IBM, 90 per cent of the data in the world was created in the last two years.

In order to make sense of this explosion of information you need to be able to tell the difference between wisdom and sophistry, between timely words of warning and interest-driven scaremongering. That power of analysis is what’s called critical thinking. It is defined by the Critical Thinking Community as the ability to check for ‘clarity, accuracy, precision, relevance, depth, breadth, significance, logic, and fairness’, to build knowledge from a range of sources, including your own experience.

Does an emphasis on critical analysis of information mean that one part of the world will be better equipped to learn the skills necessary for success? Received wisdom indicates that critical thinking is embraced more enthusiastically in the West than it is in the East. Politics, tradition and religion have, according to this view, formed a powerful triumvirate which conspires to leave half the world with an approach to knowledge that relies on rote learning, and regards questioning as anathema.

Dr Win Aung, a consultant with 30 years’ experience of working in education in Burma, accepts this view has some foundation in day-to-day life. It is particularly evident in a country still struggling to emerge from the shadow left by decades of authoritarian rule, but it is by no means the whole story.

‘We do have a more vertical and hierarchical model of society,’ Win Aung says. ‘Myanmar is largely still a country where the father rules in the home and the teacher rules in the classroom.’ But, he argues, the notion that critical thinking is a foreign concept is not just misguided, it is factually wrong.

‘Certainly in the Buddhist tradition, which is influential across the whole of Southern and Southeast Asia, there is a strong tradition of critical thinking. Some of the fundamental tenets of the Buddhist tradition are essentially an early version of critical thinking,’ he says. ‘The Buddha taught freedom of thought and freedom of enquiry to his disciples. The emphasis is on internal reflection and consideration of the value of a proposition, rather than on blind belief’.

So why is rote memorisation a predominant way of learning in Burma? The answer, Win Aung says, is partly down to the structure of the Buddhist religion. ‘The fact that Buddhist teachings are recorded in the Pali language, which does not have a writing system, puts a great emphasis on the ability to absorb and recite correctly, which consequently gained a value in the East that it was never accorded in the West’.

Riaz Haq said...

#Muslims were the real hero of #India's #Freedom struggle than so called #Hindutva Group, Says Prashant Bhushan


http://www.ironyofindia.com/2017/07/muslims-were-the-real-hero-of-freedom-struggle-than-so-called-hindutva-group-says-prashant-bhushan/

He said that almost all of the patriotic slogans and songs in the fight for freedom were written by almost all the Muslims while Hindutva organisation or group did nothing. He clearly pointed to the specific group, but the damage was done and he started getting trolled. On this tweet of Prashant Bhushan, people accused him of sacrificing religious freedom on the fate of the freedom struggle. Prashant Bhushan, in his tweet, wrote the names of the people who had given it, and who gave that slogan. Prashant Bhushan, while referring to Suraiya Tayabjee, wrote that a Muslim had a hand in shaping the country’s tricolour.


Riaz Haq said...

BBC News - The defiance of an 'untouchable' #NewYork subway worker. #India #Dalit #Apartheid #Caste

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-40702242#

Ants Among Elephants: An Untouchable Family and the Making of Modern India by Sujatha Gidla

(In New York), she says, she faced racism. And caste was right here too. She says she found "petty caste discrimination" among the Indian community.

---------

The 53-year-old subway conductor has been luckier than most Dalits back home, women especially, who suffer unspeakable cruelty, are employed in menial jobs including cleaning of human excreta and are segregated by their communities.
Unlike most of her lot, her family was "middle class", thanks to the help of Canadian missionaries in her region who aided in education and offered them religion. Her family was thus Christian and benefited with education. Her parents held jobs as college teachers.
Gidla says that proselytization didn't help her lot. "Christians, untouchables - it came to the same thing. All Christians in India were untouchable. I knew no Christian who did not turn servile in the presence of a Hindu."
The book chronicles unflinchingly the caste slurs and segregation Gidla and Dalits like her have to endure in India.

Gidla lists how she and other Dalits are humiliated in India by other castes.
They are forced to eat from separate plates and glasses in eateries; barred from the community's main source of drinking water; allowed to ride a bicycle or wear footwear only in segregated areas; rejected in love and denied opportunities. She recalls her hurt when a junior school classmate refused to touch the sweet she offered. Things like this are constant reminders to Dalits of their status as social outcastes.
Since her teens Gidla was spurred to rebel with her uncle, the rebel Telugu language poet Shivasagar, setting an example. His call to join the Communists and later the guerrilla movement of the region demanding social justice held appeal for the young Gidla.

---------

In America, writes Gilda, "people know only my skin colour, not birth status".
"One time in a bar in Atlanta I told a guy I was untouchable, and he said, 'Oh, but you're so touchable'."

Riaz Haq said...

Masks of Conquest: Literary Study and British Rule in India (review)
Kanishka Chowdhury

https://muse.jhu.edu/article/243354

In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:
Reviewed by
Kanishka Chowdhury
Gauri Viswanathan. Masks of Conquest: Literary Study and British Rule in India. New York: Columbia UP, 1989. 206 pp. $32.50.
In his Prison Notebooks Antonio Gramsci argues that a class can exercise its power not merely by the use of military force but by an institutionalized system of moral and intellectual leadership that propogates certain ideas and beliefs. For Gramsci "cultural hegemony" is maintained through the consent of the dominated class which assures the intellectual and material supremacy of the ruling class. In Masks of Conquest, Gauri Viswanathan uses this Gramscian model of hegemony to analyze the relationship between British political and commercial interests and the establishment of English Literature as a discipline in India. [End Page 331]
Early in the book Viswanathan clearly states that the literary curriculum was introduced in India not to demonstrate the superiority of English culture but to "mask" the economic exploitation of the colonized. The propagation of English literature among the "natives," from the vigorous attempts by the secularized government schools to the more uneasy attempts by the Christian missionary schools, was ultimately carried out to ensure the authority of the British government and to create a stable state in which British mercantile and military interests could flourish.
In the last of six central chapters, however, Viswanathan cleverly points out the inherent contradictions in the colonial project of creating an educated elite. Aside from developing a dissatisfied class that was denied any suitable employment opportunities, the literary curriculum highlighted the problems of a system which advocated both social control and social advancement.
Viswanathan is also careful not to oversimplify the British educational objectives in India. Using a variety of resources, she demonstrates the continual modification of the British educational goals which together created the discipline of English studies. Her attention to archival material and historical details often leads to fascinating excerpts, such as an examination paper by a certain Nobinchunder Dass of Hooghly College, Calcutta, who effusively praises the colonizer's culture. Much of Viswanathan's work, in fact, concentrates on bringing together various pamphlets, tracts, periodicals, and government sources. But Viswanathan is often inclined to be overly absorbed by her material, as in Chapter Two, "Preparatio Evangelica," where she devotes considerable space to a biographical sketch of Alexander Duff. Indeed, Viswanathan sometimes professes a greater interest in imperial representatives than in the material conditions that produced their work.

Viswanathan's brief concluding section, "Empire and the Canon," points out the dangers of reading nineteenth-century educational practice as continuous with contemporary English studies in India. Warning us about the "illusion of historical continuity," however, does not necessarily demystify the ironies of a postcolonial educational system in which an ostensibly leftist government in Bengal rigidly enforces the study of canonical English texts.
The value of Masks of Conquest finally is its important reminder that educational systems and curriculum developments must be judged in historical perspective. Viswanathan's intellectual history of British educational practice in India is both a compelling account of the relationship between power and culture and an indictment of the exploitative tendencies of ruling class interests. [End Page 332]

Riaz Haq said...

Split #India: #Hindu Nationalist #RSS did not support #Gandhi's #QuitIndiaMovement Against #British Raj

https://www.telegraphindia.com/1170810/jsp/frontpage/story_166526.jsp

The following are excerpts from some of the speeches that stood out:

Elephant in the room

The role the RSS did not play or did play in the freedom movement hung heavy.

Narendra Modi: Every individual in the country had become part of the Quit India Movement. Inspired by Gandhiji's words, the whole country was moving forward....

Sonia Gandhi: When we remember freedom fighters, we should not forget there were outfits and people in that period who opposed the Quit India Movement. These elements had no role in the freedom struggle.

(Murmurs of disapproval swept through the treasury benches in the Lok Sabha, and BJP member Kirron Kher was heard saying: "Sad, sad.... This is the tragedy of Parliament."Although BJP members usually do not miss any chance to register their loyalty to the parent, none got up to contest Sonia.)

Whither India?

Modi: In 1942, the clarion call was "karenge ya marenge (do or die)". Today, it is "karenge aur kar ke rahenge (we will do and surely do)". The country needs the spirit of the Quit India Movement to develop into an India of the dreams of the freedom fighters in 2022. Corruption, poverty, illiteracy and malnutrition are the greatest challenges that India now needs to overcome and we should rise above political considerations and resolve to bring about a positive change.

(The Prime Minister divided India's pre-independence journey in two phases from 1857 to 1941 and 1942 to 1947. He said the first phase was incremental but the second one - 1942-47 - was "transformative and delivered the objective". He said the country needed the same spirit in its journey from 2017 to 2022.)




Sonia: Fear is replacing freedom.... Isn't it true that there is an attempt to destroy the foundations of our democracy which rests on freedom of thought and faith, equality and social justice? We can't let the idea of India be a prisoner of a narrow, divisive and communal ideology.... It appears our secular, democratic and liberal values are in peril. Space for debate, disagreement and dissent is shrinking.

Kanimozhi: The only real freedom (to expect) is freedom from fear.... If our women, if our people, if our Dalits, if the underprivileged, the backward communities and the minorities are not free from fear of the future, then there is nothing to feel proud of.

(Kanimozhi, a Rajya Sabha MP from Tamil Nadu, recalled freedom fighters from her state who took part in the Quit India Movement without knowing Hindi. Many were non-Hindus who ate what they wanted.) Are they in any way less of Indians? Are they less than anybody else? But today, if I don't speak Hindi, people think I am less of an Indian. If I don't eat what some people think is right, or if I am an atheist, I am not an Indian. Why have we become this?

Whether it is a rape, whether it is stalking, whether it is an acid attack, it is always the woman who is being questioned. Why? Are we not ashamed of ourselves? We should be ashamed of even questioning why the woman is out.

Sugata Bose: Modiji says that the next five years will be transformative. We sometimes wonder is it transformative because the three top constitutional posts are held by people belonging to the same ideology? We cannot but express some concern. If he truly wants all evils to quit India by 2022, including communalism, in the pejorative sense of that word, we hope that he will take stronger action against those who are spreading the poison of hatred and killing human beings in the name of religion.

(Amid thumping of desks by Opposition members) I appeal to the Prime Minister to stop the engines of coercion in their tracks. Faith in India's destiny rescues us from debilitating pessimism in the face of ferocious assaults on the expression of rational difference.

Riaz Haq said...

Sense of unease among Muslims: Says retiring #Muslim VP of #India Hamid Ansari. #Modi #Lynchistan http://toi.in/5SxO0a via @timesofindia

In his last interview before demitting the office of India's vice-president, Hamid Ansari has said that Muslims in the country were experiencing "a feeling of unease".

"A sense of insecurity is creeping in" as a result of the dominant mood created by some and the resultant intolerance and vigilantism, he added. Ansari also said he shared the view of many that intolerance was growing. In hard-hitting remarks during an interview to Rajya Sabha TV, he ascribed the spate of vigilante violence, mob lynchings, beef bans and "Ghar Wapsi" campaigns to a "breakdown of Indian values" and to the "breakdown of the ability of the authorities" to enforce the law. "...and overall, the very fact that (the) Indianness of any citizen (is) being questioned is a disturbing thought," Ansari said.




Asked in an interview why he thought Indian values were "suddenly" breaking down, Vice-President Hamid Ansari answered: "Because we are a plural society that for centuries, not for 70 years, has lived in a certain ambience of acceptance."
He said this acceptance was "under threat". "This propensity to be able to assert your nationalism day in and day out is unnecessary. I am an Indian and that is it," he told Rajya Sabha TV.

On Thursday, Ansari demits an office that only S Radhakrishnan had occupied as long: 10 years.




Asked specifically about his speech on Sunday in which he spoke about a nationalism with cultural commitments at its core being perceived as the most conservative and illiberal form of nationalism, and whether the remark was about the mood of the country in 2017, he replied: "Oh, absolutely." And he agreed he had felt a personal need to underline that this need to keep proving one's patriotism, and the intolerance it made for, was unhealthy: "Yes. And I am not the only one in the country; a great many people feel the same way." Asked if he had shared these apprehensions with the PM or the government, he replied: "Yes... But what passes between the Vice-President and the PM in the nature of things must remain in the domain of privileged information."

Riaz Haq said...

#India at 70: #Lynchistan #racist #fascist #xenophobic #Hindu #Supremacist #Modi #BJP

"Mr. Modi’s rule represents the most devastating, and perhaps final, defeat of India’s noble postcolonial ambition to create a moral world order. It turns out that the racist imperialism Du Bois despised can resurrect itself even among its former victims: There can be English rule without the Englishman. India’s claims to exceptionalism appear to have been as unfounded as America’s own." --- Pankaj Mishra

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/11/opinion/india-70-partition-pankaj-mishra.html

India at 70, and the Passing of Another Illusion

By PANKAJ MISHRA
AUG. 11, 2017

August 15, 1947, deserved to be remembered, the African-American writer W.E.B. Du Bois argued, “as the greatest historical date” of modern history. It was the day India became independent from British rule, and Du Bois believed the event was of “greater significance” than even the establishment of democracy in Britain, the emancipation of slaves in the United States or the Russian Revolution. The time “when the white man, by reason of the color of his skin, can lord it over colored people” was finally drawing to a close.

It is barely remembered today that India’s freedom heralded the liberation, from Tuskegee to Jakarta, of a majority of the world’s population from the degradations of racist imperialism. India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, claimed that there had been nothing “more horrible” in human history than the days when millions of Africans “were carried away in galleys as slaves to America and elsewhere.” As he said in a resonant speech on Aug. 15, 1947, long ago India had made a “tryst with destiny,” and now, by opening up a broad horizon of human emancipation, “we shall redeem our pledge.”

But India, which turns 70 next week, seems to have missed its appointment with history. A country inaugurated by secular freedom fighters is presently ruled by religious-racial supremacists. More disturbing still than this mutation are the continuities between those early embodiments of postcolonial virtue and their apparent betrayers today.

Du Bois would have been heartbroken to read the joint statement that more than 40 African governments released in April, denouncing “xenophobic and racial” attacks on Africans in India and asking the United Nations Human Rights Council to investigate. The rise in hate crimes against Africans is part of a sinister trend that has accelerated since the Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi came to power in 2014.

Another of its bloodcurdling manifestations is the lynching of Muslims suspected of eating or storing beef. Others include assaults on couples who publicly display affection and threats of rape against women on social media by the Hindu supremacists’ troll army. Mob frenzy in India today is drummed up by jingoistic television anchors and vindicated, often on Twitter, by senior politicians, businessmen, army generals and Bollywood stars.

Hindu nationalists have also come together to justify India’s intensified military occupation of Muslim-majority Kashmir, as well as a nationwide hunt for enemies: an ever-shifting and growing category that includes writers, liberal intellectuals, filmmakers who work with Pakistani actors and ordinary citizens who don’t stand up when the national anthem is played in cinemas. The new world order — just, peaceful, equal — that India’s leaders promised at independence as they denounced their former Western masters’ violence, greed and hypocrisy is nowhere in sight.


Riaz Haq said...

#India at 70: #Lynchistan #racist #fascist #xenophobic #Hindu #Supremacist #Modi #BJP

"Mr. Modi’s rule represents the most devastating, and perhaps final, defeat of India’s noble postcolonial ambition to create a moral world order. It turns out that the racist imperialism Du Bois despised can resurrect itself even among its former victims: There can be English rule without the Englishman. India’s claims to exceptionalism appear to have been as unfounded as America’s own." --- Pankaj Mishra

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/11/opinion/india-70-partition-pankaj-mishra.html


India’s lynch mobs today represent the latest and most grisly expression of such cynical political ideologies. As the sheer brutishness of Mr. Modi’s populism becomes clear, the memory of the aristocratic Nehru becomes more sacred, especially among politicians and commentators from India’s English-speaking upper castes. But Mr. Modi has also turned that legacy of high-flown promises to his political advantage.

Nehru and his followers had articulated an influential ideology of Indian exceptionalism, claiming moral prestige and geopolitical significance for India’s uniquely massive and diverse democracy. Only many of those righteous notions also reeked of upper-caste sanctimony and class privilege. Mr. Modi has effectively mobilized those Indians who have long felt marginalized and humiliated by India’s self-serving Nehruvian elite into a large vote bank of ressentiment.

Virtuous talk of unity in diversity and secularism has been replaced by a barefaced Hindu nationalism: The tattered old masks, and the gloves, have come off. The state, colonized by an ideological movement, is emerging triumphant over society. With the media’s help, it is assuming extraordinary powers of control — telling people what they should eat at home and how they should behave in public, and whom to lynch.

Mr. Modi’s rule represents the most devastating, and perhaps final, defeat of India’s noble postcolonial ambition to create a moral world order. It turns out that the racist imperialism Du Bois despised can resurrect itself even among its former victims: There can be English rule without the Englishman. India’s claims to exceptionalism appear to have been as unfounded as America’s own.

And so one can, of course, mourn this Aug. 15 as marking the end of India’s tryst with destiny or, more accurately, the collapse of our exalted ideas about ourselves. But a sober reckoning with the deep malaise in India can be bracing, too. For it confirms that the world as we have known it, molded by the beneficiaries of both Western imperialism and anti-imperialist nationalism, is crumbling, and that in the East as well as the West, all of us are now called to fresh struggles for freedom, equality and dignity.

Riaz Haq said...

INGLORIOUS EMPIRE
The lies Brits tell themselves about how they left behind a better India

https://qz.com/1053297/independence-day-what-good-did-the-british-do-for-india-during-the-raj/

Railways. The British built the railways primarily for themselves, using their own technology and forcing Indians to buy British equipment. Each mile of the Indian railway constructed cost nine times as much as the same in the US, and twice that in difficult and less populated Canada and Australia. The bills were footed by Indian taxpayers and British investors received a guaranteed return on their capital. Freight charges were dirt cheap, and Indians who traveled 3rd class paid for expensive tickets.
Tea. The British desire to end their dependence on Chinese tea prompted them to set up plantations in India. Following many failed attempts, they managed to find a local version that worked. For this, the British felled vast forests, stripped the tribals who lived there of their rights, and then paid Indian labourers poorly to cultivate the cleared areas. Once the tea was ready, it was shipped off to Britain or sold internationally. The little bit left in India was too expensive, until the Great Depression when weak global demand finally let Indians enjoy the delights of the drink.
Cricket. “Yes, the British brought it to us,” Tharoor writes. “But they did not do so in the expectation that we would defeat them one day at their own game, or that our film-makers would win an Oscar nomination for an improbable tale about a motley bunch of illiterate villagers besting their colonial overlords at a fictional 19th-century match (Lagaan, 2001).”
English language. The British made it absolutely clear that it was only taught to serve their own purpose. Lord Macaulay wrote: “We must do our best to form a class who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern; a class of persons Indians in blood and colour, but English in taste, in opinion, in morals, and in intellect.” (This is the same Macaulay who also said, “A single shelf of a good European library was worth the whole native literature of India and Arabia.”)
“That Indians seized the English language and turned it into an instrument for our own liberation was to their credit, not by British design,” Tharoor writes.
The upshot of the empire, as Tharoor puts it, was that “What had once been one of the richest and most industrialised economies of the world, which together with China accounted for almost 75% of world industrial output in 1750, had been reduced by the depredations of imperial rule to one of the poorest, most backward, illiterate and diseased societies on Earth by the time of independence in 1947.”
Inglorious Empire shows in full glory how the British systematically purged India’s riches, destroyed its institutions, and created divisions among its peoples. Worse still, there has been no formal apology for what the empire wreaked on its subjects. Instead, there is rising nostalgia for the empire as nationalism surges in a country that is now three ranks below India in the size of its economy.

Riaz Haq said...

#India at 70: Why #Hindu nationalists are afraid of #Mughals. #Modi #BJP #Islamophobia http://www.dailyo.in/politics/mughal-history-mughalsarai-hindu-right-rss-hindutva/story/1/18955.html … via @DailyO

Hindu nationalists are arguably growing bolder in their anti-Muslim bigotry, as can be seen from the names they choose to fill the vacuum created by their erasure of the Mughals. In 2015, Aurangzeb Road was renamed APJ Abdul Kalam Road, and thus an acceptable Muslim - in Hindutva eyes - supplanted an unacceptable one. But Mughalsarai is being replaced by the name of a Hindutva man. Ajmer's Akbar Road is now known, blandly, as Ajmer Fort. Instead of learning about the Mughals, Maharashtrian school children will learn more about the myth of Shivaji (the actual history of Shivaji being largely unpalatable to current Hindutva sensibilities and so obscured). Such actions communicate the hateful view that only a narrow band of Hindu nationalists can qualify as patriots.

Over the last several years, Hindu nationalists have fought - with increasing success - to remove traces of the Mughals from the Indian public sphere. In 2015, Aurangzeb Road was renamed in Delhi. Other renamings have followed, including, this year, Akbar Fort in Ajmer and Mughalsarai Railway Station in Uttar Pradesh. A second front of the Hindu nationalist war on Indian history is school textbooks. The RSS has been saffronising Indian textbooks for some time, and news broke this month that they had wiped all but a few lines on Akbar from Maharashtrian textbooks.

Hindu nationalists have offered several justifications for their sanitising efforts. Early on, they rallied against honoring tyrants or "invaders," as the Rajasthan education minister described the likes of the Indian-born Akbar. As the months and years have passed, many on the Hindu Right have offered alternative motivations that deemphasise their Islamophobia.

For instance, the recent changes to Maharashtrian textbooks have been characterised by those responsible as framing history within a "Maharashtra-centric point of view." Yogi Adityanath's government has defended its retitling of Mughalsarai Railway Station as having little to do with the Mughals and instead as an attempt to pay tribute to Deen Dayal Upadhyaya, an RSS ideologue whose name the railway station will soon bear.

Such flimsy justifications do little to cover up the real fuel behind the Hindu nationalist renaming frenzy: hatred of Muslims, past and present.

---
India's Hindu Right has never been good with history. For instance, in the lead up to the seventieth anniversary of India's independence, we have seen an uptick in desperate Hindu nationalist claims that the RSS participated in the Quit India Movement, in contravention to the real story that the RSS was somewhere between being aloof from the independence movement and collaborating with the British Empire.

Shame about opting out of the Quit India Movement is understandable, given subsequent historical events. But why is the Hindu Right unable to come to terms with the Mughals, an empire that ended 150 years ago in name and fell apart far earlier in terms of power? For the rest of the world, the Mughals are ancient history, best left to the musty shelves of libraries and the curious minds of scholars. So why are the Mughals - long ago decayed into the dust of the earth-so viscerally threatening to the 21st century Hindu Right?

Riaz Haq said...

#India at 70: #BJP Using History to Divide, Rule People. #Islamophobia #Hindu #Muslim #RSS #textbooks via @thenation

https://www.thenation.com/article/why-the-battle-for-indias-past-is-a-fight-for-its-future/

Why the Battle for India’s Past Is a Fight for Its Future
Seventy years after partition, India’s ruling party is using history to divide the country.

In India, history is increasingly finding its way into contemporary debates. That is in large part because Hindu nationalism or “Hindutva”—the defining ideology of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)—draws its animus from the past, or at least a vision of the past. (Full disclosure: My father is a member of Parliament for the opposition Congress party, but my views on these issues far predate his political activities.)

At stake is the very conception of what defines India. Is it the pluralist civilization that leaders of the independence era like Nehru imagined? Or is Indian civilization synonymous with Hindu civilization and identity?

The BJP and its ideological allies believe that India is fundamentally a Hindu nation with a proud Hindu history. Using this as justification, it routinely invokes and attempts to correct imagined historical grievances. After years of mobilization, activists in 1992 demolished a nearly 500-year-old mosque in Ayodhya in the north of India, because it was thought to sit on top of a temple that marked the birthplace of the Hindu deity Ram.

The main target of Hindu nationalists is India’s Muslim community, who compose roughly 15 percent of the population (close to 200 million people). Islam has been in India for over a millennium, but Hindu nationalists often depict Muslims as outsiders who are graciously “tolerated,” making their presence in India a testament to foreign invasion and their history one of foreign tyranny.


All nation-states—but especially new ones—use history to burnish their claims of grandeur and legitimacy in the present. After partition in 1947, both India and Pakistan laid claim to the physical and symbolic inheritance of the Indus Valley Civilization. In 1950, while working as a consultant with the Pakistani government, the British archaeologist Robert Eric Mortimer Wheeler published an archaeological survey titled Five Thousand Years of Pakistan that sought to endow millennia of history upon a three-year-old nation. A modern nation-state drawn up by British civil servants in the middle of the 20th century can hardly be a prism for understanding South Asia’s deep past. And yet that implausible notion is still invoked by Pakistani nationalists today.

-----
Of course, India and Pakistan have had much more heated contests; they’ve fought several wars and remain at loggerheads over the disputed territory of Kashmir. But the battle over the Indus Valley objects presaged the enduring importance of historical symbols in modern Indian politics.

-------------

Similarly, evidence of the plural history of India poses a problem to Hindu nationalists who want to define India as an eternally Hindu nation. That’s why they are engaged on several fronts in fighting a cultural war of historical revisionism. This battle for the past has extended to the Indus Valley Civilization. Where Nehru turned to Mohenjodaro as an example of general Indian accomplishment, some Hindu nationalists now attempt to claim the Indus Valley as a “Vedic” or Hindu culture, a dubious assertion according to historians.

These historical debates have real consequences. Since Narendra Modi became prime minister in 2014, Muslims and other minority groups have become increasingly demonized at all levels of society, resulting in a horrific spate of attacks, riots, and lynchings in the past year. Much like the pluralist nationalists before them, Hindu nationalists seek to impose their understanding of history on the country to mold the present. But they turn to the past in order to divide and exclude, to suggest that even though all Indians are equal, some are more equal than others.

Riaz Haq said...

Who invented Hinduism?

by David N. Lorenzen

"Over the past decade, many scholars have put forward the claim that Hinduism was constructed, invented and imagined by the British scholars and colonial administrators in the 19th century and did not exist in any meaningful way before this date"


"There is also a consensus that the name Sindhu became "Hind" or "Hindu" in Persian languages and then re-entered Indian languages as "Hindu"

https://books.google.com/books?id=SO-YmMWpcVEC&pg=PA2&lpg=PA2&dq=wendy+doniger++hindu+invented+by+muslims&source=bl&ots=0w8xqxvaoo&sig=5GqNm4lvCfHQwqI_gD_-NakWU34&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjP0bvQ5IrWAhUqrFQKHVDqBjsQ6AEINzAG#v=onepage&q=persian&f=true

Riaz Haq said...

No, Mughals didn't loot India. They made us rich
They remained as Indians, not colonists.

http://www.dailyo.in/politics/mughals-contribution-indian-economy-rich-culture-tourism-british/story/1/19549.html

From 16th century to 18th century, the Mughal kingdom was the richest and most powerful kingdom in the world and as French traveller Francois Bernier, who came to India in the 17th century, wrote, “Gold and silver come from every quarter of the globe to Hinduostan.”

This is hardly surprising considering that Sher Shah, and the Mughals had encouraged trade by developing roads, river transport, sea routes, ports and abolishing many inland tolls and taxes. Indian handicrafts were developed. There was a thriving export trade in manufactured goods such as cotton cloth, spices, indigo, woollen and silk cloth, salt etc.

The Indian merchants trading on their own terms and taking only bullion as payment, leading Sir Thomas Roe to say that "Europe bleedeth to enrich Asia".

This trade was traditionally in the hands of the Hindu merchant class who controlled the trade. In fact, Bernier wrote that the Hindus possessed "almost exclusively the trade and wealth of the country". The Muslims mainly held high administrative and army posts.

A very efficient system of administration set up by Akbar facilitated an environment of trade and commerce.

It was this which led the East India Company to seek trade concessions from the Mughal empire and eventually control then destroy it.

A very interesting painting in possession of the British Library painted by Spiridione Roma, named The East Offering Her Riches to Britannia, dated 1778, shows Britannia looking down on a kneeling India who is offering her crown surrounded by rubies and pearls. The advent of the famous drain of wealth from India started with the East India Company not the Delhi Sultanate or the Mughals.

Edmund Burke was the first to use the phrase in the 1780s when he said, India had been "radically and irretrievably ruined" through the company’s "continual Drain" of wealth.

Let us examine India’s economic status prior to its becoming a British colony.

The Cambridge historian Angus Maddison writes in his book, Contours of the World Economy 1–2030 AD: Essays in Macro-economic History, that while India had the largest economy till 1000 AD (with a GDP share of 28.9 per cent in 1000AD) there was no economic growth. It was during the 1000 AD-1500 AD that India began to see a economic growth with its highest (20.9 per cent GDP growth rate) being under the Mughals. In the 18th century, India had overtaken China as the largest economy in the world.

Riaz Haq said...

How the British convinced Hindus that Muslims were despots and religious invaders

The East India Company wanted to be seen as a rectifier of the historical harm inflicted by the Muslims.


https://scroll.in/magazine/850787/how-the-british-convinced-hindus-that-muslims-were-despots-and-religious-invaders


It is a fact not so easily known, thus rarely acknowledged, that the British colonial project in India at one moment turned into an excavation of India’s pasts. This excavation was aimed at exploring the arrival of various foreign people, cultures, religions and politics into the subcontinent. After all, the Indian peninsula had been the site of commercial, political and military incursions by the Portuguese, the Dutch and the Timurids since 1498. Surely, one reason for the excavation was that, as the latest foreigners to arrive in India, the British wanted a justification for their own arrival. The other reason is tied to the way in which the British saw themselves as heirs to the Romans.

Edward Gibbon published the first volume of his book The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire in 1776, the year Great Britain lost 13 of its colonies in America. All six volumes of the book came out by 1788 to tremendous acclaim and sales. A central theme in Gibbon’s work was his quest for historical linkages between Pax Britannica – the period of British-dominated world order – and Pax Romana.

He provided the foundational stone for a theory that sought to legitimise British colonial enterprise as a successor to a great empire of the past that brought a long era of peace and prosperity for Europe in its wake. Even more influential, I would argue, is his exploration of the relationship between race and politics within the context of the Roman experience. This relationship was immediately employed in legitimising the British conquest of India.

---------------------

John Jehangir Bede’s doctoral dissertation, The Arabs in Sind: 712-1026 AD, was written within this academic context. Submitted to the University of Utah in 1973, the thesis remained unpublished until Karachi’s Endowment Fund Trust for Preservation of the Heritage of Sindh printed it earlier this year.

We do not know why Bede never published his work. Notes on the dust jacket of the book state that all attempts to trace his family or career were largely unsuccessful. The only thing we know is that he worked with Dr Aziz S Atiya, an influential historian of the Crusades, and that his work has been cited and expanded upon by historians such as Derryl MacLean, Mubarak Ali, Muhammad Yar Khan and Yohannan Friedman in the 1980s and 1990s. How are we to read this dissertation in 2017? One possible way is to see what the history of Muslim origins in India, as well as the historiography detailed above, looked like in 1973.

Bede starts his dissertation by reflecting on the fact that the history of Sindh has received little contemporary attention. He observes that this is because there have been relatively few textual sources for this history and that historians have been “generally subject to preconceived prejudices mainly colored by the religious outlook of particular authors”.

Instead of treating the Muslims as religious invaders, he explores an economic basis for their conquest of Sindh by examining a variety of sources, earliest of which date to the middle of the 9th century. In his last chapter, Commerce and Culture in Sind, he draws upon travelogues, merchant accounts and poetry from the ninth and 10th centuries to argue that there once existed an interconnected Indian Ocean world in which Sindh was a pivot.

Riaz Haq said...

A conversation with Dr Audrey Truschke, the author of Aurangzeb: The life and legacy of India’s most controversial king

http://twocircles.net/2017jun19/411640.html

Truschke points out that Aurangzeb was fluent in Hindi from childhood, and quotes the Italian traveler Niccoli Manucci about Aurangzeb “He was of a melancholy temperament, always busy at something or another, wishing to execute justice and arrive at appropriate decisions.” She also quotes Ishvaradasa, a Hindu astrologer, who wrote about Aurangzeb in Sanskrit in 1663 calling the king righteous (dharmya) and even noted that the King’s tax policies were lawful (vidhivat). Truschke’s point is not that Aurangzeb was just but rather that a wide variety of individuals, including “Hindus,” identified Aurangzeb’s pursuit of his vision of justice as crucial to his kingship.

She also quotes the following stanza authored by Chandar Bhan Brahman, a Hindu, Persian-medium poet in Aurangzeb’s employ:

O King may the world bow to your command;
May lips drip with expressions of thanks and salutations;
Since it is your spirit that watches over the people,
Wherever you are, may God watch over you!

She continues “Hindus fared well in Aurangzeb’s massive bureaucracy, finding employment and advancement opportunities. Since Akbar’s time, Rajputs and other Hindus had served as full members of the Mughal administration. Like their Muslim counterparts, they received formal ranks known as mansabs that marked their status in the imperial hierarchy and fought to expand the empire.”

Truschke quotes Aurangzeb’s February 1659 farman “You must see that nobody unlawfully disturbs the Brahmins or other Hindus of that region, so that they might remain in their place and pray for the continuance of the Empire.”

Truschke concludes “I have argued that Aurangzeb acted according to his ideals of justice, commitment to political and ethical conduct (adaab and akhlaq), and the necessities of politics. Aurangzeb’s worldview was also shaped by his piety and the Mughal culture he inherited. He was not interested in fomenting Hindu-Muslim conflict – a modern obsession with modern stakes- but he was fixated on dispensing his brand of justice, upholding Mughal traditions, and expanding his grip across the subcontinent.”

I interviewed Dr. Truschke about her fascinating new book “Aurangzeb: The life and Legacy of India’s most controversial king.”

Riaz Haq said...

What #India's textbooks don't tell us: Why the #Rajputs failed miserably in battle for centuries. #Mughal #Muslims

https://scroll.in/article/728636/what-our-textbooks-dont-tell-us-why-the-rajputs-failed-miserably-in-battle-for-centuries

The home minister, Rajnath Singh, wishes our school textbooks told us more about the Rajput king Rana Pratap, and less about the Mughal emperor Akbar. I, on the other hand, wish they explained why Rajputs fared so miserably on the battlefield.

A thousand years ago, Rajput kings ruled much of North India. Then they lost to Ghazni, lost to Ghuri, lost to Khilji, lost to Babur, lost to Akbar, lost to the Marathas, and keeled over before the British. The Marathas and Brits hardly count since the Rajputs were a spent force by the time Akbar was done with them. Having been confined to an arid part of the subcontinent by the early Sultans, they were reduced to vassals by the Mughals.

The three most famous Rajput heroes not only took a beating in crucial engagements, but also retreated from the field of battle. Prithviraj Chauhan was captured while bolting and executed after the second battle of Tarain in 1192 CE, while Rana Sanga got away after losing to Babur at Khanua in 1527, as did Rana Pratap after the battle of Haldighati in 1576. To compensate for, or explain away, these debacles, the bards of Rajputana replaced history with legend.

Specialists in failure

It is worth asking, surely, what made Rajputs such specialists in failure. Yet, the question hardly ever comes up. When it does, the usual explanation is that the Rajputs faced Muslim invaders whose fanaticism was their strength. Nothing could be further than the truth. Muslim rulers did use the language of faith to energise their troops, but commitment is only the first step to victory. The Rajputs themselves never lacked commitment, and their courage invariably drew the praise of their enemies. Even a historian as fundamentalist as Badayuni rhapsodised about Rajput valour. Babur wrote that his troops were unnerved, ahead of the Khanua engagement, by the reputed fierceness of Rana Sanga’s forces, their willingness to fight to the death.

Let’s cancel out courage and fanaticism as explanations, then, for each side displayed these in equal measure. What remains is discipline, technical and technological prowess, and tactical acumen. In each of these departments, the Rajputs were found wanting. Their opponents, usually Turkic, used a complex battle plan involving up to five different divisions. Fleet, mounted archers would harry opponents at the start, and often make a strategic retreat, inducing their enemy to charge into an ambush. Behind these stood the central division and two flanks. While the centre absorbed the brunt of the enemy’s thrust, the flanks would wheel around to surround and hem in opponents. Finally, there was a reserve that could be pressed into action wherever necessary. Communication channels between divisions were quick and answered to a clear hierarchy that was based largely on merit.

Riaz Haq said...

Islam in South Asia presdates Mohammad Bin Qasim's invasion.


http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/74835/1/blogs.lse.ac.uk-Book%20Review%20A%20Book%20of%20Conquest%20The%20Chachnama%20and%20Muslim%20Origins%20in%20South%20Asia%20by%20Manan%20Ahmed%20Asif.pdf

A Book of Conquest: The Chachnama and Muslim Origins in South Asia is a critical literary, historical
and intellectual analysis of a 13
th century Persian text which tells the story of the Arab invasions of
Sindh in the 7-8
th centuries. Asad Abbasi finds the book an important re-examination of a key text
which has been used to perpetuate the myth that Hindus and Muslims are historic enemies, despite
offering a moral conduct for governance.
A Book of Conquest: The Chachnama and Muslim Origins in South Asia . Manan Ahmed Asif.
Harvard University Press. 2016.

------

Asif implies that previous commentators have invariably selected, chopped, derided, ridiculed, and ignored parts of
the text to fit their own agendas. But there are two common assumptions that still hold, primarily because of how Ali
Kufi frames his work: first, the Chachnama is a translation of an Arabic manuscript, and second it is a book about
conquest in eighth century Sindh. Asif rejects both these assumptions. He argues the Chachnama is an original
book of political theory written in Persian addressed to the audience of thirteenth century Sindh.
Asif builds on work by Muzaffar Alam and A.C.S. Peacock in challenging the notion that the text is a translation.
Alam, an eminent Mughal historian, proposes that translation was key part of ‘Persianisation’ i.e. process for the
elites to move away from religious values towards more secular methods (p. 55). Peacock, Professor of History at St Andrews, views the translations of that period as ‘transcreations or commentarial interpretations’. Asif highlights that
in the 13th century claiming a book’s Arabic heritage was customary but also very prudent for raising author’s
profile. Kufi’s contemporaries such as Awfi and Juzjani are known to have employed similar methods. The historians
of thirteenth century may call their own work translations but ‘saw pedagogy and self-reflection as key function of the
texts’ (p. 60).
Asif also argues that the Chachnama does not fit the mould of other conquest narratives within Arabic
historiography. These differences are stark: while the conquest narrative deals in proper names; the Chachnama
gives ‘general attributes’ and uses generic citations (p. 63). The Arabic conquest literature focuses on plot of the
story, description of land and regions; Kufi, instead, writes about ‘inner turmoil, deliberation, doubts and planning of
the campaign’. The conquest narratives paint dismal picture of pre-Islamic times; Chachnama informs the reader of
the wealth and resources in Sind before Muhammad Bin Qasim. Furthermore, unlike the conquest narratives, Kufi
draws comparisons between the Hindu ruler Chach, and the Muslim ruler Bin Qasim (p. 66). Based on these
differences, Asif contends that the Chachnama is not a conquest narrative but ‘an Indic political theory’ which is
‘deeply ingrained in the physical geography and spatial constraint of the thirteenth century’ (p. 67).
Asif’s interpretation differs significantly from those of earlier commentators.

--------

The falsehood that Hindus and Muslims are enemies who have been engaged in conflict since time immemorial is
perpetuated by centres of power to establish legitimacy. The British used it to legitimise colonisation, for Pakistani
state it provides legitimacy for military expenditure and for Hindu nationalists it becomes the basis for delegitimising
last one thousand years of Indian history. Asif’s new volume seeks to challenge the misinterpretations of the
Chachnama that has arisen from its use in these instrumental narratives.

Riaz Haq said...

#Islamophobia, #casteism characterize #Hindu comics Amar Chitra Katha. #BJP #Modi #Hinduism

https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2017/12/the-comics-that-redefined-hinduism/539838/

since its debut in 1967, ACK has also helped supply impressionable generations of middle-class children a vision of “immortal” Indian identity wedded to prejudiced norms. ACK’s writing and illustrative team (led by Pai as the primary “storyteller”) constructed a legendary past for India by tying masculinity, Hinduism, fair skin, and high caste to authority, excellence, and virtue. On top of that, his comics often erased non-Hindu subjects from India’s historic and religious fabric. Consequently, ACK reinforced many of the most problematic tenets of Hindu nationalism—tenets that partially drive the platform of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, currently under fire domestically and internationally for policies and rhetoric targeting religious minorities and lower castes.

Yet millions of children—myself included—revered “Uncle Pai” for creating a popular avenue to an Indian heritage, however limited. Like many other Indian diaspora kids, my mother brought her own collection when she immigrated to the United States as a 9-year-old in 1973. My family had built a library of some 90 issues by the time I began to read them, tattered from decades of swapping between cousins. When I was a boy growing up in upstate New York, my parents had no Indian friends or nearby relatives. We only spoke in English and ate burritos more often than dal bhat.

The heroes of ACK became my superheroes long before I discovered Spider-Man or the Flash. They also became my first window into a culture I barely knew. I didn’t care that the protagonists I was reading about were drawn with white skin. I was unaware of the broader, ongoing effort by Hindu nationalists to define a doctrine devaluing lower castes, women, tribal populations, and religious minorities. I didn’t understand how ideals of obedience to authority—something the comics taught—can feed systemic inequality. I was just reading about heroes who made me feel stronger than I was, and who would teach me, I believed, how to be Indian.

* * *

ACK defines Indian identity via stories—which naturally appealed to a bookish child like me who constantly escaped into the worlds of Philip Pullman, Garth Nix, and C.S. Lewis. Most histories in the comics feature virtuous Hindus who fight against evil rulers, an encroaching Muslim horde, or arrogant British imperialists. The religious stories are drawn from (usually Hindu) epics, sacred texts, and folktales, and they frequently weave the same gods and heroes among minor vignettes and massive story arcs. Though many ACK issues could stand alone, roughly 30 pages at a time the series constructed a limited and tonally consistent India sanitized through a distinctively Hindu lens.

While many scholars reject the notion of a single Hindu doctrine, they have some opponents. In 2008, Hindu nationalist students at Delhi University protested the inclusion of A.K. Ramanujan’s landmark essay “Three Hundred Ramayanas” in the history syllabus. The protestors alleged that it demeaned Hinduism to imply nonclassical versions of the epic were equally legitimate. Under a renewed wave of dissent in 2011, the university dropped the essay from the syllabus.

Riaz Haq said...

Classical #Hindustani #Music Gharanas are almost all #Muslim. Here's a list: http://www.culturalindia.net/indian-music/hindustani-gharanas.html #India


Gwalior Gharana - This is the oldest among all the Khayal Gayaki (vocal) styles. The distinctive feature of this style of singing has been noted as its lucidity and simplicity.
Founders - Ustad Hassu Khan, Ustad Haddu Khan, Ustad Nathu Khan
Exponents - Bal Krishna BaIchal Karanjikar, Vishnu Digambar Paluskar, Pandit Omkarnath Thakur, Veena Sahasrabuddhe and Malini Rajurkar

Agra Gharana-The Agra Gharana places great importance on developing forcefulness and deepness in the voice so that the notes are powerful and resonant.
Founders- Haji Sujan Khan, Ustad Ghagghe Khuda Baksh
Exponents-The important singers of this Gharana are Faiyyaz Khan, Latafat Hussein Khan and Dinkar Kakini.

Kirana Gharana - It derives its name from the birthplace of Abdul Kharim Khan of Kirana near Kurukshetra. In the Kirana style of singing, the swara is used to create an emotional mood by means of elongation and use of Kana-s.
Founders - Abdul Karim Khan and Abdul Wahid Khan
Exponents - Hirabhai Barodekar, Begum Akhtar, Bhimsen Joshi, Gangubai Hangal and Prabha Atre.

Jaipur - Atrauli Gharana- The most distinctive feature of the Jaipur Gharana can be best described as its complex and melodic form which arises out of the involutedly and undulating phrases that comprise the piece.
Founders - Ustad Alladiya Khan
Exponents - Alladiya Khan, Mallikarjun Mansur, Kesarbhai Kerkar, Kishori Amonkar, Shruti Sadolikar, Padma Talwalkar and Ashwini Bhide Deshpande.


Rampur Sahaswan Gharana- The Rampur Sahaswan Gharana there is a stress on the clarity of swara in this style and the development and elaboration of the raga is done through a stepwise progression.
Founders - Ustad Inayat Khan
Exponents - Ghulam Mustafa Khan, Ustad Nissar Hussain Khan, Ustad Rashid Khan, Sulochana and Brihaspati.

Patiala Gharana - Patiala Gharana is regarded as an offshoot of the Delhi Gharana. The Patiala Gharana is characterized by the use of greater rhythm play and by Layakari with the abundant use of Bols, particularly Bol-tans.
Founders - Ustad Fateh Ali Khan and Ustad Ali Baksh
Exponents - The major singers of the Patiala Gharana are Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Ajoy Chakravarti, Raza Ali Khan, Beghum Akhtar, Nirmala Deni, Naina Devi, Parveen Sultana and others.

Delhi Gharana - The Delhi Ghaana was represented by Tanras Khan and Shabbu Khan. The highlights of Delhi Gharana are pleasing vistaar and exquisite compositions.
Founders - Ustad Mamman Khan
Exponents - Some of the notable exponents of Delhi Gharana are Chand Khan, Nasir Ahmed Khan, Usman Khan, Iqbal Ahmed Khan and Krishna Bisht.

Bhendi Bazaar Gharana - The most distinctive feature of the Bhendi Bazaar Gharana is the presentation of Khayal, which is open voice, using Akar. There is a stress on breath-control and singing of long passages in one breath is highly regarded in this Gharana
Founders - Ustad Chajju Khan
Exponents - The important singers of this Gharana are Ustad Aman Ali Khan, Shashikala Koratkar and Anjanibai Malpekar.

Benaras Gharana - The Benaras Gharana evolved as a result of great lilting style of khayal singing known by Thumri singers of Benaras and Gaya.
Founders - Pt Gopal Mishra
Exponents - The chief exponents of the Benaras Gharana are Rajan Mishra, Sajan Mishra, Girija Devi and others.

Mewati Gharana - The Mewati Gharana gives importance to developing the mood of the raga through the notes forming it and its style is Bhava Pradhan. It also gives equal importance to the meaning of the text.
Founders - The founder of Mewati Gharana was Ghagge Nazir Khan.
Exponents - The exponents of the Mewati Gharana are Pandit Jasraj, Moti Ram, Mani Ram, Sanjeev Abhyankar and others.

Riaz Haq said...

Talking about culture, North Indian and Pakistani culture is often referred to as Indo Persian culture

Do you know that sitar and tabla, the key musical instruments of Indian music, are attributed to Muslims, specifically Amir Khusro? Tabla is from tabl, the Arabic word for drum. Sitar is Persian meaning three strings. Harmonium came from France

Biryani. the most popular Indian dish, was brought to India by Persian speaking Muslims. Its origin is “brinj e biryan” or fried rice in Farsi.

Naan is the Persian word for bread.

Tandoor is from Arabic and Persian tanoor

Riaz Haq said...

Twitter thread:

Audrey Truschke‏Verified account
@AudreyTruschke
Following Following @AudreyTruschke
More Audrey Truschke Retweeted Devil's Advocate
Indian cultures (they really are plural) are largely unimaginable as they are today without Islamic influences.
It’s not a straightforward matter of conversion, but rather dynamic processes of assimilation, innovation, and so forth.

-----------------

shantanoo goswami‏
@shantanogoswami
Follow Follow @shantanogoswami
More
Replying to @AudreyTruschke
tell us 5 things influenced by islam in a typical hindu home ?

-------------------------

Audrey Truschke‏Verified account
@AudreyTruschke
Following Following @AudreyTruschke
More Audrey Truschke Retweeted shantanoo goswami
vocabulary, biryani, Bollywood, music, and, of course, that we're talking about a "Hindu" home. #tooeasy

Haseeb R. said...

There are open minded Hindus in India. Here is one:
A truthful post on FB by Priyanka Goenka, an unbiased hindu from India... :

"Under Muslims rule India was the richest country, amounting to almost 27% of world GDP, Muslims united this nation into one entity, gave it an identity. Prior to Muslims arrival for almost 1000 years India was divided into several nations fighting each other. Muslims gave most beautiful architectural building of the world.

Muslims gave education system, specially prior to Muslims there was no history recording except stories.

While half the world in 11th to 13th century was being plundered, burnt, raped, destroyed by Mongols including Muslim lands, it was Muslims who fought, sacrificed their lives and protected India from the savage Mongols. This in itself is a great service to India.

Today the stupid HINDUTVA don't remember the brutal role of British which plundered India for 200 years and reduced GDP from 27% of world to less than 4%. British policies killed over 4 million Indians. It is their legacy of "Divide & Rule" which BJP is following.

Muslims are nothing to be ashamed of their history, infact they are the makers of India!"

Parvati Goenka post 👇🏽
https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=451150461948846&id=100011616883687

Riaz Haq said...

India’s pre-colonial economy considered as a golden age of prosperity under Mughal period, amounting to almost 27% of world GDP, said former union minister Shashi Tharoor on a recent visit to Australia for Melbourne Writers Festivals 2017.
The Congress MP appearing on national channel ABC’s #QandA (Question and Answer) on September 04, 2017, described at length how India’s textiles, dominated mostly by Muslims, were systematically destroyed by the British.

“The British came to one of the richest countries in the world when the GDP was almost 27% in the 17th century, 23% in the18th. But, over 200 years of exploitation, loot and destruction reduced India to a poster child for third world poverty”, he said in reply to a question about the British rule in India.

“But when they left India in 1947, 90% of the population was living under below poverty level. Literacy rate was below 17% and growth rate from 1900 to 1947 was a meager 0.001%”, he said.
“The fact is in the name of free trade the British came in and destroyed the free trade that had made India leading exporter of textiles.

“The British soldiers smashed looms so people couldn’t practice their craft. They imposed punitive duties and taxes on the export of Indian textiles while lifting duties on import of British cloth”, he said.

“Cities like Dhaka and Murshidabad were depopulated. In one notorious incident weavers’ thumbs were cut so that they could not operate on looms.

“India’s textile industry was systematically destroyed by the British”, he added.

India’s trade was in a healthy state and it became the largest economy by 1700, amounting to almost 27% of world GDP, until the mid-18th century, prior to British rule.

This is not the first time Tharoor praises for Muslim rulers. Earlier in August 2017, speaking at Mountain Echoes Literary Festival in Bhutan’s capital Thimpu, Tharoor said that he did not regard Muslim rulers as foreigners.

“I am talking about the British who came and ruled us for the benefit of a country far away. For the Prime Minister, Muslim rulers who originally came to India to rule but stayed in India, assimilated and intermarried are also considered foreigners. To me they are not foreigners. If they stole and looted, they spent their loot here. They did not send it back to another country like the British,” Tharoor is quoted as saying in a report by NDTV.

“To me they are not foreigners. If they stole and looted, they spent their loot here. They did not send it back to another country like the British,” Tharoor said in a direct attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s repeated claim of “1,200 years of foreign rule”.

https://www.siasat.com/news/muslim-rule-india-richest-country-27-world-gdp-shashi-tharoor-1245760/

Riaz Haq said...

#India’s #education minister assails #Darwin's theory of #evolution, calls for #curricula overhaul to change #science #textbooks

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/01/india-s-education-minister-assails-evolutionary-theory-calls-curricula-overhaul


A new front has opened in the war on science in India. On Friday, India’s minister for higher education, Satyapal Singh, took aim at the theory of evolution. Calling himself “a responsible man of science,” Singh, a chemist, suggested that Darwin’s theory is “scientifically wrong” and “needs to change” in school and university curricula. In remarks on the sidelines of a conference in Aurangabad, in central India, Singh further noted that “nobody, including our ancestors, in written or oral, have said they saw an ape turning into a man.”

Top scientists have condemned Singh’s remarks. They “seem to be aimed at politically polarizing science and scientists, and that is the real danger we must guard against,” says Raghavendra Gadagkar, immediate past president of the Indian National Science Academy and an ecologist at the Indian Institute of Science in Bengaluru. Yesterday, India’s three science academies released a statement endorsed by more than 2000 scientists, declaring that “it would be a retrograde step to remove the teaching of the theory of evolution from school and college curricula or to dilute this by offering nonscientific explanations or myths.”

Singh is not the only voice in India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) espousing antiscience views. The government took heat last year over an effort to validate panchagavya, a folk remedy based on cow dung, as a cure-all, and in 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi claimed that the world’s first plastic surgery was performed in India when the Hindu deity Ganesh was created with a human body and an elephant head. “The BJP is the fountainhead of scientific nonsense,” says opposition politician Jairam Ramesh, a mechanical engineer by training.

Rabia said...

Finally saw #Padmaavat tonight. So, basically,

Bollywood: why are there so many crazy, bloodthirsty, anti-Muslim Hindu extremists trying to kill us?

Also Bollywood: Let's keep piling awful, bigoted, disgusting anti-Muslim stereotypes into movies to cash in on ethnoHindu pride.

https://twitter.com/rabiasquared/status/957154638788222976

Riaz Haq said...

Padmavati Was Never A Role Model For These Rajput Women, And Now She's A Curse

http://www.huffingtonpost.in/2018/01/24/for-these-rajput-women-padmavati-is-now-a-curse_a_23342945/

JAIPUR — Rakhi*, a 25-year old Rajput woman, is willing to wager that neither the actors in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Padmaavat nor the sword-wielding goons opposing it will be ones living under the long shadow cast by the ₹190 crore movie and the controversies surrounding it.

She, however, has felt a change in her family in recent months, a hardening of conservative and patriarchal attitudes, especially after the period drama was pitted against Rajput honour.

In a recent conversation with HuffPost India, she said, "Please don't use my real name. My whole family is opposing the movie. They will throw me out of the house if I speak out publicly. Or worse, make me marry some Rajput man who brandishes a sword just like those horrible Karni Sena men."

As the opposition to the Bhansali's movie rages on, driven largely by a fringe group called the Shri Rajput Karni Sena, Rakhi has been admonished and lectured by her family members whenever she has spoken her mind on the movie and its titular character, Padmavati or Rani Padmini.

The Rajput queen first appears in Malik Muhammad Jayasi's poem 'Padmavat', a 16th-century fictionalised account of Alauddin Khilji's siege of Rajasthan's Chittorgarh. It ends tragically with Padmavati committing jauhar — an outlawed practice of mass self-immolation by Hindu women — to avoid capture by the Muslim sultan of Delhi.

On the flip side, the school teacher also gets flak from her family for mocking the Karni Sena.

Even though she is not a fan of Padmavati, the young Rajput believes that Bhansali has the freedom to make the kind of movie he wants to. Of the many arguments which Rakhi has had with her family members over Padmaavat, there was one exchange that eventually silenced her on the subject.

It happened about one month ago, when Rakhi suggested that her family turn off a television debate which featured members of the Karni Sena screaming about "women's honour."

"I said something like 'how much more of this nonsense do we have to listen to?' They pounced on me. They said that 'you are anti-national, anti-Hindu and a disgrace to your caste and to Rajput women.' It went too far. They said that 'you are like Kanhaiya Kumar of JNU'," she said, referring to the former president of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) Students' Union, who was arrested on charges of sedition in February, 2016.

Following that outburst, Rakhi chose to stay mum about the movie. "I decided to shut up . What's the point? Then, they will say 'we made a mistake by educating her, by letting her work.' I'm afraid of having that conversation and where it could lead."

Rakhi put all Padmaavat-related thoughts out of her head until about a week ago, when she witnessed her neighbours brutally beating their wives in the street. It was a scene that she had seen play out many times in her neighborhood and sometimes in her own home. But what the women did after they were beaten shocked her.

"The same women went to join the protest against the release of the movie, they signed up for jauhar. I just couldn't believe it. They get no respect in their own homes and they care about some Rajput honour," she said.

Then, after a pause, the school teacher sarcastically added, "Actually, it makes perfect sense. Perhaps, jauhar is the only way for them to get away from their horrible husbands and their miserable lives."

Riaz Haq said...

Watched #Padmaavat. The Movie shows Rajputs full of glory, valour, pride and as brave hearts who would rather give their life than be defeated. Which means Karni Sena and those opposing the Movie have a Point. Sanjay Leela Bhansali has distorted history

https://twitter.com/Joydas/status/956988532152664064

Riaz Haq said...

Padmavat, Prithvi Narayan Shah and the return of majoritarian history
In today’s ‘post-truth world’, majoritarianism is cocooned and strengthened in perceived victimhood
- AMISH RAJ MULMI


http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2018-01-26/padmaavat-and-prithvi-narayan-shah.html


Jan 26, 2018-One’s a Bollywood blockbuster that was in the news for all the wrong reasons even before its release, and the other is a 250-year-old monarch whose birth anniversary evokes multiple debates around what makes a nation. The two couldn’t be further apart, yet Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat, which released on Thursday, has more in common with Prithvi Narayan Shah than at first glance.

At the root of both--the protests against the film alleging the filmmakers have dishonoured a Rajput queen, and the decision to celebrate Prithvi Narayan Shah’s birth anniversary after a gap of 11 years as ‘National Unification Day’--is history, and the many truths that history holds. After all, whose history can we deem to be ‘correct’, or ‘accurate’? Should we consider the historian’s opinion that Rani Padmini, the Rajput queen who is at the heart of the controversy over the film, may have been a fictional creation? Or should we consider the view of an Indian ex-royal and former MP who says ‘artistic freedom is “anti-national” if it plays with history and nation's heritage.’

History--much like any other emotive issue--is used to supplement the political narrative of the day and morphed to suit an idea. But it often contains truths that may be discomfiting. For example, the case for Prithvi Narayan Shah rests on the argument that it was his military strength that resulted in a bevy of hill-states being absorbed into the Gorkha fold and allowed the Shah kings to envision a singular Nepali state. But what do we make of his words to ‘enlist Khas, Magars, Gurungs, and Thakuris, and only these four jaats’ in the armed forces? Do we single him out as a ruthless discriminatory expansionist, or do we consider him a pragmatic military leader?

In Padmaavat’s case, under the guise of protecting the honour of a 13th century queen, a state of disorder has descended on India. A school bus with children was attacked in Gurgaon on Wednesday; several cinemas in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Goa will not screen the film fearing reprisals, while a few theatres in UP have been attacked; preventive arrests have been made in several states. Gujarat, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Uttarakhand had all banned the film--it is no coincidence that these are all BJP-ruled states--until the Supreme Court asked the states to ensure the film was screened. The filmmakers, in an extraordinary move, had released a full-page ad that said, among others, the film ‘portrays Rani Padmavati with utmost respect and does not tarnish her repute or misrepresent her character in any manner’. The Shree Rajput Karni Sena, the Rajput group at the forefront of the protests against the film, earlier said 1,700 women will commit jauhar, or mass self-immolation if the film wasn’t banned. It is a separate question that why is it only women who would undergo the suicide, and not the men of the Karni Sena.

But how did a fictionalised depiction of a Rajput queen, whose earliest mention only arrives in a 16th century epic poem, become the symbol of honour for Rajputs in the 21st century? For this, one must understand the larger underlying trend in Indian polity today.

Reinventing history

The old politics of caste vote-banks in India has crumbled in a time of Narendra Modi and his politics, which combines existing caste equations with a unified Hindu vote and the subtle propagation of Hindutva. The BJP’s incredible electoral machine has brought it victory after victory in several state elections since 2014, which means nearly 67 percent of India lives in BJP-ruled states today. With elections in three North-eastern states next month, that tally could increase.

Riaz Haq said...

Mythification of History and ‘Social Common Sense’
By Ram Puniyani

http://www.milligazette.com/Archives/01122001/40.htm

The discipline of history has come to the center stage of social debate for last two decades. We have witnessed a worsening of inter-community relations and spreading of derogatory myths against minority communities in particular and weaker sections of society in general. The rising tide of communal violence is standing on the myths against the minority community, which are based on a particular interpretation of history.


In today’s parlance many a myths have assumed the status of unshakable facts. Generally it is assumed that Muslim kings destroyed Hindu temples to spite the Hindus. Today’s ‘social common sense’ believes that not only Somnath temple but also Ram Janm bhumi temple, Kashi Vishwanth temple, the Mathura Krishna Janmasthan and thousands of other temples have been destroyed by the Mughal aggressors. The general and sweeping statement apart let us have a look at some of these demolitions. Mahmud Gazni on way to Somanth encountered the Muslim ruler of Multan (Abdul Fat Dawod), with whom he had to have a battle to cross Multan. In the battle the Jama Masjid of Multan was badly damaged. Further on way he struck compromise with Anandpal, the ruler of Thaneshwar who escorted his army towards Somanth with due hospitality. Gazni’s army had a good number of Hindu soldiers and five out of his 12 generals were Hindus (Tilak, Rai Hind, Sondhi, Hazran etc). Before proceeding to damage the temple he took custody of the gold and jewels, which were part of the temple treasury. After the battle he issued coins in his name with inscriptions in Sanskrit and appointed a Hindu Raja as his representative in Somnath. Similarly Dr. Pattabhi Sitarammaiya in his History of India describes the circumstances under which the Kashi Vishwanth temple had to be razed to the ground. He states that when Aurangzeb’s entourage was on way from Delhi to Kolkata the Hindu queens requested for the overnight stay in Kashi to enable them to have the Darshan of Lord Vishwananth. Next morning one of the queens who had gone to have the holy prayer did not return and was found in the basement of the temple, dishonored and raped by the Mahant of the temple. The Mahant was punished and the temple was razed to the ground as it had become polluted due to this ghastly act. Aurangzeb gave land and state support to build another temple.

It should be noted that Hindu Kings were not far behind in attacking and damaging temples when it became a political necessity for their rule or for the lust of wealth. Retreating Maratha armies destroyed the temple of Srirangtatanm, to humiliate Tipu Sultan whom they could not defeat in the battle. Parmar kings destroyed Jain temples. A Hindu king called Shashank cut off the Bodhi tree where Lord Gautam Buddha got his Nirvana. Similarly Kalhan a Kashmiri poet describes the life of King Harshdev of Kashmir, who appointed a special officer, Devotpatan Nayak (An officer who uproots the images of Gods) to usurp the gold from the temples. Aurangzeb did not hesitate to destroy the Jama Masjid in Golconda as Nawab Tanashah refused to pay him tribute for three consecutive years and hid his wealth underneath a mosque, which was damaged by Aurangzeb to recover his ‘dues’. Also many a Muslim kings gave Jagirs to the temples to keep their subjects happy. It is clear that kings from both the religions destroyed the places of worship for the sake of amassing wealth or for other political purposes.

-----------

the glorification of Shivaji and Rana Pratap for establishing Hindu Kingdoms is a total myth. Rana Pratap was longing for a higher status in the Mughal administration and having been denied that, entered into a battle with Mughal king Akbar. Now this was by no means a fight between Hindus and Muslims. Akbar was represented in the battle by Raja Mansing and an army, which was a mix of Rajput soldiers and Muslim soldiers, while Rana Pratap’s army also had Muslim (Pathan) and Rajput soldiers.

Riaz Haq said...

By rewriting history, #Hindu nationalists lay claim to #India. #Modi has appointed committee of #Hindutva "scholars" to change #India's national identity to one based on #Hindu religion. #Islamophobia #Pakistan http://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/india-modi-culture … via @SpecialReports

By RUPAM JAIN and TOM LASSETER Filed March 6, 2018, 11 a.m. GMT

NEW DELHI - During the first week of January last year, a group of Indian scholars gathered in a white bungalow on a leafy boulevard in central New Delhi. The focus of their discussion: how to rewrite the history of the nation.

The government of Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi had quietly appointed the committee of scholars about six months earlier. Details of its existence are reported here for the first time.

Minutes of the meeting, reviewed by Reuters, and interviews with committee members set out its aims: to use evidence such as archaeological finds and DNA to prove that today’s Hindus are directly descended from the land’s first inhabitants many thousands of years ago, and make the case that ancient Hindu scriptures are fact not myth.

Interviews with members of the 14-person committee and ministers in Modi’s government suggest the ambitions of Hindu nationalists extend beyond holding political power in this nation of 1.3 billion people - a kaleidoscope of religions. They want ultimately to shape the national identity to match their religious views, that India is a nation of and for Hindus.

In doing so, they are challenging a more multicultural narrative that has dominated since the time of British rule, that modern-day India is a tapestry born of migrations, invasions and conversions. That view is rooted in demographic fact. While the majority of Indians are Hindus, Muslims and people of other faiths account for some 240 million, or a fifth, of the populace.

The committee’s chairman, K.N. Dikshit, told Reuters, “I have been asked to present a report that will help the government rewrite certain aspects of ancient history.” The committee’s creator, Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma, confirmed in an interview that the group’s work was part of larger plans to revise India’s history.

For India’s Muslims, who have pointed to incidents of religious violence and discrimination since Modi took office in 2014, the development is ominous. The head of Muslim party All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen, Asaduddin Owaisi, said his people had “never felt so marginalised in the independent history of India.”

“The government,” he said, “wants Muslims to live in India as second-class citizens.”

Modi did not respond to a request for comment for this article.

INTO THE CLASSROOM

Helping to drive the debate over Indian history is an ideological, nationalist Hindu group called the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). It helped sweep Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party to power in 2014 and now counts among its members the ministers in charge of agriculture, highways and internal security.

The RSS asserts that ancestors of all people of Indian origin - including 172 million Muslims - were Hindu and that they must accept their common ancestry as part of Bharat Mata, or Mother India. Modi has been a member of the RSS since childhood. An official biography of Culture Minister Sharma says he too has been a “dedicated follower” of the RSS for many years.

Referring to the emblematic colour of the Hindu nationalist movement, RSS spokesman Manmohan Vaidya told Reuters that “the true colour of Indian history is saffron and to bring about cultural changes we have to rewrite history.”

Riaz Haq said...

Soni Wadhwa 14 July 2017 Non-Fiction, Reviews
“A Book of Conquest: The Chachnama and Muslim Origins in South Asia” by Manan Ahmed Asif

http://asianreviewofbooks.com/content/a-book-of-conquest-the-chachnama-and-muslim-origins-in-south-asia-by-manan-ahmed-asif/


Chachnama, and its discussion of Chach as a just ruler, was incorporated in subsequent regional histories Masum’s Tarikh-i Masumi (1600) and Qani’s Tuhfat ul-Kiram (eighteenth century). Chachnama also finds a mention in Firishta’s history of cluster of regions in India, Gulsham-i Ibrahimi/Tar’ikh (1606-16). It is with Alexander Dow’s summary/translation that Chachnama came to be seen as “exposing” the origins of the “brutal” and “despotic” “Mahommedan empire in India”. Dow’s attempt was a part of larger project of conquest of Sindh by the British. Sindh was annexed to the empire of the East India Company in 1843. James Mill’s History of British India (1817) draws upon Dow’s interpretation to package the political arrival of Arabs as the history of Islam in India and to frame the British rule as enlightened and civilized. The British were manufacturing a Hindu past and thereby a 19th-century present that needed to be “rescued” from the Muslims.



Asif studies the aftermath of Chachnama and argues that it is misunderstood and misclassified as a work of history. It claims to be a translation of an earlier Arabic text but that claim is, as Asif argues, a gesture in gaining currency, legitimacy and authority in the period it was written—the 13th century.

Asif’s critical reading of Chachnama goes on to substantiate his opening sentence: “Beginnings are a seductive necessity”. In claiming to be a work of history, an authentic account that originates in an Arabic text written in 8th century, the author of Chachnama, Ali Kufi, strategically positions his creation to be perceived as carrying a certain magnitude. Asif demonstrates that this self-styling as history cannot be taken at its face value. He systematically makes a case for studying the case as a text of political theory after comparing it with other texts in the genres of so-called “conquest narratives” and “advice literature”.

Chachnama fails on all the points of reference of a conventional conquest narrative. To begin with, it does not describe all the conquests of the protagonist’s, that is, Qasim’s, achievements. The title “Chachnama” itself is inconsistent with a work purported to be about the conquests of Qasim. Asif shows that the text is a work of political theory and is concerned with dos and don’ts of governance, justice, ethics, kingship and warfare:



Chachnama argues that recognizing forms of difference and translating them into politically viable structures allows for communities to coexist. Chachnama’s theory of making difference commensurable and citing precedents is remarkable from a text that is understood as a conquest narrative.

--------------------------

Asif closes his book with the statement, “The stories we tell have consequences” after providing an extraordinary account of the kinds of stories left out of about thirteen centuries of the story of Islam in India: the stories of the women in Chachnama, and the strength of their participation in the definition of right conduct, or the stories of Buddhism, or the stories of the violence that Qasim did not commit.

The nineteenth century distortion of a text continues to have repercussions on national identity and communal harmony in South Asia and all around the world. The notion that Muslims are outsiders and thereby have a separate identity had been the premise behind the demand for the creation of Pakistan. It has also been used by the Hindu right to avenge the “humiliation” of its past. Muhammad bin Qasim’s invasion is time and again invoked to provoke and justify terrorist actions. Asif’s book is a timely reminder that the questions of origins cannot be answered categorically and need to scrutinized carefully.

Riaz Haq said...

How Winston Churchill stole from India for Britain’s war

https://qz.com/1235178/how-winston-churchill-stole-from-india-for-britains-war/

“I am glad to learn from the Minister of War Transport that a strict line is being taken in dealing with requests for cereals from the Indian Ocean area. A concession to one country at once encourages demands from all the others,” the prime minister commented in a memo on 10 March 1943. “They must learn to look after themselves as we have done. The grave situation of the UK import programme imperils the whole war effort and we cannot afford to send ships merely as a gesture of good will.”

For three months, Viceroy Linlithgow had been warning about a food crisis in India, and earlier that March a member of his council, Sir Ramaswami Mudaliar, had told the War Cabinet’s shipping committee of “some danger of famine conditions, particularly in Calcutta and Bombay’.” Wheat was available in Australia, but all Indian ships capable of the round trip were engaged in the war effort. Moreover, in January the prime minister had brought most of the merchant ships operating in the Indian Ocean over to the Atlantic, in order to bolster the United Kingdom’s stocks of food and raw materials. He was reluctant to release vessels to carry grain to the colony, because lowered stocks at home would compromise the British economy and limit the War Cabinet’s ability to pursue military operations of its choice—and because his hostility towards Indians was escalating.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sir Kingsley Wood, had long been warning that India had erased its traditional debt to the United Kingdom and was instead becoming a major creditor. The sterling debt owed to the colony was mounting at a million pounds a day. It would fall due right after the war, just when a ravaged if liberated Europe would have to be fed. Food in the post-war era would be scarce worldwide and expensive to import—and His Majesty’s Government would already be bankrupt from paying for the war. In consequence, maintaining British food stocks had become crucially important to the War Cabinet and the debt to India a source of profound frustration.

--------------

“Winston cannot see beyond such phrases as ‘Are we to incur hundreds of millions of debt for defending India in order to be kicked out by the Indians afterwards?'” (Leo) Amery confided to his diary. “But that we are getting out of India far more than was ever thought possible and that India herself is paying far more than was ever contemplated when the present settlement was made, and that we have no means of making her pay more than she wants or supplying goods unpaid for, is the kind of point that just doesn’t enter into his head.” The prime minister was aware that the sterling debt was inverting the economic relationship between colony and colonizer. After the war, money would flow from Britain to India, not as investment to be repaid with interest but as remittance. Whatever the romance of empire, a colony that drains the Exchequer is scarcely worth having—and that reality, notes historian Dietmar Rothermund, would make it easier for India to be finally released.

------------

On 10 January 1943, Amery received an even more desperate plea from India’s Department of Food. The army’s wheat reserves would run out in a month. The remainder of the wheat promised to the army was waiting in Australia and must be brought in by February; and if shipping could not right away be found for 6,00,000 tons, at least 2,00,000 tons must come by April. “The vital necessity for expedition cannot be exaggerated as we have to carry on with practically no supplies for civil population till some of these shipments arrive,” the officials warned.

Haris Yousufzai said...

چند سال سے اس ملک کے ٹیلیویژن چینلز پر تعلیم کے نام پر سفید جھوٹ پر مبنی پروگرام چلائے جا رہے ہیں اور یہ باور کرانے کی کوشش ہے کہ جب یورپ میں یونیورسٹیاں کھل رہی تھیں تو مسلم بادشاہ تاج محل اور شالامار باغ بنا رہے تھے.میری یہ تحریر مختلف مصنفین کے متعلقہ کالمز اور پروفیسرز، مورخین یا محققین کی تحقیق کے اس حصہ پر مبنی ہے جو میں نے ذاتی تحقیق کے بعد درست پائے، اس تحریر میں میرے اپنے الفاظ کم اور مندرجہ بالا شخصیات کے الفاظ زیادہ ہیں. تاریخ کی گواہی بعد میں پیش کروں گا پہلے بنیادی عقل کا ایک درس پیش کروں. ان چینلز یا پروگرامز میں اگر کوئی سمجھ بوجھ والا آدمی بیٹھا ہوتا تو اسکو سمجھنے میں یہ مشکل نہیں آتی کہ مسلم دور کی شاندار عمارات جس عظیم تخلیقی صلاحیت سے تعمیر کی گئی، وہ دو چیزوں کے بغیر ممکن نا تھیں. پہلی فن تعمیر کی تفصیلی مہارت، جس میں جیومیٹری، فزکس، کیمسٹری اور ڈھانچے کے خدوخال وضع کرنے تک کے علوم شامل ہوتے ہیں. دوسری کسی ملک کی مضبوط معاشی اور اقتصادی حالت، اس قدر مضبوط کے وہاں کے حکمران شاندار عمارات تعمیر کرنے کا خرچ برداشت کر سکیں. معاشی حوالے سے ہندوستان بالعموم مسلم ادوار اور بالخصوص مغلیہ دور (اکبر - عالگیر) میں دنیا کے کل GDP میں اوسطاً 25% فیصد حصہ رکھتا تھا. در آمدات انتہائی کم اور برآمدات انتہائی زیادہ تھیں اور آج ماہر معاشیات جانتے ہیں کہ کامیاب ملک وہ ہے جس کی برآمدات زیادہ اور درآمدات کم ہوں. سترویں صدی میں فرانسیسی سیاح فرانکیوس برنئیر ہندوستان آیا اور کہتا ہے کہ ہندوستان کے ہر کونے میں سونے اور چاندی کے ڈھیر ہیں. اسی لئے سلطنت مغلیہ ہند کو سونے کی چڑیا کہتے تھے.
اب تعمیرات والے اعتراض کی طرف آتے ہیں. فن تعمیر کی جو تفصیلات تاج محل، شیش محل، شالامار باغ، مقبرہ ہمایوں، دیوان خاص وغیرہ وغیرہ میں نظر آتی ہے، اس سے لگتا ہے کہ انکے معمار جیومیٹری کے علم کی انتہاؤں کو پہنچے ہوئے تھے. تاج محل کے چاروں مینار صرف آدھا انچ باہر کی جانب جھکائے گئے تاکہ زلزلے کی صورت میں گرے تو گنبد تباہ نہ ہوں. مستری کے اینٹیں لگانے سے یہ سب ممکن نہیں، اس میں حساب کی باریکیاں شامل ہیں. پورا تاج محل 90 فٹ گہری بنیادوں پر کھڑا ہے. اس کے نیچے 30 فٹ ریت ڈالی گئی کہ اگر زلزلہ آئے تو پوری عمارت ریت میں گھوم سی جائے اور محفوظ رہے. لیکن اس سے بھی حیرانی کی بات یہ ہے کہ اتنا بڑا شاہکار دریا کے کنارے تعمیر کیا گیا ہے اور دریا کنارے اتنی بڑی تعمیر اپنے آپ میں ایک چیلنج تھی، جس کے لئے پہلی بار ویل فاونڈیشن (well foundation) متعارف کرائی گئی یعنی دریا سے بھی نیچے بنیادیں کھود کر انکو پتھروں اور مصالحہ سے بھر دیا گیا، اور یہ بنیادیں سینکڑوں کی تعداد میں بنائی گئی گویا تاج محل کے نیچے پتھروں کا پہاڑ اور گہری بنیادوں کا وسیع جال ہے، اسطرح تاج محل کو دریا کے نقصانات سے ہمیشہ کے لئے محفوظ کر دیا گیا. عمارت کے اندر داخل ہوتے ہوئے اسکا نظارہ فریب نظر یعنی (Optical illusion ) سے بھرپور ہے. یہ عمارت بیک وقت اسلامی، فارسی، عثمانی، ترکی اور ہندی فن تعمیر کا نمونہ ہے. یہ فیصلہ کرنے کے لئے حساب اور جیومیٹری کی باریک تفصیل درکار ہے. پروفیسر ایبا کوچ (یونیورسٹی آف وینیا) نے حال میں ہی تاج محل کے اسلامی اعتبار سے روحانی پہلو واضح (decode) کئے ہیں.اور بھی کئی راز مستقبل میں سامنے آ سکتے ہیں. انگریز نے تعمیرات میں (well foundation) کا آغاز انیسویں صدی اور (optical illusions) کا آغاز بیسویں صدی میں کیا. جب کے تاج محل ان طریقہ تعمیر کو استعمال کر کے سترھویں صدی کے وسط میں مکمل ہو گیا تھا…

Haris Yousufzai said...

انگریز نے تعمیرات میں (well foundation) کا آغاز انیسویں صدی اور (optical illusions) کا آغاز بیسویں صدی میں کیا. جب کے تاج محل ان طریقہ تعمیر کو استعمال کر کے سترھویں صدی کے وسط میں مکمل ہو گیا تھا. آج تاج محل کو جدید مشین اور جدید سائنس کو استعمال کرتے ہوئے بنایا جائے تو 1000 ملین ڈالر لگنے کے باوجود ویسا بننا تقریباً ناممکن ہے. 'ٹائل موزیک' فن ہے ، جس میں چھوٹی چھوٹی رنگین ٹائلوں سے دیوار پر تصویریں بنائی جاتی اور دیوار کو منقش کیا جاتا ہے. یہ فن لاہور کے شاہی قلعے کی ایک کلومیٹر لمبی منقش دیوار اور مسجد وزیرخان میں نظر آتا ہے. ان میں جو رنگ استعمال ہوئے، انکو بنانے کے لئے آپ کو موجودہ دور میں پڑھائی جانے والی کیمسٹری کا وسیع علم ہونا چاہئیے. یہی حال فریسکو پینٹنگ کا ہے، جن کے رنگ چار سو سال گزرنے کے باوجود آجتک مدہم نہیں ہوئے . تمام مغل ادوار میں تعمیر شدہ عمارتوں میں ٹیرا کوٹا (مٹی کو پکانے کا فن) سے بنے زیر زمین پائپ ملتے ہیں. ان سے سیوریج اور پانی کی ترسیل کا کام لیا جاتا تھا. کئی صدیاں گزرنے کے باوجود یہ اپنی اصل حالت میں موجود ہیں. مسلم فن تعمیر کا مکمل علم حاصل کرنے کی کوشش کی جائے اور موجودہ دور کے سائنسی پیمانوں پر ایک نصاب کی صورت تشکیل دیا جائے تو صرف ایک فن تعمیر کو مکمل طور پر سیکھنے کے لیے پی ایچ ڈی (phd) کی کئی ڈگریاں درکار ہوں گی. کیا یہ سب کچھ اس ہندوستان میں ہو سکتا تھا، جس میں جہالت کا دور دورہ ہو اور جس کے حکمرانوں کو علم سے نفرت ہو؟؟ یہ مسلم نظام تعلیم ہی تھا جو سب کے لئے یکساں تھا، جہاں سے بیک وقت عالم، صوفی، معیشت دان، طبیب، فلسفی، حکمران اور انجینئر نکلتے تھے. شیخ احمد سرہندی رح ہوں یا جھانگیر ہو یا استاد احمد لاہوری ہو، یہ سب مختلف گھرانوں سے تعلق رکھنے کے باوجود ایک ہی تعلیمی نظام میں پروان چڑھے، اسی لئے ان سب کی سوچ انسانی مفاد کی تھی.

Haris Yousufzai said...

1857ء میں جب انگریز ہندوستان پر مکمل قابض ہوئے تو اس وقت صرف روحیل کھنڈ کے چھوٹے سے ضلع میں، 5000 اساتذہ سرکاری خزانے سے تنخواہیں لیتے تھے." مذکورہ تمام علاقے دہلی یا آگرہ جیسے بڑے شہروں سے دور مضافات میں واقع تھے. انگریز اور ہندو مورخین اس بات پر متفق ہیں کہ تعلیم کا عروج عالمگیر رح کے زمانے میں اپنی انتہا کو پہنچا. عالمگیر رح نے ہی پہلی دفعہ تمام مذاہب کے مقدس مذہبی مقامات کے ساتھ جائیدادیں وقف کیں. سرکار کی جانب سے وہاں کام کرنے والوں کے لئے وظیفے مقرر کئے. اس دور کے 3 ہندو مورخین سجان رائے کھتری، بھیم سین اور ایشور داس بہت معروف ہیں. سجان رائے کھتری نے "خلاصہ التواریخ"، بھیم سین نے "نسخہ دلکشا" اور ایشور داس نے "فتوحات عالمگیری" لکھی. یہ تینوں ہندو مصنفین متفق تھے کہ عالمگیر نے پہلی دفعہ ہندوستان میں طب کی تعلیم پر ایک مکمل نصاب بنوایا اور طب اکبر، مفرح القلوب، تعریف الامراض، مجربات اکبری اور طب نبوی جیسی کتابیں ترتیب دے کر کالجوں میں لگوائیں تاکہ اعلیٰ سطح پر صحت کی تعلیم دی جا سکے. یہ تمام کتب آج کے دور کے MBBS نصاب کے ہم پلہ ہیں. اورنگزیب سے کئی سو سال پہلے فیروز شاہ نے دلی میں ہسپتال قائم کیا، جسے دارالشفاء کہا جاتا تھا. عالمگیر نے ہی کالجوں میں پڑھانے کے لیے نصابی کتب طب فیروزشاہی مرتب کرائی. اس کے دور میں صرف دلی میں سو سے زیادہ ہسپتال تھے.
تاریخ سے ایسی ہزاروں گواہیاں پیش کی جا سکتی ہیں. ہو سکے تو لاہور کے انارکلی مقبرہ میں موجود ہر ضلع کی مردم شماری رپورٹ ملاحظہ فرمالیں. آپکو ہر ضلع میں شرح خواندگی 80% سے زیادہ ملے گی جو اپنے وقت میں بین الاقوامی سطح پر سب سے زیادہ تھی، لیکن انگریز جب یہ ملک چھوڑ کر گیا تو صرف 10% تھی. بنگال 1757ء میں فتح کیا اور اگلے 34 برسوں میں سبھی سکول و کالج کھنڈر بنا دیئے گئے. ایڈمنڈ بروک نے یہ بات واضح کہی تھی کہ ایسٹ انڈیا کمپنی نے مسلسل دولت لوٹی جس وجہ سے ہندوستان بدقسمتی کی گہرائی میں جاگرا. پھر اس ملک کو تباہ کرنے کے لئے لارڈ کارنیوالس نے 1781ء میں پہلا دینی مدرسہ کھولا. اس سے پہلے دینی اور دنیاوی تعلیم کی کوئی تقسیم نہ تھی. ایک ہی مدرسہ میں قرآن بھی پڑھایا جاتا تھا، فلسفہ بھی اور سائنس بھی. یہ تاریخ کی گواہیاں ہیں. لیکن اشتہار و پروگرام بنانے والے جھوٹ کا کاروبار کرنا چاہے تو انہیں یہ باطل اور مرعوب نظام نہیں روکتا.
مجھے دہلی جانے کا اتفاق ہوا ہے اور ان تعمیرات کا مشاہدہ کیا ہے، آپ یقین کیجئیے کہ ان عمارات کے سحر سے نکلنا ایک مشکل کام ہوتا تھا اور فخر اور حیرانی ہوتی تھی کہ ان ادوار میں مشین کا وجود نا ہونے کے باوجود ایسے شاہکار تعمیر کرنا ناممکن لگتا ہے. لاہور میں مغلیہ فن تعمیر پر کبھی نظر دوڑائیے، آپ انجینئرنگ کے کارناموں پر محو حیرت رہے گے کیونکہ جب یورپ یونیورسٹیاں بنا رہا تھا تو یہاں وہ تعلیمات عام ہو چکی تھیں. لیکن یہ موجودہ ظالم نظام جہاں ہمیں اپنی اعانت کے لئے اپنا کلرک بناتا ہے وہاں ہماری عظیم تاریخ کو بھی مبہم بناتا ہے.
تحریر کا اختتام کرنے کے لئے بہت کچھ ہے لیکن ایک سنہری قول سے اختتام کروں گا. امام وقت حضرت اقدس مولانا شاہ سعید احمد رائےپوری نور اللہ مرقدہ فرمایا کرتے تھے "آج مسلمانوں کی سب سے بڑی کمزوری یہ ہے کہ انہیں ذرائع ابلاغ (Media) کا پروپیگنڈا بہا کے لے جاتا ہے ."..

Haris Yousufzai said...

مزید بھی میں مغربی مصنفین کی گواہی پیش کروں گا، اسلئے کہ میرے ان "عظیم" صاحبان علم کو کسی مسلمان یا لوکل مصنف کی گواہی سے بھی بو آتی ہے. ول ڈیورانٹ مغربی دنیا کس مشہور ترین مورخ اور فلاسفر ہے. وہ اپنی کتاب story of civilization میں مغل ہندوستان کے بارے میں لکھتا ہے: "ہر گاوں میں ایک سکول ماسٹر ہوتا تھا، جسے حکومت تنخواہ دیتی تھی. انگریزوں کی آمد سے پہلے صرف بنگال میں 80 ہزار سکول تھے. ہر 400 افراد پر ایک سکول ہوتا تھا. ان سکولوں میں 6 مضامین پڑھائے جاتے تھے. گرائمر، آرٹس اینڈ کرافٹس، طب، فلسفہ، منطق اور متعلقہ مذہبی تعلیمات. " اس نے اپنی ایک اور کتاب A Case For India میں لکھا کہ مغلوں کے زمانے میں صرف مدراس کے علاقے میں ایک لاکھ 25 ہزار ایسے ادارے تھے، جہاں طبی علم پڑھایا جاتا اور طبی سہولیات میسر تھیں. میجر ایم ڈی باسو نے برطانوی راج اور اس سے قبل کے ہندوستان پر بہت سی کتب لکھیں. وہ میکس مولر کے حوالے سے لکھتا ہے "بنگال میں انگریزوں کے آنے سے قبل وہاں 80 ہزار مدرسے تھے". اورنگزیب عالمگیر رح کے زمانے میں ایک سیاح ہندوستان آیا' جس کا نام الیگزینڈر ہملٹن تھا، اس نے لکھا کہ صرف ٹھٹھہ شہر میں علوم و فنون سیکھانے کے 400 کالج تھے. میجر باسو نے تو یہاں تک لکھا ہے کہ ہندوستان کے عام آدمی کی تعلیم یعنی فلسفہ، منطق اور سائنس کا علم انگلستان کے رئیسوں حتیٰ کہ بادشاہ اور ملکہ سے بھی زیادہ ہوتا تھا. جیمز گرانٹ کی رپورٹ یاد رکھے جانے کے قابل ہے. اس نے لکھا " تعلیمی اداروں کے نام جائیدادیں وقف کرنے کا رواج دنیا بھر میں سب سے پہلے مسلمانوں نے شروع کیا. 1857ء میں جب انگریز ہندوستان پر مکمل قابض ہوئے تو اس وقت صرف روحیل کھنڈ کے چھوٹے سے ضلع میں، 5000 اساتذہ سرکاری خزانے سے تنخواہیں لیتے تھے." مذکورہ تمام علاقے دہلی یا آگرہ جیسے بڑے شہروں سے دور مضافات میں واقع تھے. انگریز اور ہندو مورخین اس بات پر متفق ہیں کہ تعلیم کا عروج عالمگیر رح کے زمانے میں اپنی انتہا کو پہنچا. عالمگیر رح نے ہی پہلی دفعہ تمام مذاہب کے مقدس مذہبی مقامات کے ساتھ جائیدادیں وقف کیں. سرکار کی جانب سے وہاں کام کرنے والوں کے لئے وظیفے مقرر کئے. اس دور کے 3 ہندو مورخین سجان رائے کھتری، بھیم سین اور ایشور داس بہت معروف ہیں. سجان رائے کھتری نے "خلاصہ التواریخ"، بھیم سین نے "نسخہ دلکشا" اور ایشور داس نے "فتوحات عالمگیری" لکھی. یہ تینوں ہندو مصنفین متفق تھے کہ عالمگیر نے پہلی دفعہ ہندوستان میں طب کی تعلیم پر ایک مکمل نصاب بنوایا اور طب اکبر، مفرح القلوب، تعریف الامراض، مجربات اکبری اور طب نبوی جیسی کتابیں ترتیب دے کر کالجوں میں لگوائیں تاکہ اعلیٰ سطح پر صحت کی تعلیم دی جا سکے. یہ تمام کتب آج کے دور کے MBBS نصاب کے ہم پلہ ہیں. اورنگزیب سے کئی سو سال پہلے فیروز شاہ نے دلی میں ہسپتال قائم کیا، جسے دارالشفاء کہا جاتا تھا. عالمگیر نے ہی کالجوں میں پڑھانے کے لیے نصابی کتب طب فیروزشاہی مرتب کرائی. اس کے دور میں صرف دلی میں سو سے زیادہ ہسپتال تھے.
تا

Haris Yousufzai said...

ریخ سے ایسی ہزاروں گواہیاں پیش کی جا سکتی ہیں. ہو سکے تو لاہور کے انارکلی مقبرہ میں موجود ہر ضلع کی مردم شماری رپورٹ ملاحظہ فرمالیں. آپکو ہر ضلع میں شرح خواندگی 80% سے زیادہ ملے گی جو اپنے وقت میں بین الاقوامی سطح پر سب سے زیادہ تھی، لیکن انگریز جب یہ ملک چھوڑ کر گیا تو صرف 10% تھی. بنگال 1757ء میں فتح کیا اور اگلے 34 برسوں میں سبھی سکول و کالج کھنڈر بنا دیئے گئے. ایڈمنڈ بروک نے یہ بات واضح کہی تھی کہ ایسٹ انڈیا کمپنی نے مسلسل دولت لوٹی جس وجہ سے ہندوستان بدقسمتی کی گہرائی میں جاگرا. پھر اس ملک کو تباہ کرنے کے لئے لارڈ کارنیوالس نے 1781ء میں پہلا دینی مدرسہ کھولا. اس سے پہلے دینی اور دنیاوی تعلیم کی کوئی تقسیم نہ تھی. ایک ہی مدرسہ میں قرآن بھی پڑھایا جاتا تھا، فلسفہ بھی اور سائنس بھی. یہ تاریخ کی گواہیاں ہیں. لیکن اشتہار و پروگرام بنانے والے جھوٹ کا کاروبار کرنا چاہے تو انہیں یہ باطل اور مرعوب نظام نہیں روکتا.
مجھے دہلی جانے کا اتفاق ہوا ہے اور ان تعمیرات کا مشاہدہ کیا ہے، آپ یقین کیجئیے کہ ان عمارات کے سحر سے نکلنا ایک مشکل کام ہوتا تھا اور فخر اور حیرانی ہوتی تھی کہ ان ادوار میں مشین کا وجود نا ہونے کے باوجود ایسے شاہکار تعمیر کرنا ناممکن لگتا ہے. لاہور میں مغلیہ فن تعمیر پر کبھی نظر دوڑائیے، آپ انجینئرنگ کے کارناموں پر محو حیرت رہے گے کیونکہ جب یورپ یونیورسٹیاں بنا رہا تھا تو یہاں وہ تعلیمات عام ہو چکی تھیں. لیکن یہ موجودہ ظالم نظام جہاں ہمیں اپنی اعانت کے لئے اپنا کلرک بناتا ہے وہاں ہماری عظیم تاریخ کو بھی مبہم بناتا ہے.
تحریر کا اختتام کرنے کے لئے بہت کچھ ہے لیکن ایک سنہری قول سے اختتام کروں گا. امام وقت حضرت اقدس مولانا شاہ سعید احمد رائےپوری نور اللہ مرقدہ فرمایا کرتے تھے "آج مسلمانوں کی سب سے بڑی کمزوری یہ ہے کہ انہیں ذرائع ابلاغ (Media) کا پروپیگنڈا بہا کے لے جاتا ہے ."..

Riaz Haq said...

#India deputy rep at #UN: #Indian civilization built on "waves of #migration". "Science confirms that all of us are migrants. The deep and the more recent history of our migration and mixed ancestry is, in fact, recorded in our genes," http://toi.in/7i9GCa49/a24gk via @timesofindia

India has acknowledged here at an international forum that its civilization was built upon successive waves of migration like most countries and it was a scientific fact.
"The Indian civilization has been built upon successive waves of migration throughout history comprising traders, soldiers, missionaries, communities escaping persecution, artists and academics and artisans seeking better opportunities," India's Deputy Permanent Representative Tanmaya Lal said on Monday.
"This mega diversity of our peoples is among our greatest strength," he said at a session of the intergovernmental negotiations on a global compact on migration.
The statement comes amid heated debates in India about historic migrations, some that happened eons ago.
Lal did not get into the debate or into the specific theories or peoples, but made a general statement, which mentioned "soldiers" among the wave of migrants.
He pointed out that migrations were a global phenomenon throughout history and nations have emerged through this inter-mingling.
"Most nation states and societies have been built upon waves of migration over the past several centuries," he said.
"Science confirms that all of us are migrants. The deep and the more recent history of our migration and mixed ancestry is, in fact, recorded in our genes," Lal added.
"Migration has continued to expand and is now aided by the integration of economies over the last few decades," he said.
Speaking of the benefits to the world through migration, he cited the example of Mahatma Gandhi, who studied in England and worked in South Africa, saying he is "among the most well-known international migrants who contributed hugely to our collective progress."
Lal also mentioned the many Nobel Prize-winners of Indian descent "who made seminal contribution to science" as well as foreign-born scientists, inventors, businesspersons, artistes, sportspersons, authors, academics, doctors and political leaders "who have made an indelible mark not only on societies where they lived but globally."

Negotiations are taking place for a global agreement to facilitate safe, orderly and regular international migration that is to be concluded in December in Marrakesh, Morocco.

Lal tried to dispel what he considered two widely held misconceptions about India and migrations

While India is considered to be among the top countries of origin for migrants globally, the rate of emigration from India is less than half of the world's average, he said.
"It is much lesser known and appreciated that India is also among the major countries of destination, as also a transit country, for migrants largely from our neighbourhood," he added.

Riaz Haq said...

‘A battle between #Hindutva and #Hinduism is coming’. "The key question is: how do we keep our (RSS) organization intact if we (abandon #caste system) and move towards an egalitarian #Hindu society?" #India #Modi #BJP #Dalit

https://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/books/a-battle-between-hindutva-and-hinduism-is-coming-walter-andersen-rss-5301109/lite/?__twitter_impression=true

Walter Andersen is, perhaps, the only scholar to have observed, or studied, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) for nearly five decades. In intellectual circles, it is normally believed that as an organisation, the RSS is impervious and impenetrable.
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What is the RSS view of Modi’s economics, especially foreign economic policy, demonetisation and GST?

The RSS was undoubtedly responsible for Modi’s rise to the top. But it views Modi’s economics with scepticism. Modi is more open to FDI and foreign trade than the RSS would like. His demonetisation and GST directly hurt groups that are the original base of the organisations: the small traders. The RSS, of course, did not pass a resolution against demonetisation or GST. That is now how it works. But it sought to influence how these policies would be implemented – to ease the burden on small traders.

---------------------

Let us finally return to the relationship of the RSS and Muslims. Your book says that Golwalkar repeatedly used the term “ek hazaar saal ki ghulami” (one thousand years of servitude). Your also say that Deoras changed that, and in 1979, opened the RSS to Muslims. Narendra Modi has often used the term “barah sau saal ki ghulami” (twelve hundred years of servitude), which is more in the Golwalkar vein than in the Deoras mold. At any rate, the implication of the Golwalkar and Modi statements is that India’s colonisation began with the arrival of Muslim rulers either in the 8th century in Sindh or the 11th century in Delhi. This militates against the historian’s argument that it is the British who started colonising India in 1757. The Delhi Sultanate or the Mughal era was not a period of colonisation. However offensive Babur or Aurangzeb were, the other Mughal kings Indianised themselves, even married into Rajputs, and developed commitments to India. The British did not Indianise themselves. They were the real colonisers. How can one justify the term Mughal colonialism?

I don’t think many RSS activists, or even prachaaraks, would disagree with the distinction you are making between the British and Mughals. When Deoras invited Muslims to join the RSS, he did argue that Muslims were mostly India-born, and therefore Indian.

But despite that ideological development, PM Modi returned to the Golwalkar understanding.

There is clearly a generic problem, here. Even those RSS ideologues, who want Muslims to enter the RSS, would like them to accept India’s “historic culture”.

But India’s “historic culture” — the arts, the languages, the everyday manners, the poetry, the architecture, the music — have a lot of Muslim contributions.

----
But that implies that Urdu, which was widely spoken in North India, is not an Indian language, which is so hard to accept. Urdu was not born in the Middle East.

Yes.

------------------

Let us now turn to the recent lynchings. Your book says that the higher echelons of the RSS and BJP don’t approve of lynchings. But how does one align your claim with the following: ministers in Modi government have expressed sympathy for lynchers, even garlanded those convicted of lynching (though out on bail), but the Prime Minister has not taken them to task. Indeed, though the Prime Minister has spoken against lynchings, his most forceful denunciations came when Dalits were hit. When Muslims are attacked by lynch mobs, he, at best, makes perfunctory remarks, if at all.

I haven’t thought clearly about the Muslim-Dalit distinction you are drawing, nor does the book talk about it. I will think more systematically about it.

Riaz Haq said...

Muslims in Sanskrit texts
Kuldeep Kumar


https://www.thehindu.com/books/books-authors/muslims-in-sanskrit-texts/article24763856.ece/amp/?__twitter_impression=true

A study of the works of historians Brajadulal Chattopadhyaya and Audrey Trushke suggests that the Muslim ‘other’ was really not so much ‘other’


Romila Thapar, the pre-eminent historian of early India, drew attention in her various lectures and articles to the schema of periodisation suggested by James Mill in the early nineteenth century that saw Indian society emerging out of three periods –Hindu, Muslim and British. While he divided the pre-British history on the basis of religion, he did not term the British period as Christian and set the colonial paradigm of viewing the period of Muslim’s arrival in India as one of permanent struggle between the native Hindus and the invader Muslims. Unfortunately, this colonial paradigm continues to be followed by the Hindu nationalists even till this day.

Seminal research

While acknowledging the pioneering work done by Thapar, who wrote in 1971 on the image of barbarian in early India, and by Aloka Parasher who wrote on a monograph on the category of people called Mlechchhas and about the way Indians looked at the outsiders up to 600 AD, Chattopadhyaya devotes his research to the period that falls between the eighth and the fourteenth centuries.

It is a noteworthy fact that the Sanskrit texts and inscriptions of these six centuries rarely referred to the Muslims in religious terms. Instead, ethnic or regional terms were generally employed to refer to them.

They included terms such as Turushka, Tajika, Mlechchha, Parasika, Yavana, Hammira, Gori, Turaka, Matanga and Garjanaka. Only in Veraval inscription of the time of Vaghela Arjunadeva, issued in the year 1264, one finds the term Musalmaana used to denote the Muslims.

Between fifteenth and seventeenth centuries too, Yavana, Shaka and Turushka were used but new words like Pathana, Mugil, Sultana and Patrishaha also made their appearance. Interestingly, Allavadina (Alauddin Khilji) was referred to as Dillishwar and Yavana and his soldiers were called Turushka. There are ample references in the Sanskrit texts of this period to the forging of political alliances between Yavana rulers and local or regional rulers who too were described not as Hindus but by their family names like Kakatiyas or Pandyas.

In fact, in the circa 1330 AD inscription of Vilasa (Pithapuram, East Godavari district) grant of Prolaya Nayaka, the Delhi Sultan – often Sultan was Sanskritised as Suratran – who brought calamity to the Andhradesha, was viewed as somebody who was carrying on the tradition of Parashurama in his role as the destroyer of the kshatriyas!

A meticulous and erudite scholar, Chattopadhyaya after discussing a great many Sanskrit sources in detail arrives at the conclusion that they “do not project the image of the Muslims as an undifferentiated ‘other’.” It is also significant that they do not represent them as a religious group and choose to identify them on the basis of their ethnic or spatial origins. Indian society was not unfamiliar with ‘otherness’ as there were so many ‘others’ like the tribals and lower castes that were outside the pale of the Brahmanical order and whose moral world was incompatible with the caste-based varnashrama dharma. Therefore, if one believes the contemporary Sanskrit sources, the engagement between the Muslims and the indigenous people took place at various levels. “A situation of unmitigated hostility and conflict through centuries would not have produced the kind of evidence that we have cited,” writes Chattopadhyaya.

Riaz Haq said...

In India and Pakistan, religion makes one country’s hero the other’s villain
By Haroon Khalid

https://qz.com/india/1398093/why-aurangzeb-is-a-hero-in-pakistan-and-a-villain-in-india/

At the entrance of the [Badshahi Masjid in Lahore] are some pictures from the colonial era. They show the mosque’s dilapidated condition after having served as a horse stable during the Sikh era.

[…]

The pictures narrate the story of the mosque, of the benevolence of the “just and fair” colonial empire that returned its control to the rightful inheritors—the Muslims of the city. It narrates the story of colonial historiography, the categorisation of history into Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, and British eras, pitting epochs, communities, religions, and histories against one other, and in the process creating new classifications that might not have been there at the start. History is used as a political tool, an excuse, a justification for the imposition of colonial rule. The British were needed to rescue the Muslims from the Sikhs, the Hindus from the Muslims, the Dravidians from the Aryans, the Dalits from the Brahmins, the past from the present.

The narrative continues to unfold even today, throughout south Asia, as modern sensibilities are imposed on historical characters, making heroes out of them, of imagined communities. The Mughal rule, for example, in this narrative became a symbol of the oppressive Muslim “colonialism” of India, as foreign to the Indian subcontinent as British rule, while figures such as Chhatrapati Shivaji were representative of Hindu indigenous resistance. Just like the British, everything Muslim was deemed “foreign,” alien to the Indian subcontinent, a coercive historical anomaly that ruptured the Indian, read Hindu, civilization. In this narrative there was room for Jains, Buddhists, and Sikhs within the fold of Hindu nationalism, but not for the Muslims, the successors of foreign occupation.

At the other end of the spectrum, the Muslims too looked back to a “glorious” past when this infidel land was ruled by one true force. This imagined memory became the basis of laying down future plans, with one group determined to uproot all vestiges of foreign influence, and the other wanting to take inspiration from the past to reclaim lost glory. The British, in the meantime, were more than eager to perpetuate this communalisation of history for it provided them with a justification to govern as arbitrators, as correctors of historical injustices.

In this communalisation of history, emperor Aurangzeb (1618–1707) bears the dubious distinction of being blamed for the downfall of the mighty Mughal empire due to his intolerance, a product of his puritanical interpretation of religion. It is believed that during his long rule, which saw the expansion of the Mughal empire to its zenith, Aurangzeb isolated several of his key Hindu allies because of his religious policies. Ever since the time of Emperor Akbar, jizya, a tax levied on non-Muslim subjects in a Muslim empire for their protection, stood abolished. It was reintroduced by Aurangzeb, adding to the grievances of his Hindu subjects, including his Rajput allies, whose support to the Mughal throne had been crucial to its stability throughout Mughal history. Also, Aurangzeb’s protracted campaign in the Deccan was perceived as his vainglorious attempt to expand his autocratic rule, which put such a burden on the state that it quickly unravelled after his death.


As evidence of Aurangzeb’s intolerance, it is argued that he demolished several Hindu temples. Sikh history notes how he ordered the assassination of the ninth Sikh Guru, Tegh Bahadur, for his sympathy to the Kashmiri Brahmins. The Mughal-Sikh conflict continued with Guru Tegh Bahadur’s son, Guru Gobind Singh, who waged several battles with the powerful Mughal army. The staunchest opposition to Aurangzeb came from the Marathas in the south, under the leadership of Shivaji.

Riaz Haq said...

#Indians demand citizenships of countries they settle in and they get angry if denied; yet they, today's #Hindus, consider #India's #Muslims and India-born #Muslim rulers and their descendants outsiders. #BJP #Modi https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-whats-in-a-name-for-indias-muslims-a-lot-of-hurt/

Amrit Dhillon is a New Delhi-based journalist.

Indians have often demanded that the countries to which they have migrated should, after a suitable period, grant them citizenship. If a government refuses to do so, they become angry. It’s my right, my children were born here, I am settled here, this is my home now.

Fair enough.

Yet descendants of the Muslim Mughal dynasty, which ruled India for almost 400 years, are considered outsiders by those same people who wish to claim citizenship, today’s Hindus. Although their forefathers came from Central Asia, the Mughals settled in India. Some took Hindu wives, made India their home and died here. So why is the current government, ruled by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), busy renaming towns to remove any names that sound even remotely Muslim and replacing them with Hindu ones? The federal government has given consent to the renaming of at least 25 towns and villages in the past year. The latest is in Uttar Pradesh where BJP chief minister Yogi Adityanath has renamed Faizabad district as Ayodhya. Last year, he gave Mughalsarai railway station a Hindu name. Last month, he renamed Allahabad city as Prayagraj. Other BJP chief ministers are also going to get rid of Muslim-sounding names.

Why do Hindus, who are the majority and currently ruled by the BJP, which glorifies Hindu culture, seem so insecure? So much so that renaming a city satisfies some obscure and deep need? From their behaviour, you would think they were a besieged minority seeking solace in symbolic acts.

Indians, of course, are not the only ones to rename cities. The Bolsheviks (who even renamed their country) turned St. Petersburg into Leningrad to honour Lenin. Opposing empires have turned a beautiful city variously into Byzantium, Constantinople and Istanbul. The Vietnamese got rid of Saigon (a westernized form of the traditional name) and made it Ho Chi Minh City as a rejection of French colonialism. Ever since the end of apartheid, South Africans have renamed streets, airports and towns to obliterate those given by their Afrikaans oppressors. And Indians have renamed major streets named after British personages for the same reason – to repudiate their colonial rulers.

But to erase names given by the Mughals, their own ancestors? This is not the same as repudiating foreign rulers (the British) or indigenous oppressors (the Afrikaans). The reason for the renaming is that the BJP and some of its supporters cannot abide the act that India was ruled by Muslims. Externally, they feel loathing and hatred for the Mughals qua Muslims. Internally, they feel sheepish and diminished that a Hindu-majority country came to be ruled by Muslims and for so long.

This practice is plain silly. The BJP have three Muslim ministers in the government right now. Why not get them to change their names, too? And why not, as respected historian Irfan Habib has suggested, get the BJP president Amit Shah (a Hindu, of course) to change his surname because the name Shah is of Persian origin?

Riaz Haq said...

#Indians demand citizenships of countries they settle in and they get angry if denied; yet they, today's #Hindus, consider #India's #Muslims and India-born #Muslim rulers and their descendants outsiders. #BJP #Modi https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-whats-in-a-name-for-indias-muslims-a-lot-of-hurt/

Amrit Dhillon is a New Delhi-based journalist.


The renaming business, if taken to its logical conclusion, would require that insecure Hindus stop eating biryani (a Mughal dish), stop wearing the sherwani (a long, formal coat), stop listening to Sufi music and shut down the Taj Mahal (don’t laugh – some members of the Hindu fringe claim preposterously that the monument built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan was originally a Hindu temple). In fact, the Taj Mahal in particular upsets Hindu extremists because it is the symbol of India for the world – and it is Muslim.

When you suffer from an inferiority complex, you feel compelled to launch a renaming campaign as a way of telling your Muslim minority, your fellow-citizens, that they have made no contribution to India’s cultural life. That whatever the Mughals did is of no value, despite the fact that it is their buildings and monuments that Indians and foreigners admire.

Indian Muslims have already been forced by this government to be on the defensive over the issue of beef, which has been used to attack and lynch them. But to go on a renaming spree, which sends the message that their cultural contribution is zero, is the height of pettiness and a new low.

The latest spate of renaming is also an insult to Indian voters. A general election is due next year and it takes no great depth of political analysis to see that the BJP hopes that renaming cities will help voters forget that it has hardly fulfilled any of its grandiose promises and that life for most ordinary Indians continues to be as hard as ever. So rename cities rather than create jobs.

Rename Faizabad rather than tackle the pollution in Faizabad. Rename Mughalsarai railway station rather than keep the platforms clean and give travelers modern amenities. Rename Allahabad rather than remove the stinking piles of rubbish and drains clogged with filth.

In fact, under this government’s own Ministry of Urban Development’s cleanliness rankings last year, most of the major cities in Mr, Adityanath’s state, Uttar Pradesh, one of India’s poorest, fared badly on all parameters. But why bother trying to address that?

Getting rid of Muslim names is both a spiteful petty act against Muslims and bread and circuses.

Riaz Haq said...

#Hindu Nationalist saffron brigade is working tirelessly to scrub #Modi’s #India clean of vestiges of the #Mughals by writing them out of school textbooks, renaming cities and roads, and neglecting Mughal monuments monuments.http://www.openthemagazine.com/article/books/mughal-lite

INDIA IS GRIPPED by Mughal fever these days. Seemingly obsessed with premodern India’s most famous empire, the saffron brigade works tirelessly to scrub Modi’s India clean of vestiges of the Mughals by writing them out of school textbooks, renaming cities and roads, and neglecting Mughal monuments. When Hindu nationalists are not marginalising the Mughals, they villainise these long-dead kings as proxies for modern-day Indian Muslims. All actions provoke a reaction. And so popular curiosity about the Mughals has expanded apace with Hindutva’s anti-Muslim exertions. The political abuse of Mughal history raises the stakes of popular knowledge about this dynasty and their legacies in India.

Parvati Sharma’s Jahangir : An Intimate Portrait of a Great Mughal (Juggernaut; Rs 599; 319 pages) and Ruby Lal’s Empress: The Astonishing Reign of Nur Jahan (Viking; Rs 599; 304 pages) are among the most recent efforts to wade into these fraught waters and educate the public about key Mughal figures. Sharma tracks the life of Jahangir (1569-1627), the fourth Mughal king, while Lal devotes her attention to his favourite wife, Nur Jahan (1577-1645). Jahangir and Nur Jahan were only married for 16 years (1611-1627), but their alliance defined much about both of their lives. They were the ultimate power couple. He sat on the throne, and she wielded power behind the scenes (how much power is the subject of scholarly debate and a question that animates Lal’s book). Still, neither author has written about this pair, but rather each has chosen to write a narrative biography of a single royal figure.

Biography has been a late-bloomer in the discipline of history, and the jury is still out on its ultimate acceptance as a productive way to analyse the past. For decades, most professional historians wrote off biography as a crummy way to do history. Things began to shift in the 1980s and 1990s as some historians saw anew in biography a way to produce social history. Still, the genre has its share of detractors. Writing in 1999, Stanley Fish slammed biography as ‘minutiae without meaning’ and ‘a bad game’ that is less edifying to readers than watching professional wrestling. In recent years, historians have characterised biography as ‘the bastard child of academe,’ ‘the [historical] profession’s unloved stepchild’ and, quite simply, ‘a lesser form of history.’

While many professional historians have long turned up their noses at narrative biography, everybody else feels differently. As Richard Eaton has observed: ‘People are profoundly drawn to the personalities and life-stories of others.’ Seeking to quench or at least address this popular thirst for biography, William Dalrymple—who has done more than any scholar to awaken public interest in Mughal history—wrote in 2005 that more historians ought to write ‘serious biography or narrative history’ of India’s pre-colonial rulers. Historians have responded to this call. For instance, Sunil Khilnani told the history of India through 50 lives as a radio programme, set of podcasts, and a book (Incarnations: India in 50 Lives, 2016). In addition, non- historians have attempted to produce narrative histories.

Riaz Haq said...

India’s Dangerous New Curriculum
Alex Traub

https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2018/12/06/indias-dangerous-new-curriculum/


From the sixteenth to the eighteenth century, the Mughal Empire did much to create modern-day India. It consolidated the country into a sovereign political unit, established a secular tradition in law and administration, and built monuments such as the Taj Mahal. The Mughals were originally from Uzbekistan, but over time they became a symbol of the contribution of Muslims to Indian national history. Their lasting influence is evident in some of India’s most famous dishes, such as biryani, and the settings of several of the most beloved Bollywood movies, including Mughal-e-Azam (1960), by some estimates the highest-grossing film in Indian history.

So it was odd, on a visit this spring to a school in the Indian state of Rajasthan, to hear a Muslim teacher, Sana Khan, ask her entirely Muslim eighth-grade social science class, “Was there anything positive about Mughals?” Khan was teaching at the English-medium Saifee Senior Secondary School, whose students are Dawoodi Bohras, a small Islamic sect that has been based in India since the Mughal era, when its leaders faced persecution in the Middle East. Like Jews, Parsis, and Baha’is, the Bohras are a religious minority that found shelter in India’s unusually tolerant culture.

Yet some of Khan’s students saw only barbarism in the time of their own community’s emergence in India. “In the medieval era, there were wars and all. It was sectarian,” said a bespectacled girl named Rabab Khan. Rabab and another of her classmates, Qutbuddin Cement, told me that the “glorious” period of Indian history occurred before Muslim rule. “In ancient times, India was called ‘the Golden Bird,’” said Qutbuddin. “India was a world leader.”


Since last year, students at the Saifee School have been using new textbooks published by the Rajasthan government, which is run by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that dominates India’s parliament and state legislatures. The new textbooks promote the BJP’s political program and ideology. They argue for the veracity of Vedic myths, glorify ancient and medieval Hindu rulers, recast the independence movement as a violent battle led largely by Hindu chauvinists, demand loyalty to the state, and praise the policies of the BJP prime minister, Narendra Modi. One book reduces over five centuries of rule by a diverse array of Muslim emperors to a single “Period of Struggle” and demonizes many of its leading figures.

These textbooks are part of the BJP’s ongoing campaign to change how Indian history is taught in middle and high schools. Textbooks issued last year by two other states under BJP rule, Gujarat and Maharashtra, resemble the Rajasthan books in their Hindu triumphalism and Islamophobia. So, in a subtler fashion, do updates made in May to federal textbooks.

Riaz Haq said...

India’s Dangerous New Curriculum
Alex Traub

https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2018/12/06/indias-dangerous-new-curriculum/

Between the 1960s and the 1990s, India’s textbooks were a stronghold of the country’s left-wing ruling class, represented by the dominant Congress Party. Distinguished scholars such as the historians Romila Thapar and Satish Chandra wrote textbooks that were strikingly erudite, analyzing, for instance, the high price of shoes during the medieval era and the manner in which Indian colors such as peacock blue altered the Persian style of early Mughal court painting.

These textbooks used Mughal emperors as mouthpieces for twentieth-century politics. To the Mughal ruler Akbar (1542–1605), one book attributed “the great dream” that “people should forget their differences about religion and think of themselves only as the people of India.” This was actually the dream of Jawaharlal Nehru, a leader of the independence movement and India’s prime minister for its first seventeen years of statehood. In his book The Discovery of India, Nehru described his homeland as “an ancient palimpsest on which layer upon layer of thought and reverie had been inscribed, and yet no succeeding layer had completely hidden or erased what had been written previously.” Such a polyglot history could form the factual basis, Nehru hoped, for each of India’s ethnic and religious groups to feel they shared a claim to a common national identity.

When the BJP took over several state governments in the 1990s, it began publishing its own state-level textbooks. The party assumed effective control of the federal government for the first time in 1998 and quickly announced that education would be “Indianised, nationalised and spiritualised.”1 Four years later, it started releasing textbooks—forerunners to those recently issued in Rajasthan—that glorified the Vedic era and vilified Muslim rulers.

The change provoked an outcry. One prominent journalist warned that the new federal textbooks heralded “the destruction of secularism and pluralism.” After the BJP lost the next general election in 2004, the new ruling coalition, led by Congress, changed the way textbooks were written in order to prevent them from being ideologically slanted. Rather than commission individual authors, the government introduced Textbook Development Committees (TDCs) composed of authorities from a variety of professions and academic disciplines. The books produced under this system lack the élan of their Nehruvian predecessors, but they signify a consensus of expert opinion and deftly navigate controversial issues. The seventh-grade history book, for instance, observes that Mahmud of Ghazni (971–1030), the Islamic sultan of Afghanistan, sacked Indian temples—a point of emphasis for Hindu nationalists—but explains that this was a common military and political technique also employed by contemporaneous Hindu and Buddhist rulers.

Riaz Haq said...

India’s Dangerous New Curriculum
Alex Traub

https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2018/12/06/indias-dangerous-new-curriculum/

Though such careful distinctions remain in the federal textbooks, they are now awkwardly interrupted by politicized addendums. The TDCs’ authority has evidently been usurped by the increasing bureaucratic and political power of Hindutva (Hinduness), the BJP’s official ideology. The roots of Hindutva lie in the nineteenth century, but its modern form can be largely attributed to Vinayak Savarkar, who popularized the term in his 1928 book Hindutva: Who Is a Hindu? According to Savarkar, Hindutva comes from “Hindu blood,” cultural practices and languages with a Sanskritic origin, and the belief that India is the “Holyland.”

Non-Hindu religions that originated in South Asia, such as Sikhism and Buddhism, therefore meet the requirements of Hindutva, but Christianity and Islam (whose adherents collectively account for over 15 percent of India’s population) do not. Savarkar reasoned that conflict with these other groups might be a necessary stimulus to a Hindutva consciousness: “Nothing can weld peoples into a nation and nations into a state as the pressure of a common foe. Hatred separates as well as unites.”

The fact that these textbooks are essentially political manifestos is made clear by the way they discuss the ruling party. Rajasthan’s seventh-grade book directs students to “prepare a chart of the advertisements published by the Government about its different schemes and with the help of your teacher discuss the benefits of these schemes.” Swachh Bharat (Clean India), a government initiative to improve India’s hygiene with which Modi has closely aligned himself, is mentioned in five of the updated federal textbooks, according to a series of reports in The Indian Express.

Beyond expressing approval for India’s current leader, the textbooks also make implicit suggestions about what the government ought to be concerned with—namely, strength and unity. Rajasthan’s book on modern India emphasizes India’s military excellence with a list of weapons and pictures of a missile launch and a rumbling tank. The equivalent Gujarat book silently passes over India’s loss in the 1962 Sino-Indian War, while the Rajasthan book actually implies that India won, saying that the army “proved its might by retaliating the attacks of enemies in 1962.”

India is infallible; its citizens, however, must be disciplined. Gujarat’s eighth-grade book insists that “awareness regarding co-operating with the security agencies has to be developed.” Social harmony should be pursued even at the expense of individual rights: Rajasthan’s seventh-grade book recommends, “We should refrain from negative acts like strikes.” There is a whiff of authoritarianism in these proposed limits on autonomy and dissent.

Rajasthan’s official ninth- and tenth-grade social science books appear not to be available in English, but a private company has published its own editions that follow the same syllabus as the new textbooks. These books were being used by the Saifee School, and they were the only editions I could find in the bookstores of Udaipur, the city where the school is located. The tenth-grade book is more explicit in listing the “demerits of democracy,” including that “democracy teaches a person to be selfish, cunning and illusive,” that democracies do not produce economic development, and that they are weak in times of crisis.

Riaz Haq said...

India’s Dangerous New Curriculum
Alex Traub

https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2018/12/06/indias-dangerous-new-curriculum/


One Gujarat textbook points to a troubling alternative. Amid surprisingly frequent criticism of the Treaty of Versailles and an enumeration of Mussolini’s successes, the new twelfth-grade history book praises Hitler at length:

Hitler made a strong German organization with the help of [the] Nazi party and attained great honour for this. By favouring German civilians and by opposing Jews and by his new economic policies, he made Germany a prosperous country…. He transformed the lives of the people of Germany within a very short period by taking strict measures. He safe guarded [sic] the country from hardships and accomplished many things.

This is not the first Gujarat textbook to praise fascism: the last one was the ninth-grade social science book of the mid-2000s, when Modi ran the state government. The offending section was not removed until after a visit from the consul general of Israel. The episode became international news and is still frequently referred to, yet the treatment of Nazism in the new textbook seems to have gone unreported.

It is not an accident or eccentricity that the Gujarat books keep exalting Hitler. A positive view of fascism enables a government eager for more power to tell its citizens about the potential of “strict measures” to “transform” society. It provides a model for Hindutva’s emphasis on “honour” as a reward for the “strong.” More importantly, it gives historical precedent to Hindutva’s wish for a homogenous citizenry. The “people of Germany” may stand in for India’s Hindus, “the Jews” for Muslims. In his 1939 book We, or Our Nationhood Defined, M.S. Golwalkar, a personal hero of Modi’s and the former leader of the BJP’s ideological parent organization, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, wrote that Germany’s “purging the country of Semitic races” manifested “national pride at its highest,” showing “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 Hindustan to learn and profit by.”2

The main project of Hindu nationalist history is justifying the claim that Hindutva groups deserve a special status as India’s “one united whole.” Its central premises are that Hindus are India’s indigenous group; that the rule of Hindutva communities was glorious; that the rule of non-Hindutva communities was disastrous; and that Hindu nationalists have been responsible for winning back India’s freedom. Regardless of whether these propositions have anything like the moral implications Hindu nationalists hope for, each of them is factually dubious.

Riaz Haq said...

India’s Dangerous New Curriculum
Alex Traub

https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2018/12/06/indias-dangerous-new-curriculum/

The word “Hindu” is not indigenous to India. It comes from an Old Persian word used by Arabs and Turks to refer to the people who lived around the Indus River. The religious sense of the word “Hindu” does not seem to have existed until the second millennium AD. Even into the early nineteenth century, its meaning was vague enough that Europeans would refer to “Hindoo Muslims.” The people we now consider Hindus appear generally to have thought of themselves for millennia as belonging primarily to a caste and to a region, rather than to a religion.

The first accounts of Hinduism lie in the Vedas, a corpus of religious texts whose most ancient works are conventionally dated to the middle of the second millennium BC. That’s pretty old, but it doesn’t make Hinduism old enough—or Hindus native enough—for the purposes of Hindutva. Ruins associated with the Harappan civilization suggest that an urban society without any obvious connection to the pastoral world described by the Vedas existed in India as early as the third millennium BC. Not only do the Vedas seem far removed from India’s earliest-known civilization, but they were also probably composed by the descendants of recent migrants to India who dominated other longer-standing groups in the form of the caste system.3

All this is inconvenient for an ideology that seeks to make Indian history into Hindu history. The Rajasthan books solve this problem by making the Harappan civilization fully Vedic, renaming it the “Sindhu-Saraswati” civilization after the “Saraswati River” of the Vedas. In this way, the Vedas provide a common origin point for Hinduism, for the diverse castes within Hinduism, and for India writ large. “Vedic culture” is transformed, as the sixth-grade book says, into “the Sanatan (Perennial) culture of India.”

The early Hindu era is depicted in the Rajasthan books as an unrivaled Golden Age. The condition of women was “happy and progressive.” In contrast to the strictures of caste, “as per his needs, a person could change his profession.” Many rulers followed a “democratic and constitutional form of administration” that resembled the “present day Loksabha,” India’s lower house of parliament, since “members were elected by the public.” At the same time, the Golden Age also boasted religious purity: “nobody except chandals”—members of a traditionally untouchable caste—“ate meat or drank wine,” and rulers were “hardcore followers of Hinduism.”

Gujarat’s textbooks take a more moderate line on ancient India, but still tend toward the view that “the most glorious and prosperous age of Indian history” occurred before Muslim rule. On a visit to a tenth-grade social science class at the English-medium Asia School of Ahmedabad, Gujarat’s former capital, I saw how even such milder promotions of ancient India could encourage chauvinism among teachers and students.

Riaz Haq said...

India’s Dangerous New Curriculum
Alex Traub

https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2018/12/06/indias-dangerous-new-curriculum/


The class lingered on vastu shastra, the Vedic study of architecture, one of many aspects of ancient Indian thought emphasized in the tenth-grade social science textbook. In her explanation of the section, Archana Sharma, the teacher, described Vedic practices as quintessentially Indian and ascribed superlatively “auspicious” powers to them. One student wondered about the worldly implications of these views. “If we are following vastu shastra so well,” he asked, “why are we a developing nation?” This enabled Sharma to unlock the next step of the logic of Hindutva history: the idea that a lack of pan-Hindu sentiment permitted violent and immoral Muslims to defile the country. “Only one thing missing was unity. Otherwise, not possible for Mughals to come for so many centuries. They stayed here as a foreign country. We would have welcomed them as guest. But they did not stay as guest.” Instead, Muslims “looted so much.” India was “ruined by a number of invasions.” The class nodded along, taking notes.

One crucial question largely absent from Rajasthan’s books is how exactly the dominant power of India came to be Muslim. Rajasthan’s tenth-grade social science textbook observes that the twelfth-century ruler of northwest and central India, Prithviraj Chauhan, defeated Muhammad of Ghor in several battles, but passes over Ghor’s ultimate victory, saying simply that “due to certain circumstances, Muslim rule started in India by 1206 CE.”

In their discussions of the Mughal era, the Nehruvian textbooks emphasized Akbar, who empowered Hindu generals, married Hindu princesses, participated in Hindu ceremonies, abolished religious taxes, and held spiritual discussions with Hindus, Christians, Jews, and even atheists. These details are neglected in the new Rajasthan and Gujarat books, which concentrate instead on Aurangzeb (1618–1707), the emperor who reinstated religious taxes and destroyed some Hindu temples. The books overstate Aurangzeb’s prejudice—“Aurangzeb used to hate Hindus,” according to Rajasthan’s eighth-grade book—and exaggerate its influence, suggesting, as in Gujarat’s seventh-grade book, that “Aurangzeb’s narrow-minded policies were responsible for the end of the Mughal Empire.” The truth is more complicated: as Audrey Truschke, an assistant professor of history at Rutgers University, writes in her recent book, Aurangzeb: The Life and Legacy of India’s Most Controversial King, Aurangzeb “employed more Hindus in his administration than any prior Mughal ruler by a substantial margin” and supported Hindu religious practices in numerous ways.

As Muslim rulers are diminished or vilified, so Hindu figures of the same period are inflated to majestic dimensions. The updates to the federal seventh-grade history book include the introduction of Maharana Pratap, a local ruler who “stood his ground” against the Mughals, and an expanded section on the warrior king Shivaji’s “career of conquest.” Shivaji was from Maharashtra, and though the state’s seventh-grade history and civics book claims to describe the “History of Medieval India,” it treats this regional hero as a figure of such civilizational import that his life, like that of Jesus Christ, organizes time itself. There is “India before the Times of Shivaji Maharaj,” “Maharashtra before the Times of Shivaji Maharaj,” and then, climactically, Shivaji’s own era, that of “An Ideal Ruler.” Whereas the Mughals are described as “foreign powers,” Shivaji’s descendants are “The Protectors of the Nation,” suggesting that Indian national identity began with Hindu self-assertion.

Riaz Haq said...

India’s Dangerous New Curriculum
Alex Traub

https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2018/12/06/indias-dangerous-new-curriculum/

The Rajasthan books use the more pungent phrase “foreign invaders” for the Mughals, but there is little evidence that most Indians saw them that way. In fact, during the armed struggle against the British in 1857, Hindu and Muslim rebel soldiers from all over India came to Delhi and proclaimed Bahadur Shah Zafar, the inheritor of the much-weakened Mughal Empire, the leader of their movement and the symbol of home rule.

The same tactics of selection and elision characterize the textbooks’ portrayal of the freedom movement. Mohandas Gandhi and Nehru are generally considered the most consequential figures of this period. Both, however, embody the “ancient palimpsest” view of Indian history that Hindutva seeks to eradicate. The Gujarat and Rajasthan textbooks emphasize instead figures of notable “manliness,” such as Bhagat Singh, whose activities during the independence movement included killing a British policeman and bombing the Central Legislative Assembly of the British Empire. “The revolutionary martyrs wrote the history of Indian independence through their blood,” according to Rajasthan’s tenth-grade book—a rather far cry from Gandhian nonviolence.

The Rajasthan books solve the conundrum of the ideology of the leaders of the independence movement by completely wiping out Nehru from their eighth-grade modern history section, and emphasizing instead none other than Vinayak Savarkar—whom they refer to as “Veer,” the Sanskrit word for “brave.” Savarkar is thought to have rather preposterously given himself this name in a pseudonymous autobiography, despite the assertion in Rajasthan’s tenth-grade book that “the public adorned” him with it. Without any mention of Savarkar’s writing on Hindutva, the books hail him as a “great revolutionary, a great nationalist and a great organizer.” Yet after being imprisoned in 1911 for violent anticolonial activities, Savarkar pledged loyalty to the British Empire. When Gandhi called for a civil disobedience campaign during World War II, Savarkar encouraged his followers to cooperate with the British war effort. Savarkar’s legacy comes from his theoretical and political contributions to Hindu nationalism—not from participating in the independence movement.

K.S. Gupta, a former professor at the Mohanlal Sukhadia University of Udaipur and one of the eight writers of the sixth-to-eighth grade Rajasthan textbooks, said in an interview that he was “fully convinced that Savarkar’s utility is due to his views on Hinduism.” Gupta declined to explain why Savarkar’s questionable involvement with the freedom struggle was mentioned in lieu of these views, but he did expound on Gandhi’s and Nehru’s flaws. “Gandhi was never successful in any of his movements,” he said. “Nehru had no in-depth study about India.” Chief among these leaders’ mistakes was being “very soft on Muslims,” especially during partition with Pakistan, since “there should have been exchange of population there.”

“What was the need of keeping them here?” Gupta asked about India’s Muslims. They have a “Pakistan mentality,” he explained, and yet “every political party is looking after their welfare.” “Parliament may be good for England,” Gupta concluded, “but not for India.”

Riaz Haq said...

India’s Dangerous New Curriculum
Alex Traub

https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2018/12/06/indias-dangerous-new-curriculum/


Though the updates to the federal textbooks have been moderate so far, a BJP victory in next year’s general election would likely lead to greater changes. Crucial policy documents of the government education department are over ten years old, and their replacements are expected soon. In March, a Reuter’s article revealed that a federally appointed committee of scholars and bureaucrats is working on a report intended as a basis for rewriting textbooks along extreme Hindu nationalist lines. More changes can also be expected at the state level. Arun Yadav, a media adviser for the BJP government of the state of Haryana, told me that the local administration is planning to change its books to resemble those of Rajasthan.

Some journalists and academics will vehemently protest these efforts, but TV and print editors and university presidents are increasingly government loyalists. Meanwhile, years of battles over textbooks have led many Indians to conclude that there is no such thing as objective history—only power and the stories it finds useful. “Every party has their scholars,” Subhash Sharma, the deputy director of Rajasthan’s State Institute of Educational Research and Training, told me in an interview. “History writing has always been controversial, na? History is always written in favor of the government.”

Such cynicism will make history into a province of passion rather than reason. This transformation has had destructive consequences before. In 1992, Hindu mobs tore down a mosque because of dubious claims that it had been constructed centuries earlier on the site of a demolished temple. Riots followed in which roughly two thousand people, many of them Muslim, were killed. It’s not just the nature of Indian identity that depends on what Indians believe about their history. It’s also the most basic rights of over two hundred million citizens who do not identify as Hindus.