October 31, 2015

On Games RSS/BJP/Hindu Mahasabha with Past and History

Daily O - 30-10-2015

History, sadly, means little to RSS/BJP/Hindu Mahasabha. So does patriotism
The government has made many attempts to obliterate the past.

Shireen Moosvi

There is a growing disquiet among those who care for the nation and its repute. Writers took the lead by returning their awards. Scientists, artists, historians and others are also giving voice to their feelings of anxiety, collectively as well as individually. In fact, historians, back in December last year, passed a resolution at the Platinum Jubilee session of the Indian History Congress criticising Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pronouncement that plastic surgery was practised in India from time immemorial and Lord Ganesha is a testimony of it, and such other utterances.

The government has made many attempts to obliterate the past. The attempt to push back Vedas to 4,000 BC from 1,500 BC, that is to the Neolithic Age, inspite of archeologically well-attested presence of bronze in the Vedic period, is against all the canons of reason. It is perhaps only part of the hysteria to prove that the Vedic people went out to civilise the whole world. The facts of history, to put it mildly, are not convenient for the BJP, particularly the history of the Indian National Movement. Hence replacing history by mythology is a subterfuge for the party.

As far as taking the Mahabharata and Ramayana as historical works is concerned, I will only quote a well-known right wing historian Professor DC Sircar who wrote in his Problems of Ramayana that "it is a great piece of literature and a great fantasy". As for the other myths, the Ramayana does say that Lord Rama brought back Sita on the flying chariot of Lanka - it was then a flying chariot built by the Rakshasas not we, the Aryans.

It just shows the disregard for facts of even recent history by these people. The Indian History Congress at its session at Aligarh in 1975 passed a resolution unanimously against the imposition of Emergency and again reiterated it at the Calicut session in 1976. It seems selective amnesia is at play since people have forgotten that at the same time the RSS was comparing Indira Gandhi to goddess Durga.

As for the patriotism of the Hindu Mahasabha and the RSS, it is also rather a recent phenomenon. Where was their patriotism before 1947? Historical evidence only of their apologies to and support for the British exists. Their fight even at that time was not against the British but the compatriot Muslims even before the Muslim League came into being. While I do not think this belated act of the Sahitya Akademi speaking in the favour of the writers is really of much worth, at the same time calling the expressions of disquiet by issuing statements or returning awards a "rebellion" is a misnomer, as is Arun Jaitely's comment that it is a "manufactured paper rebellion". As far as these signs of sincere anxiety for our country are concerned, I am sure these are not going to abate as long as the causes for them prevail.