History books in India still largely teach the British view of India from the colonial era and have not changed much since the independence of the country over fifty years ago. The only exception is history books in Marxist states like Bengal that have been rewritten in a communist slant, which is even more against the traditions of the country than the British view.
History books in India try to ignore the dominant Hindu ethos of the country and its history before the Islamic period. India’s greatest historical and cultural document, the Mahabharata, is hardly given any attention in the schools. So too, the Vedas, Ramayana, Puranas, Buddhist Jatakas and other prime historical and cultural documents of the country are ignored because of their religious overtones. If they do address India as a nation, it is only India of the independence movement that they acknowledge, as if prior to 1947 India did not really exist. While Nehru is made important, older kings from the Rig Vedic Bharatas to Yudishthira of the Mahabharata period to the Marathas of the eighteenth century are hardly mentioned. There is no real sense of any historical continuity to the culture, much less to the country. While Mahatma Gandhi is emphasized, the greater spiritual traditions of India and its great teachers from the Vedic rishis, Vedantic, Buddhist and Jain sages to modern savants like Sri Aurobindo and Ramana Maharshi is not given much attention.
Delivering the keynote address at the Justice P.R. Sundaram Iyer Memorial Lecture at the Pudukode kendra of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan on ‘A thematic view of Indian civilisation,’ Mr. Michel Danino said:
"the history of India that we study for our examinations is really a nightmarish account of India. Our real ties are with ‘Bharatavarsha’ that lie outside textbooks. If the history of this tie is lost, our soul loses its anchorage."
A long-time student of Indian civilisation, Mr. Danino said the "colonial-Marxist" view the history of India from a purely materialistic, social and economic definition of man. Since no spiritual dimension is acknowledged, India's religious and spiritual movements and evolution are interpreted purely from a materialistic standpoint. "Indian spirituality and religion are therefore of no value, as are India's great spiritual figures. To a Marxist historian, Swami Vivekananda's or Sri Aurobindo's or Tagore's understanding of Indian history and civilisation is of no relevance. Thus India's cultural continuity and identity are basically denied. Artificial breaks are introduced in time (for instance, the imaginary Aryan invasion of India) or in society (the Brahmins vs. the rest of India)," he said. Mr. Danino continued:
"We do hear of India's "diversity" but not what constitutes its "unity." India's cultural bond, for instance the reach of epic and Puranic lore to the remotest corners of the country, is not thought to be a worthwhile object of study. Thus Indian education is neither Indian nor education."
He said India's civilizational achievements and contributions to the world in science, technology, philosophy, spirituality, religion, art, literature, scripts, etc., are consistently underemphasized. Failing to work out an Indian historiography of India, this perspective in effect promotes a de-Indianised view of Indian history, which can logically lead only to the atomisation of India, since one is left to wonder what can hold together this bewildering medley, Mr. Danino said.
Delivering the Justice Sundaram Iyer Memorial Lecture, T.C. Murali Madhavan, Head of Department of Indian Literature, Sri Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit, Kalady, said
"our cultural heritage is based on dharma and truth. It believes that whatever we gain without Dharma will not last. Brahma and Dharma are misunderstood but they are indispensable and two sides of the same coin. It is the basis of Indian culture."
Mr. Madhavan said "the Aryan theory of Indus Valley civilization is disputed now with more studies of our ancient history and heritage. It is now found that the Vedic culture is 7,000 years old. The Brahma culture starts from Rig Veda and Dharma is the cornerstone of our culture," he said.
Interest of Europeans in Bharatvarsha and its Ancient Literature
The battle of Plassey, fought in Samvat 1814, sealed the fate of India. Bengal came under the dominance of the British. In Samvat 1840, William Jones was appointed Chief Justice in the British settlement of Fort William. He translated into English the celebrated play "Shakuntala" of the renowned poet Kalidasa (Circa 4th cent. B. V. ) in Samvat 1846, and the Code of Manu in Samvat 1851, the year in which he died. After him, his younger associate, Sir Henry Thomas Colebrooke, wrote an article 'On the Vedas' in Samvat 1862.
In the Vikram year 1875, August Wilhelm von Schlegal was appointed the first professor of Sanskrit in the Bonn University of Germany. Friedrich Schlegel was his brother. He wrote in 1865 V. a work entitled 'Upon the languages and Wisdom of the Hindus'. Both brothers evinced great love for Sanskrit. Another Sanskritist Hern Wilhelm von Humboldt became the collaborator of August Schlegel whose edition of the Bhagavad Gita directed his attention to its study. In Samvat 1884 he wrote to a friend saying: 'It is perhaps the deepest and loftiest thing the world has to show'. At that very time Arthur Schopenhauer (1845-1917 V.), a great German philosopher, happened to read the Latin translation of the Upanishads (1858-1859 V.), done by a French writer Anquetil du Perron (1788-1862 V.) from the Persian translation of prince Dara Shikoh (1722 V.), named as Sirre-Akbar - the great secret. He was so impressed by their philosophy that he called them 'the production of the highest human wisdom', and considered them to contain almost superhuman conceptions. The study of the Upanishads was a source of great inspiration and means of comfort to his soul, and writing about it he says, 'It is the most satisfying and elevating reading (with the exception of the original text) which is possible in the world;' it has been the solace of my life and will be the solace of my death." It is well-known that the book 'Oupnekhat' (Upanishad) always lay open on his table and he invariably studied it before retiring to rest. He called the opening up of Sanskrit literature 'the greatest gift of our century', and predicted that the philosophy and knowledge of the Upanishads would becomes the cherished faith of the West.
Result of that Interest
Such writings attracted the German scholars more and more to the study of Sanskrit, and many of them began to hold Bharatiya culture in great esteem. Prof. Winternitz has described their reverence and enthusiasm in the following words:
"When Indian literature became first known in the West, people were inclined to ascribe a hoary age to every literature work hailing from India. They used to look upon India as something like the cradle of mankind, or at leat of human civilization."
This impression was natural and spontaneous. It was based on truth and had no element of bias. The historical facts that were handed down by the sages of Bharatavarsa were based on true and unbroken traditions. Their philosophical doctrines delved deep into the source and mysteries of life and propounded principles of eternal value. When the people of the West came to know of them for the first time, many unbigoted scholars were highly impressed by their marvellous accuracy and profound wisdom and being uninfluenced by any considerations of colour or creed they were generous in their acclamations. This enthusiastic applause of the honest people of Christian lands created a flutter in the dovecotes of Jewry and Christian missionaries, who were as ignorant of the real import of their own Scriptures and traditions as those of Bharatavarsa and followed only the dictates of dogmatic Pauline Christianity which had made them intolerant of all other faiths.
The correctness of this conclusion can be judged from the following observation of Heinrich Zimmer :-
"He (Schopenhauer) was the first among the Western people to speak of this in an incomparable manner - in that great cloudburst of European-Christian atmosphere."
How revengeful are dogmatic Christians and Jews on those who do not hold opinions similar to their own, is amply illustrated by the fate of Robertson Smith (1846-94 A.D.), the author of 'The Religion of the Semites'. and a professor of Hebrew in the Free Church College, Aberdeen. The punishment he got for the frank and fearless expression of his scientific researches is well recorded by Lewis Spence in the following words:-
"The heterodox character of an encyclopaedia article on the Bible led to his prosecution for heresy, of which charge, however, he was acquitted. But a further article upon 'Hebrew Language and Literature' in the Encyclopaedia Brittannica (1880) led to his removal from the professoriate of the College."
The Judeo-Christian Bias
In later times the Jews forgot their ancient history and ancestry and became narrow in their outlook. They considered themselves to be the oldest of all races. In 1654 A.D. Archbishop Usher of Ireland firmly announced that his study of Scripture had proved that creation took place in the year 4004 B.C. Some from the end of the seventeenth century, this chronology was accepted by the Europeans and they came to believe that Adam was created 4004 years before Christ. Hence a majority of the modern Jews and the dogmatic Christians and especially many professors of Sanskrit found it hard to reconcile themselves to the view that any race or civilization could be older than the date of Adam accepted by them. They resented the hoary antiquity ascribed by their broad-minded brother scholars to the literature and civilization of Bharatavarsa and much more to the origin of man. Referring to this deep-rooted prejudice, A.S. Sayce writes :-
"But as far as man was concerned, his history was still limited by the dates in the margin of our Bibles. Even today the old idea of his recent appearance still prevails in quarters where we should least expect to find it and so-called critical historians still occupy themselves in endeavoring to reduce the dates of his earlier history…. To a generation which had been brought up to believe that in 4004 B.C. or thereabout the world was being created, the idea man himself went back to 100,000 years ago was both incredible and inconceivable."
Ample evidence can be adduced to prove the existence of this inveterate prejudice but the above quotation from a great anthropologist would suffice for our purpose.
The studies of Sanskrit continued and flourished in Europe and very rapidly the opinions and judgments of scholars also became warped by the influence of the inherent prejudice fanned by the clergy. From the Vikram year 1858 to 1897 Eugene Burnouf occupied the chair of Professor of Sanskrit in France. He had two German pupils Rudolph Roth and Max Muller, who later on made a name in European Sanskrit scholarship.
Purpose of Boden Chair of Sanskrit in Oxford University
In Samvat 1890 Horace Hayman Wilson became the Boden Professor of Sanskrit in the Oxford University. His successor Prof. M. Monier-Williams has drawn the attention of scholars to the object of the establishment of that chair in the following words …
"I must draw attention to the fact that I am only the second occupant of the Boden Chair, and that its Founder, Colonel Boden, stated most explicitly in his will (dated August 15, 1811 A.D.) that the special object of his munificent bequest was to promote the translation of Scriptures into Sanskrit; so as to enable his countrymen to proceed in the conversion of the natives of India to the Christian religion."
Prejudiced Sanskrit Professors
- Prof. Wilson was a man of very noble disposition, but he had his obligations towards the motives of the founder of the Chair he occupied. He, therefore, wrote a book on 'The Religious and Philosophical System of the Hindus' and explaining the reason for writing it he says:
"These lectures were written to help candidates for a prize of ?200-given by John Muir, a well-known old Haileybury man and great Sanskrit scholar, for the best refutation of the Hindu Religious System".
From this quotation the learned readers can conclude to what extent the aim of European scholarship could be called scientific, how far the theories propounded by them could be free from partisanship and called reliable, and how true would be the picture of Bharatiya civilisation and culture drawn by them.
Max Muller was a fellow-student of Roth. Besides his teacher's stamp on him, Max Muller's interview with Lord Macaulay on the 28th December, 1855 A.D. also played a great part in his anti-Indian views. Max Muller had to sit silent for an hour while the historian poured out his diametrically opposite views and then dismissed his visitor who tried in vain to utter a simple word : "I went back to Oxford", writes Max Muller, "a sadder man and a wiser man."
Max Muller's name became widely known to the people of Bharatavarsa for two reasons. Firstly, he was a voluminous writer and secondly his views were severely criticised by the great scholar and savant Swami Dayananda Saraswati (1881-1940 V.) in his public speeches and writings. The value of Max-Muller's opinions, may be estimated from his following statements :-
"History seems to teach that the whole human race required a gradual education before, in the fullness of time, it could be admitted to the truths of Christianity. All the fallacies of human reason had to be exhausted, before the light of a high truth could meet with ready acceptance. The ancient religions of the world were but the milk of nature, which was in due time to be succeeded by the bread of life…. 'The religion of Buddha has spread far beyond the limits of the Aryan world, and to our limited vision, it may seem to have retarded the advent of Christianity among a large portion of the human race. But in the sight of Him with whom a thousand years are but as one day, that religion, like the ancient religions of the world, may have but served to prepare the way of Christ, by helping through its very errors to strengthen and to deepen the ineradicable yearning of the human heart after the truth of God."
"Large number of Vedic hymns are childish in the extreme ; tedious, low, commonplace."
"Nay, they (the Vedas) contain, by the side of simple, natural, childish thoughts, many ideas which to us sound modern, or secondary and tertiary."
Such blasphemous reviling of the most ancient and highly scientific scripture of the world can come only from word of the mouth of a bigoted (not an honest) Christian, a low pagan or an impious atheist. Barring Christianity, Max Muller was bitterly antagonistic to every other religion which he regarded as heathen. His religious intolerance is borrowed from his bitter criticism of the view of the German scholar, Dr. Spiegel, that the Biblical theory of the creation of the world is borrowed from the ancient religion of the Persians or Iranians. Stung by this statement Max Muller writes: "A writer like Dr. Spiegel should know that he can expect no money ; nay, he should himself wish for no mercy, but invite the heaviest artillery against the floating battery which he has launched in the troubled waters of Biblical criticism." (Strange to say that our History supports the truth of Dr. Spiegel's view to the extent that the Biblical statements were derived from Persian, Babylonian and Egyptian scriptures, which according to the ancient history of the world, were in turn derived from Vedic sources.)
At another place the same devotee of the Western 'scientific' scholarship says :
"If in spite of all this, many people, most expectant to judge, look forward with confidence to the conversion of the Parsis, it is because, in the most essential points, they have already, though unconsciously, approached as near as possible to the pure doctrine of Christianity. Let them but read Zend-Avesta, in which they profess to believe, and they will find that their faith is in longer the faith of the Yasna, the Vendidad and the Vispered. As historical relics, these works, if critically interpreted, will always retain a pre-eminent place in the great library of the ancient world. As oracles of religious faith, they are defunct and a mere anachronism in the age in which we live."
Even a superficial reader can see the strain of Christian fanaticism running through these lines. If Bharatiya culture could exact occasional praise from the pen of a bigoted man like Max Muller, it was only due to its unrivalled greatness and superiority.
Max Muller and Jacolliot
The French scholar Louis Jacolliot, Chief Judge in Chandranagar, wrote a book called 'La Bible dans l'Inde' in Samvat 1926. Next year an English translation of it was also published. In that book all the main currents of thought in the world have been derived from the ancient Aryan thought. He has called Bharatvarsha 'the Cradle of Humanity'.
'Land of ancient India! Cradle of Humanity. hail! Hail revered motherland whom centuries of brutal invasions have not yet buried under the dust of oblivion. Hail, Fatherland of faith, of love, of poetry and of science, may we hail a revival of thy past in our Western future.'
This book cut Max Muller to the quick and he said while reviewing it that 'the author seems to have been taken in by the Brahmins of India'.
Max Muller's Letter
Personal letters give a true picture of the writer's inner mind. A person expresses his inmost feelings in the letters which he writes to his intimate relations and friends. Such letters are very helpful in estimating his real nature and character. Fortunately, a collection called the 'Life and Letters of Frederick Max Muller' has been published in two volumes. A few extracts from those letters would suffice to expose the mind of the man who is held in great esteem in the West for his Sanskrit leaning and impartial judgment.
- In a letter of 1866 A.D. (V Sam, 1923) he writes to his wife:
'This edition of mine and the translation of the Veda will hereafter tell to a great extent on the fate of India, …..it is the root of their religion and to show them what the root is, I feel sure, is the only way of uprooting all that has spring from it during the last three thousand years.'(Vol. 1., Ch. XV, Page 346.).
- In another letter he writes to his son:
'Would you say that any one sacred book is superior to all others in the world? ……..I say the New Testament, after that, I should place the Koran, which in its moral teachings, is hardly more than a later edition of the New Testament. Then would follow according to my opinion the Old Testament, the Southern Buddhist Tripitaka, the Tao-te-king of Laotze, the Kings of Confucius, the Veda and the Avesta.'(Vol. II, Ch. XXXII., page 339.).
- On 16th December 1868 A.D. (Samvat 1925) he writes to Duke of Argyle, the Minister for India:
'The ancient religion of India is doomed and if Christianity does not step in, whose fault will it be?'(Vol. I., Ch. XVI., page 378.)
- On 29th January 1882 (Samvat 1939) he wrote to Sri Bairamji MALABARI:
'I wanted to tell…….what the true historical value of this ancient religion is, as looked upon, not from a n exclusively European or Christian, but from a historical point of view. But discover in it 'steam engines and electricity and European philosophy and morality, and you deprive it of its true character.'(Vol. II, Ch XXV., pages 115-116.)
- Max Muller grew so insolent and audacious that he started to challenge Indians in a direct foolhardy manner. It is clear from a letter written by him to N.K. Majumdar:
'Tell me some of your chief difficulties that prevent you and your countrymen from openly following Christ, and when I write to you I shall do my best to explain how I and many who agree with me have met them and solved them…….. From my point of view, India, at least the best part of it, is already converted to Christianity. You want no persuasion to become a follower of Christ. Then make p your mind to work or yourself. Unite your flock - to hold them together and prevent them from straying. The bridge has been built for you by those who came before you. STEP BOLDLY FORWARD, it will break under you, and you will find many friends to welcome you on the other shore and among them none more delighted that you old friend and fellow labourer F. Max-Muller.'(Vol. II., Ch. XXXIV., pages 415-416.)
Herein Max Muller claims to know 'the true historical value' of Vedic religion, but our history is going to expose the hollowness of the learning and scholarship which he and his colleagues boast of possessing.
V. Weber's Bias
At the time when Max Muller was busy besmirching the glory of Bharatiya literature and religion in England, Albert Webber was devoting himself to the same ignominious task in Germany. We have already referred to the unstinted praise of the Bhagavad Gita by Humboldt. Weber could not tolerate this. He had the temerity to postulate that the Mahabharata and Gita were influenced by Christian thought. Mark what he writes:-
'The peculiar colouring of the Krsna Sect, which pervades the whole book, is noteworthy: Christian legendry matter and other Western influences are unmistakably present……..
The view of Weber was strongly supported by two other Western scholars, Lorinser and E. Washburn Hopkin. Yet the view was so blatantly absurd that most of the professors in European universities did not accept it in spite of their Christian leanings. But the propagation of this wrong view played its mischief and was mainly responsible for the hesitation of the Western scholars (including the antagonists) to assign to the Mahabharata a date, earlier that the Christian era.
Weber and Bankim Chandra
I am not alone in holding this view.
This is what Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyaya, the well known Bengali scholar, has to say about Weber in his Krishnacharita, 4th chapter:-
'The celebrated Weber was no doubt a scholar but I am inclined to think that it was an unfortunate moment for India when he began the study of Sanskrit. The descendants of the German savages of yesterday could not reconcile themselves to the ancient glory of India. It was therefore, their earnest effort to prove that the civilisation of India was comparatively of recent origin. They could not persuade themselves to believe that the Mahabharata was composed centuries before Christ was born'.
Weber and Goldstucker
Weber and Boehtlingk prepared a dictionary of the Sanskrit language called the 'Sanskrit Worterbuch. Prof. Kuhn was also one of their assistants. Being mainly based on the wrong and imaginary principles of philology, the work is full of wrong meanings in many places and is, therefore, unreliable and misleading. It is a pity that so much labour was wasted on account of sheer prejudice. Th dictionary was subject of severe criticism by Prof. Goldstuker which annoyed the two editors. Weber was so much upset that he stooped to use abusive language of the coarsest kind against Prof. Goldstucker. He said that the views of Prof. Goldstucker about the Worterbuch showed 'a perfect derangement of his mental faculties', since he did not reject the authority of the greatest Hindu scholars freely and easily. Replying to their undignified attacks Prof. Goldstucker exposed the conspiracy of Professors Roth, Boehtlingk, Weber and Kahn which they had formed to undermine the greatness of ancient Bharatvarsha. He wrote:
'It will, of course, be my duty to show, at the earliest opportunity, that Dr. Boehtlingk is incapable of understanding even easy rules of Panini, much less those of Katyayana and still less is he capable of making use of them in the understanding of Classical texts. The errors in his department of the Dictionary are so numerous…….. that it will fill every serious Sanskritist with dismay, when he calculates the mischievous influence which they must exercise on the study of Sanskrit philology'.
He further remarks:
'….that questions which ought to have been decided with the very utmost circumspection and which could not be decided without very laborious research have been trifled with in the Worterbuch in the most unwarranted manner.'
Goldstucker was called upon by one of Boehtlingk's men not only to have respect for 'the editor of Panini…..'(i.e. Boehtlingk) but even for the hidden reasons for foisting on the public his blunders of ever kind.
We know that there were no other 'hidden reasons' than their Christian and Jewish bias which impelled them to suppress the correct information of the Hindu grammarians and underrate and vilify Aryan civilisation and culture, and at the same time to serve as tools of the British Government towards the same end.
Professor Kuhn, who 'gave his opinion on the Worterbuch' was 'an individual whose sole connection with Sanskrit studies consisted in handling Sanskrit books to those who could read them, a litery naught, wholly unknown, but assuming the airs of a quantity, because it had figures before it that prompted it on, a personage who, according to his own friends, was perfectly ignorant of Sanskrit'.
Provoked by the unwarranted flouting of the authentic Hindu tradition, Professor Goldstucker was compelled to raise his 'feeble but solitary voice' against the coterie of mischievous propagandists masquerading under the garb of 'scientific' scholars. He concludes his laborious work with the following significant remarks:
'When I see that the most distinguished and most learned Hindu scholars and divines - the most valuable and sometimes the only source of all our knowledge of ancient India - are scorned in theory, mutilated in print, and, as consequence, set aside in the interpretation of Vaidik texts; …….when a clique of Sanskritists of this description vapours about giving us the sense of the Veda as it existed at the commencement of Hindu antiquity; ……when I consider that those whose words apparently derive weight and influence from the professional position they hold; ……..then I hold that it would be a want of courage and a dereliction of duty, if I did not make a stand against these Saturnalia of Sanskrit Philology.
Monier-Williams who revealed the real object of the purpose of the establishment of the Boden chair, thus delivers himself:-
'Brahmanism, therefore, must die out. In point of fact, false ideas on the most ordinary scientific subjects are so mixed up with its doctrines that the commonest education - the simplest lesson in geography - without the aid of Christianity must inevitably in the end sap its foundations.'
'When the walls of the mighty fortress of Brahmanism are encircled, undermined, and finally stormed by the solders of the cross, the victory of Christianity must be signal and complete.'
Therefore we are justified in drawing the conclusion that his book, 'The Study of Sanskrit in Relation to Missionary work in India' (1861 A.D. London) was written with the sole object of promoting Christianity and ousting Hinduism. Inspite of this some of our Indian Sanskrit scholars call these Europeans scholars, unbiased students of Sanskrit literature, whose sole aim has been to aquire knowledge for its own sake.
Again, expressing his deep rooted veneration for the Bible, Monier-Williams writes:- '….the Bible, though a true revelation.'
Rudolf Hoernle was the Principal of Queen's College, Banaras, in Samvat 1926. At that time Swami Dayananda Saraswati, who later on founded the Arya Samaja happened to reach Banaras for the first time for the propagation of his mission. Dr. Hoernle met Swami Dayananda on several occasions. He wrote an article on /Swamiji from which the following extract is noteworthy, because it reveals the real intention of many European scholars who take to study of Sanskrit and ancient scriptures of Bharatvarsha. Hoernle says:-
'…….he (Dayananda) may possibly convince the Hindus that their modern Hinduism is altogether in the opposition to the Vedas……. If once they became thoroughly convinced of this radical error, they will no doubt abandon Hinduism at once…… They cannot go back to the Vedic state; that is dead and gone, and will never revive; something more or less new must follow. We hope it may be Christianity,…….'
Richard Garbe was a German Sanskritist, who edited many Sanskrit works. Besides these, in 1914 he wrote a book for the missionaries, entitled 'Indien und das Christentum'. His religious bias is quite evident in the book.
The pride of the superiority of their own philosophy and religion and of the infallibility of their own conclusions has become so ingrained in the above-mentioned type of Western Sanskrit scholars that they feel no hesitation in giving expression to it brazen-facedly before the public. Reverent admiration of the philosophy of the Upanishads by Schopenhauer, often quoted by Bharatiya writers, ranked in the heart of the Europeans, and as late as A.D. 1925 Prof. Winternitz thought it incumbent on him to denounce the sincere and heartfelt views of Schopenhauer in the following words:-
'Yet I believe, it is a wild exaggeration when Schopenhauer says that the teaching of the Upanishads represents 'the fruit of the highest human knowledge and wisdom' and contains 'almost superhuman conceptions the originators of which can hardly be regarded as mere mortals…….'
Not content with his invective against the Upanishads he had the audacity to deprecate even the greatness of the Vedas by saying:-
'It is true, the authors of these hymns rise but extremely seldom to the exalted flights and deep fervour of, say, religious poetry of the Hebrews.'
This vilification did not remain confined to Sanskrit scholars alone, but through them it percolated into the field of Science. Not knowing a word of the exact and multifarious scientific knowledge of the ancient Hindus, Sir William Cecil Dampier writes:
'Perhaps the paucity of Indian contribution to other sciences (the Philosophy and Medicine) may in part be due to the Hindu religion.
The climax of hatred against Hinduism is seen in the highly mischievous and provoking remarks like the following even in popular literature:-
'The curse of India is the Hindoo religion. More than two hundred million people believe a monkey mixture of mythology that is strangling the nation.' 'He who yearns for God in India soon loses his head as well as his heart.'
Prof. McKenzie, of Bombay finds the ethics of India defective, illogical and anti-social, lacking any philosophical foundation, nullified by abhorrent ideas of asceticism and ritual and altogether inferior to the 'higher spirituality' of Europe. He devotes most of his book 'Hindu Ethics' to upholding this thesis and comes to the triumphant conclusions that Hindu philosophical ideas, 'when logically applied leave no room for ethics'; and that they prevent the development of a strenuous moral life.'
It is a matter of serious mistake on the part of a Government which is anxious to win the friendship and sympathy of Bharat to allow such heinous type of literature as Ripley's to be published. And again, it is a matter of regret that such books, whether published in India or abroad, are not taken notice of by our politicians and have not been banned by our National Government. Not only is our Government indifferent to the interdiction of such slanderous literature, but even our Universities not only prescribe but recommend for higher study books on Bharatiya history and culture written by foreign scholars who lose no opportunity of maligning our civilisation openly or in a very subtle way.
Remarks like those of McKenzie on the ethics of a country from whose Brahmanas the whole world learnt its morality and rules of conduct, are nothing short of blasphemy and national insult. The irony of the situation is that, instead of being condemned such persons receive recognition and honour from our educationists and political leaders.
Conquest by Education
An example of this sort of invasion that has caused such a difference in Indian culture, history, and its status in the world is that of the British. The English attempted to divide and conquer India, to ruin the Hindu (Vedic) civilization, and to demean Indian culture, even to the point of trying to make its own people hate everything that is Indian. This is explained in World-Wide Hindu Culture (pp.165-6) by Dr. S. Venu Gopalacharya. He describes that on July 3, 1835, Lord McCauley suggested that the only statesmanship of the Britishers to establish permanent imperialist sovereignty over their richest colony, India, was to make the Indians "Englishmen by Taste." This was to be accomplished through "English Education," similar to bringing under control hundreds of elephants by taming a couple of wild elephants. By 1854 when the whole of India came under British rule, Charles Woodraffe, the Director of the Education Department of the Government of India, in his minutes dated July 19, 1854, stated that it was the best opportunity to give effect to Lord Macaulay's suggestion. For getting grains for one year, sowing of corn is necessary; for getting fruits, trees are to be planted. Likewise, to get perennial or permanent service, human beings are to be sown. For erasing illiteracy, primary schools are to be opened. To get officials with less expenditure, secondary education is essential because importing Englishmen for that purpose is impossible. Colleges with English education is unavoidable to make the Indian educated class detest everything Indian, to make them look at it as nothing more than mean and illogical superstitions.
Max Mueller also expressed the same sentiment in a letter to the Duke of Argyll, who was then the Secretary of State for India:
"India has been conquered once, but India must be conquered again and that second conquest should be a conquest by education."
The Destruction of the Indian System of Education
During the time of the East India Company and later, in the British rule, there seem to have been two motives working in the minds of the rulers: plundering the wealth of this land and the 'white man's burden' of civilizing the natives (the term used by them to refer to all Indians).
India was the richest land till the British came. Whereas Britain's share in world exports before was only 9% as against India's share of 19%. Today India's share is only 0.5%. Most of the foreigners came to India in search of her fabulous wealth. Ernest Wood, in the book "A Foreigner defends Mother India" states,
"In the middle of the eighteenth century, Phillimore wrote that 'the droppings of her soil fed distant regions'. No traveller found India poor until the nineteenth century, but foreign merchants and adventurers sought her shores for the almost fabulous wealth, which they could there obtain. 'To shake the pagoda tree' became a phrase, somewhat similar to our modern expression 'to strike oil'."
In India 35% to 50% of village lands were revenue free and that revenue was utilised for running schools, conducting temple festivals, producing medicines, feeding pilgrims, improving irrigation etc. The British in their greed brought down the revenue free lands down to 5%. When there was a protest they assured Indians that the government would create an irrigation department to take care of irrigation, an educational board to take care of education. etc. The initiative of the people was destroyed. But the rulers found to their chagrin, that though they had conquered this nation, it was still strongly rooted in its own culture. They found that as long as the nation was aware and even proud of its traditions, their 'white man's burden' remained as 'heavy and cumbersome as ever'! India had, at that time, a very well spread system of education and that system had to be made ineffective for their purposes. Now, most of us are taught to believe that the education was in the hands of the Brahmins and in Sanskrit medium and that the other castes had no education. But here are the facts about how the British destroyed the Indian educational system and made one of the most literate nations illiterate.
In the Round- table conference in 1931, Mahatma Gandhi in one of his speeches said,
"The beautiful tree of education was cut down by you British. Therefore today India is far more illiterate than it was 100 years ago."
Immediately, Philip Hartog, who was a parliamentarian stood up and said,
"Mr.Gandhi, it is we who have educated the masses of India. And therefore you must take back your statement and apologise or prove it."
Gandhiji said he would prove it. But the debate did not continue for lack of time. Later one of his followers, Shri Dharampal, went to the British museum and examined the reports and archives. He published a book "The Beautiful Tree" where this matter has been discussed in great detail. By 1820, the British had already destroyed the financial resources that supported India's educational system — a destruction that they had been carrying out for nearly twenty years. But still the Indians persisted in continuing with their system of education. So, the British decided to find out the intricacies of this system. Therefore a survey was ordered in 1822 and was conducted by the British district collectors. In the survey it was found that the Bengal presidency had 1 lakh village schools, in Madras there was not a single village without a school, in Bombay, if the village population was near 100, the village had a school. Teachers as well as students of all castes were in these schools. The Brahmins accounted 7% to 48% of the teachers, and the rest of the teachers in any district, came from other castes. Further all children had their education in their mother tongue.
The equivalent of the present day primary education lasted 4 to 5 yrs. We all know that it is universal primary education that is important for taking the nation ahead, not just a few getting higher education. The British administrators admired the dedication and capacity of the Indian teachers. By the time the students came out of the schools they had acquired the capacity to be competitive, and to understand and have proper insight into their own culture. One Mr.Bell, a Christian missionary in Madras took the Indian system of education back to England, and introduced it there. Until then, only the children of the nobles were given education there and he started education for the masses in England. So, we gather that it is from India that the British adopted the system for educating the masses.
The Downward Filtration Method
But what happened in India? Foreign Christian missionaries even resented the nominal amount of one lakh rupees kept aside for the education of Indians. The British cut down the financial resources and brought in several regulations one after the other- regulations like "there has to be a 'pucca' building etc. That was not the end. They invited T.B. Macaulay to decide how to divert the money, what should be the medium of instruction and the mode of educating the Indian. He made English the medium of instruction and diverted the money for English education. G.D.Trevelyan writes in "Life of Lord Macaulay" (vol 1 pg164)
"A new India was born in 1835". What Alexander, Ashoka and the western missionaries had failed to do was accomplished by Macualay's educational minutes, decreeing that India was to receive through English education, the language of the West. "The very foundations of her ancient civilization began to rock and sway. Pillar after pillar in the edifice came crashing down." But Macaulay did a more harmful thing, which is not generally known. He adopted the "downward filtration method" for educating the Indians. What is this method? The problem facing Macaulay was that Indians were numerous and The British were a handful. How were they going to educate the Indians? How could this nation be weakened so that in self-forgetfulness it would support the British Raj?
The story goes that once when he was in Ooty, in his residence, he saw an Indian officer coming and touching the feet of a peon sitting outside his office (which was near his residence.) and was obviously surprised. Why was an officer touching the feet of a peon? He was told, "You don't know, this Indian society is a peculiar one. Here the Brahmins are respected and the peon belongs to that caste."
The changes that Macaulay brought after this are well documented and authenticated in books. The downward filtration method was formulated according to which the forward caste (even this was much later) was given preference in schools. To put it in his own words, "But it is impossible for us with our limited means to educate all in English. We must at present do our best to form a class of persons Indian in blood and colour but English in tastes, in opinion, in morals, and in intellect."
To gauge how much he succeeded in his mission, we only need to look into the history of the Indian educated classes since that time onwards. The fact is that we have not tackled the Macaulayian issue even after Independence, and graver still, few realise that the problem exists at all. The system of giving preference to Brahmins in the govt. and missionary run schools went on for nearly hundred yrs. In the meantime other castes practicing any trade had lost their business due to the flooding of Indian markets with British goods and also due to the deliberate strangulation of their business by the British. Due to the land policy of the British, born out of their greed, the farmers had become landless labourers in their own lands, and the landlords the cruel stooges of the British. The systematic destruction of the Indian system of education deprived certain castes of education. Thus over a hundred years these castes had become impoverished and ignorant and the Brahmins who were supposed to lead the society became distorted in their understanding of things, due to foreign education.
British Distortion of Bharatvarsh History
Colonization had affected the Indian mind in certain aspects. Through Macaulay’s education policies, the British ensured that they left behind an inferiority complex among the Indians by constantly denigrating Indian culture. This is why the intellectuals of India today repeat what their masters said before and ape them after having hated them.
The Creation of Racist Theory
Another masterstroke of the British was the propagation of the “absurd” theory of Aryan Invasion Theory according to which India was invaded by a tribe called Aryans who originated in western Russia and imposed upon the Dravidians of India, the hateful caste system. They continue,
“To the Aryans are attributed Sanskrit, the Vedic religion, as well as India’s greatest spiritual texts, the Vedas and a host of writings like the Upanishads. The Aryan invasion myth has shown that the Indian civilization was not that ancient and that it was secondary to the cultures that influenced the Western world. Also, whatever good thing India had developed has been a consequence of the influence of the West.”
Subversion of Vedic Civilization
It is evident that the most high officials in the British administration were intent on using their own field of operation to subvert Hinduism and whatever was left of Vedic culture. Thus, the process of character assassination by the British, in cahoots with the Muslims, was on. Here in we can see the motivation for perverting the real history of India. This is why the reading public has consistently been cheated for many years of the real glory and advanced nature of India and Vedic culture.
Prior to the founding of the British rule in India there was no archeological department. Incorrect and false archeological records started during the long alien Muslim rule that preceded the British in India because of the Muslim practice of grabbing and misappropriating Hindu temples and palaces to become mosques and tombs. Thus, when the British came to power in India, many historic buildings were already under occupation and possession of Muslims. When the British first set up an archeological department, not only did they have their own reasons to falsify Indian history, but they also simply consulted the Muslims who occupied the buildings and recorded their bluff. Of course, if the Muslims told the truth about the Hindu origin of the buildings they occupied, they may have very well lost the right to the possession of such buildings. Such deceptions have gone on to become the basis of the archeological department of India.
The Plot to Cover Vedic Archeology
There was a comprehensive strategy to overlook, cover, and falsify the real history of India. Not only did the invading Muslims try to do this over the centuries, but the British, while in India, also played a heavy hand in this. As pointed out by P. N. Oak in Some Missing Chapters of World History on page 16:
"Major General Alexander Cunningham, a retired army engineer was appointed in 1861 as the first archeological surveyor under the then British administration in India, not because he had any special knowhow or knowledge but because as early as September 15, 1842 when he was a mere Lt. A.D.C. to the Governor General Lord Auckland, Cunningham had suggested in a letter to Col. Sykes (a director of the British East India Company) a scheme for falsifying Indian archeology as an 'undertaking of vast importance to the Indian Government politically and to the British public religiously (so that) the establishment of the Christian religion in India must ultimately succeed.' In pursuance of that political objective Cunningham attributed a very large number of Hindu townships and buildings to Muslim authorship."
Fabrication of the True Historical Records
How did the British fabricate and destroy the historic records of India and misguide the whole world? A fair example is the Encyclopaedia Britannica of 1854 itself in which they fed such derogatory statements about Hindu (Bhartiya) religion.
Encyclopaedia Britannica, 8th Edition (1854), Volume XI. Millions of Europeans have visited India and have praised the Indian architecture. The fact is that the melody of Indian classical music is world famous, and the most renowned historical musician, Tansen, of Akbar's court was the disciple of Swami Haridas. But see what the English people wrote in their encyclopedia,
"In architecture, in the fine arts, in painting and music, the Hindus are greatly inferior to the Europeans. ‘The columns and pillars,’ says Tennant, ‘which adorn their immense pagodas, are destitute of any fixed proportions; and the edifices themselves are subjected to no rules of architecture.’ He afterwards adds that the celebrated mausoleum at Agra has little to boast of either in simplicity or elegance of design."
"The music of the Hindus is rude and inharmonious. They have numerous instruments, but those are preferred which make the most noise." (p. 477)
The Hindu science of medicine named "Ayurved" was well established 200 years ago when modern medical technology was still developing; and India has lots of excellent Sanskrit literature. But see what Britannica said,
"In the medical art: charms, incantations, exorcisms and the shallowest tricks are substituted for professional skill; and other imposters, generally Brahmins, practise astrology, and cheat them out of their money by pretended prophecies."
"The literature of the Hindus has been generally rated very low by European writers, and has been represented as consisting in long desultory poems, inflated, and extravagant in their style, containing, under the idea of a history, a tissue of absurd fables." (pp. 474, 477)
The topmost English literature, Beowulf, deals with dragons and monsters, the Shakespearean drama displays the tragedies of worldly living, and Wuthering Heights etc., expose the disappointing pains of an ambitious mind; whereas all of the Sanskrit literature is, in some way, related to the teachings of God and God realization.
Now see how did they degrade the universal Hindu religion and the Hindu society, and what did they write about Shivaji who was a well known religious, honest and ardent patriot of Hinduism who fought for the protection of our country.
"Their religion is that of a rude people, consisting in an endless detail of troublesome ceremonies."
"The state of morals among the Hindus is such as might be expected from a religion so impure."
"The historical poem, the Mahabharat, is a tissue of extravagant fables." (pp. 467, 470, 478)
"The Hindus are by no means a moral people. According to the observation of Orme, the politics of Hindustan would afford in a century more frequent examples of sanguinary cruelty than the whole history of Europe since the reign of Charlemagne." (p. 472)
"The Hindu rulers, however ignorant in other matters, thus appear to have been familiar with all the most approved modes of plundering their subjects. Power was here a license to plunder and oppress. The rod of the oppressor was literally omnipresent; neither persons nor property were secure against its persevering and vexatious intrusions." (p. 476)
"Sevajee, the founder of this new state, was the chief of the Rajpoot princes. In his youth he resided at Poonah, on a zemindary estate obtained by his father. Here he collected around him a numerous banditti, and plundered the country." (p. 479)
Those are just a few examples. More than twelve pages of the encyclopedia are filled with such senseless lies. Anyone who has read the history of Europe knows about the royal disposals in the Tower of London, and the brutal torturing and burning alive at the stake of millions of innocent people during the Inquisitions. He also knows about the bloody conquests of King Charlemagne who once killed about 5,000 Saxons in one day as he enjoyed mass executions in order to spread Christianity.
It is thus evident that the English people misguided the entire world by giving a false image of Hinduism and the universal nature of Hindu religion.
Fabrication in the Bhavishya Puran. (Bhavishya Puran, Pratisarg Parv, part 1, chapter 6) While going through the Bhavishya Puran at one place I found some discrepancy in the contents of the verses. Again, when I looked at it carefully, I discovered that some of the verses are fabricated. It was not difficult to find out as to who would have done that, because the direct beneficiary of this fabrication was Sir William Jones.
Jones, in his tenth presidential speech in 1793, stressed on the period of Chandragupt Maurya to be 312 BC and mentioned that Chandragupt had a treaty with Seleucus. The derived date of Chandragupt in these fabricated verses comes to exactly 312 BC. Thus, to justify his false statement of 1793, this fabrication must have been done according to his instructions. Jones died a year later, so it may have been done after his death.
It's a general understanding that crime always leaves some clue, but here we have more than that. It appears that the learned pandit who was doing this job for the people of the Asiatic Society, was doing it under some kind of social or family pressure and against his conscience. So he did the job and created the verses with the desired dates, whatever they wanted, but he fully messed up the genealogical description of Buddh and Chandragupt.
The general meaning of the verses of Chapter 6:
"Sage Kashyap begot Gautam who was Hari. Gautam introduced Buddh religion and reigned for 10 years. His son Shakya Muni ruled for 20 years and then his son Shuddhodan ruled for 30 years. Shuddhodan's son was Shakya Singh who was born at the elapse of 2,700 years of kaliyug. This king was the destroyer of Vedic religion. He ruled for 60 years and converted everyone into Buddhism. Shakya Singh's son was Buddh Singh who ruled for 30 years. Buddh Singh's son was Chandragupt who ruled for 60 years. His son Bindusar ruled for 60 years. Bindusar's son was Ashok"
Comments: These verses were fabricated by the English people. It is an historical fact that Gautam Buddh did not rule any kingdom as he had renounced the world, and the second thing is that he was the son of Shuddhodan. But here Shuddhodan is shown as the grandson of Gautam. Gautam Buddh was during the time of King Bimbsar of Shishunag dynasty in 1800's BC. But here Buddh's time comes to 462 BC [2,700 years of kaliyug (-) 60 (10 + 20 + 30) years = 2,640, and subtracting 2,640 years from 3102 BC, which is the beginning of kaliyug, it comes to 462 BC] which was the desired figure by the English people.
Another thing is, that each and every writer has accepted Chandragupt as the son of Nand. But here Chandragupt is shown as the son of Buddh Singh and the great-grandson of Shuddhodan (who was the historically known father of Gautam Buddh). The actual period of Chandragupt is 1500's BC. But here it comes to 312 BC [2,700 + (60 + 30) = 2,790]. Deducting 2,790 years, (the elapsed period of kaliyug) from 3102 BC (the beginning of kaliyug) comes to 312 BC which was especially desired by Jones.
From the above discussions it is thus clear that the obedient servants of the British regime, the people of the Asiatic Society and East India Company, fabricatingly muddled up the historic dates of important personalities in our original records.
Western and Indic Views of History
The subject of history in the western context is a very different than in the Indian context. In the western view, history is mainly an account of political events and economic progress, a purely outward affair. In the Hindu view, history is a means of teaching detachment, showing how great kings and kingdoms come and go in the course of time. It has an inner value as a spiritual teaching about the nature of human life and the need for liberation from worldly concerns. In the western view, history is progressive from the crude beginnings of agriculture and village life moving forward to the present day urban culture. In the Hindu view, history is cyclical, with various cultures coming and going over time as the soul seeks liberation from the phenomenal world.
The western progressive account of history is quite flawed. For example, the first civilizations of the ancient world that we can document—including Egypt, Sumeria, India and China—did not regard themselves as the first but were aware of many cultures and kingdoms before them, particularly prior to a great flood. The civilizations that we regard as the first saw themselves as very old with many antecedents! Yet we pretend that there was nothing before them! In addition, the civilizations of the Third Millennium BCE, like those of Egypt and Harappan/Sarasvati India, had better urban and architectural achievements than those that followed for many centuries. Even Europe had its Dark Ages after the Roman period in which much knowledge was lost. This idea of history as linear progress is clearly not the case. While humanity has progressed scientifically, this is mainly over the past five hundred years. On the other hand, we see a spiritual decline since ancient times, and over the last century we can note a decline in culture, art, music and philosophy in Europe itself, coinciding or even caused by great advances in science.
As Bharatvarsh is the only civilization of antiquity to survive the onslaught of time, it is the special responsibility of Indians to discover not only their history but also that of the entire ancient world. Just as there are unquestioned distortions of ancient India, similar distortions of other ancient cultures also exist. For example, the religion of ancient Egypt, which like that of the Vedas demonstrates much occult and spiritual significance, is similarly dismissed as polytheism, idolatry or henotheism (worshipping different Gods as the supreme God), exactly like the Vedas. Revamping the way history is taught in Indian schools would be a major step in the direction of a more authentic and spiritual sensitive history of the world. It is a scientific and spiritual imperative, not only for India but for all countries.
Eurocentric History vs. the Indian Perspective
As long as the British Government kept India as their colony, they sponsored the writing and teaching of Indian History with a colonial slant. The institutions which they created for carrying on research were largely controlled by the foreigners and their supporters. Therefore it is only natural that in course of time Indian thinkers began to feel that the intellectual and cultural hegemony of the colonial masters must be terminated, at least after half a century of political independence.
This was not an easy job. Though the visible hand of the foreign ruler had been removed, the invisible strings of colonialism continued to operate in our universities and educational network. Most of the historians of India in my generation were trained in Western Universities and had been in the habit of looking up to them for appreciation and rewards. A Eurocentric approach to history prevailed, and in spite of the challenge that Nationalists offered to imperialist ideas, they were often under the influence of Western concepts, knowing or unknowingly.
It is good that our historians learnt a lot about the craft from their European and American mentors, but they also imbibed notions of Western superiority and Western ideas of ‘Progress’ and ‘Civilization’. There was a general tendency to condemn and denigrate everything Indian, calling it Hindu and communal, without realizing the fact that the label ‘Hindu’ did not represent a religion in the Semitic or Western sense, but a whole civilization which possessed institutions and outlook entirely different from those of the Western civilization.
Western standards, capitalist or communist, were applied indiscriminately to Indian history for evaluating the developments in all walks of life. This was evident in the way terms like religion, state, class, empire, nation, law, justice, morality, etc. were used in the analysis and interpretation of the past in India.
Colonial Distortions of History East and West
Up to two decades ago, the history of America was taught as the wanton aggression of the Native Americans, the so-called Red Indians, on the gentle white settlers who simply wanted to farm and raise their families in a wide land that had room for many people. This was the predominant view of Christians and of educated Europeans in America. The real history was one of the genocide of native peoples and their cultures in a greed for land and power. The so-called savages honored all treaties. The so-called civilized white man didn’t honor any.
The European history of Africa followed similar prejudices, with the native blacks as uncivilized barbarians that had to be civilized by the white Europeans. That the blacks did have venerable and rich old cultures and were really the target of exploitation and genocide was covered over. The same phenomenon occurred throughout the colonial world, including Asia, where native peoples were subjugated and their cultures denigrated. Like the blacks, some Asians were turned into slaves or serfs, uprooted from their land and taken to foreign countries and commercially exploited. This was also done in the name of civilizational advancement through Christianity and European culture. That is how over a million Indians ended up in the Caribbean in Trinidad and Guyana.
The European treatment of India was the same as that of America and Africa, starting with the Portuguese in the sixteenth century, who brought the cruel ways of the Inquisition to India. The Indian mutiny of 1857 occurred because the British brought in aggressive and intolerant missionaries and had the country in the grip of a cruel economic exploitation. Yet such oppression has been left out of the history of India as told by the Europeans and independent India has not rewritten the record adequately. Similarly, the destruction wrought during the Islamic period, which was worse than the British period in terms of religious and economic exploitation as well as genocide, has been similarly ignored or downplayed so as not to offend minority communities.
Yet can one seriously imagine—given all the colonial distortions of history worldwide which are only slowly being removed today—that no real revision of the history of India needs to be made? Can we believe that somehow by luck, in spite of their prejudices, that colonial and European scholars got the history of India right and wrote it without any distortion or bias in their favor, though they failed everywhere else?
Liberals and leftists in America sympathize with the native cultures of Africa and America and their need not only for correcting historical accounts but also for restoration for historical wrongs. But, strangely, leftists in India still vaunt the colonial view that India was uncivilized before the British and denigrate their own native traditions!
When ancient historical finds are made in China, as with the uncovering of the tomb of the first emperor dating to the third century BCE, there is great national pride even among the communists. But all the massive finds of the Harappan/Sarasvati culture, as well as the retracing of the once great Sarasvati River, bring no pride to the leftist-secular intellectuals of India. They would ignore these, dismiss them as an invention of Hindu communalists, or imagine that they represent an unknown civilization that vanished mysteriously with no real connection to the later traditions of the region! Though the Vedic literature is the largest of the ancient world by all accounts, Indian leftists will have no pride in it and seek to denigrate it as best they can. Though the Mahabharata at over two thousand years old is the world’s oldest and longest national epic, Indian leftists don’t even want it taught in the schools (even when the common people find great pride in watching the Mahabharata on television).
In this regard, we should remember that Marxism and communism in India are largely anti-national movements. Marxists in India sided with China against India during the Indo-Chinese war of 1962 and raised no criticism of China for its attack. They sided with the British during the independence movement. This is a stark contrast to communism in Russia, China and Vietnam in which were part of larger nationalistic movements. This is because Indian Marxists came mainly from a British Marxist background and did not participate in anti-colonial struggles, as did the followers of Mao and Ho-chi-minh. They were largely intellectuals from wealthy families, educated in England, not workers in the field, much less freedom fighters.
Actually the distortion of history has been done intentionally by many modern Indian historians, particularly covering over historical wrongs against Hindus. They believe that by correcting history that the present can be changed. They pretend that the generally cruel Muslim rule in India was benign and secular so that this account will serve to make modern Hindus and Muslims more benign and secular and help them bury the past. But the opposite is true. If a nation does not face its true history, it has no future and its present remains confused. This would be like American historians pretending that Native Americans (Red Indians) were treated well through history and that accounts of their oppression and genocide were false or exaggerated, so as to bring harmony to the two communities today. This would only allow old prejudices to continue.
India has not faced its past in order not to offend certain minorities in the country who may still harbor anti-nationalist sentiments. It has also been intentionally done in order to prevent the majority community from awakening to its colonial and religious oppression, fearing this would increase communal disharmony, even though distortions caused by this, like the image of Hindus as barbaric idolaters, continue in the world media today. The result is that the country lacks a genuine national pride and a sense of its continuity to ancient times.
Scholars' and Politicians' Unawareness of this Bias
There is sufficient evidence to expose the mentality of this type of Western scholars. They received enormous financial aid from their Governments and also from the British Government in India, which they freely used in writing articles, pamphlets and books propagating their reactionary views in a very subtle and disguised manner. It was their careful endeavour not to give themselves away and to mislead the world and the people of Bharatvarsha under the cloak of scholarship and impartiality. They might have pretty well succeeded in their work had not their apple-cart been upset by Swami Dayananda Saraswati, who ruthlessly exposed their nefarious designs.
Swami Dayananda Saraswati was a man of unique personality, indomitable courage, keen intellect and far-reaching vision and imagination. He had come in contact with many European scholars of his time. He had met George Buhler, Monier Williams, Rudolf Hoernle, Thibaut and others who had worked with Christian zeal in the field of Sanskrit research. He was the first man whose penetrating eye could not fail to see through the ulterior motives of their research work, although the common run of people in Bharatvarsha and even most of the learned men in the employ of the Government here had permitted themselves to be deluded by their so-called profound scholarship, strict impartiality, scientific and liberal outlook. Hr gave a timely warning to the people of his country and to a great extent succeeded in saving them from the clutches of these pseudo-scholars and clandestine missionaries.
We have studied almost the entire literature produced by generations of Western scholars and have thoroughly examined it with an open mind. We have arrived at the conclusion that there is a definite tinge of Christian prejudice in the writings of most of these scholars, which is responsible for discrediting all that is great in Bharatvarsha. The ultimate aim of the writers seems to be the proselytization of the people of this land to Christianity by instilling into their head in a subtle manner the inferiority of their indigenous religion and culture.
But truth can never remain hidden for long. Now some modern scholars of Bharatvarsha have also begun to see to some extent, though not thoroughly, through the thin veneer of European scholarship, e.g. :-
- Prof. Rangacharya writes:-
'Incalculable mischief has been done by almost all the English and American scholars in assuming arbitrarily the earliest dates for Egypt or Mesopotamia - dates going back to B.C. 5000 at least - and the latest possible dates for Ancient India on the ground that India borrowed from them.'
- Sri Nilakantha Shastri, the Head of History Department of Madras University, although a supporter of many untenable Western theories, had to write:-
'What is this but a critique of Indian society and Indian history in the light of the nineteenth century prepossessions of Europe? This criticism was started by the English administration and European missionaries and has been nearly focussed by the vast erudition of Lassen; the unfulfilled aspirations of Germany in the early nineteenth century, doubtless had their share in shaping the line of Lassen's thought.'
- Sri C. R. Krishnamacharlu, Ex-Epigraphist to the Government of India, having realised the ulterior motives of European writers, has expressed his views more strongly. He writes:-
'These authors, coming as they do from nations of recent growth, and writing this history with motives other than cultural, which in some cases are apparently racial and prejudicial to the correct elucidation of the past history of India, cannot acquire testimony for historic veracity of cultural sympathy.'
- Prof. R. Subba Rao, M.A., L. T., in his Presidential Address, (Sectional), Sixteenth Session of Indian History Congress, Waltair, (29th December, 1953.) writes:-
'Unfortunately, the historicity of Puranas and their testimony has been perverted by certain Western scholars who stated rather dogmatically that the historical age cannot go back beyond 2000 B. C., and that there is no need for fixing the Mahabharata war earlier than 1400 B.C. They accused the Brahmins of having raised their antiquity and questioned the authenticity of the Hindu astronomical works.'
History and Nationalism
One of the main purposes of history books, as taught in different countries in the world, is to instill a sense of national pride and honor—in short to inculcate a sense of patriotism and nationalism. Whether it is the United States, Great Britain, Russia, Germany or China, this is certainly the case today and has been so as long as these countries have existed as modern nations. The lives of great leaders, particularly the founders of the country are highlighted, the continuity of the nation’s history is emphasized, and the importance of the nation in the history of the world and the greatness of the national culture are stressed. Students are expected to come away from reading accounts of their history with a sense of national greatness and purpose, not only for the past but also for the future.
However, India is a strange and unique country in which history books are often anti-national in nature. India has largely kept in tact the British approach to Indian history devised in the colonial era. Students of such textbooks come away apologetic or confused about their country and its traditions. Textbooks in Marxist ruled states of India like Bengal and Kerala leave their students with a sense of the greatness of communism and communist countries like China or even Russia which is no longer communist, rather than any real regard for India and its great traditions.
India needs a real nationalism and for this a national sense of history, pride and purpose is required. A true Indian nationalism will be rooted in an Indian ethos of dharma, spirituality and pluralism, but this does not mean there can be no national or historical pride without encouraging communalism in the country. On the contrary, a greater sense of national identity would be the best thing to counter the disintegrating influence of religious, castist and regional interests that are bringing the country down.
Therefore we must ask: Why can't Indians connect India's traditional ancient literature, the Vedas, with its archaeology through Harappa and the many Sarasvati river sites? Why can't Indians find national pride in their own history both on literary and archaeological levels? Why should history in India be used for national shame, rather than national pride? Why should the history of India place Indic civilization out of India? These are questions that must be answered.
The Present State of Flawed Scholarship
Because of this, from the very first generation of European-trained Hindus up to the present day, a sizable section of Hindus have been wasting their time and energy discussing and even deploring all their own "faults" as pointed out by their detractors. Thus, they have fallen into playing the very game that their European Christian and Muslim critics have started.
We need to have a correct view of world, and especially the history of Bharatvarsh. In all honesty, it would be correct to say that at this point, Muslims and Christians should be deemed to be disqualified from writing on Hindu history not only because they have a record of hostility to Vedic culture, but also because their outlook on the world and their antiquity of history generally goes back no further than to a Mohammed or Jesus. They are unable to visualize any part of the world having a balanced or advanced society before Islam or Christianity came along to "save" everyone. To them anything that is pre-Christian has to have been heathen, barbaric, godless, or pagan, and traced back to Greece or Rome. Thus, their religious loyalties stunt their intellectual horizons. This is quite evident as viewed in the case when Mr. P. N. Oak wrote to Harvard University to a professor of the civilization of France asking for particular information about pre-Christian France. The single-line reply he received simply stated that they know nothing of pre-Christian France. This shows the appalling state of research that such noted universities as Harvard are content with. Thus, they have no interest in pre-Christian history.
It has been through this process that Hindus have been robbed not only of architectural credit, but also of anything else that is good and artistic, including music, poetry, literature, styles of painting, color decoration, gardens, fountains, pottery, porcelain, carvings, etc., even when found in India. Thus, the once global Vedic culture and India have been humiliated and made to appear small and despicable, while Hindus in general have been made to appear puny and insignificant by these same outside forces. Thus, it is time for people to realize the immense contribution that the Vedic culture and the ancient Hindus have given to the world. It is time to understand the real history of Bharatvarsh.
This will help one to understand how much of Bharatvarsh's glory, beauty, art, music, architecture, and sciences have been falsely attributed to outsiders and foreigners. Bharatvarsh has not been given credit where credit is due. Bharatvarsh's skills in science, administration, art, architecture, and, of course, spiritual understanding, was once the highest in the world. However, because the emphasis on Vedic knowledge and culture has decreased, and in some cases been ignored, it has led to a weakened condition of the nation. This has allowed the commercial and military invasions into Bharatvarsh, which has resulted in such plunder, impoverishment, and enslavement that India is a shadow of what it once was, and in some areas has become full of destitution, disease, and death. Furthermore, much of its real history has been pushed aside, distorted, perverted, and based on misinformation.
Indian Historiography in the Post-Independence
Indian historiography in the post-independence phase has been characterised by the remarkable similarity between western scholarship on India and the works of Indian historians, whether Marxist, secular or liberal. Writings of this genre present Hindustan as the aggregationist story par excellence: A patchwork of communities, dialects and religion from time immemorial. This view of history, largely uncontested so far, is now facing its first serious challenge.
One typical piece of western analysis, which found fertile ground in Indian historiography, reads…"within the one society and culture there are … alternative representations, each pretending to universality… Intra-culture translation therefore becomes a central problem for anthropological investigation, because it is a central problem within the Hindu world itself. To ignore this by privileging one representation at the expense of the others is to reduce complex multiplicity to misconstrued uniformity to reduce the sociologies of India to a single sociology."
In book after book, we hear the same refrain. Another work, for instance, argues that "there is hardly a single teaching in Hindustan which can be shown to be valid for all Hindus, much less a comprehensive set of teachings." These motivated and highly disruptive theories from western sources are faithfully reproduced in any number of Indian works. These too, decry attempts to reduce 'the multiplicity of classical traditions' in the subcontinent to one unitary tradition that is Aryan-Hindu and high caste.
Indian scholarship of the Left variety also comments adversely on the 'modern search for an imagined Hindu identity from the past.' It is claimed that 'the need for postulating a Hindu community became a requirement for political mobilisation in the nineteenth century when representation by religious community became a key to power and where such representation gave access to economic resources.'
The persistent denial of the integrity of Indian civilization is accompanied by denigration of agencies perceived as unifying. Vedism and Brahmanism being singled out for attack. Vedic literature is reviled as the handiwork of Brahmins who are accused of concealing their 'authorship and interests' by declaring the Vedas 'apauruseyas' (authorless) for, it is alleged, 'anonymity lends considerable authority to a discourse by obscuring its source'.
The Veda-centrism of Hinduism has failed to impress such historians. The fact that the seeds of all subsequent philosophic ideas of the Hindus can be found in Vedic literature is routinely overlooked. Diversity is highlighted without comprehension of shared underlying values and assumptions.
When the study, of India was in its infancy, Max Mueller commented on the existence of a national or popular philosophy, a large manasa lake of philosophical thought and language from which thinkers could draw upon for their own purposes. For those willing to see, there was ample proof of the coherence of the Hindu tradition. Irrespective of sect, sex, caste, class, all believed in karma, rebirth, mukti, nirvana. All linked the notion of Maya to that of Brahman. All felt the discovery of cosmic illusion was meaningless unless followed by the quest of absolute Being. All observed the same general principles of ethical conduct.
The entire populace was encompassed by the tradition. Smriti disseminated the shout message to the general public. Mythology was another powerful medium by which philosophic thoughts were regularly expressed at the popular level. As a consequence, all inhabitants were bound in a unity of spiritual temperament. Despite this overwhelming evidence of the existence of a unitary civilization, the divisive and unfounded themes of domination, suppression, and segregation continue to be presented as the theme songs of Indian history.
The Left's insistence on an atomised, splintered heritage has had interesting fallouts. India is presented as the quintessential no- man's land. Aryans (though it is now accepted by all scholars that there was no 'Aryan Invasion' after all), Indo-Greeks, Shakas, Indo-Parthians, Kushans… the list of foreign invaders, settlers and rulers has been formidable from the very early on. So, they argue, no group or community can legitimately claim 'national' right to the land.
It is to justify these theories that the ancient history of India has been written in recent decades. The reality, they say, is of 'a fragmented, largely oral set of traditions' and a disparate population. And it is only a Brahmanical contention that 'Indian civilization is a unified whole based on a shastrik, authoritative tradition of which Brahman priests and sectarian preceptors are the principal bearers…'
One does not have to overstate one's case to make the point that major political implications for modern India flow from this ‘altruistic’ scholarship, western and Indian. Hindus stand disarmed in the context of succeeding epochs of Indian history. Muslims, for instance, then appear as simply one more group in the long list of immigrants. The fact that the previous settlers (Kushans etc) thoroughly immersed themselves in the Hindu tradition and in no way disturbed the tenor of the land becomes a mere technical point, often overlooked at that.
The rigours of Muslim rule are thus made to appear as not so severe. Muslim repression gets offset against Aryan/ brahman/ upper caste exploitation. The Brahmin ‘strategy’ of co-opting 'local', ‘Indigenous’ cults gets equated with the 'Composite culture', supposedly encouraged by Mughals. As regional societies with their distinct languages, script, literature and art flowered in the India of 600-1200 AD, so successor states of the Mughal empire strove consciously for 'a mixture of transcendent Mughal and immanent local-regional traditions'.
The Hindu-ness of India just dissolves in the pages of these history books. When there was no civilization native to the land (as this school seeks to establish), where was the question of clash with Invading civilizations?
The Orientalists gifted back to India her golden age. So they too, have fallen prey to modern scholarship. The charge against them is that, "by looking for the roots of western (Aryan) civilization in Vedic and early Hindu scriptures, (they) created an image of the decline of 'Hindu society' after the 'Muslim invasion.' All this led to the Hindu nationalist construction of the glorious Hindu past and of the 'foreignness' of Muslims". This is the genesis of the Hindus-as-an-imagined community theory.
The Left critics of Orientalism have gone further, spreading their tentacles to embrace Vivekananda and Gandhi. They contend that "Vivekanand… was able to systematise a disparate set of traditions… made available by the Orientalist project and to make it into Hindu spirituality as the sign of a Hindu nation that was superior to the materialist west. What we see here is a combination of Hindu spirituality and nationalism informed by Orientalism. Vivekananda's work inspired Gandhi…."
Thus, the debates about the past spill into the present. Hinduism is sought to be minimised as one of many 'religions' existing in the subcontinent, in no way entitled to special status - a position no longer acceptable to a growing body of Independent historians. So politics is mixed with history and history with politics. Finally the process of separating the wheat from the chaff may have begun.
The Marxists Distortion of Indian History
Indian history for the last 50 years or so has been the preserve of historians who were Marxists by conviction and who had come to occupy positions of influence in India's elite Universities. These historians have callously distorted past events and interpreted history to suit their political agenda. Their efforts were not an honest attempt at history writing but a warped exercise in social engineering.
Transforming the Imperialists Invaders into "Reformers"
History and political science textbooks in West Bengal suffer from such incorrigible, turbid treatment of the Marxists. The degree course (B.A.) history syllabi may be observed next; presently only ten instances from the Secondary and Higher Secondary syllabi may be mentioned.
The approved textbook, to start with the ‘Middle Age’ of Indian history, states:
‘The petty kingdoms that arose towards the end of the ancient period were wiped out and a centralised monarchy and system of government was established under the Delhi Sultans.’
A wrong statement is cunningly placed to denote …
- the state-management policies and skills of Hindu India are matters of the ‘ancient period’ only;
- centralised monarchy and system of governance were introduced in India by the Turk Sultans only;
- the described definition of ‘petty kingdoms’ exhibits a mindset to malign the people of the land and to put under carpet the fact that the Delhi Sultans—the Turks—were the foreigners, invaders and imperialists.
Such textbooks could also justify British power that ‘wiped out’ the ‘petty kingdoms’ of Nawabs and decimated the Mughals in India. Marxists were born and bred by British schemes and they have innate feelings for the speech Stanely Baldwin made in Britain’s House of Commons in 1929,
“…Ages and ages ago there sat, side by side, the ancestors of the English, Rajputs and Brahmins. Now, after ages… God said to the British, I have again brought you and the Indians together after a long separation…”
Cunning imperialists and the Marxists speak in the same inimical way. The textbook also states:
‘The coming of the Turks was marked by an urban revolution in India’.
Could any statement be more fallible than this one? No, irreverent talks can’t be a part of ‘history’.
‘India became isolated from the rest of the world towards the end of the ancient period. But from the 10th century onwards, India restored her contacts with outside world.’
The false, motivated preaching is obviously from British tutelary who promoted such history-writing to justify British accomplishments in 18th-century India!
‘Trade and commerce had declined from 8th century a.d. From 10th century they were revived under Sultani rule.’
Sultani rule in 10th century India! Sultani rule — Balban, Alauddin, Muhammad Tughlaq—all brutally collected more than 50 per cent of the produce of the land besides other taxes and discrimina-tions.
Where to did the wanton exploitation drag the people? The textbook writer himself pens:
‘The tax collectors forced the ryots to pay their taxes irrespective of their misery and many people died of starvation, many others left the villages and homes and became either beggars or dacoits…’
Where stands, then, the blunt statement quoted in the previous point given above?
Further tutorial conclusive statements are from West Bengal indoctrination through textbooks:
‘The social democracy of Islam influenced the Hindu society. Caste rule became mild. Islam contributed to the rise of the Bhakti cult’.
‘Romila Thapar has pointed out that Ashoka was not truly non-violent. He did not dissolve his army, nor did he return Kalinga to the people of Kalinga’.
‘According to Dr R.S. Sharma, Harsha failed to check the growth of feudalism in India’.
‘Lakshmana Sena was responsible for his downfall as he divided the people by his caste divisions and religious orthodoxy’.
‘The hatred of the upper class for the lower classes could not save the ruling upper class from the invading Turks’.
Such rubbish rubbles are the ‘history’ and these flotsams are not exhaustive but spoonfuls from the bowl of history textbooks in West Bengal. Pseudo-secular ‘historians’ are so much indebted to British historians that they are basically the echo of imperialist Anglo-Saxon voice on Indian history.
Whitewasing the Truth about Muslim Invasion of India
During the Muslim invasion of India, which spanned over a thousand years, hundreds, nay thousands of Hindu temples were destroyed. The vast number of temples destroyed as well as the malevolence with which the desecration of these institutions took place is ample testimony to the satanic nature of its perpetrators. The following excerpts illustrate the crudity of these actions.
John Keay, a British historian, in his recent book India had this to say about Mahmud of Ghazni's destruction of the Somnath Temple:
“But what rankled even more than the loot and the appalling death toll was the satisfaction that Mahmud took in destroying the great gilded lingam. After stripping it of its gold, he personally laid into it with his sword. The bits were then sent back to Ghazni and incorporated into the steps of its new Jami Masjid, there to be humiliatingly trampled and perpetually defiled by the feet of the Muslim faithful.”
Khuswant Singh in his book We Indians avers:
“Mahmud of Ghazni was only the first of a long line of Muslim idol-breakers. His example was followed by Mongols, Turks and Persians. They killed and destroyed in the name of Islam. Not a single Buddhist, Jain or Hindu temple in northern India escaped their iconoclastic zeal. Some temples were converted to mosques; idols and figurines had their noses, breasts or limbs lopped off; paintings were charred beyond recognition.”
What is even more perverse is the fact that these notorious acts were extolled proudly by Persian poets (including the great Persian poet Firdausi), who defined Mahmud as a paragon of Islamic virtue and a model for other sultans to emulate.
The actual number of temples destroyed during this dark period appears to be a point of contention. Hindu nationalists claim that over 60,000 temples were destroyed. Leftist historians (and their supporters) while disputing this figure are now willing to concede that there is proof that at least 80 temples were destroyed during this phase. So we now happen to agree upon the fact that at least 80 temples were destroyed by Muslim invaders. What was once considered to be a fantasy of Hindu chauvinists is now accepted as a reality.
A meticulous look at even this truncated list of desecrated temples is extremely revealing. There was hardly a prominent Hindu temple that was spared and there was hardly a Muslim ruler who did not indulge in this pastime. This list includes temples from all parts of India including the South. Further, each and every important Hindu temple appears to have been targeted. Somnath, Mathura, Banares, Madurai, Kalahasti, Puri, Pandarpur are but a few that appear on this list. Buddhist monasteries at Odantapuri, Vikramasila, and Nalanda in Bihar were also vandalised.
Initially, some historians claimed that such destructions never occurred. But now in the face of irrefutable evidence, these historians have concocted a medley of reasons as to why these destructions were justified. The ridiculousness of these arguments makes them incomprehensible to a sane mind. Nevertheless, let us evaluate each reason rationally to see whether they make sense.
Muslim rulers destroyed temples only during the initial invasion of a kingdom but did not do so when temples were under their jurisdiction.
Richard Eaton writing in Frontline states:
“The Ghaznavid sultan never undertook the responsibility of actually governing any part of the subcontinent whose temples he wantonly plundered.”
- In 1478, when a Bahmani garrison in eastern Andhra mutinied, murdered its governor, and entrusted the fort to Bhimraj Oriyya, who until that point had been a loyal Bahmani client, the sultan personally marched to the site and, after a six-month siege, stormed the fort, destroyed its temple, and built a mosque on the site.
- In 1659, Shivaji Bhonsle, the son of a loyal officer serving the Adil Shahi sultans of Bijapur, seized a government port on the northern Konkan coast and disrupted the flow of external trade to and from the capital. Responding to what it considered an act of treason, the government deputed a high-ranking officer, Afzal Khan, to punish the Maratha rebel. Before marching to confront Shivaji himself, however, the Bijapur general first proceeded to Tuljapur and desecrated a temple dedicated to the goddess Bhavani, to which Shivaji and his family had been praying.
- In 1613, while at Pushkar, near Ajmer, Jahangir ordered the desecration of an image of Varaha that had been housed in a temple belonging to an uncle of Rana Amar of Mewar, the emperor's arch enemy.
- In 1635, Shah Jahan destroyed the great temple at Orchha, which had been patronised by the father of Raja Jajhar Singh, a high-ranking Mughal officer who was at that time in open rebellion against the emperor.
- In 1669, the emperor Aurangzeb ordered the destruction of the great Vishvanath temple in Banaras, which was in his domain. The reason: Shivaji's escape from Banaras had been facilitated by Jai Singh, the great grandson (not the son or the grandson) of Raja Man Singh, who may have built the Vishvanath temple. Jai Singh was not the son or the grandson but the great grandson of Raja Man Singh, who may (repeat, may) have built the temple and this was enough reason to destroy it. Is this logic? Can a sane man accept this?
- In 1670, Aurangzeb ordered the destruction of Mathura's Keshava Deva temple and built an Islamic structure (`idgah) on its site. The reason: the leader of a local rebellion had been found near the city (not near the temple). Can this be a reason?
- In the 17th century, Aurangzeb ordered an attack on the Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan. To quote Rakhaldas Sengupta, the former head of an Indo-Afghan team for the restoration of the Bamiyan Buddhas, “Parts of the wooden frame were burned and there was damage to the upper part of the face and the lower lip and hands.”
All the above demolitions took place in the respective kingdoms of the Muslim rulers effectively negating the hypothesis that the Muslim rulers did not destroy temples in their domain.
Having failed to find ample proof for this convoluted theory, some historians went a step further. A sub-hypothesis was proposed: Muslim rulers destroyed temples in their domain only to discipline errant subordinates (as though it were justification enough) or to put down a rebellion in those areas.
Even this far-fetched explanation cannot pass muster. Did they punish disloyal Muslim officers in the same fashion? The answer is a resounding: No. Infractions short of rebellion normally resulted in demotions in rank, while serious crimes like treason were generally punished by execution, regardless of the perpetrator's religious affiliation. No evidence, however, suggests that ruling authorities attacked public monuments like mosques or Sufi shrines that had been patronized by disloyal or rebellious officers. Nor were such monuments desecrated when one Indo-Muslim kingdom conquered another and annexed its territories. This further proves beyond any doubt that Hindus and Hindu temples were specifically selected out for victimization.
In contrast there is not a single instance where an invading Hindu king destroyed or desecrated a mosque or meted out the same treatment to a mosque in his control.
Quoting Richard Eaton from his article in Frontline,
“When Hindu rulers established their authority over the territories of defeated Muslim rulers, they did not as a rule desecrate mosques or shrines, as, for example, when Shivaji established a Maratha kingdom on the ashes of Bijapur's former dominions in Maharashtra, or when Vijayanagara annexed the former territories of the Bahmanis or their successors. In fact, the rajas of Vijayanagara, as is well known, built their own mosques, evidently to accommodate the sizable number of Muslims employed in their armed forces.”
To recapitulate this bizarre train of reasoning: First these historians claim that no Hindu temples were destroyed. When this is disproved, they theorize that temples were demolished only by invading Muslim kings and no further destruction occurred when these temples came under their jurisdiction. When even that does not hold water, they go on to suggest that when destruction did occur in their kingdoms, it was to punish disloyal subordinates. But even that rationale has no grounds for justification.
Let us stop trying to find justifications (for this criminal conduct) where none exist. No amount of explanations is going to mitigate the gravity of these dastardly acts. Attempts to whitewash these crimes will only exacerbate the situation. When one denies that a crime has been committed, one perpetrates another crime against the victim. Let us be man enough to accept them for what they are: hate crimes, plain and simple.
What is the express reason for documenting these ghastly deeds? Is it to hold the present day Muslims for the wrongdoing of their forefathers? Certainly not. Is this recapitulation an attempt to wreak vengeance on the Muslims of today? Again the answer is No. Then what is the purpose of this exercise? As a civilized society, we are duty-bound to ensure that such barbaric acts do not occur in our country again. The best way to effect this is to remind people continually of such ghastly misdeeds. If we do not do this, we will be doing a great disservice to our future generations.
It puzzling and disturbing that present day Muslims consider themselves duty-bound to stand up for the crimes perpetrated by their ancestors. All over the world, reconciliation and expression of remorse are the order of the day. President Clinton apologized to the Blacks for slavery, the Australian government expressed regret to the Aborgines and the Swiss apologized to the Jews they did not save during the holocaust. The people who asked for forgiveness, in each of these cases, were not the ones who had committed the crime. These magnanimous gestures were meant to soothe past wounds and dispel the rancor from aggrieved hearts. In contrast to this, the Muslims of India are bent on a path of confrontation, aided and abetted by pseudosecularists that see this as an opportunity for political gain. Is it so hard to give up Ayodhya, especially when it means so much for the Hindus? This is a question every right-thinking Muslim must ask himself or herself.
The Need to Rewrite the History of Ancient India
The rewriting of the history of ancient India has been opposed by some historians who think that the move initiated by the Government must have been at the instance of those who want to serve the cause of Hindutva. This apprehension is wholly misconceived, as the scholars who oppose the Government’s move seem to be oblivious of the grave injustice that has been done by the Western researchers to Vedic civilisation. Ancient Indian history has been based on conjecture, hunch or surmise and is NOT a factual record of the actual past happenings. The Vedic chronology decided the by the Western scholars based on superficial study of the language of the Vedas cannot be considered as sacrosanct or unalterable and if substantial evidence is produced by the modern Indian researchers to disprove and falsify the authenticity of the Vedic chronology, there should be no hesitation in amending the historical texts to present a more accurate, flawless and factual picture of ancient Vedic history.
More than a century ago, Max Muller formulated the chronology of the Vedas wholly based on the literary style adopted by the Vedic seers in the composition of their hymns. He seems to have totally ignored the fact that the purely conjectural pseudo-science of philology was too amateurish and crude a method to decide the antiquity of the highly venerated and sacred Vedas. Vedas are basically religious scriptures believed to be APAURUSHEYA or divinely revealed and using them to decide the age of Vedic civilisation was not only improper but also mischievous. The traditional Hindu belief has been that the Vedas are without any known human beginning and are, therefore, authoritative, infallible, universally valid and eternally applicable truths. Ancients considered the Vedas as Divine Wisdom and memorised them to be passed on wholly in tact to the subsequent generations. Finite human intellect cannot trace the origin or determine, with any degree of accuracy, the antiquity of the Vedas, which are in Deva Bhasha or language of gods i.e. Sanskrit. The attempt to fix the age of Vedas on the basis of superficial philological study of the Vedic Samhitas, Brahmanas and Aranyakas cannot but be highly subjective and can result only in distortion of truth about the chronology of ancient past.
Muller arbitrarily and deliberately assigned the oldest Rig Veda to 1200 B.C. and when questioned by critics he disowned his chronology saying: “ Whether the Vedic hymns were composed 1000 or 1500 or 2000 or 3000 years B.C., no power on earth will determine.” In formulating his chronology, Muller must have been strongly influenced by his Christian belief that the creation of the world had taken place in 4004 B.C. He must have feared that the assignment of any date to the Vedic hymns prior to 4004 B.C. may shake the already fragile faith of Christians in Genesis and critics may brand the creation of world in six days, origin of man in the likeness of God and Noah’s Ark as borrowed ideas from the more ancient Vedas. Muller relied wholly on philology, as no archaeological evidence was available then.
The Mohehjodaro in Sind was discovered in 1922 and Harappa in West Punjab a few years later. Although the two sites were about 600 KMs apart, the two civilisations covering an area in excess of a million square KMs were considered as one Indus civilisation in view of the similarity of the objects discovered in the ruins. The approximate period of the Indus Valley has been determined by a reference to the Rig Veda, keeping in view the already well-established Vedic chronology of Muller. The early archaeologists erroneously concluded that the antique pieces found in the Indus Valley ruins belonged to the pre-Vedic period. In their keenness to prove what they believed to be true, the investigators claimed that the prevalence of Lingam worship necessarily meant that the pre-Vedic people inhabiting the Indus Valley were Dravidian Saivites of South India.
The three crucial questions connected with Indus Valley are a) whether it is pre-Vedic or post-Vedic, b) whether the inhabitants were non-Aryans or Aryans or a mix of both and c) whether the language of communication was Sanskrit or Tamil? Any conclusion about the age of Indus Valley should not be based exclusively on language or river basin but should take into consideration all available evidence in regard to food habits, beliefs and observances, religious customs and practices ornaments and weapons used, clothes worn, method of disposal of dead etc. A comparison of the archaeological remains of Indus Valley with Vedic civilisation, as can be made out from the Vedic hymns, reveals almost cent per cent similarities between the two civilisations in food habits, animal rearing, cotton weaving, personal cleanliness, use of metals for weapons and ornaments, method of worship, practice of Yoga, cremation of dead, belief in immortality of soul and after-life etc. The absence of horse and rice in Indus Valley was taken as evidence of its non-Aryan origin but this negative evidence is no more tenable in view of the occurrence of horse bones and rice in several sites in India and Mohenjodaro in Pakistan. The belief that only Vedic Aryans knew iron is incorrect, as the Sanskrit word AYAS is a generic term for metal and does not specifically refer to iron. Furthermore, a deeper study of the so-called stone objects considered as Lingams turned out to be truncated conical weights. It is well known that the accuracy and consistency of the weights developed by the Indus people were of a very high order.
The detailed study of the Indus scripts by several researchers has revealed that it has closer affinity to Sanskrit than to the oldest Dravidian language of Tamil, which is hardly 2000 years old. The fight between Aryas and Dasyus in the Rig Veda refer to the mythical battle between the enlightened and the ignorant as also the good and evil forces and it has nothing to do with any racial struggle between foreign and indigenous people. In fact, there could have been no alien influx, as Aryans seem to have been local residents. Modern satellite and field surveys indicate that the once mighty Saraswati River seems to have changed its course several times and went completely dry around 1900 B.C. Some experts believe that the phonetically close affinities between the Deva Bhasha Sanskrit and several European languages may be due to the fact that natural calamities may have driven Indus Valley people to migrate out of India.
From the details furnished above, the only obvious and unmistakable conclusion can be that Indus Valley should clearly be either Vedic or post-Vedic civilisation and certainly NOT pre-Vedic. The Aryans must have been local residents and the language used by them could have been only Sanskrit. Muller deliberately presented a highly biased and evidently subjective Vedic chronology using hopelessly flawed and totally unscientific method of philology to safeguard the Christian faith in Genesis. It is highly unfortunate that even fifty-years after Independence, India does not have an ancient history of its own and it continues to rely on an obviously incorrect and patently wrong Vedic chronology provided by one single Western scholar. Truth should not be allowed to become a casualty to linguistic interpretation of highly sacred Vedas and the injustice and wrong done to Vedic chronology should be corrected at the earliest.
The foregoing pages make it clear that it was this Christian and Judaic prejudice which:-
- Did not allow the real dates of ancient Bharatiya history to be accepted by the occidental scholars, who were always reluctant to give the Vedas a higher antiquity than the earliest portion of the Old Testament and place them beyond 2500 B.C. Even the school of Paul Deussen, A.W. Ryder and H. Zimmer, which followed Schopenhauer in the appreciation of ancient Indian intellect, but which did not work directly on chronology, could not throw off the burden of these extremely unscientific, fictitious dates.
- Gave rise to the two interrelated diseases of Western Indologists; firstly the disease of myth, mythical and mythology, according to which Brahma, Indra, Vishnu, Parvat, Narada, Kashyapa, Pururavas, Vasishta and a host of other ancient sages have been declared as mythical. Nobody ever tried to understand their true historical character apprehending that the dates of Bharatiya history would go to very ancient periods; and secondly, as a corollary to the above, the disease of 'attribution' and 'ascription', under which the works of these and other sages have been declared to be written by some very late anonymous persons who are said to have ascribed or attributed them to those 'mythical' sages.
- Brought to the fore-front, the most fanciful and groundless theory of the migration of the Aryans into India, according to which the very existence of Manu, the first Crowned King of Bharat, Egypt etc., Ikshvaku, Manu's glorious son; Bharata Chakravarti, the glorious son of Shakuntala; Bhagiratha, who changed the course of the Ganga; Kuru, after whom the sacred sacrificial land is called Kurukshetra:; Rama, the son of Dasaratha and a number of other kings is being totally denied.
- Was responsible for the altogether wrong translations of Vaidika (Vedic) works, and misrepresentation of the Vaidika culture.
- Did not allow the acceptance of Sanskrit, as being the mother language of at least the Indo-European group; as at first very ably propounded by Franz Bopp, and often mentioned by ancient Indian authors.
Further reading on the Subject
- Scholars who believe in the False History of India are a Dying Breed, by Sri Nandanandana dasa (Stephen Knapp)
- Resurrecting India's True History, by Hari P. Chandra
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