November 19, 2015

A near-complete erasure of India’s knowledge systems

So I used to wonder how come such great and good works went unmentioned or just mentioned as a passing reference. Then I realized that what matters in most matters is the combination of certain factors which contextually had a predominant impact and formed part of human evolution as social beings with national boundaries and limited resources to that extent. Two among them are predominantly attracting out attention, namely,

a] authority and power which makes the world to sit up and listen to you 
b] the extent to which you provide utility value for them at least through well documented accounts of knowledge you have had in a language and idiom that they can understand.

This is obvious in any sphere that is why technological innovations get funded more than pure science research. Similarly the best form of authority and power that was respected and that has ruled the world in the past few centuries, when human knowledge dissemination, information sharing etc progressed enormously, has been due largely to economic prosperity and all its concomitant manifestations which has had such enormous impact, in many cases, rightly so because it has enabled human progress much quicker in many spheres, made life more comfortable and pleasant in many activities etc but also had it own share of negative influences in terms of penetration into all spheres of human life.

Our greatest failure has been paying lack of attention to economic development and material prosperity both at individual level and as a social phenomenon. We assumed that it was not part of or sometimes even deluded ourselves into believing that it was not one of the sacred aspects of life so why bother about it. Regarding documentation, since we relied so much on oral tradition and imparting everything only to those interested in knowing we were pathetically short on much scientific documented evidence for many of the excellence that we had or at least claim to have had.

Even a Swami Vivekanda, Sri Aurobindo, Bhagwan Ramana Maharishi were known to the world because of two factors 
one their willingness to come out of insulations of hermitic life, 
ability to communicate in a Westerner’s language and also some Westerners who found and felt the need to spread their invaluable wisdom to the whole world. 
In mathematics Ramanujam was unearthed and announced to the world by a Westerner; Bose too had to face a similar fact.

So as the adage goes better late than never, we must now put everything else behind us or keep them in abeyance as a part of hidden agenda and ulterior motive. Please note that hidden agenda has to remain hidden and ensconced in diplomatic terms and delicate hypocritical posturing as most noble cause peddling NGOs do in most parts of the world to ensure that they do not end up hindering the main agenda through adverse publicity by the lunatics who have suppressed our great history and divert the attention. Truth must preferably better not to be presented through any brutal or blunt manner.

So, we need to prioritize two things now, in the present context of human evolution. 
One emphasize and ensure economic development in all spheres which will empower many Indians and establish the authority and position of India as a powerful nation or at least allow the present government of BJP to do that; 
two establish institutions of governance with transparency and simplicity which can deliver the benefits of economic development to percolate to as many Indians as possible so India as a nation and Indians as individuals are respected and looked up to... The following link carries an article reproduced 

The Hindu November 18, 2015
Many of the signatories of the above two statements by Indian and “overseas” historians have been part of a politico-ideological apparatus which, from the 1970s onward, has come to dominate most historical bodies in the country, including the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR), and imposed its blinkered view of Indian historiography on the whole academic discipline.

Anchored mainly in Marxist historiography and leftist ideology, with a few borrowings from postmodernism, the Annales School, Subaltern and other studies, this new School, which may be called “Leftist” for want of a better term, has become synonymous with a number of abusive and unscholarly practises; among them:

1. A reductionist approach viewing the evolution of Indian society almost entirely through the prism of the caste system, emphasizing its mechanisms of “exclusion” while neglecting those of integration without which Indian society would have disintegrated long ago.

2. A near-complete erasure of India’s knowledge systems in every field —philosophical, linguistic, literary, scientific, medical, technological or artistic — and a general underemphasis of India’s important contributions to other cultures and civilizations . In this, the Leftist School has been a faithful inheritor of colonial historiography, except that it no longer has the excuse of ignorance. Yet it claims to provide an accurate and “scientific” portrayal of India!

3. A denial of the continuity and originality of India’s Hindu-Buddhist-Jain-Sikh culture , ignoring the work of generations of Indian and Western Indologists. Hindu identity, especially, has been a pet aversion of this School, which has variously portrayed it as being disconnected from Vedic antecedents, irrational, superstitious, regressive, barbaric — ultimately “imagined” and, by implication, illegitimate.

4. A refusal to acknowledge the well-documented darker chapters of Indian history , in particular the brutality of many Muslim rulers and their numerous Buddhist, Jain, Hindu and occasionally Christian and Muslim victims (ironically, some of these tyrants are glorified today); the brutal intolerance of the Church in Goa, Kerala and Puducherry; and the state-engineered economic and cultural impoverishment of India under the British rule. While history worldwide has wisely called for millions of nameless victims to be remembered, Indian victims have had to suffer a second death, that of oblivion, and often even derision.

5. A neglect of tribal histories : For all its claims to give a voice to “marginalized” or “oppressed” sections of Indian society, the Leftist School has hardly allowed a space to India’s tribal communities and the rich contributions of their tribal belief systems and heritage. When it has condescended to take notice, it has generally been to project Hindu culture and faith traditions as inimical to tribal cultures and beliefs, whereas in reality the latter have much more in common with the former than with the religions imposed on them through militant conversions.

6. A biased and defective use of sources : Texts as well as archaeological or epigraphic evidence have been misread or selectively used to fit preconceived theories. Advances of Indological researches in the last few decades have been ignored, as have been Indian or Western historians, archaeologists, anthropologists who have differed from the Leftist School. Archaeologists who developed alternative perspectives after considerable research have been sidelined or negatively branded. Scientific inputs from many disciplines, from palaeo-environmental to genetic studies have been neglected.

7. A disquieting absence of professional ethics : The Leftist School has not academically critiqued dissenting Indian historians, preferring to dismiss them as “Nationalist” or “communal”. Many academics have suffered discrimination, virtual ostracism and loss of professional opportunities because they would not toe the line, enforced through political support since the days of Nurul Hasan. The Indian History Congress and the ICHR, among other institutions, became arenas of power play and political as well as financial manipulation. In effect, the Leftist School succeeded in projecting itself as the one and only, crushing debate and dissent and polarizing the academic community.

While we reject attempts to portray India’s past as a glorious and perfect golden age, we condemn the far more pernicious imposition by the Leftist School of a “legislated history”, which has presented an alienating and debilitating self-image to generations of Indian students, and promoted contempt for their civilizational heritage. The “values and traditions of plurality that India had always cherished in the past” are precisely those this School has never practised. We call for an unbiased and rigorous new historiography of India. 8:39 AM

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