Price That India Will Have to Pay for Rewriting History  



Hindu groups protest against the yet to be released movie, Padmavati.

Flowing with the emotion of the majoritarian fringe is not only denting India’s global image but also poses great threat to its chance of emerging as a new superpower

OMER ASAD | Caravan Daily

With the wheels of time moving, India is witnessing a majoritarian movement in certain pockets of India. This movement, sadly enough doesn’t aim at revolutionising India but has a single agenda – rewrite Indian history. These right wing ideologists, since long have been scripting such changes, right from the Babri Masjid issue to portraying emperor Alauddin Khilji as a villain to eulogising Padmavati, a fictional character as a Rajput ideal, to rewriting history textbooks in Rajasthan, where from now onwards, Akbar will be defeated in the famous battle of Haldighati to demonising Aurangzeb, the list now seems endless.

The current trend, which is being witnessed in the new-age India seems to be battle between facts and fiction, in which the latter seems poised to win.  Interestingly, the fight seems to be the dead medieval Muslim rulers of India and a Hindu ruler of their choice, who either have mythological importance or have regional pride riding on them (Shivaji, Rani Padmavati or Rana Pratap Singh).

Sadly enough, post independence, no Indian historian or government has bothered to have these fables or legends checked in order to determine their historical authenticity.

Also See: Unmasking Padmavati: How Jaisi’s Anti-Feudal Tale is Twisted to Push a Fascist Narrative

On the contrary, most of the politicians are supporting the fringe elements and are have tried their best in rewriting history to appease the religious or regional belief of the majority. Recently, we have seen certain governments taking media and courts for a ride, challenging them all to accept their claims by setting aside facts, as in the case of RanaPratap winning the battle of Haldighati.

Mythology is part of culture in many countries across the globe. And no mythology can be more famous than the Greek mythology. Interestingly, all countries except India treats mythology as fiction barring India or for the matter of fact overwhelming majority have made it an integral part of their basic religious belief.

Sadly enough, the first casualty of such folklores or legend are the real heroes of ancient India.

Not much of ancient Indian history has been preserved, as no one tried to chronicle India history in the pre-Muslim era. It was Muslim rulers of India who began recording history of India.

Many great kings ruled the subcontinent in ancient history, who have been forgotten. Only, that are remembered are the ones eulogized by epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata.

Even those promoting Hindutva ideology, perhaps have very little knowledge about the about ancient kings and heroes of India.

After Alexander’s invasion (326 BC) and post Maurya dynasty (190 BC) amounting to about 800 years, India had no interaction with foreigners. In those days as we know, the only way of exchanging information was either through traders or (mostly) when a country went on war with another. The rule was simple – more capable gets to rule.

During this long tenure of 800 years, India was isolated, and was divided into several small states, fighting each other with no peace and progress. There was no ‘Akhand Bharat’ (united India) as many claim. The unification of India or Hindustan as a country began with the Muslim or Turkish arrival.

The contribution of Muslims to India is so immense and is no less than Abbasid’s to Iraq, or Ottomans to Turkey. But one simply can’t teach or counter ignorance and bigotry of fascist and right wing Hindu extremists with facts. They fail to understand that India can never move forward in peace unless it acknowledges its medieval history, which has a significant contribution from the Muslim rulers.

The future of this country lies in accepting that we simply can’t change history and accept it as it was without painting the Hindu rulers as heroes and Muslim rulers as villains. For this will only create animosity between the two community, which have now been living together for centuries.

Indians need to come out of the spell of mythology to peruse facts based on historical evidences and not just emotions. If we are unable to overcome the two worst enemies of India namely ‘religious bigotry’ and ‘corruption’, then we will miss the chance of making the coming century belong to India, and that will be the biggest tragedy for us as Indians!

Asad Omer is a senior Indian engineer based in Saudi Arabia.  

Clarion India - News, Views and Insights about Indian Muslims, Dalits, Minorities, Women and Other Marginalised and Dispossessed Communities.

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