Sunday, 1 May 2016

Re-Examining Indian History

There is an urgent need for history to be re-written, at least in India, and the real story to be told of India and its past – glorious as well as otherwise, one that so-called educated Indians call Fiction, which is in reality pure fact. The deleterious impact of the bullshit being absorbed by our citizens is there for all to see, and needs an entirely independent discussion. But the need for a retelling is now more acute than ever, given the half-informed trends in evidence regarding partition as well as our Vedic Past.

Furthermore, the completely jaundiced and ridiculously one-sided view of India from the West { as well as our religious and political internalities} which tends to propagate  stereotypes and incorrect views and fears needs to be met head; firstly these have manifest real world problems that arise from them. Secondly, this one sided view going unchallenged in Academia as well as popular discourse gives an incorrect impression of us as a people, as well as potraying our approach in a very poor light. If we know it is inaccurate, why is there o attempt to meet it head on?

Large parts of our history is pure, unadulterated fiction. I can and have written articles on it; having studied more than 3 dozen authentic books on Indian History. Suffice it to say that large parts of what we call fact is nothing but fiction. A couple of examples to start the discussion going; one controversial, the other absolute.

1) When was Ashok Born : 300-400BC, or more than a thousand years earlier?{Controversial; but interesting nonetheless}
2) The British Eradicated Sati? {Pure, simple fiction and utter bullshit, provable fact}

Yes, in the process of this re-examination and retelling - there will be tall claims, or rather, to be more specific : seemingly tall claims, as for example, from the Hindutva Brigade; but these are vitally needed interventions, bringing our ancient literature into focus, leading to heightened interest. You have to churn the milk to get cream.

Further, how many of those who reject these tall claims have actually perused the scriptures? I too used to be highly skeptical; but after reading our scriptures, while I still dont entirely accept the Hindutva claims. I do now realise the prevalent western versions are nothing but nonsense; pure and unadulterated nonsense. Similar is the case with Independence, wherein the full reality, basis a deep 7-year research of my own, has taught me that the reality is simply too complicated to understand, and that the prevalent version is close on incomplete, with some versions being inaccurate

I am not talking about bias, or about personal impressions emanating from a retelling of history from a person's viewpoint; I am specifically stating a word - Bullshit, and equally specifically underlining another - fiction. Let me prove it with an example :

The British outlawed Sati, and were responsible for its eradication - law of 1829. Why doesnt the same history talk of the law of 1813, which clearly legalised Sati? That made the British the only rulers in the past 400+ years to have legalised it. Why doesnt the history talk of this significant factor? This is deliberate suppression of facts by the British.

Furthermore, the official record does not state that Raja Roy initially was against official intervention - even while vociferously campaigning against the barbarity. Neither does the record state the legalisation of sati in 1813. I wonder why? The official record makes no mention of a long list of anti-sati campaigners. Neither does it recognise that virtually every Mughal ruler had made strict laws against sati: including Aurangzeb. The first recorded law against this is by Humayun. That effectively puts paid to the "British ercadicated sati" claim. They didnt; it was the result of a centuries-long battle against this social evil directed and campaigned purely by Indians. That is what the entire record shows. So much for the much tom-tommed british claim of sati eradication!

The proof? Simple. These are the precise numbers - documented numbers - of sati cases around 1810-1840. These records very effectively destroy any such claim even without the lecture above. Between 1815 and 1828, 63% of all recorded acts of sati took place in CalcuttaIn 1824, of the 250000 women who became widows, 600 underwent sati.  In Varanasi, there were only 125 cases in 9 years from 1820.

The British exaggerated it enormously; there is evidence of this. This was since it could be used to justify their rule over us "heathens". William Carey, the great reformer, wrote : "For the first time during 20 centuries... the waters of the Ganges flowed unblooded to the seas". It is impossible that the British were not aware of the precise numbers: these figures are from their own records!

The controversial point - The Pauranic records list an entire 150 generation of kingsm which includes Devanampiya Piyadassi - or Ashok. A tracing of this lineage is at clear variance with the western dating 300-400 BC. Further, ancient historical records also do not agree, with one giving no mention of Kaling War as reason for conversion. Why is this never researched? Why are we dismissing this as myth? Who writes 150 generations of fictional kings, which happen to include several historically acknowledged characters?

More provable : Partition. Plenty of provable evidence now available of the reality, which is at complete variance with the stated record. Similarly 1857, Original records and eye witness account give a diametrically opposite story, that of a planned war. Why arent we told this? Why the silence on the 4 terrible British laws that lead to the worst known genocide in Human History, which we know nothing of? Those laws are on record in England! Why do we know nothing of what I call the Bengal Holocaust and its causes?

There is even evidence available that Babur may have been invited to India! There is evidence present of the internal economic structure and honesty of the people, and the overall atmosphere - which never reaches us, despite authentic proof being present of the wonder that was India. None of it reaches the Western books, which we all ape, through our own internal Macaulay's Children here in India.I am not talking opinions, but authentic period evidence and writings and other proof.

We still believe in several fictional statements, and hang onto the belief instilled in us by The West and our own Macaulay's Children; what is worse is that there is no attempt to start a genuine research of our own past. What if I make a statement that the pulsating universe theory is accurately told in our scriptures? I will be branded a fool, or a fundamentalist, or both.

My humble submission - there is actually a specific reference to the origins of the universe in the Upanishads that has uncanny resemblance with the Pulsating Universe Theory, which took the so-called great West umtpy ump billions of dollars investment. Sounds fantastic, doesnt it?

The problem is if we extrapolate the above to state that our ancestors knew the science behind it; there is no evidence that they either did, or didnt. That also does not mean you can deny the existence of the uncanny resemblance of the scriptural verses to the modern theories. Fact of the matter is that it is {they are} present, and was {were} penned several millennia ago.

This requires explanation, reasoned discourse and research, patience, a questioning attitude. What we get is a querulous attitude; impatience, either blind following and mirth-invoking claims or complete denial +superiority complex + taunts + disbelief. We need neither.

This refers not just to the Vedic example above, but to each and every point raised above. The Macaulays in India are currently in denial and mirth, when they should be researching, questionning and patient; the fans and followers are ballistic in their statements, when they should be mature, reasoned and patient. India needs a more reasoned and mature approach to the question of her own past, one that is based not on fiction and bullshit, but a reasoned argument, theory basis all known facts ,devoid of political intervention.

This post is a prelude to my next book review : Rearming Hinduism by Vamsee Juluri, wherein I will try and answer many questions raised above, namely – why don’t we try to meet these issues head on? Why do we accept the status quo as gospel? 

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