The Indian Council of Historical Research organized a 3-day conference commencing on Monday on the need to clear distortions in Indian history. The event was organized by Indologist and guest professor at IIT Gandhinagar, Dr. Michel Danino and Rajaneesh Kumar Shukla, member secretary of ICHR.
“This is a very important conference of ICHR – an initiation towards history writing in the right direction. I am not saying that past direction was wrong but righteousness as a concept should always be taken care of. This conference is a step towards restoration of history from the historians having colonial perspective,” Shukla said.
He added, “In the past attempts achievements about civilization were belittled by those historians, damage done before independence, after independence and continues till now. Sincerely believe that this three days conference brings us to new scientific investigation and recent studies based on originals historical sources which will encourage us think in right perspective.”
The keynote address was delivered by Historian and Archaeologist, Ramachandran Nagaswamy, a Padma Bhushan awardee. He presented a paper titled ‘Listen to the voice of your Ancient leader’ at the event and spoke of the urgent necessity to study the Indian scriptures such as the Upanishads and the teachings of Ashoka and Manu among others.
Taking a dig at Romila Thapar, he stated, “Historians like Romila Thapar hold a view that Asoka expounded an idea new to Indian political and social theory, that Asoka did not see dharma resulting from the good deeds that were inspired by formal religious beliefs but as conformity to social ethics. According to these historians, Asoka’s dharma is not Buddhist in nature but it was a new and original idea to which he gave a definition. It is a distorted idea as Asoka himself repeatedly says (in his edicts) that what he thought was not his own, but the ancient paurani prakriti.”
On Manu, he said, “Manu defined dharma as something adored by learned scholars who are of sterling conduct, and who always remain impartial without pride and prejudices and who listen to inner voice is called dharma. This is the foremost definition given by Manu. Which has nothing to do with religion. But when we talk of secularism in modern times, we mean only anti-Indian ‘ism’ and portray minority virtuosity.”
The conference will also see a host of papers questioning the Aryan Migration Theory. Koenraad Elst, PhD in Asian Studies and noted author, will present a paper on the linguistic evidence regarding the issue. Dr. Michel Danino will present a paper titled, ‘Fabricating Evidence in Support of the Aryan Invasion–Migration Theory’.
Indic scholar, Shrikant Talageri, will present a paper titled, ‘The Rigveda and the Aryan Theory: A Rational Perspective’. Apart from the papers on AMT, various other papers will be presented during the 3-day conference including one by Historian Meenakshi Jain on ‘Islamic Iconoclasm and the Hindu Response’.
The Presidential address at the conference titled ‘Indian History: Emerging Perspectives’ was delivered by newly appointed ICHR Chairman and Archaeologist, Arvind Jamkhedkar.