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Home Fact-Check Of Nationalism and Hindu history: When fiction writer Romila Thapar writes for racist NYT,...

Of Nationalism and Hindu history: When fiction writer Romila Thapar writes for racist NYT, the result is bound to be poppycock

It's only fitting that such garbage was published in the New York Times. Of late, their tendency to carry the White Man's burden appears to have gone out of hand.

Of all the creatures to have ever graced the world, the Indian ‘intellectuals’ surely rank among the worst. Their crimes are many but the most egregious of them all is certainly leading the entire nation astray with their penchant for genocide denial, their attempts at suppressing authentic history and accusing others of committing the sins which they are actually guilty of.

In an article for the ‘failing’ New York Times (as POTUS Trump calls it), Romila Thapar, academia and approved fake news peddler, spreads rather dubious canards about Hindu Nationalism and Hindu history. After linking the rewriting of textbooks to Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party, Thapar says, “Rewriting Indian history and teaching their version of it is crucial to justifying the ideology of Hindu nationalists.”

Thapar either conveniently ignores or is too blind to see that ‘rewriting Indian history’ has been essential for justifying the ideology of Indian secular-liberal ‘intellectuals’ as well. And they have done so quite liberally. Fortunately for us, she provides her readers with ample instances of the same.

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She writes, “Secular anticolonial nationalism, a primary organization of which was the Indian National Congress led by Mohandas K. Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, won independence for India by basing itself on the equal and inclusive participation of all citizens as constituents of the nation.”

First of all, there is nothing such as ‘secular nationalism’. Nationalism is based on a shared identity, which in turn is dependent on shared history, heritage and culture. Inventing terms out of thin air is, of course, the prerogative of such intellectuals. Gandhi’s nationalism, too, was not secular by any means. He advocated Gau Raksha, wanted to secure a RamRajya in the country and his politics was greatly inspired by Hindu philosophy, although he was quite misguided in his conclusions.

Moreover, to suggest that it was the Indian National Congress which won India its freedom is one of the clearest instances of ‘rewriting history’. Indian independence was a consequence of multiple factors. World War 2 which depleted British capabilities, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose who established the INC, feelings of patriotism within the ranks of British India Army itself, combined with rising fervour within the Indian populace, all of it contributed to Indian Independence. There were many many freedom fighters who did not belong to the INC but contributed significantly. Therefore, crediting the INC solely for Indian independence is classic fake news.

More significantly, Thapar says there was ‘inclusive participation’ of citizens. Considering the fact that India suffered a partition and a civil war where millions and millions of people were killed, maybe, just maybe, the movement for Indian independence was not very ‘inclusive’. But what do I know? I am not an academia certified intellectual.

Thapar does her best to demonize Hindu Nationalists. She writes, “To assert that the pre-Islamic period of Indian history was a golden age, claims are repeatedly made that this “Hindu period” from 1000 B.C. to 1200 A.D. was so scientifically advanced that Hindus were already using many modern scientific inventions, such as airplanes, plastic surgery and stem-cell research. These statements are applied to the activities of gods and men from the ancient past.”

It’s quite ostensibly false. Although there may be individuals who believe that the Gods were capable of such feats, it is their own personal faith. For instance, I have not seen too many historians in India mock a certain community for believing in a virgin birth. As for the period between 1000 B.C. to 1200 A.D. that Thapar speaks of, I am yet to see any individual personally make that claim. Such claims of great technological advancement are always fashioned around Gods and understandably so.

She states further, “The other equally insistent Hindutva argument is that the Hindus were victimized by the Muslims and were slaves for the thousand years of Muslim rule. In demanding a Hindu Rashtra, or Hindu state, they claim to be asserting their historical rights and avenging their victimization. The history of the “Muslim period,” the second millennium A.D., is seen solely from this perspective and remains a mechanism for fueling hatred.”

First things first, it’s a historical fact that our people were raped, slaughtered and pillaged in the name of Islam. It’s a fact that Muslim Monarchs committed these atrocities and it’s a fact that they celebrate these vicious acts because they believed it will earn them great favour in the afterlife. As famous Historian Tom Holland said recently on Twitter, most Muslims for most of history would have been fine with “claims of Muslims spreading Islam by the sword or subjugating minority groups under their rule”. He further stated, “Military conquest & the subjugation of minority groups have absolutely been features of Islamic imperialism.”

The same series of events happened in India as well. It’s our misfortune that we have a bunch of genocide deniers writing Indian history. Also, she gets one thing wrong. Our people may have been subjected to the most vicious of atrocities but we were never enslaved. Throughout the course of the second millennium, there has been great Hindu resistance to the Islamic onslaught and it is a testament to the resolve of our ancestors that even after thousands of years of a brutal assault, we are still right here.

The certified genocide denier fake news peddler also claims that Hindu Nationalists use instances from the medieval era to fuel hatred in the present time. But we do not need to look so far back to see for examples of Islamic fanaticism against Hindus. The Moplah massacre happened in the 20th century, the civil war during partition and genocide happened in the 20th century, the Bangladesh War of Independence during which the Pakistanis checked the penises of men to ascertain their religious identity before killing them happened in the 20th century, the Kashmiri Hindu genocide happened in the 20th century. Thus, Hindus faced at least 3 genocides and another organized campaign of religious violence against them in the 20th century alone. And here we have Romila Thapar accusing Hindu Nationalists of fueling hatred.

She says, “Some powerful Muslims did attack Hindu temples, both to loot their riches and to direct aggression against the religion. But this again was known in pre-Islamic times when some Hindu kings looted and destroyed temples to acquire wealth. There was more than religious prejudice involved in such actions.”

First of all, no, the Islamic campaign against Hinduism has no parallels in pre-Islamic India. Secondly, the Muslims of the times themselves claimed to do it for Islam. All primary sources point towards that fact as well. And here we have a ‘Historian’ that it was not primarily driven by Jihad. To equate the actions of random Hindu Monarchs in the pre-Islamic era, the accuracy of such cases is a matter of debate as well, with the organized campaign of Jihad against Hinduism is ridiculousness of the highest order and even malicious.

Thapar goes ahead and claims that the worst crimes were committed, in fact, by Upper Caste Hindus against those from Lower Castes. Why is it, then, there has never been one instance of caste-based civil war in the entire history of Hindu civilization. Even now, when vested interests are trying their best to create civil war-like situations, Hindus are living quite peacefully with each without any great violence at all. But we are to believe that Upper Caste Hindus perpetuated worse crimes against Lower Castes than raping, indiscriminate slaughter and pillaging without ever suffering caste-based revolts themselves. It’s fantasy worse than the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer.

The most ridiculous bit, however, comes towards the end of the article. Thapar says, “In contemporary India, the concerted attacks on Jawaharlal Nehru, the country’s first prime minister and a symbol of the anti-colonial movement who understood the centrality of secularism in Indian society, is a covert way of attacking secular democracy.”

Now, attacking Nehru’s legacy is akin to attacking secular democracy. And these people have the audacity of calling anyone blind Modi bhakts. Jawaharlal Nehru was certainly one of the worst Prime Ministers we have ever had. He compromised our national interests at every step and so deluded he was that he strengthened our rivals at our expense and believed it to be greatness. To even suggest that criticizing his legacy is akin to attacking secular democracy reveals how utterly and completely obtuse these ‘historians’ are.

She says in the end, “The most dangerous aspect of the implanting of the Hindutva version of history across Indian society is that the divide between professional history and the version of the past used to legitimize Hindu majoritarianism is increasing.” ‘Professional history’ apparently considers criticizing Nehru’s legacy akin to attacking secular democracy, it believes Hindus never were victims of genocides despite them having suffered 3 of them in the 20th century alone. Under such circumstances, we ought to question ourselves, are these historians or propagandists?

It’s only fitting that such garbage was published in the New York Times. Of late, their tendency to carry the White Man’s burden appears to have gone out of hand. On several occasions, it has peddled an anti-India narrative based on half-truths and whole lies. On others, it has published racist cartoons to denigrate stellar Indian achievements.

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K Bhattacharjee
Black Coffee Enthusiast. Post Graduate in Psychology. Bengali.

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