Chapter 6

 

Education in India

 

Education in India before Independence

The British colonial power started Indian universities in 1858 as institutional plants imported from Great Britain with the objective of starting with a clean slate and neutralizing the educational heritage of India.  The main objective behind the move was to connect Indian education to European knowledge. There was an additional bonus in that these Indian Universities provided an outlet for the unemployed graduates of British Universities.

 

Lord Macaulay was of the view that "A single shelf of a good European library was worth the whole native literature of India and Arabia." [1]( Page 3- Education and Politics in India by Rudolph and Rudolph). There were two types of education in India during that time. There was Indian education, which ensured that there was emphasis on Indian literature and heritage. The other education was in English the intent of which was to transform the consciousness of the elite in India to mirror the British and look down upon the rest of the Indians. The deracinated Indians became the ruling political class of India and influenced the independence movement.

 

Tapan Raychaudhuri in his study of Bengali intelligentsia points out that, ‘Implicitly the Bengali intellectuals examined afresh the two components of their own culture - the indigenous and the acquired.”. Pannikar points out that 19th century Indian intellectuals were firm believers in the efficacy of Enlightenment as a panacea. Like Chinese intellectuals, they traced the sources of all ills in Indian society to the ignorance of the masses and the weight of traditional thought and learning.

 

In India, we see Liberalism replacing pre-colonial sensibilites and ideas; Mill, Spencer, Rousseau and Paine were popular amongst Indian intellectuals. The idea of liberty was first absorbed in Bengal through the work of Derozio. The journals published at this time by the students of Hindu College in Calcutta during the period 1826-43 were influenced by the ideals of the French Revolution. More importantly, as Pannikar points out, Britain was viewed as the champion of these principles. As Ram Mohun Roy (1772-1663) one of the most famous of the early Indian reformers put it thus: A nation of people not only blessed with the enjoyment of civil and political liberty but also interested in promoting liberty and social happiness, as well as free inquiry into literary and religious subjects among those nations to which their influence extends.”

The age of Ram Mohun Roy is sometimes described as the ‘Indian Renaissance”, and later Indian Marxist intellectuals, like M.N.Roy[2] (1667.1954), admired the courage of the “fathers of Indian Renaissance” to attack the time-honored but enslaving social customs and prejudices” perpetuated in India. M.N.Roy argued, further that India might have a great civilization but it would be ridiculous to think that the Theory of Relativity was already announced in the Vedas, and that the world should learn its science from ancient India.” Ancient Indian cultural achievement should not blind modern Indians from the reality that “the world has gone ahead.” Meanwhile, “Indian history was stagnant” hence her “cultural superstructure” failed to develop. Here again, one notices the enchantment with the self-defined project of Enlightenment, which is felt by Indian intellectuals. They see Britain as the savior of their country and hope that the popularization in western thought in India wilt free the country from its superstitious and irrational past, Above all, modern British institutions such as the Parliament and the legal system were praised by most Indians of this period. This admiration is what led them to accept British rule. Nehru’s discourse on tradition versus modernity quickly travels from the stage of enchantment to that of disenchantment He wrote in The Discovery of India: Today, in the world of politics and economics there is a search for power and yet when power is attained much else of value has gone. Political trickery and intrigue take the place of idealism, and cowardice and selfishness the place of disinterested courage. Form prevails over substance, and power, so eagerly sought after, some how fails to achieve what it aimed at.” (p. 595)

 

Tagore’s “last birthday address” was on “crisis of civilization”. In this address, Tagore almost summarized the entire process of metamorphosis of an Indian intellectual mind from enchantment to disenchantment journeying through western civilization. He thought so “firmly rooted in the sentiments” of Indian leaders fighting for Independence was the Indian “faith in the generosity of the English race”. Tagore admitted: “I was impressed by this evidence of liberal humanity in the character of the English and thus I was led to set them on the pedestal of my highest respect.” He, then, narrated what he saw in Japan and USSR their rapid industrialization which, then led him to resent British imperialists’ sacrificing “the welfare of the subject races to their own national greed”. He lamented that while many other countries were “marching ahead”, India alone “smothered under the dead weight of British administration, lay static in her utter helplessness.” This was “the tragic tale of the gradual loss of my faith in the claims of the European nations to civilization.“(Ghose, p. 186)

 

To achieve the aim of stamping out the Indian mind during the colonial rule, the British rulers followed two approaches on the one hand, they encouraged an English and Christianized education in accordance with the well-known Macaulay doctrine, which projected Europe as an enlightened, democratic, progressive heaven, and on the other hand, they pursued a systematic denigration of Indian culture, scriptures, customs, traditions, crafts, cottage industries, social institutions, educational system, taking full advantage of the stagnant and often degenerate character of the Hindu society of the time. There were, of course, notable exceptions among British individuals, from William Jones to Sister Nivedita and Annie Besant—but almost none to be found among the ruling class. Let us recall how, in his famous 1835-Minute, Thomas B. Macaulay [3]asserted that Indian culture was based on “a literature ... that inculcates the most serious errors on the most important subjects ... hardly reconcilable with reason, with morality ... fruitful of monstrous superstitions.” Hindus, he confidently declared, had nothing to show except a “false history, false astronomy, false medicine ... in company with a false religion.”

As it happened, Indians were—and still largely are—naive people who could simply not suspect the degree of premeditation with which their colonial masters set about their task.

 

In the middle of the 1857 uprising, the Governor-General Lord Canning wrote to a British official:

As we must rule 150 millions of people by a handful (more or less small) of Englishmen, let us do it in the manner best calculated to leave them divided (as in religion and national feeling they already are) and to inspire them with the greatest possible awe of our power and with the least possible suspicion of our motives.

 

Even a “liberal” governor such as Elphinstone wrote in 1859, “Divide et impera [‘divide and rule’ in Latin] was the old Roman motto and it should be ours.” In this clash of two civilizations, the European, younger, dynamic, hungry for space and riches, appeared far better fitted than the Indian, half decrepit, almost completely dormant after long centuries of internal strife and repeated onslaught. The contrast was so huge that no one doubted the outcome—the rapid conquest of the Indian mind and life.

 

That was what Macaulay, again, summarized best when he proudly wrote his father in 1836: Our English schools are flourishing wonderfully.... It is my belief that if our plans of education are followed up, there will not be a single idolater among the respectable classes in Bengal thirty years hence. Macaulay wanted to create a generation of Indians who in their thought and words would be British. Macaulay had not planned prophetically for one or two generations but for generations that now thrive in independent India. Very faithfully, certain groups of individuals who monopolized the control of institutions and had the blessings of their political masters and had cultivated bureaucracy have relentlessly striven for the success of the perceptions of Macaulay. Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy, the famous art critic who happened to be born a Sri Lankan Tamil, gave the following warning during the early years of the 20th century; It is hard to realize how completely the continuity of Indian life has been severed. A single generation of English education suffices to break the threads of tradition and to create a nondescript and superficial being deprived of all roots—a sort of intellectual pariah who does not belong to the East or the West, the past or the future. The greatest danger for India is the loss of her spiritual integrity. Of all Indian problems the educational is the most difficult and most tragic.

 

That Macaulay exhibited such chutzpah about the benefits of the English language, indicates a confidence (what I don’t know cannot hurt me) and bravado that is an exemplar of how dominant the Europeans had become vis-a-vis the colonies. But subjection to Western influence did more than simply impoverish the Indian mind or wean it away from Indian culture. It also introduced serious distortions into its thinking processes. With their clear and bold thought, Western thinkers since the eighteenth century no doubt did much to pull Europe out of the dark ages brought about by Christianity. But they had to take shortcuts in the process; they needed sharp intellectual weapons and had no time to develop the qualities of pluralism, universality, integrality native to the Indian mind and nurtured over thousands of years. Their thought was essentially divisive and exclusive.

 

Such an attitude on the part of Macaulay is not due to malice towards the Indian populace but indicates a serious flaw in the educational maturity of the colonial power. Of course one might rationalize away the actions of a colonial power with the remark that they were not accountable to anybody in India and in many instances were accountable to no one at all. The real question is what excuse does independent India have to continue this policy.

 

The result of this Western obsession with divisiveness has been disastrous in India’s context. Her inhabitants had never called themselves “Aryans” or “Dravidians” in the racial sense, yet they became thus segregated; they had never known they were “Hindus,” yet they had to be happy with this new designation; they had never called their view of the world a “religion” (a word with no equivalent in Sanskrit), but it had to become one, promptly labeled “Hinduism.” Nor was one label sufficient: India always recognized and respected the infinite multiplicity of approaches to the Truth (what is commonly, but incorrectly, called “tolerance”), but under the Western spotlight those approaches became so many “sects” almost rivaling each other (perhaps like Catholics and Protestants !). Hinduism was thus cut up into convenient bits—Vedism, Brahmanism, Vaishnavism, Shaivism, Shaktism, Tantrism, etc.—of which Indians themselves had been largely unaware, or at any rate not in this rigid, cut-and-dried fashion. As for Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism, which had been regarded in India as simply new paths, they were arbitrarily stuck with a label of “separate religions.”[4] Similarly, thousands of fluid communities were duly catalogued and crystallized by the British rulers as so many permanent and rigid castes.*

 

In 1879 the Collector of Tanjore in a communication to Sir James Caird, member of the Famine Commission, stated that “there was no class (except Brahmanas) which was so hostile to the English.” The predominance of the Brahmanas in the freedom movement confirmed the worst British suspicions of the community. Innumerable CID reports of the period commented on Brahmana participation at all levels of the nationalist movement. In the words of an observer, “If any community could claim credit for driving the British out of the country, it was the Brahmana community. Seventy per cent of those who were felled by British bullets were Brahmanas”. The Mandal Commission report marks the culmination of the attempt at social engineering that began with the Christian missionary (followed by British governmental) campaigns against the Brahmana community in the early part of the 19th century. It was not accidental that Brahmanas emerged as the principal target of British attacks. Britishers of all pursuits, missionaries, administrators and orientalists, were quick to grasp; their pivotal role in the Indian social arrangement. They were all agreed that religious ideas and practices underlay the entire social structure and that, as custodians of the sacred tradition, Brahmanas were the principal integrating force. This made them the natural target of those seeking to fragment, indeed atomize, Indian society. This was as true of the British conquerors as it was of Muslim rulers in the preceding centuries. Mandal takes off from where the British left.

The British census operations that began in the latter part of the 19th century produced further distortions in the Indian system. The British sought to interpret the caste system in the light of their own pet theories. H. H. Risley who directed the 1901 census operations was, for example, determined to demonstrate that “race sentiment” formed the basis of the caste system and that social precedence was based on the scale of racial purity. The same race theory played havoc in Europe in the form of Nazism and has now been fully repudiated. The British, unmindful of the complexities and intricacies of the social arrangement, sought to achieve standardization by placing all jatis in the four varnas or in the categories of outcastes and aborigines. As a result they destroyed the flexibility that was so vital for the proper functioning of the system. The census operations raised caste consciousness to a fever. Unfortunately, this itemizing and labeling of their heritage became a undisputed truth in the subconscious mind of Indians; they passively accepted being dissected and defined by their colonial masters, and they learned to look at themselves through Western eyes. The Indian mind had become too feeble to take the trouble of assimilating the few positive elements of Western thought and rejecting the many negative ones: it swallowed but could not digest.

Center-State relations in education over the last 170 years have presented an extremely variegated picture in the country. Prior to 1833, India had a period of total decentralization when all the three Presidencies of the British Empire followed their own educational policy, subject only to the distant and sporadic supervision of the Court of Directors in London. This was the Macaulay period. The Charter Act of 1833 went to the other extreme and created a highly centralized form of administration in the country under which education, like any other subject, became a responsibility of the Government of India. During this period, for instance, the Directors of Public Instruction in the Provinces used to complain that they could, not incur an expenditure of even one rupee without the sanction of the Imperial Government at Calcutta. This was thus a period of extreme centralization. In 1870, a period of decentralization of authority was initiated by Lord Mayo. This decentralization was gradually increased till 1918, by which time the Provincial Governments came to possess large authority over education, although the Government of India did continue to exercise considerable supervisory powers in essential matters. This period can be considered the period of British plan for the Great Game of dividing the country on ethnic lines.  In addition, there was the Indian Education Service which was created, in 1897 and whose officers filled the important posts in all the Provincial Education Departments This period may, therefore, be regarded as a period of large decentralization combined with limited but essential, Central control to create different world view of different parts of the country for eventual separation.. The Government of India Act of 1919 made a still more radical change. It introduced diarchy in the provinces under the control of Indian Ministers responsible to a legislature with a large elected majority. As a corollary to this, therefore, the Central controls over education had to be reduced to the minimum if not eliminated altogether. Consequently, there came about what the Hartog Committee calls a `divorce' between education and the Government of India. This situation continued right till 1950 although, in view of its disastrous results, some attempts were made, from 1935 onwards, to bring the Government of India back into the picture through such measures as the revival of the Central Advisory Board of Education.

 

The Central Advisory Board of Education, the oldest and the most important advisory body of the Government of India in education was first established in 1920 and dissolved in 1923 as a measure of economy. The real reason being that they could not control the education policy according to their larger design. It was revived in 1935 and has been in existence ever since even after independence. The idea that there should be a central Advisory Board of Education was first put forward by the Calcutta University Commission (1917-19) which felt "that the Government of India could perform an invaluable function by defining the general aims of educational policy, by giving advice and assistance to local governments and to the development of educational ideas in the various provinces, and also elsewhere than in India."  This is the start of the control of education in India by foreign policy makers, which continues even after the independence. Almost simultaneously the Government of India Act, 1919 decided to make education mainly a provincial and a transferred subject and to limit the `control' of the Central Government over it to the minimum. This fundamental decision changed the character of the Government of India from that of an executive to an advisory authority; and consequently, the Secretariat Procedure Committee set up to implement the Government of India Act, 1919, observed that, in future, the executive authority of the Government of India should be mainly exercised through moral persuasion and recommended that, "in place of giving executive orders it should tend more and more to become a center of the best information, research and advice." This recommendation made the adoption of the recommendation of the Calcutta University Commission all the more imperative and accordingly, a Central Advisory Board of Education was set up in 1920 under the chairmanship of Education Commissioner to the Government of India. It is a good deal of useful work but, owing to a financial crisis calling for drastic retrenchments, was abolished in 1923.

For the next twelve years, there was no Central body to advise the Government of India in educational matters. This period was the critical period of British trying to find a path for the Muslim nationalism in India for a separate homeland. However, a feeling of regret at the discontinuance of the Board began to grow, especially after the Report of Hartog Committee (1928) which observed that the divorce between the Government of India and education had been unfortunate. Consequently, the present Central Advisory Board of Education was revived in 1935. The first constitution of the Board was given in the Government of India (Education, Health and Lands Department) Resolution No.F.122-3/35-E dated 8th of August, 1935. This period saw the revival of the Muslim leagues demand and eventual creation of Pakistan in the eastern wing and the western wing. The Board has been reconstituted vide Government of India Resolution No.1-2/90- PN(D.II) dated 19th October, 1990, as per. The practice adopted by the Board has been to hold one meeting every year, although the record of the last fifty- five years shows that there were no meetings in 1937, 1939, 1966, 1969, 1973, 1976(emergency), 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1984, 1985 and 1990, and two meetings were held each in 1938, 1943, 1950 and 1986. Prof. S. Nurul Hasan was the chair for the years 1972, 1974, 1975 which were the crucial years after the breakup of Bangladesh, the unrest among Indian intellectual and academic bodies and Pokhran test in 1974.

 

 

The National Policy of 1968 marked a significant step forward in the history of education in post-independence India. It dealt with several important aspects of education which had been examined in depth by Commissions and Committees over a long period both before and after independence,

culminating in the Education Commission (1964-66). The Policy of 1968 aimed at promoting national progress, creating a sense of common citizenship and culture and strengthening national integration. It laid stress on the need for a radical reconstruction of education to improve its quality at all stages, much greater attention to science and technology, cultivation of moral values and a closer relation between education and the life of the people. But the policy left others to take control of history and narration in the process making changes which suited the vested interest such as the Marxists. Romila Thapar first edition of Early India was introduced in 1968 which later for 30 years became a standard reading material for many institutions ( 2nd edition was in 2003).

The years since the adoption of the 1968 Policy have been considerable expansion in education all over the country, at all levels. More than 90% of the rural habitations now have schooling facilities within a radius of one kilometer. At the upper end of the pyramid also, there has been a sizeable augmentation of education facilities. The most notable development following the policy of 1968 has been the acceptance of a common structure of education throughout the country and the introduction of the 10+2+3 system by most of the States. In relation to school curricula, in addition to laying down a common system of studies for boys and girls, science and mathematics were incorporated as compulsory subjects and- work experience was assigned a place of importance.

The problem of school textbooks came up for discussion at the meeting of the National Integration Council held at Srinagar in June 1968. The Council attached great significance to the proper use of textbooks for purposes of national integration. It was of the view that education from the primary to the post-graduate stage should be re-oriented (a) to serve the purpose of creating a sense of Indianness, unity and solidarity; (b) to inculcate faith in the basic postulates of Indian democracy; and (c) to help the nation to create a modern society out of the present traditional one, and that the textbooks used in the schools should be specially designed to serve these purposes. It also recommended that the State Governments should create an appropriate machinery at the State level for the improvement of school text-books in general and for using them effectively for purposes of national integration in particular and that, in consultation with them a National Board of School Textbooks which will co-ordinate the efforts of the State Governments should be set up by the Government of India. But this recommendation was not adopted as policy when the next change in textbooks was done in 1978. The year 1978 can be considered as a crucial year in the history of education in India since the Marxists were in full control of the educational institutions and other intellectual institutions such as media. Most of the changes in history to suit the Marxists were done in this year and these reflected even up to the year 2002.

 

 

Government of India announced in January, 1985, that a new Education Policy would be formulated for the country. A full appraisal of the existing educational scene was undertaken and a document, entitled, "Challenge of Education" was brought out in August 1985. There has been a countrywide debate on the document, marked by keen interest, and enthusiasm. The views and suggestions received from different quarters were carefully studied and are reflected in this Presentation. The new Policy takes off from the National Education Policy adopted by the Government of India and approved by Parliament in 1968 and seeks to build on it, to respond to the changes, which have taken place since.

 

Distortions in Indian History after independence

            The reality is that even after pursuing Macaulay’s, legacy for over half a century after political independence, India has not yet overcome the social, economic, political and environmental crisis prevailing in the country.  All the political parties talk about value based politics, but they rarely speak about the means of achieving it.  It is possible only if the direction of education is focused towards building a social order inspired through scientific and spiritual vision.  Instead of preserving our ancient scriptures, which are the treasure house of spiritual wisdom the move to negate the introduction of time-tested cultural heritage in school and university curriculum is seemingly an intriguing reflection of the colonial mindset of self-seeking politicians.  Since the majority of the educated Indian elite were made to think and behave like their colonial masters, it has now become their habit to oppose any attempt to indianize the country’s educational curriculum. 

 

If India did achieve political independence albeit at a terrible cost, she hardly achieved independence in the field of thought. Nor did she try: the country’s so-called elite, whose mind had been shaped and hypnotized by their colonial masters, always assumed that anything Western was so superior that in order to reach all-round fulfillment, India merely had to follow European thought, science, and political institutions. Indian historiography in the post-independence phase has been characterized by the remarkable similarity between western scholarship on India and the works of Indian historians, whether Marxist, secular or liberal. Writings of this genre present Hindustan as the aggregationist story par excellence: A patchwork of communities, dialects and religion from time immemorial. This view of history, largely uncontested so far, is now facing its first serious challenge.

 

In book after book, we hear the same refrain. Another work, for instance, argues that "there is hardly a single teaching in Hindustan which can be shown to be valid for all Hindus, much less a comprehensive set of teachings." These motivated and highly disruptive theories from western sources are faithfully reproduced in any number of Indian works. These too, decry attempts to reduce 'the multiplicity of classical traditions' in the subcontinent to one unitary tradition that is Aryan-Hindu and high caste.

 

Indian scholarship of the Left variety also comments adversely on the 'modern search for an imagined Hindu identity from the past.' The main goal of the historians is to remove any national identity and nationalism in India with a unifying thought. Indian languages are subtly or not so subtly given a lower status than English, with the result that many deep scholars or writers who chose to express themselves in their native languages remain totally unknown beyond their States, while textbooks are crowded with second-rate thinkers who happened to write in English. If you take a look at the teaching of history, the situation is even worse. Almost all Indian history taught today in our schools and universities has been written by Western scholars, or by “native historians who [have] taken over the views of the colonial masters,” in the words of Prof. Klostermaier of Canada’s University of Manitoba. All of India’s historical tradition, all ancient records are simply brushed aside as so much fancy so as to satisfy the Western dictum that “Indians have no sense of history.”

 

It is claimed that 'the need for postulating a Hindu community became a requirement for political mobilization in the nineteenth century when representation by religious community became a key to power and where such representation gave access to economic resources.' The leftists can get away with it because they control the media for most part of the modern history and have made sure that there is no sense of unified India. The persistent denial of the integrity of Indian civilization is accompanied by denigration of agencies perceived as unifying, Vedic traditions and Brahmanism being singled out for attack. The Left's insistence on an atomized, splintered heritage has had interesting but possibly unintended consequences. India is presented as the quintessential no-man's land. Aryans (though it is now accepted by all scholars that there was no 'Aryan Invasion' after all and even more pertinently there is no such race as a Aryan race), Indo-Greeks, Shakas, Indo-Parthians, Kushans... the list of putative foreign invaders, settlers and rulers has been formidable from very early on. So, they argue, no group or community can legitimately claim 'national' right to the land.

 

It is to justify these theories that the ancient history of India has been written in recent decades. The reality, they say, is of 'a fragmented, largely oral set of traditions' and a disparate population. Hinduism is sought to be minimized, as one of many 'religions' existing in the subcontinent, in no way entitled to special status - a position no longer acceptable to a growing body of Independent historians. So, politics is mixed with history and history with politics. Educated Indians virtually admitted they were “hopeless, dumb, reactionary,” and could only stop being so by receiving salvation from Europe: they pinned their hopes on its democracy and secularism, ignoring all warnings that those European concepts would wreak havoc once mechanically transposed to India. Worse, they rivaled one another in denigrating their heritage. If even today a Western journalist or professor utters the words of “caste” or “sati” or “Hindu fundamentalism” (and I would like to ask him what the “fundamentals” of Hinduism are), you will hear a number of Indian intellectuals beating their chests in unison—even as they keep their eyes tightly shut to the most fatal aberrations of Western society.

Ram Swarup, a profound Indian thinker who passed away recently, was not afraid of swimming against this self-deprecating tide nurtured by our intelligentsia and media remarks: A permanent stigma seems to have stuck to the terms Hindu and Hinduism. These have now become terms of abuse in the mouth of the very elite which the Hindu millions have raised to the pinnacle of power and prestige with their blood, sweat and tears.

 

 

The current fashion is to  maintain that the Hindu ethos or Hindutva which permeates the subcontinent (including the other nations of the subcontinent) is not to be confused with mainstream Hinduism. This overlooks the glaring reality that the Sanatana Dharma is a Catholic Darshana, that it encompasses many streams of thought, and that while there may not be one mainstream Hindu philosophy; there are common elements which can be subsumed under the rubric of Hindutva

Quoted from N S Rajaram: India gained independence from the British in 1947, or more than fifty years ago. But intellectually and educationally India continues to be a European colony. This is because, during the first forty years of her existence as a free nation, the Congress Party and the intellectual establishment continued to encourage colonial institutions and thinking. The result today is that there is an English educated elite that identifies itself more with the West than with India and her ancient civilization. And the Congress Party, especially after the death of Sardar Patel, has identified itself more with foreign values rather than Indian values. The Communists, who have always been hostile to Indian nationalism, have now joined hands with anti-national forces, which are fiercely anti-Hindu. This is reflected in the attitude and behavior of the English educated intellectuals, including the media.

This colonial holdover consisting of the Congress, the Communists and the Leftist intellectual class (including the media) have come together to perpetuate anti-national values and interests. This naturally makes them intensely anti-Hindu. It views with fear anything that has even a suggestion of nationalism rooted in Indian history and tradition. Anglocentric writings, which were tied to British foreign policy and strategic objectives and continued to exercise influence in the South Asian former colonies, suffered from a dichotomy with respect to Indian nationalism. They critiqued Indian nationalism or the cultural nationalism. But they did not adequately critique the Muslim separatism, which evolved into Pakistani nationalism. The result was that most dissidents or opponents of Indian nationalism were glorified, while the Muslim opponents of Muslim separatism and of Pakistani nationalism were barely mentioned. This is another form of indoctrination, which left divisions within India.

Since Indian nationalism can only exist as a product of the Hindu Civilization, these forces hostile to Hinduism have combined to oppose the rise of national awareness that is now sweeping the country. The result is that they will go to any length to give a negative picture of India and her past. The first step in this is to distort Indian history. Fortunately for them, most of the distortion had already been done for them by the British, and their successors during the Congress rule. So all they had to do was to continue with the colonial version of Indian history.

A single example should help give an idea of the dangers of this centralized feudal educational policy. For over 20 years, H.S. Khan headed the history and sociology division of the NCERT. He is known to hold the view that India became civilized only through the introduction of Islam. This incidentally is also the official Pakistani line. This was also the view of Nurul Hassan who was of course the patron of H.S. Khan. This is taking the Aryan invasion idea a giant step forward (or backward).

Dr. Nurul Hasan was a politician, the Education Minister appointed by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Concerning him and his protégés, archaeologist Dilip Chakrabarti remarks (on page 13 of Colonial Indology. Munshiram Manoharlal: New Delhi, 1997) – “To thwart the strength of the old Congress party stalwarts, the then Prime Minister of the country, Mrs. Indira Gandhi, came to depend significantly on the support of the ‘left’ political parties, and recruited in the process to her cabinet a History professor, putting him in charge of education. This professor, an Oxford D.Phil with a firm belief in the ‘progressive’, i.e., ‘left’ ideas, was also the son of an important government functionary of British India and related by marriage to one of the powerful ‘native’ princely houses of the north. Till his date in harness as the governor of a left-controlled Indian state, he acted as the patron saint of a wide variety of historians claiming ‘progressive’ political beliefs and hoping for a slice of the establishment cake.” When Indira Gandhi's Congress faction came together with the CPI after 1969 the Union Education Ministry presently went to Nurul Hasan. Historiography was placed largely in the hands of well-intentioned but uni-dimensional historians analytically oriented towards the pre-independence CPI. The Congress-CPI alliance was probably necessary. But its impact on the intellectual front was not well worked out by the two sides and was skewed. These historians wrote in an age when they were tempted to assume that the Congress dominance would be there forever or, if replaced, would be replaced only by a formation in which the Left would play a major role. They, therefore, concerned themselves primarily with the vindication of the pre-Independence CPI, or variations upon this theme. Congress, including socialist, history — for example, the Congress and Congress Socialist role in creating and advancing the all-India peasant movements — went by default. Political training for Indian nationalism was neglected.

From the Seventies onwards, as the last of the old congress generation passed away, the Congress took the easy way out and began to promote the mullah as the interface between the party and the Muslim community. This may have been to consolidate the political base which was withering away due to attack by the subaltern nationalities supported by the foreign agencies and countries.  It was with Indira Gandhi's benign, if indirect, encouragement that the All India Muslim Personal Law Board was set up in 1972. The landmark moment was 1980 when Mrs Gandhi, with the help of Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna, signed a "pact" with an Imam of Delhi's principal mosque, the self-styled Shahi Imam. It was the symbolic and real surrender of the whole community's vote to the mullah element. The process only intensified under Rajiv Gandhi, although, to be honest, he was privately deeply troubled by what he was doing. Perhaps after the surrender over Shah Bano in 1986 there could be no turning back. And yet, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi do not deserve all the blame for this. Those who came after them could have used their massive popularity to reverse the trend; instead they courted the mullah even more assiduously. Vishwanath Pratap Singh sank even deeper into this trough. 

In 1982, the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) issued a directive for the rewriting of school texts. Among other things, it stipulated: "Characterization of the medieval period as a time of conflict between Hindus and Muslims is forbidden." Thus, denial of history, or Negationism, has become India's official "educational" policy. To the new historians the Aryan invasion theory was the lifeline which connected them to their masters in the West. This subservience provided them lecture tours, fellowships and presence in international conferences. To them India had nothing worthwhile to boast of except the unsociable practices perpetuated by the caste system and sati and the exploitation of the majority of the population by the Brahmins. To them India was never a nation, it became so only through the grace of the British. But for them, there would have been no India. The only worthwhile history was one in which India was modernized by the British and earlier invaders. After all, can anybody match the gift given to India in terms of say, railways and the English language! The great Indian Marxist academics who have followed the 1853 dictum of their Master. "India, then, could not escape being conquered, and the whole of her past history, if it be anything, is the history of the successive conquests she has undergone. Indian society has no history at all... What we call its history is but the history of the successive intruders who founded their empires on the passive basis of that unresisting and unchanging society." To some this was the essence of the Vedas, the Puranas and the Smritis. Total commitment and unadulterated subservience.

 Shaping the minds of the future generation is the third center of gravity which the major powers want to target in any nation. The eminent authors of history books amongst them, in the true tradition of Macaulay, wanted to create a generation totally delinked from its past. They knew that the most successful approach to demoralize a nation would be to demoralize the young generation. That could bring about a red revolution. The best strategy would be to make them ashamed of their past. After all, they belonged to the generations of weak, "unresistant and unchanging people." The negationist kind of history was thrust down the throats of young Indian children for decades together. A select group of leftists came to control academic institutions of national importance and invented a course of Indian history of their choice. Those who opposed them were just ignored and relegated to oblivion. They were not found suitable for any of the fellowships or recruitment in the institutions and universities. In the process many careers were destroyed. Eminent historians were thrown to the periphery and never even referred to in the intellectual outputs. The one perverse objective of this group of intellectuals in authority was to destroy Indian institutions and whatever was sacred to multitudes of Indians. This is one of the centers of gravity to be destroyed in India, which the great powers had in mind. It was considered vital to destroy all edifices of which India could be proud of. They ridiculed Indian samskaras, spirituality, the culture of inclusiveness and acceptance and the unique balance in Indian society.

 

Neo-colonialism[5]

This section borrows heavily from Rajiv Malhotra’s article in Sulekha titled ‘The Axis of neocolonialism’.

Elite colleges in the West teach great respect for Greek and other Western Classics as being the bedrock of their civilization; it has become fashionable for the elite (i.e. Westernized) in India to denigrate their own Indian Classics. Compare this to the tragic state of Indian Classics in India’s own higher education. The equivalent to the Greek Classics would be India’s Vedas, Puranas and other Sanskrit, Pali and Tamil texts. In a comparable education system, students would learn about Panini, Patanjali, Buddha, Nagarjuna, Dharmakirti, Bharthrhari, Sankara, Abhinavgupta, Bharata Muni, Gangesh, Kalidasa, Aryabhata and dozens of other great classical thinkers produced by India.

Unfortunately, in the name of progress, modernity, and political correctness, Indian Classics have been virtually banished from India’s higher education – a continuation of the policy on Indian education started by the famous Lord Macaulay over 150 years ago.. While India supplies information technology, biotechnology, corporate management, medical and other professionals to the most prestigious organizations of the world, it is unable to supply world-class scholars in the disciplines of its own traditions.

The reason is that the nexus of Indology studies remains in Western universities, almost as though decolonization had never happened. The top rated academic journals and conferences on Indology and India related fields are in the West, run largely by Western scholars, and funded by Western private, church and governmental interests. The best research libraries in the Indian Classics are in the West. Religious Studies is the hottest academic field in the humanities in the US, and is growing at a very fast rate, but is non-existent as a discipline in Indian universities.

Therefore, to get an internationally competitive PhD in Sanskrit, Indian Classics, Hinduism, Buddhism, or Jainism Studies, with the highest rigor in methods and theory, such that one may get an academic job in this specialty in a leading international university, a student is forced to go to a US, UK or German university. Hence, one cannot find qualified experts of Indian religions in India, in order to debate Western scholars. The few Indian scholars within the Western academy who are educated in the Indian Classics, are either below the glass ceiling, or else are politically cautious given the risks to their career ambitions.

Furthermore, the marginalization of India’s heritage in its education system, particularly in the English medium system that produces most of the leaders of modern Indian society, has resulted in the leaders of industry, civil service, media and education becoming a culturally lost generation. The result is today’s self-alienated, cynical youth prevalent in many places, especially in elite positions. This is the ultimate goal of the western neo-colonialists.

Interestingly, Western academia hires many Indian scholars in the departments of English Literature, History, Philosophy, Sociology, and Political Science, amongst other humanities. However, while the Western audiences think of them as spokespersons for Indic Traditions, the vast majority of them are unwilling and unqualified to explain Indian Classics seriously. But their Western hosts and colleagues are usually unaware of this shortcoming in most Indian scholars. For this deficiency to become public about an Indian scholar is tantamount to a minor scandal, because they derive much of their clout based on the false perception that they are representatives of Indic thought.

To cover up their ignorance, many elitist Indians resort to a combination of Eurocentric and Marxist rhetoric about Indian civilization – the caste, cows and curry theory of India. They quote Orientalist accounts of India and even base their own scholarship as extensions and derivatives of colonial writings superimposed with Marxism. On the one hand, postcolonial studies are at the very heart of their specialization and career paths. But on the other hand, they are only trained in using Eurocentric hermeneutics and methods. Hence, they can deconstruct Eurocentrism with Western methods, but are completely inept at applying Indic categories and perspectives. They cannot replace the Eurocentric representation model with anything indigenous from India. Postcolonial studies often end up as Orientalism by the neocolonized.

To get certified that they are secular, many Indians line up to prove how they hate Hinduism, or at least how distant they are from what they perceive as a denigrated identity. The historian, Ronald Inden[6]explains the root cause of this disease: “Nehru's India was supposed to be committed to 'secularism'. The idea here in its weaker publicly reiterated form was that the government would not interfere in 'personal' religious matters and would create circumstances in which people of all religions could live in harmony. The idea in its stronger, unofficially stated form was that in order to modernize, India would have to set aside centuries of traditional religious ignorance and superstition and eventually eliminate Hinduism and Islam from people's lives altogether. After Independence, governments implemented secularism mostly by refusing to recognize the religious pasts of Indian nationalism, whether Hindu or Muslim, and at the same time (inconsistently) by retaining Muslim 'personal law'.”

 

This agenda, built on a false definition of secularism, has been taken to such extremes that Sanskrit has been demonized, because it is seen as part of the Evil Brahmin Conspiracy to oppress all the victims of contemporary Indian society. Jawaharlal Nehru University, one of India’s elite institutions in the liberal arts, and the seminary that produces many of these maladjusted intellectuals, has fought hard to resist the establishment of a Sanskrit and Indian Classics department, whereas it is proud of its faculty and curriculum in a wide variety of European languages and civilizations including Persian.

 

This is the result of sheer ignorance about the scope and value of Sanskrit literature. Indologists believe that there are over 30 million distinct manuscripts in Sanskrit, mostly not cataloged, with less than one percent ever translated into a non Indian language. The vast majority of Sanskrit texts is not about “religion,” and covers a diverse territory of subjects – medicine, botany, aesthetics, fiction, jokes, sex, political thought, logic, mathematics, and so forth.

 

Sanskrit was the language of scholarship for a period of several millennia, in the same manner as English has become over the past century. To demonize and suppress this language and its vast literature, in the name of political correctness, is a tragedy against all humanity. Yet this is precisely what has been done for 50 years after India’s independence. One result of all this has been that the colonial mistranslation of Sanskrit words have now become accepted by the majority of Indians educated in the English language, not only the scholars but also the leaders of India’s media, higher education, industry and administrative services. By keeping Sanskrit teaching outside the state support system the force of history is working against the development of Sanskrit language in India and Civilizational motif. The goal is that as decades pass by the number of people knowledgeable about Sanskrit and scriptures would die down and will lead to total elimination of regeneration of Sanskrit, the scriptures and Civilizational identity in India. That would also be the death of the Civilizational unity of India and the idea of India.

 

In 1986 [Why that year and why not earlier years?]  probably to coincide with changes in Pakistan; where a Muslim political history became rooted to stabilize the polity; and second spurt in population in the 80s in India and creation of SAARC], on Khan's initiative, textbook writers in all the states were directed to change the version of history to accord with the anti-Hindu model. Specific guidelines were issued to all the states instructing them not to glorify any period of history — meaning any Hindu period — as a Golden Age; the Gupta period therefore was not to be glorified despite its great achievements. As a further step in de-Hinduization and rehabilitation of tyrannical Muslim rulers, Hindu leaders like Shivaji, Chandrashekara Azad and Rana Pratap were not to be described as freedom fighters against alien rule, but treated as terrorists who opposed 'civilized and civilizing' rulers like Aurangazeb. As a result, the anti-Hindu agenda, which had been gaining strength since the early 1950s, accelerated dramatically under the feudal regime of Nurul Hassan. Only now, following the rout of the Congress party in the 1999 elections, their monopoly has come under threat.

 

This has made these men and women resort to desperate measures like what is coming out in the ICHR scandals. Using the choicest of the expressions in the language they love most, they have gone hammer and tongs in their attempts to decimate, and, if possible, destroy NCERT. They are the flag-bearers of secularism and national cohesion. None else is eligible to talk about it. Even the file pushers joined this bandwagon, smelling a rare chance to deliver sermons to academics and academic institutions. To them, because of NCERT, the future of the country is bleak. They find the process of curriculum renewal in the NCERT as disastrous to the future generations and obviously to the "nation," built up by the "British and those who invaded India earlier." They love being categorized "eminent," the select band of historians, bureaucrats and fellow travelers. They were never worried about education, books, textbooks and their quality when they were at the helm of affairs for decades together. Every book prepared then never contained any error or mistake. They are sure about it. However, these self-appointed saviors of quality and values in education just winked away when Prof. Makkhan Lal analyzed the Class VI history textbook prepared by the government of West Bengal. It is not difficult to identify the pall bearers of the traditions in education perpetuated by Macaulay. They ensured that Indian education remains oriented to the elite, and the constitutional mandate of equality of opportunity, equity and social justice remain mere statements on paper.



Indian scholarship, however, largely failed to challenge the Anglocentric dichotomy. This was partly because the dominant scholarship in India since the 1970s, being overly self-conscious about the specific line which the CPI took on Pakistan in the 1940s, could not decide whether to challenge or to reinforce the Anglocentric dichotomy. Even when it discussed these voices it could portray them only as victims of Indian nationalism.

 

The creeping myth was fostered so successfully in India for many decades by the JNU-type leftist academics: that "intellectualism" necessarily involves the debunking of all traditional values, including patriotism, as pithy symptoms of bourgeois small-mindedness. This attitude of leftist propriety over intellectual activity was something that cast a shadow over many young minds in their University days. The leftist/communist cabal at every campus in India had a stranglehold on dictating what views were, and were not intellectually "fashionable". If you didn't bash your country and deride its history and cry tears of guilt and shame for the circumstances of your birth, so the argument went, you couldn't possibly be bright enough to be considered an "intellectual". Being an intellectual and recognized as an intellectual is controlled by a  closed group and regulated by the thought police establishment. Arundhati Roy, Rohinton Mistry (of Oprah fame), Bharati Mukerji, and others of this new genre of English language Indian writers, are my second generation of neocolonial brown (mem)sahibs.

 

They rake in their money and awards spinning a reinforcement of the caste, cows and curry meta-narratives of India. This is to be contrasted with recent Bollywood blockbusters, such as Lagaan, that have depicted the cross-cultural relationship from the Indian perspective, and hence, catered to popular Indian audiences. These writers, on the other hand, are not read by India’s masses, whom they pretend to represent. It is the Western reader, seeking to fortify his/her Eurocentric myth of superiority, who endorses such work. These authors serve as brown-skinned suppliers for the kind of Orientalism previously done by whites such as Kipling. Their work is widely prescribed in American colleges, as insightful approaches into the complexity of exotic India, in a friendly fictionalized manner. It is taken more seriously than it deserves to be, because the publishers are falsely marketing these authors as the real voices of India.

 

Changes in History teaching in Pakistan

 

There is increasing evidence that changes in history teaching in Pakistan were being matched with changes inside India after 1979. Western institutions and think tanks are involved in this change in both countries. One objective is to create a benign Islamic political history of the Mughal period in the sub-continent so that there is no antipathy towards the Muslim culture and Muslim people by the non-Muslims in the sub-continent. For the Muslims when a Islamic political history is glorified and is a continuum of the larger pan Islamic history; it energizes the Muslim community and unifies them over any political/ethnic differences. This process was  one  way for creation of a sub-continental Muslim ruling class accepted by all the people in the sub-continent in the long run. The assumption here is that non-Muslim population will lose their Hindu attributes and blend with the Muslims in the long run and accept their hegemony.

 

General Ayub Khan abolished history from the school system, and had official textbooks prepared for history students at the university level. Between 1960 and 1980 the students read no history at all for the first 12 years of their studies.[ in addition  from 1960 onwards Indian movies were banned in Pakistan ] Instead, they were taught a newly invented subject called "Social Studies", which was an uneven and coarse amalgam of bits of civics, geography, religion, economics and history. During the 13th and 14th years (undergraduate period) they read a history book prepared by the government. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's regime did not make any change in this scheme.

 

General Zia ul Haq promoted the destruction of history with unswerving determination. In the name of a debatable patriotism and a supposititious ideology he made his control over history writing and teaching complete, arbitrary, coercive and totalitarian. He (1) subjected all textbooks of Social Studies to the scrutiny and approval of the Federal Ministry of Education, i.e., a group of civil servants, (2) created a new subject of "Pakistan Studies"; made it compulsory for all undergraduates in arts, sciences, medicine and engineering, and all graduates in law; and got a special textbook prepared for it by several committees and panels of experts working in close collaboration (the result was not even bad history), and (3) dictated that all these books must meet the requirements of an ideology (he did not call it Islam), of which he was the sole definer, judge and perpetrator.

 

Ahmed Salim and A.H. Nayyar have compiled a 140-page report on ‘The State of Curriculum and Textbooks in Pakistan’. The Report is nothing short of a sneak preview of how the Pakistani Ministry of Education is preparing five and seventeen year old Pakistanis for ‘jihad’. To be certain, the ‘themes of ‘jihad’ and ‘shahadat’ clearly distinguish the pre- and post-1979 educational contents. There was no mention of these in the pre-Islamization period curricula and textbooks, while the post-1979 curricula and textbooks openly eulogize ‘jihad’ and ‘shahadat’ and urge students to become ‘mujahids’ and martyrs.

The official Curriculum Document, Primary Education, Class K-V specifically prescribes ‘simple stories to urge ‘jihad’.’ Under ‘Activity 4’, the prescription for three and eight-year old Pakistanis is: ‘To make speeches on ‘jihad’ and ‘shahadat’.’

Urdu Curriculum (First Language) for Classes IV and V, National Bureau of Curriculum and Textbooks, Ministry of Education, Government of Pakistan sets the following objective: ‘Stories: eight lessons; folk tales, mythical, moral, Islamic, travel, adventure and ‘jihad’.’ Textbook writers are officially directed that ‘a feeling be created among students that they are the members of a Muslim nation. Therefore, in accordance with the Islamic tradition, they have to be truthful, honest, patriotic and life-sacrificing ‘mujahids’.’ A specific ‘suggestion on preparing textbooks’ for Class V is: ‘Simple stories to incite for ‘jihad’.’

Urdu Curriculum (first and second language) for Classes VI-VIII, National Bureau of Curriculum and Textbooks, Ministry of Education, instructs teachers that students ‘must be [made] aware of the blessings of ‘jihad’...’ and that teachers must ‘create yearning for ‘jihad’ in [their] hearts.’

 

The authors say : Our curriculum still equates Islam, Pakistan and ‘jihad’. We are still ‘inspiring’ our children to become guerrilla fighters. The Islamic Republic of Pakistan still insists on making her children ‘aware of the blessings of ‘jihad’, to ‘make speeches on ‘jihad’ ‘, to ‘create a yearning for ‘jihad’ ‘, to ‘love and aspire for ‘jihad’ ‘.

 

Stephen Cohen  of the Brookings Institution has this to say “By 2001 The Pakistan history and identity was being contested once again. Although Army had been able to impose its vision of the state other ideas exist for what Pakistan should be. The important clash inside Pakistan is not a civilization clash between Muslims and non-Muslims but a clash between different concepts of Islam, particularly how Pakistan should implement its Islamic identity.”

 

Currently there is a movement to eulogize Allama Iqbal the poet during the pre-independence movement as the ideologue of Pakistan to replace Jinnah the Father of the nation. This clearly shows a deep search once again for a reason for the creation of Pakistan by the elite and they have been able to change the debate inside the country to suit their objective. There is a great debate on nationalism and Islamic Ummah concept and what does Pakistan stands for.

 

Long Term Impact of History Bias Taught in India

 

History writing has been used both to build nations and to dismantle them. China’s government has championed and funded major programs worldwide to promote a history of China that is constructed as being self-contained and insular, with minimum outside influences discussed. This account starts with Confucianism and Taoism as original pillars of Chinese thought. Even contemporary communist ideology is depicted as a continuation of Confucianism and not entirely as a recent foreign transplant into China.

 

Modern Germany and Japan are also prominent examples of nation building based on constructing an integrated account of their own civilization, history and identity. The European Union is a major new project in the same direction. All these are examples of backward projection by a contemporary sense of positive cohesiveness.  The Saudis invest petrodollars heavily to promote a grand positive narrative of the Arab people and their central place in the destiny of humanity. In fact, the export of Wahhabi Islam is largely a cultural export of Arabism, using religion as a means.

 

History has never been an objective reporting of a set of empirical facts. It’s a present day (re) conception and filtering of data pertaining to the past, to build a narrative that is consistent with the myths of the dominant culture. In India the dominant culture during the later part of the British rule was not based on Indian heritage and Hindu civilization was shown and projected as primitive right form early 1800. Entire generations of western historians and intellectuals started looking at Hindu civilization and Indians as backward and this teaching perpetuated over two centuries and is still continuing. This view was passed on to the elite Indians on the last 100 years resulting in a class of Indians who resent anything about Hindu civilization and Indian culture.

 

The colonial interpretation of Indian history was carefully developed through the nineteenth century. By 1823, the History of British India written by James Mill was available and widely read. This was the hegemonic text in which Mill periodized Indian history into three periods - Hindu civilization, Muslim civilization and the British period. These were accepted largely without question and we have lived with this periodization for almost two hundred years. Although it was challenged in the last fifty years by various historians writing on India, it is now being reinforced again. Mill argued that the Hindu civilization was stagnant and backward, the Muslim only marginally better and the British colonial power was an agency of progress because it could legislate change for improvement in India.

 

 History teaching inside India reinforces the Mughal rule and this has the particular agenda of ignoring the rule of the Marathas and other Hindu rulers of the past. The teaching of History has an inordinate influence on the political future of any country and how the elite in the country views the political setup in the country. This history reinforces a political rule, which does not have indigenous roots, and an entire generation will look at Mughal rule as the only rule prior to the British rule. The idea is to deny and negate any previous non-Muslim( Hindu) political center in the whole of India and to refuse to recognize any golden period during  the pre-Islamic era. This needs to be understood by the political elite in India and the larger middle class.  Some of the books have titles, which suggest the nature of the Indic rule inside India. Example  The Decline and Fall of the Indus Civilization by Nayanjot Lahiri  and  Ashoka & the Decline of the Mauryas by Romila Thapar. They project the decline and fall of pre-Islamic rule and civilization without really talking about the evolution of the civilization. But titles of Islamic history are put in a different tone.  Such as History of the Rise of the Mohammedan Power in India - 2 Volume Set by Mohammed Kasim Ferishta

 

Example of history teaching in India for the last 30 years:

In a review of an NCERT textbook the following comments were made by the reviewer[7]A number of discerning scholars abroad have questioned the application of the western concept of feudalism to the Indian society of this period. In particular, they have refuted the Marxist contention that there was a paucity of money and coins in the post-Gupta period and that this triggered off feudal conditions in India. On the contrary, they say, India had a thriving money economy and the evidence in the shape of the abundant coinage found has been deliberately overlooked by Indian Marxists in order to fit Indian history in the Leftist mould.

Since all the processes that India was undergoing in this period in the realms specially of religion, language and literature were internally generated and internally rooted, it is difficult to comprehend the connection between this period (8th to 12th centuries) and the ensuing one (13th to 18th centuries), which clearly marked the ascendancy of external forces and culture. Clearly the forced clubbing together of highly disparate eras has been motivated solely by the desire to downplay the cataclysmic nature of the Muslim advent in India.  In the circumstances, the second era in Indian history should properly begin with the establishment of the Delhi Sultanate in 1206 AD.

There is also a deliberate attempt to interpolate caste tensions into Hindu society as is evident in the off-hand reference to Shudras. In reality, the so-called Shudras were dominant castes in many areas, they controlled large amounts of land and were a force to reckon with. Many of India's greatest ruling dynasties sprang from lower castes or socially "inferior" mixed castes. The Nandas were shudras, the Mauryas hailed from a mixed caste, the Reddies and Kammas of Andhra were Shudras, and Harsha was a Vaishya. The Rajputs were of Central Asian stock and became accepted as Kshatriya after they had established their power. And just like the Muslims, the Kalingas of Orissa allowed anyone to join their armies and rise to the top by demonstrating their skills in battle. Moreover the Vaishnava and Bhakti movements had already been popularizing the notion that spiritual devotion superceded caste in terms of gaining salvation. Ethnographic studies have also recorded the pride they took in their Shudra status till as late as the 19th century when caste underwent a series of changes as a result of colonial intervention.  The noted historian, Burton Stein has alluded to the close Brahmin-peasant partnership in the extension of cultivation in the south.

In the discussion on religion, there is little attempt to highlight the fact that the reformist impulse came from within Hindu society and that many of its proponents were Brahmanas. “

 

The communists and leftists in India understand the nature of the political center and political construct and hence have been the leading proponents of a Indian history devoid of periods where a commendable role has been played by non-Muslims. The main conclusion of the pre-Islamic history of India [propagated by Delhi historian- Romila Thapar] was that there was no national political center for the entire country and no realpolitik ever practiced and hence the memory of a political center for the vast majority of non-Muslims is non-existent.  The main policy of the western nations is to make sure that the sense of a central political center does not arise in Indian population at all in future and if there is any such political party, which can espouse a weltanschauung, such a party should be weakened and its ideology should be trashed. The political philosophy of an enemy country is an important center of gravity, which any major power would target to destroy it. Congress party is one of the main victims of this strategy. The western countries understood that Nehru/Indira Gandhi were centers of gravity of the congress party and also the political center. The party was run by personal charisma and supported by pre-independence nationalism. By reducing Indira Gandhi’s prestige or eliminating her the entire congress party would become weak and India, which was dependent on one party for most of the 56 years after independence, would not be able to create a central political authority and fall into chaos.

 

One of the reasons given for the teaching of Mughal rule is that allegedly there is no hard political legitimacy for a central rule in India by the non-Muslims and India has no previous precedence (it means India was never a country) and hence it should look at previous one for inspiration and possible emulation in future. This gives a ready opening for a Islamist dream of supremacy of Islam and making India a Islamic political country in the long run. Pakistan has been promoting this idea of a Mughal rule for the last 10 years from 1988 (when a sham democracy was imposed in Pakistan with tacit support of the western powers) with all the jihadi movement (which is actually a social movement) and in the process to create fervor                                                                                                                    for change of government to a favorable Islamic government. Somewhere the essence of India got eroded in the last 43 years. Gai (cow), Ganga and Geeta have now become communal symbols. By reducing the Civilizational identity of India the ground was being prepared for creating a sub-national political center, which can threaten the nation state of India with fragmentation.

 

By denying that India was ever a nation, the leftists overlook the fact that until the advent of Napoleon , many of the nation states that make up Europe today did not exist two centuries ago. Prominent among these are of course Germany and Italy. The concept of a political center and a nation state is of relatively recent origin and why the requirement of nation state be imposed on India is never explained. This is yet another example of India being subjected to  unique and subjective criteria  What is more relevant in the context of India is that a person such as Sankaracharya was able to travel the length and breadth of India without any difficulties caused by provincial borders, passports or language.

 

One quote from an informed Indian: [Quote] - Historical Indian view of power and hegemony diverge from that of it in the west. The Indian view holds domestic tranquility and external security as prime currencies of power and hegemony. Thus, to the Indian view, a chaotic domestic environment and great power status are incompatible (as with Soviet Russia & Stalinist purges, or Maoist China and its cultural revolution putsches); this, in my opinion, has the backdrop of that "Ram rajya" ideal. The other Indian yardstick for a great power is the ideal of a secure, non-threatening environment. The greatest freedom, in the Indian context, is the freedom to be left alone. This is a rare and expensive commodity requiring a lot of power. It is not isolationist by any means, as a lot of migration and colonization (physical and cultural) from India occurred in such circumstances. Thus Western (ie, European) concepts of great power attributes are quite different from their Indian (and,I suspect, Chinese) constructs. I would suggest that if it were put to the Indian masses that India was secure from all foreign threats, that peace prevailed at home, and that Indians were free to turn the rest of the world away from their doors if they chose, or to interact with it to their comfort level, then Indians would say that they are a "world power". The idea of projecting power beyond its borders and shores ("kala pani"), is not native to Indian concepts of a great power. Thus south East Asian Indian kingdoms were never in the role of colonies in the western sense (even east Prussia, for instance). Finally, while economic activity and even prosperity came freely to Indian societies, the concept of economic power or of wielding such power of economic and commercial activities are not an Indian concept in my opinion. One need only compare Roman and Mauryan empires to see the difference in their outlook. [Unquote]

Since the British period was cruel, and pre-Mughal India is dismissed as primitive (except for Buddhism which got intellectually moved from India over to East Asian Studies), what is seen as positive Indian culture is Mughal centric! In these minds, India's worthwhile culture starts only when the Muslims colonized it. The reason is simple: they lack knowledge of Indian Classics.

In his book, Pakistan or the Partition of India, published in 1940, Ambedkar[8] says that for a nation, its entire group must have a common shared view of history or at least must not have a hostile history.  If the heroes of one group are the villains of the other group, then it is impossible to form a nation. This is being reinforced by Pakistan to create hostility towards Indians inside its population. The west is giving them the support and legitimacy for this history. The support from the west for the Muslim political history and the US policies in Middle East to create a Muslim political center makes the entire scenario complex and dangerous in the long run. Some western historians who are classified as experts of south Asian history such as Stanley Wolpert say that Mughal rule was good for the Indian subcontinent giving it a image of greatness and respectability for sub-continental Muslim political history.

 

While each rich and powerful civilization emphasizes its indigenous cohesiveness and continuity, and with scholarship under control of those loyal to it, the reverse is the trend among the economically weak civilizations such as India. In the case of Indian civilization, the scholars’ emphasis has been on how there might not even be such a historical entity as India or Hinduism, and how its civilization was entirely brought to the region by foreigners into India. This intellectual breakup of Indic Traditions into historical layers of cultural imports, each with a nexus in some other part of the world, is the intellectual equivalent of the political breakup of India.5 Bringing India to such a state, minimizing the  unique Civilizational identity of the subcontinent and breaking up India into disparate nations has been the most successful achievement of the British/Anglo intellectuals till now.

 

B Raman (from Saag)[9] says:

 

Let there be no mistake about it. The long-term objective of Pakistan’s Army of Islam vis-à-vis India is no longer the acquisition of territory in J&K. It is to make the sub-continent safe for the spread of Islam by weakening Hinduism, by debilitating the Indian State and thereby paving the way for the restoration of the Mughal State.

 

The increasing resort to political, economic and psychological covert actions by the Western intelligence agencies since the 1950s was accompanied by a mushrooming of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) focusing on human rights, trade union rights, environmental issues, etc. Many of these NGOs were inspired and funded by the intelligence agencies of the US and other Western countries. The net result is that we have a chaotic version of history for different groups who look at different role models in their version of the history. Different denominations of Christians have different version of the Aryan invasion theory and different dates for beginning of Sanskrit language (all after Christ)

 

 The long-term aim of the major powers is to exploit the cleavage inside the Indian society and the contested history to create chaos and instability. They have figured out that the Indian political state will become weak and crumble which can be effectively exploited to increase the reach of Islam and other non-Indic traditions. This will make the Indian society ripe for social change (re-engineering) including revolution and spread of Islam. This will delay the development of India and make it lag behind other potential powers such as China and SE Asian countries. The final long-term goal may be creating a larger Islamic political structure and center from within the Indian landmass, which will finally give legitimacy to the Islamic civilization.

 

 



[1] Rudolph and Rudolph, “Education and Politics in India”, Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press, 1997,ISBN: 0-67423-865-6

[2] Ravni Thakur & Tan Chung ,http://ignca.nic.in/ks_41016.htm, Enchantment and Disenchantment: a sino-indian introspection

 

 

[3] Thomas B Macaulay “Minute on Education”, see appendix

[4]Michel Danino,’ Effect of colonization on Indian thought’ http://www.voi.org/michel_danino/colonization.html

* Dr. Meenakshi Jain, a respected sociologist, wrote: “It is not generally known that the India of rigid social stratification and hierarchical ranking was largely a British creation.... [The British] destroyed the flexibility that was so vital for the proper functioning of the system. The census operations raised caste consciousness to a feverish pitch, incited caste animosities and led to an all-round hardening of the system.... Britishers of all pursuits, missionaries, administrators and orientalists, were quick to grasp the pivotal role [of the Brahmins] in the Indian social arrangement [, in which] Brahmins were the principal integrating force. This made them the natural target of those seeking to fragment, indeed atomize, Indian society. This was as true of the British conquerors as it was of Muslim rulers in the preceding centuries.... Clearly it is time to sit up and see reality as it is before we complete the task the British began — the atomization of Indian society and the annihilation of Indian civilization.” (Indian Express, 18 & 26 September 1990)

[5] Rajiv Malhotra, The Axis of Neocolonialism,

http://www.sulekha.com/expressions/column.asp?cid=218625

[6] Ronald Inden Imagining India. Oxford, Basil Blackwell, 1990; paperback, March1992.

[7] http://www.bharatvani.org/general_inbox/pramod/thaparreview1.html

[8] http://www.ambedkar.org/pakistan/

[9] http://www.rediff.com/news/2002/may/28guest.htm, Musharraf's speech was an anti-climax