India gained independence in 1947 from the British. That was the end of British rule in India. But intellectually and educationally India continues to be a European colony.
Most of the Indian histories had written by western writers. The history of ancient India was erected on false foundations during the colonial period. Many scholars have attempted to expose the fallacy of this distorted Indian chronology with reference to Puranic chronology. Even India’s intellectual elite continue to promote this pre-colonial history by portraying India as feudalistic and pre-rational nation.
There is one saying, “History is always written by the winner”- the victorious side invariably seeks to impose a version of history that shows itself and its leaders in the most favorable light. The truth of this is reflected in the way history books were written after India gained independence. The destruction of any civilization is always done through distorting its history. A version of history is created to turn the victims into villains and the destroyers into heroes. In a letter dated December 16, 1868 the famous Indologist Max Muller wrote to the Duke of Argyll, the then Secretary of State of India, ‘India has been conquered once, but India must be conquered again and that second conquest should be a conquest by education’.. (Ref: ‘The Life and Letter of F. Max Muller, edited by Mrs. Max Muller, 1902, Vol.1, p.357).
Most of the British history writers were mainly army officers and administrators of the East India Company. To mention some of them-
- Major General John Malcolm – A Memoir of the Central India (1824)
- Captain Grant Duff – History of the Marathas (1826)
- Briggs – History of the Rise of Mohammedan Power in India (1829)
- Colonel James Todd – Anals and Antiquities of Rajasthan (1829-32)
- Elphinstone (Resident at Peshwa Court, later Governor of Bombay), History of India (1841)
- Joseph Cunningham (brother of Gen.A.Cunningham) History of Sikhs (1849)
- R.F.Burton – History of Sindh (1851)
As Swami Vivekananda pointed out more than a century ago:
The histories of our country written by English [and other Western] writers cannot but be weakening to our minds, for they talk only of our downfall. How can foreigners, who understand very little of our manners and customs, or religion and philosophy, write faithful and unbiased histories of India? Naturally, many false notions and wrong inferences have found their way into them.
Nevertheless they have shown us how to precede making researches into our ancient history. Now it is for us to strike out an independent path of historical research for ourselves, to study the Vedas and the Puranas, and the ancient annals of India and from them make it your life’s sadhana to write accurate and soul-inspiring history of the land. It is for Indians to write Indian history.
Effect of British Version of History on Indian Leaders:
After independence ruling 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 our ancient civilization. Most of our leaders educated under British system. The result of that developed a severe inferiority complex in our leaders.
Our leader used to preach the same Indian history to us over the years as-
“These (British) Gurus have been sent by God from far off lands” G.H.Deshmukh alias Lokhitawadi in 1848 CE in Shatapatre no.46. This view was also shared by Justice M.G.Ranade and Mahatma Phule.
“It must indeed be considered our good fortune that when Christian missionaries set out to spread Christianity in the world, they did not forget India…” Keshavachandra, Brahmo Samaj leader in 1860 CE.
Mahatma Phule started Satya Shodhak Samaj (Society for Search of Truth) in 1873 CE. Everyone joining the society had to take an oath of allegiance to the British Crown. “How can Hindus, who were ruled by Muslims for 700 years and are being ruled by the British for last 75 years claim to have a glorious past?” – G.G.Agarkar in ‘Sudharak’ (Reformer) in 1885 CE.
British Version of Indian History
British writers twisted Indian history such a way that British made Indians ashamed of Being Indian By editing our powerful, rich Ancient History. Until the invasion of India by Alexander the Great, there was nothing worth mentioning in India. After Alexander, the Greeks taught civilization to Indians, and gave them the Western ideas. In the eighth century Mohammed bin Kasim invaded India. It marked the begining of the Muslim rule. Then came the Ghazanvis, Ghoris, Gulams, Turks, Afgans, Khiljis, Tughalaqs, Lodis and Mughals. They were very brave and noble. They carried out reforms after reforms. Finally the British. They looted the our country systematically. The history of Hindus (according to the British) is as dark as coal tar. There is nothing in it to be proud of.
Ignoring History in India:
It is evident that national history is history with a purpose. It tries to capture the ethos, values and traditions that give a nation its identity. It reconstructs the past as the foundation of the present, the wellspring from which contemporary society derives its inspiration and vitality. It helps build a, national consciousness’ and creates a desire to recapture ‘past glory’. Records were not properly kept and where they were kept they were not preserved.
Instead of trying to preserve and perpetuate its ancient heritage, and build upon it, the political party that claims to have brought freedom from colonial rule is trying to glorify the destroyers and even restore foreign rule!
The leaders have failed to build national institutions rooted in the culture and the history of the land. Instead, they have been trying to import ideas and models from their former colonial masters. This has now reached its absurd limit with the party claiming to have fought for freedom from European rule asking a European to lead them and the country!
There were some scholars during the British Raj who realised the importance of history in nation-building. They were furious at the state of affairs. Rajwade, Vasudevshastri Khare and others started work around 1900 CE. The formidable task of collecting and compiling evidence was so immense that Rajwade could not foresee the starting of writing of the History of the Marathas, in his life time.
In 1907 Savarkar came to London. After studying the contemporary British books in India Office Library he concluded that he had to reject the traditional view of the Great Revolt of 1857. It was not a Sepoy Mutiny as commonly believed. The British authors themselves do not use the term Sepoy Mutiny, instead they call it Indian Mutiny. Savarkar Proclaimed that it was a War of Independence in which everyone from the Maharajas to the road sweepers took part. His book was promptly proscribed even before its publication! Savarkar protested on September 17, 1909 ‘If my book is seditious, why does not the Government show courage to take me to court?’ The British Authorities did not prosecute Savarkar for his book.
In 1991 Bharat Itihas Sanshodhak Mandal (Indian Society for Historical Research) was formed.
In 1918 Mr.N.C.Kelkar, one of Lokamanya Tilak’s lieutenants published a book “Marathas and the English” which dismissed the traditional theory that Marathas lost due to internal dissensions, lack of unity and lack of foresight. But the situation and things to rewrite history did not improve after the British left India.
Appeasement of Muslims by Congress Leaders:
The Congress continued with the British policy to augment the party’s “popularity” in the ballot-box. The Congress Party, especially after the death of Sardar Patel, has identified itself more with foreign values rather than Indian values.
The reason why Indian history was not rewritten much after 1947. Gandhi was so obsessed with Ahimsa (non-violence) that he condemned Rana Pratap,
Shivaji and Guru Govind Singh for their armed struggle. Savarkar proclaimed ‘We Hindus on our own can win our freedom from the British’. Gandhi locked Savarkar’s confidence and conviction. This led to his perpetual capitulation to Muslim demands and finally culminated in the horrors of partition.
After independence Nehru’s secularism always meant capitulation to Muslims and anti-Hindu politics. Thus under Nehru years and early Indira Gandhi rule Gandhian appeasement hangover was still intact. It must be noted that during all the Lok Sabha elections after 1947, the Congress party to date has not even once received even 50 percent of popular vote. Thus a 10 percent vote swing can change the power equation in New Delhi. Under these conditions, Muslim vote bank had disproportionate importance. Thus in later years (particularly after emergency) capitulation to the Muslim demands and appeasement became a tool for staying in power. In the zeal for retaining the power, true history has become the first victim.
Effect of Appeasement of Muslims:
Veer Savarkar delivered lectures in 1950-51 exposing how the Indian history is written with a strong anti-Hindu slant. These later appeared in newspapers. However no publisher dare to publish his book ‘Six Glorious Epochs of Indian History’.( This book destroys the myth that Hindus suffered defeat upon defeat, and asserts that Hindus survived aggressions because they fought tooth and nail to preserve their religion and culture.)
A school in Bombay used to teach Gita as the part of studies. It was not objected to by the British. But in 1963 Education Department of Maharashtra threatened to stop the Government grant until Gita teaching is stopped. Of course the government provides grants to Madrsas and convents without hesitation.
Nehru wanted to remove word ‘Hindu’ out of Benaras Hindu University, but not the word ‘Muslim’ from Aligarh Muslim University.
When Abdul Reheman Antulay was chief minister of Maharashtra, a deputation of Muslims demanded following:
Urdu should be a compulsory subject in schools
25 % of seats in Police and Civil Service be reserved for Muslims
Government land should be given to build mosques
After this, an Urdu Academy was started in Maharashtra. Government newspaper Lokrajya is now published in Urdu and Marathi. There are no prizes for guessing how many people in Maharashtra speak Urdu (If you consider Muslims from Miraj as Urdu speakers, you must be calling Bombay Hindi as the best Hindi ever spoken).
Urdu was made second state language in Bihar in December 1980 even though the regional language Maithily spoken by 5 times more people was denied the status. In U.P. Urdu was made a second language in February 1982.
In December 1981, Indira Gandhi recognized the Moplas as patriots, freedom fighters despite their barbaric atrocities on Hindus in 1921.
July 18, 1982 issue of ‘Shree’ a Marathi weekly from Mumbai carried an article by Mr.D.B.Pradhan entitled ‘Pre-Islamic Vedic Religion in the Gulf States’. Government of Maharashtra immediately banned the issue under the pretext that it hurt sentiments of Muslims. Mumbai High Court later declared the ban illegal.
The most flagrant and unashamed example of Muslim appeasement came under V.P.Singh who declared Prophet Mohammed’s birthday an Indian national holiday. In his obsession for Muslim appeasement he did not realize that the birth and death of Prophet Mohammed fall on the same day. That day, Id-e-Milad was already a national holiday!
Despite of showing interest in preserving our precious history and values, our leaders were more concerned over Muslim appeasement.
Appeasement of Muslims Leads to Falsification of History by GOI:
In December 1937, Savarkar said ” Following appeasement of Muslims, the government is now trying to pervert history. It is well known that in 1318, Harpaldev of Devagiri was skinned alive by Kutb-uddin Khilji of Delhi. This fact is hidden and the history books tell us that he was simply arrested. Sambhaji, the brave Maratha king was also tortured to death by Aurungzeb. But history books say that he too was simply arrested. ”
In the medieval times the main source of government income was the land revenue. Under Hindu rulers its used to be 16 %. Under Akbar it became 33 %. It stayed same under Jehangir. Under the ‘Golden’ rule of Shah Jahan it was raised to 50 % and it stayed the same during Aurungzeb who added Jizya tax on Hindus. Under Allauddin Khilji the land revenue also was 50 %. This information is kept out of history books.
It is well known that Prophet Mohammed fled from Mecca to Medina in 622 CE. Muslims all over the world accept the fact. But in 1982 under pressure from Muslims Maharashtra government ordered that word ‘fled’ must be deleted. So now it reads that Prophet Mohammed went from mecca to Medina in 622 CE. Even Nehru would have been amazed by this because in his book ‘Some Glimpses of World History’ he does say that Prophet Mohammed fled from mecca to Medina.
In 1982 the Central Ministry of Education issued guidelines for writing and teaching of Indian history which among other things forbid describing the medieval period as a period of conflict between Hindus and Muslims. In short, Shivaji’s virtues should not be glorified and Aurungzeb’s bigotry and despotic nature must not be described!
Attitude of Indian historians:
Historicity of many theories has not been challenged by Indian historians. In December 1963, the ‘Hazarat Baal'(supposedly Prophet Mohammed’s hair) disappeared from the shrine in Srinagar. It was ‘found’ a few days later. Firstly, no Indian historian has bothered to ask that if even Mecca and Medina do NOT contain any relics of the Prophet, where did this hair come from 700 YEARS AFTER THE PROPHET’S DEATH ? Also no Indian historian has asked that since the Hazrat Baal, the hair disappeared in 1963 and reappeared a few days later, is it the same hair ? Suddenly all the historians consider it an authentic historical relic.
Second is the case of Taj mahal. Shah Jahan’s ‘Badshahnama’ which is the only major Mughal document the British did not translate (perhaps intentionally) categorically states that it was Raja ManSingh’s palace that was taken over by Shah Jahan. In 1968 when P.N. Oak published his theory based on his translation of Badshahnama, suddenly those very pages were declared irrelevant and out of context by Indian historians. If Mr. Oak’s translation is wrong then why do the Indian historians have courage to publish word to word translation of the Badshahnama as Mr. Oak has done or accept his translation?
Finally, The extent of distortion or bias in Indian history school text books leads the students to learn about the French Revolution, the world wars and European history but we are not teaching our students how rich and powerful India was before the arrival of the Europeans, which in turn leads youth to believe that India was always a poor country. We do not teach our children how India was looted and plundered by invaders after invaders. If our children know the richness and wealth of our ancestors, there will be pride instilled which will force these young minds to recapture old glory.
However, neither the Government of India nor the Indian historians are going to write the true history of India. It is our responsibility to preserve our ancient history, precious heritage, monuments and showcase them to the next generation. Let our future generation learn, know and spread the true and amazing Indian history not falsified history like us. A little effort on our side can create drastic changes that will make the past, the present and the future generations of the country and the world proud of India.