Thursday, April 9, 2009

BJP-RSS Labs: Distorted past; perfect pill for violent future.

Well it wont be wrong to say that the memory of Indian voters is really short and yet they like to brag to about history and culture that was supposedly there 2000 years back. As we go for the 2009 general election I would like to refresh your memory and make us all realize that we stand today at cross roads where the idea of India may be at stake.

Last time when the NDA government was voted in power, the civil society and liberals had many nightmares during the six years of saffronization. The RSS initially modeled on the same lines as Hitler's Natzi party in Germany let out a blitzkrieg on the the idea of India and ravaged many important landmarks in the culture and history of India.

For the first time we could see a party with a communal agenda ruling the country and it made sure that even if it lost power it starts dismantling of very idea of India, built carefully grain by grain by Gandhi, Nehru, Bose, Tilak.... The young minds are often compared to wet clay which can be imprinted by anything they are taught in the innocent years of childhood. So to make the case strong for the Hindutva agenda and creating a false sense of unity among disparate Indian and gluing them with hatred for other communities, history text books were changed. As explained beautifully in "The Argumentative Indian" by Amartya Sen, the hindutva movement based on imaginary premises, needs to desperately re write the Indian History. The Hindutva movement needs to keep together its diverse components and generate fresh loyalty from potential recruits.

"The rapidly reorganized National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) became busy, from shortly after BJP's assumption of office, not only in producing fresh text books for school children, but also in deleting sections from books produced earlier by NCERT itself.... The speed of the attempted textbook revision had to be so fast that the newly reconstituted NCERT evidently had some difficulty in finding historians to do this task who would be both reasonably distinguished and adequately compliant."

The well respected historians did not look at such attempts to distort history kindly and came out openly against such malpractice [1]. Such a curriculum was prepared without the co operation of state governments which were mostly under non BJP rule at that time. Predictably the ministers from various state governments came out openly against safronization of education but BJP ruled states complied almost immediately.

In this distorted version of history the Indus Valley civilization was shown to be a part of the Hindu culture and renamed after the mystical river Saraswati. to prove the point archaeological evidence was forged and even after the forgery was found out the text books continued with the hindutva view. Chapters on liberal rulers like Ashoka and Akbar were toned down and more emphasis was given on the Hindu Muslim conflict and the massacre of Hindu's at behest of Muslim rulers. Very recently the Himachal Pradesh board [2] removed a chapter on eminent artist M F Hussain from the text books citing reasons that there are better local artists who should be known to the students. The true reason is an open secret i.e. the fanatical opposition of Hindutva groups to M F Hussains paintings where they accuse him of disrespect of Hindu Gods even after loosing the argument in the Supreme Court.

Such distortions of the Indian history have a potential of changing the liberal and secular Indian society into a very conservative and belligerent one. The manifestation of this country wide experiment by hindutva labs was evident during the Gujrat riots where the administration openly colluded with the rioters and the complete state machinery broke down yet the Nero, Mr. Modi, was christened the king and saviour of RSS and BJP and given more influence over the state and party affairs.


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