Archive for the ‘Ayodhya’ Category

Romila Thapar, Duke University, Methodist Church or Romila Thapar, Secularism, Secular history: The Role of Historian and Social Change!

July 16, 2009
Romila Thapar, Duke University, Methodist Church or Romila Thapar, Secularism, Secular history: The Role of Historian and Social Change!
Published on October 23rd, 2007 In Uncategorized, Politics |  Views 410
Romila Thapar, Duke University, Methodist Church orRomila Thapar, Secularism, Secular history: The Role of Historian and Social Change! I am happy to know that, “The Historian in the World: A Conversation with John Hope Franklin and Romila Thapar” will take place at 3 p.m. in the Divinity School’s Goodson Chapel on Duke’s West Campus. It is free and open to the public. Srinivas Aravamudan, director of the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute, will moderate the discussion”. http://www.dukenews .duke.edu/ 2007/10/conversa tion.htmlI am more anxious what the historians discuss there in the Divinity School’s Goodson Chapel on Duke’s West Campus on October 22, 2007!

“the DivinitySchool’s Goodson Chapel on Duke’s West Campus” made me curious to look into the details. The University claims that, “The Duke University is related the Methodist Church”.

For details see: “Duke University”s Relation to the Methodist Church”:  http://library.duke.edu/uarchives/history/duke-umchh.html

  •      Well, it is all right, bt how the reportedly Communist or Marxist, progressive, secuar Romila Thapar would be speaking there in the, “the Divinity School’s Goodson Chapel on Duke’s West Campus”?
  •      How “Two distinguished scholars will share their views of the role of the historian and social change”?
  •      Would they discuss within the Charter, bylaws, aims, and mission statement” or they go beyond?

The “Charter, bylaws, aims, and mission statement” contains a provision, as follows:

The aims of Duke University are to assert a faith in the eternal union of knowledge and religion set forth in the teachings and character of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; to advance learning in all lines of truth; to defend scholarship against all false notions and ideals; to develop a Christian love of freedom and truth; to promote a sincere spirit of tolerance; to discourage all partisan and sectarian strife; and to render the largest permanent service to the individual, the state, the nation, and the church. Unto these ends shall the affairs of this University always be administered”.http://library.duke.edu/uarchives/history/charterlink.html

How Ropmila Thapar hailing from “Secular India” is going to be accommodative, conducive and recptive to such Christians principles in the name of Jesus Christ? This makes me remember as to how the Christian Crusades, marriages and other functions are held at the “Periyar Tidal” (auditourium with big hall) at Chennai, India. The podium / stage there bear the Cross-believing Christians and the atheists, who speak against the God, scriptures and believers! Like that, would the “the Divinity School’s Goodson Chapel on Duke’s West Campus” bear the secular, progressive and sectarian Romila Thapar there in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God?

Just remember, what she wrote about Jesus Christ, when she was accusing Rama, the Hindu God as a myth:

This does not happen with the biographies of those who were known to be historical figures and who founded belief systems: the Buddha, Jesus Christ, Mohammad. Their biographies adhere largely to a single story-line and this helps to endorse the ‘official’ narrative of their life. Their existence is recorded in other sources as well that are not just narratives of their lives but have diverse associations…..”.

At that time, I had responded as follows:

Their biographies adhere largely to a single story-line and this helps to endorse the ‘official’ narrative of their life.Why they should largely adhere to a single line? How this helps “official” narrative? How “official” it could be of “their life”? Why can’t you write as a historian instead of believer here? That the “biographers” were compelled or forced to accept or adhere to a single line proves that many lines were left out. And still small number of biographers who did not adhere to a single line is also exposed. Then, what you are talking about? Majority view and minority view? Condemn the “lesser” and accept or approve the Larger”! Adhere to one-line and forget many lines! What sort of historian you are? That man Karu has become a senile man and talks differently. Do you also do the same think as a senile lady?How you endorse such one-liners? Is there any historical methodology to that effect? Which University teaches such approving of one-line biography by eminent historians like you?Do not fool Indians. Ernest Renan, J. M. Robertson and so many reputed authorities are there on the subject matter of Jesus Christ and Christianity. Any way, it is your cowardice gets exposed, as you never whispered anything, when there was much Christian opposition to screening of “Da Vinci Code”. However, when the so-called “Hindutva judgment” came out, you vociferously jumped and asserted that “We would go to Court”. Everything appeared in “the Hindu” itself with your face. Madam, what happened? But now you come siding with atheists, anti-Hindus, anti-nationals as a historian suppressing the recent past and forgetting your own past!

Their existence is recorded in other sources as well that are not just narratives of their lives but have diverse associations. So also Rama. Why then your argument goes differently.In fact, their associations differ. But, Ramayana core story, as H. D. Sankalia in his “Ramayana Myth or Reality”  that it had been there nearly for 3000 years.How “That their existences is recorded in other sources” help you to decide?

It may be noted that historians and scholars have pointed out that Christ story was copied from
Krishna! Rama was repeatedly mentioned in different literature not because of variance, but influence and impact created on the people well before 2500-3000 YBP. Was the Sangam poet a fool to record in his poem about his discussion with his army about the mode of crossing over the ocean to Lanka”. How that poet was imaging that that Lanka should have been the Lanka of Ramayana in his times i.e, 2500 – 3000 YBP?”

Definitely, the Americans and American Christian believers might be knowing about the background and the implications revoving around the discussion. So, we Indians are eagerly waiting to see as to how tshe is going to discuss within the conditions of the University and Christian belief system or she would have courage to vent our her genuine feeling as sjhe has been doing here in India against Hindus. As she has recently started supporting the atheist political party DK-DMK-PMK combine of the ruling combine (supported by the Communist-Marxist political parties from outside), we look forward the discussion to fulfil the following conditions:

The aims of Duke University are to assert a faith in the eternal union of knowledge and religion set forth in the teachings and character of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; V     to advance learning in all lines of truth; to defend scholarship against all false notions and ideals; to develop a Christian love of freedom and truth; V     to promote a sincere spirit of tolerance; to discourage all partisan and sectarian strife; and V     to render the largest permanent service to the individual, the state, the nation, and the church.

Unto these ends shall the affairs of this University always be administered

The activities of Duke foundation have been obviously Christian:

For details: click and see http://www.dukeendowment.org/ruralchurch

VEDAPRAKASH

22-10-2007.

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Historians: Mythistory, Historical myths and Historiography in India

July 16, 2009
Historians: Mythistory, Historical myths and Historiography in India
Published on October 20th, 2007 In Uncategorized, Politics |  Views 1286
Historians: Mythistory, Historical myths and Historiography in IndiaThe Communist historians posing as “master of all arts”: K. N. Panikkar1, the rabid communist and Red Parivar fundamentalist has been out with his brigade and arsenal to attack the noble subject of history and historiography with professionally biased, ideologically corrupted and historically perverse duplicity. He follows Romila Thapar2 sincerely and faithfully without any historical sincerity, epistemological honesty and historiosophic faith, though, in his determination to write about politicization of history. Now, his new venomic dosage has poured in the form of “Myth, history and politics” with due accommodation in the propagandist communist mouth-piece of “Frontline”3.

Suraj Bhan4, the Babri-archaeologist says, “Government should have stood by ASI”. Ironically, he sided with the communal and divisive forces of BMAC at that time. More irony was that the BMAC was producing EVR books as evidence to the government. He now goes to assert that archaeology has nothing to do with religion. But it is archaeology, those archaeological evidences, which decides the fate of religion. He need not come out about the NASA pictures now, as archaeologists or scientists never opine, as do now, when the pictures were published in media and discussed widely. At that time itself, the scientific community could have openly asserted that it was only a ridge made of coral reef and so on.

Earlier, the eminent historian, Romila Thapar had the audacity of questioning the so-called “Hindutwa judgment” and declared, “We will file appeal in the Supreme Court”. But nothing happened. This had been a glaring example of historians meddling with religious sentiments, and judicial judgments.

“    So why these retired, senile, old-aged historians off and on, come out and roar and sleep like this?

“    Why they want to pretend to be “master of all arts or subjects”?

“    Are they really sincere in pursuing such path or just write something, get money and keep quite?

Indians are forced to study them carefully for their exhibited behaviour5 (shouting, fighting and beating during the business sessions of IHC, SIHC etc), eccentric statements and claims (that we would appeal to Supreme Court) and occasional explosive writings [as appearing in the Hindu, Frontline, EPW, Murasoli (mouth-piece of the militant anti-Hindu DMK) etc]. How the persons of various disciplines should be evidently ganged against one particular religious believers, religion and their belief system? Is it coincidence or orchestrated war against them? What is right or wrong with them?

Politicization of Ayodhya – the Myth and Reality: While the people of Ayodhya have started cursing BJP and Sangh Parivar for forsaking the issue, the Red gang at Faizabad tried to interpret differently6. But the local people who have been living there for thousands of years do not believe the communists. At one time, they have even driven away them and warned that they would not vote for them again (ironically, the people of Faizabad in which Ayodhya is situated elected Communist).

Had they known that these communist historians are propagating another myth that “Ayodhya” was in Afghanistan7, even local Muslims would have thrashed them out for “talibanization of Indian history”8. The people of Ayodhya have been angry with politicians, ideologists and government, as they have been disturbed, troubled and harassed by them always. Whenever, any problem is there, they land down to get sensational news and disappear.

But the continuing tradition, age-old worship, people participation in the festivals, fairs and celebrations have been curtailed by the government under the guise of security. So why the Red Parivar (Communists of all sorts), the Black Parivar (the atheist-politicians of all sorts) and the Green Parivar (not elsewhere specified) want to remember Rama?

The local Hindus and Muslims blame all, as they have lost their land, the traditional places of festivals and fairs, terribly disturbed by the police and security forces, as they could not carry out their routines, periodic festivals and fairs. Tourism, fairs and festivals only bring money for livelihood there. As they live on such fairs and festivals and now they are restricted and even banned, thousands of people of Ayodhya have been affected greatly. Their grievance has been two-fold –

  1. As BJP and Sangh Parivar forgotten Rama and Ayodhya, the people coming to Ayodhya has stopped and
  2. because of government restriction, terrorist attack etc., the strength of tourists coming there has also dwindled down.

They, painfully express that nowadays, people are afraid of Ayodhya, because of the politicization. Have historians noted this point? The mythologization of history of Ayodhya has only brought harm to the people and not any benefit. The fight of archaeologists9 at WAC-3 only exposed the Communal, fundamentalist, fanatic, ideologically oriented archaeologists and not any real archaeologists who work for the benefit or welfare of Indians.

Now, the Politicization of Rameswaram: The same thing has started happening at Rameswaram and the sacred spot Sethu-samuthram. For thousands of years, the Hindus have been faithfully going there coming from extreme north and north-west and even from foreign countries to have holy-dip at the Dhanuskoti. On every auspicious day, there would be lakhs and thousands of people gathering there to carry out their duties without any publicity.  It is not myth that every place, spot and even stones and earth there are named after Ramayanic characters, episodes and happenings, as no historian or mythologist has taught them to do so.

\    If there is no Rama and Ramayana, where is Rameswaram?

\    Can these archaeologists and historians could find pr suggest another name for this place?

\    How the engaged responsible scientists and others without consciousness, honesty and integrity, mention as “Adam-bridge” now in official documents and writings even in the science journals10?

\     Then, why can’t they change the name to Adam-samuthram Project instead of Setu-samuthram project?

\    With such mind-set, have they any morality or moral right to sit in the Committee?

But now, the politicians, engineers, workers and others have landed in gangs and started disturbing, troubling and harassing the locals. Not only the pilgrims even the locals have been annoyed by their behaviour and activities.

If Rama is not there, there is no Rameswaram. But the historians, politicians and the non-believing atheist evidently anti-Hindu have been out to attack the innocent Hindus. Still millions of Hindus do not know that their monument has already been subjected to demolition in the name of progress, project, and money-making political contracts where more than 2500 crores are involved.

So now, it has been the atheist DMK who wants to be in power blackmailing and extracting from the Congress, who are ironically supported by the very Communist crones of treachery. The political power brokers have ganged together under the guise of bastardized alliance burying their ideologies only with the aim of amassing crores through commissions, contracts and postings. They do not have anything for India, or anything connected with
India. Why then, they have ganged together to rule? So the intention has been very clear to loot the people under the name of pseudo-secularism, political fundamentalism and alliance gangsterism.

So their slaves and agents of historians, paid-writers and pert-journalists have no other business from their slumber, but suddenly wake up and start writing about Rama, Ramayana etc., in the accommodative papers and journals. Why the duplicity? And what these historians talk and write about?

Filing and withdrawal of Affidavits: An “affidavit” has been a sworn statement submitted to any legal or quasi-judicial; forum by the applicant or respondent in the involved case or dispute with usual appendage, “I do hereby solemnly affirm and say that the statements contained in the foregoing petition are true to my knowledge”. Generally, a lawyer or advocate would draft it taking facts from their client. After approval of the client, it would be vetted by the senior advocate and filed on the judicial forum. What is the role of historians or archaeologists here, that too, not connected with the case? If there has been any legal lacuna or deviation, even if one is not advocate or party, it can be pointed out for rectification.

Remember the affidavit and petition filed by one Chandamal Chopra11 in Calcutta High Court on June 18th, 1985 – popularly known as “Calcutta Quran petition”? Why these Communist historians were sleeping when it happened from their citadel? Even though, the petition and review petition filed by Chandamal Chopra was dismissed by the Judge Bimal Chandra Basak, the Court documents tell the history.

Take another classical case of Sri Ramakrishna Mission claiming minority status12 in the very same Calcutta High Court! What happened? Yes, the so-called Hindutwa Mission found by the communal Swami Vivekananda was declared as minority Institution by the Calcutta High Court! What these historians were doing at that time? Where Romila was roaming, Panikkar was poking or prowling upon and Suraj was snoozing? The affidavits did not bother them? They did not know the history or fooling the people of India?

Why “the only nationalist newspaper”,  “The Hindu” and the communist “Frontline” did not come out with articles questioning the affidavits, history, faith, myth, fusion etc., involved in the above cases? Why archaeologists like Suran Bhan did not come out to rescue archaeology or history or at least to suggest the government, as he doing now?

Why historians are sleeping and awakening suddenly? If these historians are committed to the historical cause with historicity in their minds, they should be consistent with every similar issue. They should be conscious, vigil, and awakened all the times and come out with their articles in The Hindu, EPW or frontline. But, they are active only when “Rama” is involved.

V     Why can’t their historical consciousness and historical thinking question the historicity of Jehovah, Allah, Jesus, Christ, Mary, Mohammed,
Fatima and their connected events and happenings? 13

V     Location of their places of birth, so-journ and death?

V     Archaeology of such places? 14

As India is a secular state and the festivals of them are imposed on majority Hindus, all Indians have every right to know why Christmas, Easter, Miladi-nabi, Bakrid, and other festivals are celebrated15. The Hindus and true-secularists are bewildered and perplexed as to why the Muslims and Christians are greeted whenever their festivals are celebrated? Or their gods days of birth and death are celebrated, whereas that of others, particularly, the Hindus are neglected?

M  Why myth, history, faith, fusion etc., work differently here?

M  Why this variance in the approach of historians?

M  Is it historically allowed or hysterically followed?

M  Why methodology differs?

M  Why scientific temper in history fails?

M  Why secularism too stops working?

M  Why multivocal existence, folklore tradition, narrations of Bibles, Quarans etc., are not talked about?

M  If myth represent reality but represent it symbolically and metaphorically yet masking reality, why such myths are not told to secular Indians?

Thus, it is evident that these archaeologists and historians have been totally dishonest, corrupt, and perverse by being partial, biased and prejudiced. Definitely, these qualities are not for good historians. Hiding their cunningness and manipulative shrewdness, they now declare that they need not have any objectivity in history. As in the west, here there have not been any wagers for mythologization of history or historification of myth, but still, unofficial war is waged6 by the Communal Communist forces calling others as communal ands so on!

Of course, they might have done good work some 20-30 years back, but now, their psyche and mind-set are revealed and definitely, Indians cannot expect any historically faithful writings from them.

6      And they would continue to write like this with the same trend of faith, fusion, etc., creating “mythistory” 17 in Indian fooling millions of students of schools and colleges.

6      Can any responsible parent of
India allow these horrible and horror historians to write text-books for our children to read and become fundamentalists, fanatics and terrorists of new brand under the guise of pseudo-secularism, secular-fundamentalism and mythistory?

Myth, history, mythistory: Historically “myth” is not false, untruth or non-existent, in historical context at a particular historical time and historical place. Thus, historical myths are not opposed to historical facts, as from such myths only, the facts are culled out, grouped, analyzed and results are drawn for interpretation. Without myth or at least believing in myth, no archaeologist could proceed in his field study. He cannot locate any mound to start his dig.

History is not what is or has been or will be written but it is really what has or had happened in the past. In such understanding the past, historians cannot compel, dictate and force people with their own yardstick or scale

6      If historian says that your God is only 1000 years old or 2000 years old, that is his understanding of past, as the living tradition proves beyond doubt that certain people have been knowing that God for at least more than 4000 years. So historian fails in this simple case.

6      Historian says that one particular civilization has been illiterate and thus pre-historical in spite of their technology exhibited through material evidences excelling the present. Here also he fails miserably without understanding the facts.

6      He is creating a myth that only people with writing, that too that writing preserved and shown to them would be accepted as historical.

6      The limitation of understanding the past, misunderstanding or not-understanding of facts through material evidence, non-acceptance of available material evidence in historical perspectives etc., are only weaknesses of historians and not fault of such evidences. Here also historians create their myth.

6      If reconstruction of history is not possible with available constructive evidences, then, they cannot question the re-writing historians, adamantly, as again, they are creating a myth – the might of fascism that they can only write history and others cannot.

The historiography or rather historiographies of the pre-Christian or post-Christian, the pre-Mohammedan or post-Mohammedan, pre-Islamic or post-Islamic, pre-colonial or post-colonial interpretations, bias and prejudice at global level has been accepted one. The Indian history and historiography has been the adversely affected by all such impositions, censorship and professional bias-system operated and has been operating even today at different levels. Common Indians are not able to understand as to why these historians of all the above groups are ganged together and act against them? It is not the question of “Right” or “Left” but “Right” or “Wrong”. Indians cannot accept if “Right” is given by the “Right” or “Left”, or “wrong” is forced on them by the same categories. If both have problem in choosing which is right or wrong, Indians are not responsible for that, as they have books written and preserved in spite of the Muslim and Christian onslaught of destruction and carrying away the manuscripts and palm-leaf books ad other valuable historical evidences.

Unfortunately, Indian historical scholarship started reflecting some set of political or ideological groups degenerating into propaganda serving their political masters. The Congress has evidently nurtured the Communist or Marxist brand of historians since Nehru and they have been enjoying the postings in many historical and historian forums.

Politicians, historians, scientists and Adam-bridge: Now, we see not only historians, but also scientists have been ganged up with them. All have been under the control of politicians. They would have already sworn affidavit with their political masters. How then, they would faithfully come out with their professional expertise? When about one billion believers call it as “Ram-sethu”, these chosen numbers have audacity to mention as “Adam-bridge”, like Babri-Masid! Why such selective or specific bias on the part of scientists and experts?

It is obvious, the Communist historians may also get a share in the form of VC, members, directors in the thousands of Government controls academies, institutes etc., where they get income regularly with other regular facilities.

Appeal to Historians, scientists and politicians: If you want to earn money, go on build bridges in the city and towns. You can build two or more at required points or at non-required points, No problem. Lay four-track, six-track roads for MNCs, you get crores of rupees as commission. You can get funds from ADB, World Bank, American Bank, Communist Bank, Islamic Bank (perhaps without interest) etc., without bringing Rama. Shellout all agricultural lands to MNCs, no problem. Develop SEZs, kill people, immediately, you can bring revolution! Forget Rama and Sethu-samuthram project.

You can share with your scientists and historians by engaging them as “consultants”. Of course, corporate corruption always accommodates “consultants”, just like The Hindu, Frontline etc., accommodating communal communist historians. Do not taking Ayodhya to Afghanistan and Lanka to Madhyapreadesh or elsewhere, by actual talibanization of history.

The Indian politicians – please do play with the communist cronies and encouraging them to goon and spin mythistory. Do not try to wage war against innocent people of
India.

N     By calling Rama a myth, a drunkard and so on, what you are going to achieve? We know you people always drink.

N     Can you get the status of Rama?

N     Or can you become a Rama?

N     By saying that my leader name is Ramaswamy, can any fool would believe that you are so friendly to Rama?

N     Do not you think that you are creating myth like roaming Romila, puny Pankkar and sullying Suraj?

Leave Rama to Ramabaktas, they are capable of taking care of him. Do not worry about Ayodhya or Lanka. Be happy with Ravana.

Notes and References

1.     K. N. Panikkar, a former professor of history, at Jawaharlal Nehru University and a former-vice-chancellor of Sree Sankarayacharya University of Sanskrit (sic), is currently the chairman of the Kerala Council of Historical Research. In IHC sessions, he used to give lectures in the evenings officially and unofficially to the Communist and Muslim groups separately.

2.     Romila Thapar, “Where fusion cannot work – faith and history” (the Hindu, dated September 28, 2007).

…………………., Historical Memory without History, in Economic and Political weekly, VOL 42 No. 39 September 29 – October 05, 2007, pp.3903-3905

3.     K. N. Panikkar, Myth, history and politics, Frontline, October 5, 2007, pp.21-24.

4.     Suraj Bhan, “Government should have stood by ASI”, Ibid, pp.19-20.

5.     It is very common during the sessions IHC. During business session of 51st session held atCalcutta in 1990, the members were about to clash with each other, but three delegates from Tamilnadu virtually-physically forced them apart. During the dinner hosted at the lawns of Victoria Memorial Building, the delegates all historians, professors etc., fall on the food without any discipline. The same three
Madras delegates came to rescue asking them to come in line to take their food.

K. Chitra Rao, Indian History Congress, a letter appearing in the Hindu dated December 10, 1991. It gives the gist of what happened at the Calcutta session. Of course, it has been edited version.During Warangal session, Bipan Chandra got angry and started shouting creating ugly scene during the session.

6.     A documentary film shown on Ayodhya few months back from 10 to 10.30 am.

7.     A delegate from Aligarh Muslim University presented a paper locating Ayodhya at Afghanistan during the IHC session held at Bhopal.

8.     The expression “Talibanization of history” has been used by the Christian-Communist-Muslim-atheist historian groups against the so-called Hindutwa historians, but in action, they are indulging in such “talibanization”. The accusers themselves enhaged in the action of the “accused”!

9.     World Archaeology Conference (WAC-3) held at New Delhi has been a blot on Indian archeology and history, as the so-called archaeologists openly fought with each other exposing their ugly minds.

10.  P. Seralathan, Disposal of dredge spoil from Sethusamudhram Ship Channel Project, Currenmt Science, Vol.90, No.2, January 25, 32006, pp.146-147.

11.  Sita Ram Goel, The Calcutta Quran Petition, Voice of India, New Delhi, 1986.

12.  Sri Ramakrishna Mission, founded by Sri Swamy Vivekananda, filed a petition in Calcutta High Court claiming “minority” status as a “non-Hindu. However, the Supreme Court held it as “Hindu”!

13.  A cursory browsing in the net gives you thousands of sites with facts.

14.  See “Bible and Archeology” books in the net. The general policy of the government has been, if evidences supporting Bible are found, funds would be given, otherwise no.

15.  Earlier for Miladunabi, etc., holiday was not there. But after V. P. Singh, communalization has crept into even in the declaration of “Government hoilidays”. Thus, as expected, the birth day of Mohammed is a holiday always, whereas that of Rama or
Krishna is not a holyday!

16.  Jerry H. Bentley, Myths, Wagers, and Some Moral Implications of World History, in Jounal of World History, Vol.16, No.1. Available in the following site: http://www.historycooperative.org/cgi-bin/cite.cgi?=jwh/16.1/bentley.html

17.  The word “mythistory” was used by K. V. Ramakrishna Rao in his writings during 1983. However, it is claimed that McNeill used it connoting, “a form of knowledge about the past that relies on the techniques of professional historical scholarship but also draws inspiration from perspectives that offer idealized visions of a community and endow its historical accounts with meaning”.

William H. McNeill, “Mythistory, or Truth, Myth, History, and Historians,” American Historical Review 91 (1986): 1–10;

…………………….., Mythistory and Other Essays (Chicago, 1986), pp. 3–22.

………………………….., “Mythistory,” p. 7. For an elaboration that perhaps represents what McNeill had in mind for his ecumenical world history, see J. R. McNeill and William H. McNeill, The Human Web: A Bird”s-Eye View of World History (New York, 2003).

A rejoinder to Romila Thapar for her another version appearing under the caption, “Historical Memory without History” Economic and Political Weekly

July 16, 2009
A rejoinder to Romila Thapar for her another version appearing under the caption, “Historical Memory without History” Economic and Political Weekly
Published on October 7th, 2007 In Uncategorized | Views 813 <!– by Vedaprakash –>

http://vedaprakash.indiainteracts.in/2007/10/07/a-rejoinder-to-romila-thapar-for-her-another-version-appearing-under-the-caption-%E2%80%9Chistorical-memory-without-history%E2%80%9D-economic-and-political-weekly/

A rejoinder to Romila Thapar for her another version appearing under the caption, “Historical Memory without History” Economic and Political Weekly—————————————————————————————–

The above EPW version of Romila Thapar has been “ideological” specifically and with explicit “comments” differing from the opinion as appearing in “The Hindu”.

As for the points raised in “The Hindu” have already been dealt with, the points which are not appearing in “The Hindu”, but here alone are taken up and commented upon. First such portions are reproduced for convenience in red colour and then comments / response are given.

“The location of both is uncertain.

It has been argued that the present-day location of Ayodhya may not have been the same as in early times. Buddhist sources locate it on the
Ganga and some argue for a different Ayodhya on the Sarayu. When excavations at Ayodhya were started as part of the project on “Ramayana Archaeology” this question was raised and there was some discussion among archaeologists. Was it a confusion on the part of the authors? Could it have been another place with the same name?

Site names are often relocated in history sometimes as a wish to retain a memory and sometimes to legitimise a new settlement. Or even sometimes when it is ecologically necessary to move elsewhere and the name accompanies the migration. This difference in locating Ayodhya was pointed out by historians at the time of the Ramjanmabhumi movement, but it was dismissed as the distortion of Marxist historians! One does not have to be a Marxist to see common sense. The location of Lanka has been disputed by scholars for the past century and remains unidentified with any certainty. For a variety of reasons many scholars such as Hiralal, Raikrishandas, Paramasiva Iyer, U P Shah and H D Sankalia, locate it in the Vindhyas – in Amarkantak or in Chhota Nagpur – and others locate it in the lower Mahanadi valley in Orissa. The identification with present-day
Sri Lanka is problematic – as has often been pointed out – since Lanka was not the early name for Ceylon.

One of the chronicles of the island, the Mahavamsa, written in the mid-first millennium AD lists a number of early names, possibly imaginary, such as Ojadipa, Varadipa, Mandadipa. But the names more commonly used in a variety of sources are different. The earliest name of the island judging by Indian and Greek and Latin references of the Mauryan and post-Mauryan period was Tamraparni / Tambapanni (Taprobane in Greek). Ashoka in the third century BC in one of his edicts mentions Tamraparni as being at the frontier. Most scholars have identified this with Ceylon as it comes together with a reference to the Cholas, Pandyas and Keralaputtas of south India. A few have suggested that it might refer to the river Tamraparni in the extreme south.

Subsequent to this, the name Sinhala or Sinhala-dvipa was more frequent and rendered in Greco-Latin sources as Silam or Sieledib. The island is also frequently referred to in these sources as Palai Simoundou, the derivation of which is unclear. These references continue into the first millennium AD. At this early stage the name Lanka seems not to be associated with
Ceylon. Perhaps the name Lanka came into usage later”.

Historians have started telling lies, that too suppressing the facts, which are not favourable to them. That Romila is doing that is surprising, perplexing and intriguing. For the argument sake, she puts the half-baked hypotheses as established facts fit for her hypothesis. It is not worth for historians, who swear in the name of “historical method”, “methodology”, “reliability of evidences” and “historical generalizations”. As she has been arguing with the available opinion of the existing and non-existing (i.e, who are no longer with us, say H. D. Sankalia about whom she has referred to), it is responded quoting only from H. D. Sankalia – from his books “Ramayana Myth or Reality, 1973 (mentioned as RMR) and The Ramayana in Historical Perspective, 1982 (mentioned as RHP) without adding anything as follows:

About the location of “Lanka” in Madyapradesh: “Some light on the antiquity of these and other aboriginal tribes can only be thrown if excavations, even on a small scale, are carried out in the present tribal areas. These would show whether the various tribes are comparatively recent migrations in their present habitat or they have been staying there from early Neolithic or chalcolithic times, if not from the earlier Stone Age. This is not an impossible task. First, we have to discover archaeological deposits and then test their antiquity,. Pending this enquiry, we shall conclude, on the evidence of three epigraphical references………from the fifth century AD to the seventeenth century AD…..Gonds…………songs refer to Lanka as the residence of their chief King Ravana” (RHP, p.164).

In mentioning about the hypotheses and theories about the Location of Ramayana Lanka”, she mentions scholars, who deal with the Central Indian-MP hypothesis. Actually, the present opinion is divided into three taking opinion of all scholars locating “Lanka” in the following places:

  1.   Somewhere in Central India.
  2.  The Present Sri Lanka (Ceylon).
  3.  On a submerged area / island on the equator.

But she sticks to one group that is not correct, as she decides side with one group. For taking such sided-stand, she does not give any archaeological excavations taken place after 1973.
That there have been “Ayodhyas” and “Lankas” in South East Asian countries also proves the strong tradition of Ramayama spread beyond present India. In fact, the biggest temple for Vishnu with the largest depiction of Ramayana in sculpture has been there in Ankorwat. Can anybody say that Ramayana evolved there and then spread to
India from the south?

6      In fact, the north-Indian scholars do not know Tamil and Tamil tradition about Ramayana’s impact in the Sangam literature. The third group indirectly point to the existed of land mass long ago. They stoutly deny the hypotheses and theories of Kumarikkandam and purposely objected to and even prohibited papers presented on “Kumarikkandam”.

What archaeology says about Ramayana – its limitations: H. D. Sankalia summarized his version in 1973 (RMR, p.62) as follows:

SUMMARY

(i) There is no doubt that the existence of Ayodhya and other cities mentioned in the Ramayana such as Kausambi, Mithila, Kanyakuja at least by 1000 B.C;

(ii) whether these cities, now called by these names, were at that time respectively known by their names and were ruled by dynasties called Iksvaku and others is very likely, but can be proved when the sites of these cities are excavated;

(iii) the core of the Ramayana story viz Rama, Sita, Lakshmana and the exile of Rama with Sita and her being kidnapped by Ravana – was true and was known at this time (i.e, 1000 BC).

(iv) Ravana belonged very probably to the Gond tribe;(v) Lanka of this Ravana was in Chota Nagpur plateau in East M.P. and probably near
Jabalpur.

All this area, Ramayana expressly tells us, was included in Rama’s kingdom, i.e, (Southern Kosala);(vi)Rama and Lakshmana and the Gonds fought with bows, arrows, and swords, and spears, whereas the Vanaras who were other aboriginals tribes fought with missiles like trees and stones;(vii)All the places occurring in the Dandakaranya can be satisfactorily identified in this region, south of Dandakaranya, south of Prayag. Thus in the original Ramayana, the entire episode took place in a compact geographical area. There is nothing unnatural about it – either the persons or the places.

Thus, it is evident that in his locating Ramayana in a “compact geographical area”, he came to such conclusions with the above conclusions. However, he clearly warned that without excavations nothing could be final. He already pointed out that there were no evidences for Asoka, Chandragupta Maurya etc., as no horizontal excavations had been done (RMR, p.46), historians did not worry and search for Asoka or Chandragupta or questioning their historicity!

“Questions of identifying location and chronology do bother archaeologists and historians, but they need not be of consequence to those whose concern is only with faith, and the distinction has to be reiterated.

Keeping the distance might help in defending historical research. The notion of questioning what is believed is not alien to Indian tradition. When we assess our cultural heritage we often tend to forget or we downplay the fact that rationality and scepticism were very much a part of early Indian thought. This was not limited to the Carvaka / Lokayata thinkers but is also clear from some other schools of philosophy, as indeed it is noticeable in Buddhist and Jaina thought. We have inherited a tradition of questioning, which was not limited to philosophical thought but is apparent in popular literature as well. It would be as well to nurture that tradition.

The description of Ayodhya in the Valmiki Ramayana as an opulent, welldeveloped, extensive urban centre would suggest to the historian a comparison with the urban centres of the Ganga plain in about the sixth-fifth centuries BC, known from texts and from archaeology. The extensive excavations at Ayodhya carried out on different occasions in the last 40 years make it clear that Ayodhya as a city cannot go back much earlier than the mid-first millennium BC. Unlike the textual description, the archaeological evidence does not suggest opulence. This contrast is apparent at more than one site. But allowance has to be made for poetic licence in a text that is acclaimed, and rightly so, as the ‘adi-kavya’, the first of the great poems. The first urban experience of settlements in the Ganga plain doubtless evoked a new vision of the world, certainly one that brought in ideas and activities very different from the previous village settlements. Why poets exaggerated this experience has to be understood. Other kinds of pre-urban habitation in the area go back by a few centuries, but do not reflect the urban life of the Ayodhya of the text.

The existence of habitation by itself is not enough to argue that such locations, occupied by hunter-gatherers, pastoralists and peasants, is evidence enough to identify the site with a city-centre of an epic, even allowing for the normal fantasies of epic poetry. There has to be a detailed co-relation between the textual description and what is excavated – although many archaeologists and historians would still hesitate to accept this as the basis for identification. The correlation can only be clinched when inscribed objects are found common to both textual and archaeological sources. This is one reason why despite extensive excavation, so much of Homer still remains uncertain.

Variants of Rama”

Here, her arguments are grouped specifically as follows and responded:

Locating places and associated chronology: Archaeologists and historians know very well that when the popularity of “historical myths” spread, such myth carrying people after settling at a particular place try to localize the “carried myth”. That is why “Ayodhyas” and “Lankas” are located at many places, not because of archaeological evidences. A pointed out by H. D. Sankalaia, through “historical myths” only, archaeologists try to locate the places and dig. After getting the stratriographcal material evidences, they try to date based o  the exiting belief on the secondary dating methdology. Even if C-14, TL and other primary dating come and they go beyond Asokan period, they are rejected as “pre-historical”. There have been thousands of such archaeological evidences neglected and ignored by the historians, as they live in limited and controlled chronology of history only after Asoka. Is it faith or history? How fusion works here? Who instructed historians not to go before Asoka?

Questioning the belief: “Keeping the distance might help in defending historical research. The notion of questioning what is believed is not alien to Indian tradition. When we assess our cultural heritage we often tend to forget or we downplay the fact that rationality and scepticism were very much a part of early Indian thought. This was not limited to the Carvaka / Lokayata thinkers but is also clear from some other schools of philosophy, as indeed it is noticeable in Buddhist and Jaina thought. We have inherited a tradition of questioning, which was not limited to philosophical thought but is apparent in popular literature as well. It would be as well to nurture that tradition.”

  •  Yes, questioning belief is not at all new in Indian tradition. Similarly, ordinary Indians too have right to question historians, if they go on stand their stand or use their profession with dishonesty.
  •      Historians should tell Indians about the unhistoricity or ahistorical of so-many things printed and circulated in text books meant for schools and colleges, as they are in your name.
  •      You mentioned in your interview to rediff.com:
  • “The point that I have been making all along in the issue that was being discussed during the period of the BJP government about NCERT (National Council of Educational Research and Training) textbooks is the difference between textbooks and research. Textbooks are never at the cutting edge of knowledge because the main purpose of a textbook is to encapsulate the mainstream of accepted knowledge. Those on the frontiers of knowledge, propounding new theories, do not include these in textbooks. Maybe some years from now, when this knowledge becomes part of the mainstream knowledge, it will become part of textbooks”.N     How can you say that, “Textbooks are never at the cutting edge of knowledge because the main purpose of a textbook is to encapsulate the mainstream of accepted knowledge.” How and why then such trash is taught to them? Who decide the mainstream of accepted knowledge in history textbooks? Why can’t the Indian students have the best to appreciate the facts. Historians know very well only “provisional dates”, “hypothesized narrations of the British” and other stories are circulated as “Indian history” for the last 60 to 100 years, even though, majority of Indians do not accept it as “accepted knowledge”. Before that we know very well that we never read such histories in India. Why then it is thrusted on them?
  •      Those on the frontiers of knowledge, propounding new theories, do not include these in textbooks” – who are you to decide? According to Dalton atomic theory, the atoms were indivisible. That is why he named as a+tom=atom (that cannot be divided into broken). But, after the breaking of the Atom, “atom” is retained, but science developed fast. But using the word “fusion”, you try to impose the trash / your own myth rather you faith on the Indian students in the name of ah-history! Is it correct Romila?
  •      Maybe some years from now, when this knowledge becomes part of the mainstream knowledge, it will become part of textbooks”- Well you want some time to decide to know when it would become “part of the mainstream of knowledge”? What are that “knowledge”, “main stream knowledge etc? Do not you have faith or history in making it “part of the mainstream of knowledge”? Or you should have more conviction, belief or somethingele is required to accept it? Really, it is interesting, do not you feel you are becoming part of what you accuse!
  •      There is difference between the questioning of faith by historians and by opposing ideologists and atheists. Now, Romila Thapar expresses views of Karunanidhi as already pointed out. Karunanidhi repeats the unhistorical Aryan-Dravidian myths, Nehru’s lies circulated in the name of history. Romila never declares that Nehru’s “discovery of India” (all his writings cirulasted as history) has become outdated or obsolete to be consigned to dustbin.

Human settlement, habitation: Archaeologists have their methods of “horizontal excavation” and “vertical excavation” depending upon the area of selection.

  • ó  H. D. Saknalia had pointed out that there were no evidences for Asoka, Chandragupta Maurya etc., as no horizontal excavations had been done (RMR, p.46), historians did not worry and search for Asoka or Chandragupta or questioning their historicity, and students believe that they lived and walked on the roads!
  • ó  Is it faith or history? ó  There have been pictures of “Mahavira”, “Budha”, “Asoka”, “Jesus Christ”, “Mohammed” etc., can you swear that they appeared exactly like that during their existence?ó  Do such-single story-line biographed heroes posed before the sculptors and painters to be carved so or painted so?
  • ó  Or at least, can you prove from your so-called “single story-line” biographies of them?ó  Have you evidences for all you talk about based on “conducted horizontal excavations”? ó  Without such excavations and proofs, why you jump to conclusions, that too, selectively and thrust on Indians as final?

“Those that claim to speak in the name of faith in order to confront and beat down knowledge have so far been careful in India not to tangle with scientists. Scientific knowledge is beyond the ken of politicians. Yet scientists in their work do confront issues tied to questions of faith. Where does Indian society stand in relation to these confrontations? Other times and other places have seen fierce conflict as for example, between the Catholic Church and Galileo, and more currently between Darwinism and Intelligent Design. Political lobbies elsewhere opposing scientists have been and are extremely powerful, but nevertheless they do fall short – although only just – of seriously damaging scientific knowledge through seeking the sanction of the state to oppose this knowledge. Part of the reason for this can be attributed to some societies allowing the relative independence of knowledge systems, be it archaeology, history or astrophysics. That this does not seem to be so in India is a qualitative disadvantage.“

Indian scientists have never been involved in “faith or history”, but now they are dragged in proves that politicization has taken place because of the ruling combination in which Sonia-Communists-Dravidiologists have say.

NASA too played a double role by mentioning it as “mythical bridge” 20 years back and now as “man-made bridge”.

I quote the following, which is self-explanatory:

“Do the NASA Photos Depict Ravana’s Lanka? The NASA photo of the “man-made bridge” connecting Rameswaram and Sri Lanka with the note that it was built about 17,50,000 YBP published recently in newspapers is not new one many think. Similar photo was published in 1993 itself (Indian Express March25, 1993) with a report under the caption ‘Rama’s bridge on NASA photo’ (Indian Express, March 24, 1993). In fact, the report was based on two photographs displayed at the Pragati Maidan, New Delhi at that time one that of NASA taken September 14, 1966 displayed with the caption “the mythological land bridge between India and Sri Lanka through Rameswaram and Jaffna” and the other one taken by IRS-IA and enlarged read “Computer-altered image shows the mytrhological land bridge between India and Sri Lanka through Rameswaram and Jaffna”. Therefore, it is evident that after 36 years, USA or the persons behind have decided to change “the mythological land bridge between India and Sri Lanka through Rameswaram and Jaffna” to “man-made bridge” implying that Ramayana period is not 5 millenium BCE, but perhaps goes back to Tretayuga (17,28,000 YBP), as has been held by the Puranas. Anyway, now, it has to be decided historically with the astronomical methods.” (K. V. Ramakrishna Rao, Jurassic Park in Valmiki Ramayana!, Proceedings of the 20th International Ramayana Conference, Tirupathi, Vol.II, 2006).

N     Gionardo Bruno was burned alive, Galileo was jailed. And many other scientisys were tortured and killed. Why even in modern times, Bertrand Russell, the great mathematician was prevented from teaching! Here, of course, the TEMPLE does not do that, as Indians have enough politicians supported by ideologists. In India, it is actually, the virus of “ideology” that erodes every walk of life, perhaps, only next to corruption. They do! Note the fate of historians, archaeologists and others connected with Indian history. Why Romila-type become very “romantic” in “eminent category” where as the others is ignored?

S. R. Rao – Oh, that communal marine-archeologist in spite of his professional excellence always talks about “Dwaraka”, so he is out of IHC, ICHR, etc.

B. B. Lal – Oh another communal element. He always talks about “Ramayana archaeology”, that we do not want! So brand him as RSS-MAN!

Hiralal Gupta – Oh, the old man. Nowadays, he became highly communal. Ignore him (During his presidential address at the Rabindra Sadhan on December 28th, 1990, students shouted and raised slogans accusing his as RSS-wala). For his full speech see, IHC proceeding volume, Calcutta 51st session, pp.1-20).“   Makkanlal – a RSS-wala.“   K. L. Tuteja, Kapilkumar etc – perhaps sabotaged the “Kurukshetra session”!

Grover – Oh, he was the only historian who was always questioning us during the General Body Meeting of IHC, ICHR etc. Any way, he is dead now. So Romila could come out (see the news report that she was attending IHC 2006 with the tag that Grover was no more!).

N. S. Rajaram – Oh, the person who twisted the “horse”. He is a dangerous scientist from NASA, but engaged here for “saffronization of history”. So attack him for Computergraphic manipulation. Suppress all “horse evidences” from IVC.

N     Karunanidhi has already confessed that he has “remote control”. T. R. Balu has exceeded his limits in gate-crashing Saraswati Mahal library, threatened the staff to produce all palm-leaves, manuscripts old and rare books and maps to prove his stand. He took photocopy of them without any care. Staff complained that many of the old documents were broken into pieces because of his handling and forced phocopying. “   At that time no manuscriptologist objected to his barbaric act of handling documents! “   No historian objected to the way the atheist Minister interfering with the Library that have valuable research and historical documents. “   Eminent Historians did not issue any statement. “   Sahmat kept silence! “   Secular harmony slept well!

But, the moment news came that there would be general elections in next year, because of the “Communist treachery”, immediately, Congress started playing RAM-CARD. Now, it is the Congress who started first and Karunanidhi second with all his mouthful stinking abuses spreading all the sides. Ironiclly, after 20 years, you only joined the fray first as a HISTORIAN! And as usual, it is THE HINDU which accommodated you! Of course, there is nothing new that EPW has come out with the full version what you wrote, as THE HINDU itself duly announced!“   So what Indians have to think about all of you? “   Are you historians with real worthiness or politicians or communalists or secularists or retired persons expecting some posting or more than Padbabhushan etc (as you rejected twice)?“   Or what exactly you want?

It is evident that highly controversial portions are edited and published in “the Hindu”, as otherwise, it would be more unhistorical arguments coming from a historian, which perfectly matches with Karunanidhi, Annadurai or E. V. Ramasami Naicker or all put together in “Romila Thapar”.

The last portion of the EPW version is avoided, wherein Romila has dealt with the “financial” and “economic” aspects of the Ramasethu-project, which are highly controversial. Anyway, that she knows that aspect proves that historians, that too, eminent historians of her stature know more about other things in India than Indian history.

VEDAPRAKASH

07-10-2007.