Posts Tagged ‘evidence’

The so-called 300 / 3000 Ramayanas: The Dravidian propaganda

March 6, 2012

The so-called 300 / 3000 Ramayanas: The Dravidian propaganda

 By Sri Vedaprakash, March 16, 2008
 
Note: This topic is again and again brought to the notice of the readers. However, the atheists, the Dravidian propagandists, Communists, Christians and Muslims hiding under such banners again and again rake up the issue without reading Ramayana. Unfortunately, they even do not read what these Ramanujan, Paukla and others have written. Yet, they go on rehash the stuff. Therefore, I have to point out their hollowness to plant such mischievous postings appearing then and there.
Ramayana once again[1]!:Ever since the Sethu-Samuthram controversy has cropped up, the Dravidian ideologists, Karu’s Court Historians[2] and others ganged up together circulating the old-stories as authentic histories. Of course, the propaganda carried on by this hysterical gang has parallel only in Hitler’s camp. Of course, any reader can note it is the Black Parivar[3] and the Red Parivar[4] would very often take the Hitler-stick to beat others, but they do not realize that they have been following only Hitler. Coming to the point, now their main attack has been against Rama and Ramayana and therefore, the Karu’s Court historians started digging up old polemical writings, scurrilous pamphlets and anti-Hindu literature to serve their perverted purpose.

The “Viduthalai” [5] (March 14th and 13th dated), the DK-mouth piece, but with the blessings of Karu has brought out one brief of A. K. Ramanujam’s paper “Three Hundred Ramayanas”. T. R. Balu has made a visit and met Karu on 14th. Therefore, the coincidence can be noted and there would be raking up the issue again. The Communist super intelligent leaders have also started the nonsensical blabbering that Ramayana is myth and so on.

The Dravidian Love for Paula Richman: Recently, the Dravidian protagonists have again started their blasphemy against Sri Rama under the guise of historical research, analytical wisdom, Aryan-Dravidian race hypotheses[6] , their (Aryan-Dravidian) continuous struggle-for- ever in India and other ideologies. Incidentally, now, one way or the other, as they have drawn attention to Paula Richman’s book, “Many Ramayanas”, it is imperative to read what exactly, she mentions about the subject, which has been so fascinated to these atheist rabble-rousers. I have read the book carefully and particularly, the interpretations, many times to understand the psyche behind it. Actually, the whole story has not been new Indian scholars, researchers and at least, those who know about the origin of Ramayana[7]. A. K. Ramanujam’s paper[8] “Three Hundred Ramayanas” appears in “Many Ramayanas” of Paula Richman.

The book is nothing but compilation of articles of different personalities, purportly to look into the diversity of a narrative tradition in South Asia. Narrative, rendering, oral tradition, from oral to writing and vice versa, translation etc., can be entertained only literary criticism, when such liberality of literature is there in a society. Where, the thought process is control, such exercise cannot be undertaken. In fact, in many non-Indian societies, such narrative, rendering, oral tradition, from oral to writing and vice versa, translation etc., had been done away long back. Even today in the so-called modern, civilized, advanced, progressed, etc., times, such exercise is not possible in other non-Indian literature. Therefore, the literary critics should understand and appreciate the nuances, before criticizing the “many Ramayanas” or sending wrong signals.

Paula Richman has stories of A. K. Ramanujan, Frank E. Reynolds, Kathleen E. Erndl, David Shulman, Velcheru Narayan Rao, Clinton Seely, Staurt H. Blackburn, Paula Richman, Patricia Y. Mumme, Philip Lutgendorf, and Ramdas Lamb discuss about such narratives etc., and it appears as English rendering of any Tamil Pattimandram discussing the very old questions of mutilation of Surpanaka, Sita’s fire ordeal, etc. Unfortuinately, the sole aim of the compilation appears to deride, disparage and denigrate by choosing the topic under the guise research with historical camouflage.

300 or 3000 Ramayanas?: That there are “300 Ramayanas” as exactly counted has not been the original idea of A. K. Ramanujan, but, as he himself confessed that it belongs to one “student of Ramayana”, Canille Bulcke[9], who only counted so – exactly 300! Then to add his contribution, A. K. Ramanujan mentions[10] that according to a Kannada scholar[11] there are more than a thousand Ramayanas in Kannada! Then, adds that according to a Telugu scholar[12] there are more than a thousand Ramayanas in Telugu! At least, the Telugu scholar appears to be probably reasonable, as he said “more than a thousand”! It is not known why the learned scholar stops with, as he could have consulted Malayali scholar, Marathi scholar, Oriya scholar, Bengali scholar, Gujarathi scholar, Rajasthani scholar, Hindi scholar, Kashmiri scholar and so on.

So here, the point is that Ramayana story has been so popular among every society of the ancient civilizations and accepted by the members of different societies, each member wanted to recognize and transform such Ramayana character to the identified members of society or vice versa for exhibiting similar or same characteristics. When one asks, “Ey, why are you sleeping like Kumbakarna?” , it does not imply that his brother is like Ravana and so on. It has been used figuratively to drive out the point as such characterization has been known to everybody. Thus, he cannot be considered to have created one more Ramayana!

The so-called freedom of thought expression and opinion: The existence of 300 or 3,000 or 30,000 Ramayanas has been the credit to the popularity of Ramayana as a human-literature, Universal literature long back and it does not discredit as the existence of more Bibles[13] or Quarans or Korans[14], as the very mention would be anathema. Perhaps, the persons, who talk about “300 Ramayanas” do not know the existence of more Bibles or Korans., but the faithful believers destroyed many or all according to their own estimate and accounting and finally have one “printed version”, declared as infallible and revealed through God as the “Word of God”, so none could change anything thereafter. But they do not explain why there were hundreds of Bibles and Korans and why they were destroyed. How they could have selected the existing version only as the exact tract as revealed to their respective prophets to be accepted as authentic and authorized. How such divine grace had descended on the chosen group to decide and do accordingly.

Indians have not leaned the art of editing, expurging and interpolation of verses of books, as done by the non-Indians. They have not learned the art of destruction of earlier, differing or opposing versions and to claim that this is the only “Authorized version” or “Revealed Book”.

The Arabic tradition of rendering Poetry and Koran: The Arabic tradition has been that the Arabic poets would only recite their poems, be listened and enjoyed and appreciated by others and they were never written down. Particularly, in the case of Koran, it was strongly believed that as it was revealed by Allah through Jibreal / Gabriel to the Prophet Mohammed (PBCH), it has to be learned by heart by listening to the recital by the experts. There had / have been groups exclusively for the purpose of recital of Koran. Only later, the writing down of Koran and its translation into other non-Arabic languages started. As Ibn Warraq has elaborately dealt with about it, it is not discussed here. In fact, Mohammed Mamaduke Picthall[15] in his foreword clearly records the following points:

1.. It may be reasonably claimed that no Holy Scriptures can be fairly presented by one who disbelieves its inspiration and its message.
2.. The Koran cannot be translated. That is the belief of old-fashioned sheikhs and the view of the present writer (H. M. Pitchall).
3.. …the Glorious Koran, that inimitable symphony, the very sounds of which move men to tears and ecstasy.

In India, the society has been liberal, democratic and egalitarian, so the members have liberty to pursue their literary pursuits. Thus, they make one God to many Gods; make male and female Gods with child God also; many times lover; employer and slave; chieftain, king and emperor and so on. It increases his thinking and creativity. The painter and sculptors too follow such pattern and depict Gods and Goddesses accordingly. This is the real freedom of thought, expression, and exhibition of artistic talent. That is why the negative characterization is opposed and condemned. Nowadays, it has become fashion for elite artists, eminent historians and social activists to come out and support such errant perverts, but it is not correct, as could be seen. For example, A cannot of sleeping with B’s wife, just because, he has the freedom of thinking. Having such freedom of thinking, he cannot express openly to B, because he has freedom of expression. As B too have such rights and starts exercise his rights of freedom of thought and expression the consequences are well known. Therefore, there are individual rights which should not violate the rights of others. If this fundamental is not known or knowingly, continuously violated, definitely the peaceful people may react one day. Therefore, it is better to live amicably instead of provoking others. In such situations and conditions, only the provoking forces are barbaric, medieval, lumpen and so on.

Any other world literature does not have such elasticity, flexibility, liberality, democracy, egalitarianism proves that they are controlled and suppressed. Therefore, there cannot be any freedom of thought, expression and opinion entertained in such societies. Even, there is no freedom to tell the fact that there were 300 / 3000 Bibles and Korans, but they were destroyed and now there is only one! Here, Salman Rusdie and H. F. Hussain can be contrasted in the context; Ibn Warraq and EVR; Karunanidhi and Taslima Nasreen; Bertrand Russell and Thomas Paine; and so on.

Ramayana characters could be human beings of any age: As mentioned, because of the flexibility of the characterization of Ramayana, it is applicable to any time and place. Ramayana and Mahabharata are played everywhere by the people with their available men and materials. Therefore, in such depiction, dramatization and adapted-rendering, there would variance in all aspects. Taking these literary critics cannot make big fuss out of it. Now Rama and Ravana may come with pants and shirts also. If it becomes, popular, it would be carried on enjoyed by a group. Can it we say, it is 301th Ramayana or 3001th? Yes, it is correct, “as long as there are many Ramas, there would be more Ramayanas”.

But no other literature could be subjected to such process, as in the non-Indian tradition, the very such thought might be unthinkable. We cannot have many non-Indian heroes or Gods. Can Paula Richman produce an edition of “Many Bibles”, “Many Qurans”, like that or any narratives and oral traditions of Jesus, Mary, Joseph, Mohammed, Fatima etc.(just for example, it is asked). Believers of the respective lands and countries know the existence of such narratives, renderings and oral traditions available here and there, but Paula cannot compile. Why even the New Testament apocrypha or Hadis renderings are not discussed, debated and papers presented.

Who can analyze the non-Indian characters (including heroes and heroines, deified heroes and heroines and Gods and Goddesses themselves), criticize or justify their acts of omission or commission, and bring all renderings along with Thomas Paine, Robert Ingersol, Salmon Rushdie, Taslima Nasreen etc. Even Tembavani[16] and Sirappuranam[ 17] cannot be rendered in English, as the orthodox might oppose some verses. In fact, they had already objected to “Kesadhipada varnanai” (= the Tamil traditional narrative of a woman character whoever may be from head to feet, part by part) and removed such verses. Therefore, without going into the details, the western scholars go on commit blunders under the guise of research and it is totally wrong. They should ponder over. As they have big-big University labels, our Dravidian friends immediately, take their renderings and they produce their own renderings to blaspheme Hindus. Here only, the problem comes.

SUN-TV and Ramayana: In SUN-TV group of companies, Karunanidhi and his family members have shares. So why SUN-TV all of sudden start broadcasting “Ramayana”, that too, the much hated, criticized and blasphemed one. Why not the “Ravana Kaviyam” of Kulandai? It is promoted, looked. Loved and considered as “divine” by the Dravidian protagonists including Karnanidhi. He has already accepted that he supports Ravana and he belongs to such clan! Of course, even Kalainjar TV cannot be prevented in broadcasting Ramayana or Mahabhrata, but what about the ideology? They cannot abuse Hindus and cater them with this tamasha. They cannot kill Hindu culture and do this nonsense. They cannot soil the sanctity of temples and try to do some gimmicks. Of course, we know they do not follow the dictum of “Padippathu Ramayanam, idippathu Pillaiyar koil”, but, they meddle with Ramayana and demolish the Temple of Ramayana. That is why now the target is Ramar-palam!

References

[1] Today when I started typing this, SUN-TV of the Black Parivar has started broadcasting “Ramayana”! Even Kalainjar TV broadcast Ramayana!

[2] Vedaprakash, Why Tamilnadu Historians tell lies?, http://www.indiainteracts. com

[3] DK-DMK-PMK-Viduthal ai Puligar, their affiliated parties, associations and ideological subsidiaries.

[4] Al Communists parties CPI-CPI(M), CPI (ML) their affiliated parties, associations and ideological subsidiaries.

[5] It is only summarized one, of course with abusive language used characteristically in the Tamil translation.

[6] In spite of the fact that the Aryan-Dravidian hypotheses and Aryan Invasion Theory (AIT) have been proved unhistorical and baseless, these ideologists continue to believe and carry on the propaganda and rouse passion in the same language as they used to speak some 40 to 60 years back.

[7] In the Journals of Royal Asiatic society, All India Oriental Conference and others, enough has been discussed and debated about Valmiki Ramayana and the Jain and Buddhist version of their Ramayanas.

[8] A. K. Ramanujam, “Three Hundred Ramayanas”, Many Ramayanas, edited by Paula Richman, 1991, University of California Press, USA, pp.22-49.

[9] A. K. Ramanujam, opt.cit, p.24.

[10] Ibid, however, he does not mention the name of the Kannada scholar who could count exactly 1000!

[11] This “According to….” makes one remember, “The Gospel according to St. Matthew”, “The Gospel according to St. Mark”, “The Gospel according to St. Luke”, “The Gospel according to St. John”, and so on!

[12] Ibid, here also, he does not mention the name of the Telugu scholar who could count more than 1000!

[13] H. G. G. Herklots, How the Bible Came to us?, Penguin Books, UK, 1959.

[14] Ibn Warraq, Why I am not a Muslim, Promethecus Books, New York, 1995, p.20, 73-76.

[15] Mohammed Mamaduke Picthall, The Meaning of the holy Quran, Crescent Publishing Company , New Delhi,

[16] A Tamil literary work produced on the lines of or rather imitating Kamba Ramayanam.

[17] A Tamil literary work produced on the lines of or rather imitating Kamba Ramayanam, but some Mohammedans claim that it is even superior to Kamba Ramayana, of course, they do not talk about the editing, expunction and removal verses and other modifications done.

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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.

History, faith and Indian historians A rejoinder to Romila Thapar.

July 16, 2009
History, faith and Indian historians A rejoinder to Romila Thapar.
Published on September 29th, 2007 In Uncategorized |  Views 1116
The following is my response to the Editor, The Hindu. However, “The Hindu” has not been publishing views opposing to its ideology. Generally, it is said that N. Ram does not encourage anything that is against Marxism etc. Whatever, may be the fact, the copy is posted here for debate and discussion:A rejoinder to Romila Thapar Romila Thapar, an eminent historian of India has written her opinion in “The Hindu” under the caption, “Where fusion cannot work – faith and history” (The Hindu, September 28, 2007). For the article, see: http://www.thehindu.com/2007/0928/stories/2007092855231200.htm and with reference to this, I respond as follows:

Historians have never been honest in dealing with the historical issues involving faith and history, and there only faith and history have been brought into conflict. It is not fusing faith and history or vice versa. Historians know very well that it is their belief that history can be only based on what is written or has been written. It is their faith that they do not believe that if lived man of one million or 1 billon did not live if he has not left any historical record. But how scientists would say about it?

Historians believe about past events that they should have happened like this; at the same time other set of historians interpret that the same events could have happened in different way. Historians have accepted that they do not require any objectivity in their historical studies or methodology. So again, it their strong faith that they believe that objectivity is not required. But any other professional would accept it? Therefore historical faith and history cannot be independent. Without faith of the past or faith ion archaeological methods, historians cannot work independently. When historians have decided to differ, there would be difference only. Historians believed that Aryans invaded India destroyed Dravidians and so on. At that time itself, the believers and even Sanskrit scholars clarified that it was gross misinterpretation of Vedas. But none cared. Now, the historians have retracted, but the books remain containing such unhistorical writings. So how can their premises, their methods of enquiry, and their formulations be dissimilar?

You say, “When historians speak of the historicity of person, place, or event, they require evidence — singular or plural — that proves the existence of any of these and this evidence is based on data relating to space and time. The two important spaces in the Valmiki Ramayana are Ayodhya and Lanka, on the location of which scholarly opinion differs”. Yes, what are those “scholarly opinions”? An opinion is nothing but belief or faith only as their views is estimated depending upon their attitudes and outlook.

What you say about the foot print of Mohammed kept in Jama Masjid or the hair kept in a Kashmir mosque? Have you ever recommended for chemical analysis or DNA test? Have historians ever tried their scientific methodology? Where has gone their scientific temper? You claim, “It is said that the Ram Setu is cultural heritage and therefore cannot be destroyed even if it is a natural geological formation and not man-made. Has the idea become the heritage? To search for a non-existent man-made structure takes away from the imaginative leap of a fantasy and denies the fascinating layering of folk-lore”. When H. D. Sankalia [1972:46] asserted that there were no evidences for Asoka, Chandragupta Maurya etc., as no horizontal excavations had been done, historians did not worry and search for Asoka or Chandragupta. When Vincent Smith [1990:231-267] wrote that Asoka killed his brothers etc., you also repeated the song in your book [1963:20-54]. Accepting Kalhana as historian, you ignored the Asoka, as he recorded. So why can’t deny this Asoka and accept the Asoka of Kalhana? It is only “the majority idea / opinion / faith” that only this Asoka could be “Mauryan Asoka” in spite of lacking historical evidences, created and established one Asoka! So even existed person was consigned to imaginary leap of fantasy and made fable!

Even after the so-called “authorized / critical edition” [Vol I-1960, II-1962, III-1963, IV-1965, V-1966, VI-1971], the mention of different Ramayanas is irrelevant, immaterial and incompetent.

As a historian, it is surprising that you have lied to the whole world like this:  “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. The historicity of the Buddha, for example, is established, among other things, by the fact that a couple of centuries after he died, the emperor Ashoka on a visit to Lumbini had a pillar erected to commemorate the Buddha’s place of birth. This is recorded in an inscription on the pillar”.

6      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.

It is well known that there are no biographies of Buddha, Jesus Christ and Mohammed as you asserted. This is blatant lie. Give me references of such biographies. What was written after such existed or non-existed personalities after them perhaps even after 300 years cannot be a biography. About different Buddhas, I am surprised that you say nothing is there. You do not remember how a Buddha had to come to fight with Adi Sankara? Moreover, it is well known about the different versions of Jesus, Christs etc., even before and after the so-called Jesus Christ combine. About Mohammed, I am also afraid of giving details just like you. Any way, just I tell there are books – M. Cook [1983:65], P. Crone [1987:75-76], Ibn Warraq [1995:66-85].

6      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 Karunanidhi 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!

6      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 [1972:62].

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?

6      The historicity of the Buddha, for example, is established, among other things, by the fact that a couple of centuries after he died, the emperor Ashoka on a visit to Lumbini had a pillar erected to commemorate the Buddha’s place of birth. This is recorded in an inscription on the pillar

Recently, there has been lot of information coming out as to how the British historians including the ASI officials, specifically Alois Anton Furher had fabricated the Stone Casket with Asokan inscriptions and planted there. For his forgey, he was dismissed from the service. The sudden disappearance of Buhler also intriguing in the context. For more details see: http://www.lumkap.org.uk . note now also the ASI officials are in a soup!

6      “From the point of view of archaeology and history, the Archaeological Survey of
India was correct in stating that there is to date no evidence to conclusively prove the historicity of Rama. The annulling of this statement was also a political act. Reliably proven evidence is of the utmost significance to history but not so to faith”.

The present ASI officials are not like A. A. Fuherer to fabricate or forge Asokan inscriptions or like John Marshall to suppress the ASI report of Banrejee. They could have verified the greatest Indian archaeologist view in their affidavit. But, evidently, being the stooges of politicians, as politicians they acted ad they would get the sack, unless they are innocent or have guts to expose the politicians, who ordered them to do so. Leave alone the ASI people. The ASGCS / other standing councils who drafted the affidavit, vetted the affidavits etc.., also are responsible. Therefore, if all acted as a gang to malign and blaspheme Rama, it is not history but mystery. And do not you think that such culprits should be punished?

6      Blasphemy does not lie in doubting historicity.

Yes, Romila you doubt the historicity of others also as listed – Buddha, Jesus Christ, Mohammed – Do not be contended with one-line official version. You are a historian. You should go by primary sources – historical documents. Nothing more, nothing less!

To what extent you can doubt the historicity of them along with Rama or otherwise, we are going to see. Or children will wait and see!

Of course the question of blasphemy, who will decide? The Courts? Let us see!

6      The historian is not required to pronounce on the legitimacy of faith. But the historian can try and explain the historical context to why, in a particular space and time, a particular faith acquires support. And we need to remind ourselves that our heritage has been constantly enriched not just by those of faith but also by those who contend with faith.

Yes, you know very well if you start analyzing with the legitimacy of faith of – Buddha, Jesus Christ, Mohammed.

So you decide which faith has to be supported in a particular space in time?

Accordingly, it is evident that you do not support the faith of Rama.

Yes, Rama baktas have been living with content even after what you historians have done in the case of Ramajanmabhumi issue.

Of course, they may not be knowing what your people have been doing in the Indian History Congress presenting papers taking Ayodhya to Afganisthan etc. Note that even in
Calicut, during last IHC, you have to live on Rama just like Karyu. The lady who got selected as GS said some thing on Rama! Poor Rama-baktas kept quite.

6      If there is a strong faith — in the religious sense — among millions of people, then it does not require to be protected through massive demonstrations and the killing of innocent persons, through political mobilisation. Nor do archaeology and history have to be brought in to keep that faith intact. Faith finds its own place and function, as do archaeology and history. And the place and function of each is separate.

Yeah, oh woman, you do not know how many Ramabaktas were burned and killed. You want Rama-baktas to forget everything. But try to interpret mischievously, what happened to the three in Bangalore. Note, it is because of Karu, that happened. Fighting with Karnataka, he earned enormous enmity with Kannadigas. And this man used to come there and say as he used to go to Gopalapuram and Oliver Road

. So not vulgarize the issue with your perversity. Do not suppress the facts.

The honesty of archeologists and historians, only Indians have to certify.

6      To say that the partial removal of an underwater formation in the Palk Straits is going to hurt the faith of millions is not giving faith its due. Is faith so fragile that it requires the support of an underwater geological formation believed to have been constructed by a deity?

You can blast Bamian Buddhas, you can destroy IVC. Like Aurangazeb you can go on demolish temples. Like Dr. F.J A. Flynn, you can smuggle artifacts and coins. Your historians and archaeologists aid and abet. But he would be caught red-handed in
Delhi airport. So demolish Rama-sethu! Yes, nothing will happen or happens.

6      Making faith into a political issue in order to win elections is surely offensive to faith?

Karu is doing that. Cong is coding that. None else links it with politics.

6      What is at issue is not whether Rama existed or not, or whether the underwater formation or a part of it was originally a bridge constructed at his behest. What is at issue is a different and crucial set of questions that require neither faith nor archaeology but require intelligent expertise: questions that are being willfully (sic) diverted by bringing in faith. Will the removal of a part of the natural formation eventually cause immense ecological damage and leave the coasts of south India and Sri Lanka open to catastrophes, to potential tsunamis in the future? Or can it be so planned that such a potentiality is avoided?

Scientists have discussed enough. I do not think you have ay competency here.

6      What would be the economic benefits of such a scheme in enhancing communication and exchange? Would the benefits reach out to local communities and if so, how? Equally important, one would like to know precisely what role will be played by the multinational corporations and their associates in
India. Who will finance and control the various segments of such an immense project? It is only when such details are made transparent that we will also get some clues to the subterranean activities that are doubtless already simmering. These are the questions that should be asked of this project and that at this point in time should be occupying public space.

Oh now, it is clear. You write like what Karu talked and talking. Do you have any alliance with Karu? The “Mount Road Maha Vishnu” has marriage alliance with Karu. You have connection with Ram. So also Karu, Kanimozhi and Ramajayam with “The Hindu”. So what is the alliance. At whose behest, you are writing and talking the language of Karunanidhi?

Any way thank you for exposing yourself.

Thank you for revealing that Karunanidhi, Congress, you and others are doing this only for election.

VEDAPRAKASH

(29-09-2007)

57, Poonamalle High Road,

Maduravoyal, Chennai – 602 102.

letters@thehindu.co.in, vedamvedaprakash@yahoo.com

To

The Editor,

The Hindu,

Mount Road,

Chennai – 600 002.