Posts Tagged ‘Valmiki’

The politics of burning effigies in 2016 by the Congress cons, Dravidian dons and JNU junkies!

October 14, 2016

The politics of burning effigies in 2016 by the Congress cons, Dravidian dons and JNU junkies!

ravana-lila-english-bannerDravidar Kazhagam’s racial approach continues even in 2016:  The misguided Dravidar Kazhagam, of various banners still, believes in Aryan-Dravidian racial hypotheses and theories” and work emotionally with raid radicalism. The day after Dussera was celebrated with the burning of effigies of King Raavan in many parts of the country on 12-10-2016, as announced, about 40 members of the Thanthai Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam [TPDK] landed at the Sanskrit College at Mylapore in Chennai on 13-10-2016 Wednesday to burn effigies of Ram, Sita and Lakshmanan[1].  The group had originally planned to hold the event outside the Madras Sanskrit College of Chennai to protest against the institution’s version of the Ramayana, but it was later shifted to a spot about a kilometre away due to police intervention[2]. While 11 of them were remanded under Section 285 of Indian Penal Code, 12 members of a Hindu group were detained near Sanskrit college in Mylapore[3]. Thus, the media differed in reporting the event.

ravana-lila-tamil-bannerPDK’s attempt to hold Ravan Leela flops[4]: Deccan Chronicle reported wth this caption. The attempt by Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam members to celebrate the Ravan leela deifying the demon king and projecting him as Dravidian stalwart, while belittling Lord Ram, turned into a fiasco with the police taking 55 persons of PDK into custody on Wednesday. Even before the members could assemble and burn an effigy in front of Sanskrit College, Mylapore, in the city on Wednesday evening, the police pre-empted their move and arrested 55 persons. The PDK had announced to stage Ravan leela as the outfit believed that Ravan was a Dravidian and burning his image during Dusshera celebrations in many parts of India amounted to “mocking” the Dravidians. “This is only a bid to stoke controversy and is intended to insult the Hindu gods and hurt the sentiments of the believers,” Hindu Makkal Katchi state president Arjun Sampath said reacting to the development. The staunch Hindu outfit has demanded the police to detain the PDK members under NSA and prevent such incidents in future. “The PDK is taking things a bit too far. The attempt to hold Ravan leela is an assault on our culture and it is highly condemnable,” Mr Sampath said[5].

lord-sri-rama-1971-dk-chappal-garlandedWhy Ravan leela? – the racist question asked by modernists!: The pro-Muslim media “Scroll.in” reported differently. This was the Periyarist group’s answer to Ram Leela – Ravanan Leela to demonstrate their opposition to the Ram Leela celebrations that depict the victory of King Ram over Raavan, who, according to Indian mythology, had kidnapped Ram’s wife Sita[6]. Amidst tight security, and all efforts of the police to stall the event, the members of the fringe group did manage to burn a few effigies, including that of Lord Ram[7]. Kumaran / Tinker Kumaron, a member of the TDPK said, “Every year, in North India, Ram Leela is celebrated by burning effigies of Raavan, This is being done to insult South Indians. We consider Raavan to be a Dravidian….As per our plan we broke the police chain around us and burned the effigy. 11 persons who were involved in burning effigies have been remanded by police.”

%e0%ae%a4%e0%af%8b%e0%ae%b4%e0%ae%b0%e0%af%8d-%e0%ae%a4%e0%ae%bf%e0%ae%b0%e0%af%81%e0%ae%95%e0%af%8d%e0%ae%95%e0%af%81%e0%ae%ae%e0%ae%b0%e0%ae%a9%e0%af%8d-%e0%ae%9a%e0%af%86%e0%ae%a9%e0%af%8dWhy is the President participating in Ram leela programme?: Speaking to The Hindu[8], G. Ramakrishnan, general secretary, Thanthai Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam, said that the act was a reaction to the celebration of Ram Leela as a part of Dusshera celebrations across North India, a festival in which the effigy of mythological character Ravanan is set on fire symbolically to represent victory of Lord Ram over Ravanan. “To us, Ramayana, though a mythological story, was a Aryan-Dravidian conflict where Lord Ram was shown to have won against Ravanan, who we consider as a Dravidian. The epic represents Ram as a God and Ravanan as a monster. This is the basis of our opposition,” he said. Criticising the recent celebrations at the Red Fort lawns, which was attended by several high-profile dignitaries including President Pranab Mukherjee, and Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Ramakrishnan wondered if India really was a secular country. “Why is the President participating in such a programme? He is the president to whole of India,” he said. It is evident that these people are behaving in this way, knowing the truth that the whole country has been celebrating for many years. Even hundreds years back, it was celebrated in Asfganistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh and other countries.

%e0%ae%a4%e0%ae%aa%e0%af%86%e0%ae%a4%e0%ae%bf%e0%ae%95-4Belief in race, racism and racialism: Condemning Ramayana’s ‘racist portrayal’ of ‘Dravidians as demons’, the TPDK said that the Ravanan Leela was their way of protesting against Hindu cultural hegemony. “It does not matter that ‘Ram Leela’ is not celebrated in Tamil Nadu. In Delhi, effigies of Ravanan and his two brothers are burnt, we believe that they are Dravidians and burning their effigies is mocking us. So to stop that, we have decided to celebrate ‘Ravana Leela’ in which we will be burning the effigies of Ram, Sita and Lakshman,” S Kumaran, another TDPL leader had told TNM earlier. He also added that they had written a letter to Prime Minister asking him to stop Ram Leela in Delhi but they did not get any response from his office.  “It is clearly proven once again that the rulers of India will never care to respect the feelings of the Southerners,” said the group. “If they have cared so, then they would not have ventured to burn the effigies of the three choicest heroes of the Dravidian race in the guise of honouring a hero of religious epic.” Kumaron said that this protest against Ram Leela celebrations gathered momentum in 1974, when the group sent a letter to Prime Minister Indira Gandhi demanding a stop to the festivities. But at that time too, they received no reply. Over the next few decades, there have been at least three instances when the group has burnt effigies of Ram, and and been arrested for this.

%e0%ae%aa%e0%af%8b%e0%ae%b2%e0%af%80%e0%ae%9a%e0%ae%bf%e0%ae%b8%e0%af%8d-%e0%ae%aa%e0%af%82%e0%ae%9f%e0%af%8d%e0%ae%b8%e0%af%8d-%e0%ae%95%e0%ae%be%e0%ae%b2%e0%ae%bf%e0%ae%b2%e0%af%8d-%e0%ae%aeSplinter groups playing dangerous games: Veeramani and “Viduthalai” Rajendran had a break and Rajendran started “The Thanthai Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam” in 2012, claiming that they would follow the teachings of social activist and politician EV Ramaswami Naicker or Periyar, who had also questioned the portrayal of Raavan in the popular version of the Ramayana. As reported in Outlook, some of the questions posed by Periyar were, “Isn’t it true that Ravaan abducted Sita as an honourable revenge for the insult heaped upon his sister? Isn’t it a Brahminical ploy to give the colour of lust to a most honourable kidnapping?” The DK spinter groups have always been attacking the soft target – the Brahmins! They cruelly cut a poor Brahmin at West Mambalam some years ago with aruval (study sword), and another Brahmin in Mylapore last year (April 2015)[9].

%e0%ae%a4%e0%ae%ae%e0%ae%bf%e0%ae%b4%e0%ae%95%e0%ae%a4%e0%af%8d%e0%ae%a4%e0%ae%bf%e0%ae%a9%e0%af%8d-%e0%ae%aa%e0%ae%be%e0%ae%b0%e0%af%8d%e0%ae%aa%e0%af%8d%e0%ae%aa%e0%ae%a9%e0%ae%bf%e0%ae%af-%e0%ae%8eSplinter DK groups attack Brahmins following the path of Periyar: MT Saju writes that in the 1970s too, Periyarists conducted Ravanan Leelas. He reminds us that after Periyar died, his wife Maniyammai burnt the effigy of Ram at Periyar Thidal in 1974[10]. But since then, it has not been a popular event. Thus, for some reason, some people want to create ruckus now. Dravidian movement analyst K Thirunavukarrasu said that this anti-Ram sentiment has existed since the beginning of the Dravidian movement in the 1920s. The 1940s saw the publication of works such as Raavana Kaviyam (Raavana Epic) by Pulavar Kuzhandhai and Iranyan Allathu Inayatra Veeran(Hiranya or the Unparalleled Warrior) by Bharatidasan, which eulogised the characters Raavan and Hiranyakashyap, who had been depicted as asuras in popular versions of Indian mythological stories. “The asuras have been depicted in these stories in a manner that denigrates Dravidians,” said Thirunavukarrasu. As Periyar used to say, “If you see a snake and Brahmin, leave snake but kill Brahmin”, these goons are following such bloody method.

jnu-modi-effigy_2016Dravidian King Ravana was a Brahmin: The atheist Dravidian ideologists do not believe Puranas, yet, they believe them for their myth-making. As they believe Aryan-Dravidian race theories, at one side they claim that Ravana was a Brahmin! “The intention of the Dravidian movement is to oppose the depiction of Dravidas as asuras in all these plays.” Tamil writer D Ravikumar said that according to the version of the Ramayana written by medieval Tamil poet Kambar, Raavan was not a Dravidian King but a Brahmin. “If you look at this from the lens of Kambar’s Ramayana, it is hard to say how he came to be associated with Dravidian identity,” said Ravikumar. Ravikumar said that around the 1960s, Tamil Nadu politics was based on antagonism towards North India, Brahminism, Aryans and Hindi. The protest against Ram Leelas rode on this sentiment, he said. But in the 1970s and 1980s, the issue became irrelevant. When the main parties in power were all Dravidian parties, it was no longer a vote-catching subject. “Now, this has been revived by some groups after the BJP has come to power,” said Ravikumar. “Raavan acts as an anti-BJP symbol. But we don’t know how successful it will be.”

%e0%ae%b0%e0%ae%be%e0%ae%ae%e0%ae%9a%e0%af%87%e0%ae%a4%e0%af%81-%e0%ae%95%e0%ae%b0%e0%af%81Karunanidhi playing Ravana (1998): On October 1, 1998, Anoor Jagadeesan, president of PDK and 16 others were arrested when they tried to burn the effigies of Rama and Lakshmana in Chennai[11]. On October 18, 1998, Karunanidhi asserted that[12], “….if you insult Ravana, you are insulting me”. In Ramasethu issue also, he passed remarks asking “In which engineering college Rama studied” (so that he could build a bridge). Even, Kamal Hasan also used to utter that he came from Ravan geneology or something like that!

r-s-manohar-as-ravanaIlangeswaran vs Ravana Leela: R. S. Manohar (1925-2006) used to portray all Asuras as heroes – Surapadman, Sisupalan, Narakasuran, Indrajit, Sukrachariyar etc., in his characteristic projection in his dramas, which were successful in 1970-80s. He too projected Ravana as “Ilankeswaran”, the Lord of Lanka, but, not the Dravidian way of contempt, hatred and blasphemy. In fact, he followed the Puranic narration and other hagiographical details. Understandably, he was never supported or honoured by the Dravidian leaders or even Periyar for his donning Asuras! And now, the fringe elements have started the old game, when the Dravidian CM, that too, a lady has been ailing in hospital.

the-ravan-effigy-burned-at-jnuModi effigy burned by the Congress and JNU students[13]: A group of students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) on 11-10-2016 Tuesday burnt the effigy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP chief chief Amit Shah, Mahatma Gandhi’s killer Nathuram Godse and others to mark the “victory of truth over falsehood” on the occasion of Dussehra. Members of the Congress-backed National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) on Tuesday night celebrated Dussehra by burning the effigy of Modi and others to protest against the growing interference of the Centre in universities and attacks on Dalits.“We celebrated the victory of truth over falsehood in a modern and democratic country by burning effigies. For us Modi and RSS are symbol of untruth,” said Sunny Diman, an NSUI member[14]. So, the Congress party too has taken such method of politics of burning effigies exploiting the occasion of “Viyayadasami”. Ironically, the Congress leaders have been questioning the successful surgical operations on these days at one side and indulging in such cheap and vulgar activities at another side.

© Vedaprakash

14-10-2016

the-ravan-effigy-burned-at-jnu-with-students

[1] The News Minute, Dravidian Ravanan Leela: Periyarists burn Ram effigy even as police try to stop them, by TNM Staff, Thursday, October 13, 2016 – 11:31.

[2] Scroll.in, Why a Dravidian fringe group burnt effigies of Ram and Sita in Chennai this year, by Vinita Govindarajan. October 13, 2016, 8 pm.

[3] The Hindu, TPDK Cadres arrested in chennai for burning effigy of Lord Ram, Chennai 13, 2016, Updated: October 13, 2016 07:23 IST

[4] Deccan Chronicle, PDK’s attempt to hold Ravan Leela flops, Published Oct 13, 2016, 7:00 am IST, Updated Oct 13, 2016, 7:01 am IST

[5] http://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/in-other-news/131016/pdks-attempt-to-hold-ravan-leela-flops.html

[6] http://scroll.in/article/818922/why-a-dravidian-fringe-group-burnt-effigies-of-ram-and-sita-in-chennai-this-year

[7] http://www.thenewsminute.com/article/dravidian-ravanan-leela-periyarists-burn-ram-effigy-even-police-try-stop-them-51281

[8] http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/tpdk-cadres-arrested-in-chennai-for-burning-effigy-of-lord-ram/article9213004.ece

[9] http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/six-dvk-men-held-for-attacks-on-priests-in-chennai/article7127953.ece

[10] http://epaperbeta.timesofindia.com/Article.aspx?eid=31807&articlexml=TWIST-TO-THE-TALE-Reviving-Ravanlila-to-counter-13102016006020

[11] Ajith Pillai and A. S. Paneerselvan, Good Or Evil? The  Politics Of  Ravana, Outlook, Novemver.2, 1998.

[12] http://www.outlookindia.com/magazine/story/good-or-evil-the-politics-of-ravana/206444

[13] The Hindustan Times, Delhi: Students burn effigy of Modi, Shah, Godse at JNU campus on Dussehra, HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi, Updated: Oct 13, 2016 10:08 IST

[14] http://www.hindustantimes.com/delhi/students-burn-effigy-of-modi-shah-at-jnu-campus-dubbing-them-as-ravana/story-twLk2C05xBVCRaVR5ScVvO.html

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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.