Tuesday, Jul 05, 2022

India's History: Time’s Up For The Red-Green Club

A new generation of historians are bringing the subject out of the shadow of Marx and Nehru, fulfilling its role of restoring civilisational pride among Indians.

On International Workers’ Day, Gandhi From Kochi: Oil on canvas, 2015, by Riyas Komu

History is first the reality, and only then a narrative. But when this order is reversed, it muta­tes into ideology, converting truth into half-truth. In post-Independence India, history-writing had become an ideological task, intended to strengthen certain narratives. Mar­x­ist historians who hegemonised it, manipulated methodologies to deny the truth about our past—whether good or bad. Students were taught well-wri­tten scripts prepared by historians under the shadow of Marxism and Nehruvian vision. Thus, history-writing became a channel to indoctrinate newer generations. This is now being corrected by a counter-hegemony of newer historians.

Indian historiography has three major classific­a­tions—modern, medieval and ancient. Earlier, an­cient India was largely ignored. The period is a showreel of achievements and contributions by Indians in the fields of science, humanities, spiritualism, philosophy, art and literature. Its awaren­ess gives today’s India civilisational strength. His­t­­ory-writing of the Nehruvian era only ment­io­­ned these superficially. The reason is obvious. The history of ancient India establishes primacy of our cultural-spiritual dimension of life. When PM Mo­di said in Parliament that “India is the mother of democracy”, it was not a polemical statement. Rather than being made the focus of India’s great historical narrative, the republics of Vaishali and Licchavi remained merely trivia for general kno­w­ledge fiends. There is a dearth of literature on it, as researchers were discouraged from enquiring into these. The only major work we have is Hindu Polity by K.P. Jayaswal, written in 1924. Any attempt to carry out research on these subje­cts was dismissed by the Red-Gre­en academic club, as it was considered ‘exaggerating’ ideas that have no real value in the modern world.