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.