The Aberration That Is India!

May 9, 2016 OPINION/NEWS

By

Ananya S Guha

As an academic I feel rather insecure at the grisly turn of events in the academic institutions in the India of today. While I am not going to go into the JNU events specifically my mind is disturbed at the kind of damage that is being done to academia and the academic world.

Firstly a man of the stature of Amartya Sen has lost favour with the current dispensation. Not that he needs it or has been currying favour. He is not a man given to diatribes, and even when he protests, he does it gently. But to dismiss his writings as gibberish, as some have tended to do, is profanity of the worst order. Yet many academics have kept quiet on this. His economics studies apart he is an acutely sensitive writer on social and historical matters. Perhaps his rationale of the argument exegesis working on Indian history and society has not gone down well with many, for whom the line of argument of a nation is linear, based on dominant thinking of a Hindu nation. So he has to be ignored. But disrespect is something that has to be dealt with, especially when it comes to people who have attained international recognition.

This is point one. I am surprised that despite all the protests made against treatment meted out to historians and students, this has got little attention. Though he couldn’t care less I suppose, the wounds inflicted on him must be understood, and if we are academics of any worth we should raise our little and already muffled voices. We can’t and won’t. What a shame.

Again, the charges levelled against prominent historians is something we should first understand. Liberal historians like Romila Thapar spoke of a country based on society, not on creed. They focussed on the common man or woman, be it Hindu, Muslim and Buddhist. The wonder that was India according to A.L. Basham has now truly turned into the wonder that IS India, keeping our mouths both shut and agape. Romila Thapar in the meantime has continued with her protests against this upturning of history, based on premises of dynasty, rulers, removing conveniently Mughal and Islamic presence in the annals of Indian history. What Is History is now not answered by E.H.Carr, but by decrepit stick wielding politicos. The second shame and calumny of Indian history. Indian history is suffering one blow after another, but thank God the presence of people like Romila Thapar is saving it out of it’s skin. She is continuing stoically with her interpretation that India has been, is, and will be a secular democracy.

The third shame. Recently historians like Bipan Chandra have been attacked for naming Bhagat Singh as a ‘terrorist’. This word has been totally misinterpreted and taken out of context by mudslingers who want to perpetuate this unrest in colleges and universities. They want a total disturbance in text books, and desire a new Indian history feverishly written, with an extreme or what may be called rightist slant. The ‘terrorist’ movement in the Indian national struggle is well known, as distinct from the moderate schools of thought. There is nothing new in this. But the votaries of a new India, interpret the word in present international contexts, where terrorism is identified with the likes of ISIS & IS. This is a deliberate act to create confusion and discord, in minds of people who otherwise were not thinking about this. The Indian national struggle for independence has always been largely described as extremism and moderation, the latter camp led by Gandhi.

There are now frenetic attempts to change the beautiful rhythms of Indian history. We forget that the Taj Mahal, a symbol of the nation’s pride, has been brought by one of these ‘foreign’ interlocutors against whom the new cult of historians is on the rampage. Let us save history from the present totally uncalled for, aberrations taking place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ananya S Guha

Ananya S Guha was born and brought up in Shillong, North East India. He has seven collections of poetry and his poems have been published worldwide. They have also been featured in several anthologies. He is also a columnist, critic and editor. He now is a Regional Director at the Indira Gandhi National Open University and holds a doctoral degree on the novels of William Golding.

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