'INDIA ABROAD' on new textbooks

Yashwant Malaiya malaiya at CS.COLOSTATE.EDU
Tue Feb 29 00:59:51 UTC 2000

It should incidentally be noted that some of the words in the quote are by PRAFUL BIDWAI
himself. It is he who is writing "The best description of dharma is found in the "Manusmriti." 
and  "All of them were Hindu."

I too perhaps would disagree with some of the historical views of the Hindutva-vadi politicians.
But a criticism ought to be fair. I personally see nothing wrong with saying that 
"The "spirit of Bharat" is dharma" or "Bharat excelled in every branch of Science". 

There is often a view that the final and accurate version of history and its interpretation 
has been found. It is dangerous for history to get "settled". It ought to be stirred up
time to time.

A lot of historians, specially in India, are writing history based on what other historians
just before them have written. They have not bothered to go back to original sources
or have tried new points of view. A lot of history students in India today are incapable of going to
the original sources because all their education has been  in English and that is the only
language they are comfortable in. Many of India's future historians will come from them.
Perhaps most.

A lot (if not an overwhelming majority) of newspaper reporters too are a product
of an all-English education. They write that "a Jain city was found under Fatehpur-Sikri"
or "Roop Kanwar revived the practice of Sati". They would have known more
had they researched their stories better by consulting Hindi sources also.

Certainly all attempts to present a biased version of history should be subject
to criticism. Those who engage in doing that ought to do a fair job. In Bengal
a whole generation has grown up using Marxist text-books. I frequently
see Bengalis mentioning that Buddhist institutions in Bihar/Bengal were destroyed
by "Hindus". Apparently that is what they have been taught. It is specially sad
since some of the best Indian historians at one time were from Bengal.


  From: Michael Witzel 

  For, an Indian scientist friend of mine has drawn my attention to a troubling report in INDIA ABROAD, January 21, 2000, hidden away on the OPINION page.



  Concern expressed about plans to alter history books (By PRAFUL BIDWAI)

  If Murli Manohar Joshi, the Union Human Resources Development Minister, has his way, Indian .....

  * The "spirit of Bharat" is dharma, "the ultimate source of all values." The best description of dharma is found in the "Manusmriti."


  * In ancient times, "Bharat excelled in every branch of Science... Our sages realized reality lying in every sphere of life." All of them were Hindu.

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