You are here: Home » Opinion » Columns
Business Standard

Mihir S Sharma: Eminently funny historians

Hindutva historians totally deserve to be read

Mihir S Sharma 

Mihir S Sharma

All those of us who care about books should welcome the appointment, as head of the Indian Council of Historical Research, of Yellapragada Sudarshan Rao. This is not because Prof Rao has so far distinguished himself as a writer about “history and tourism management”, which is the department of in Warangal he headed before retiring to head an RSS-backed project to “write history from a nationalist perspective and popularise Sanskrit”, two aims which naturally go together for the RSS.

No, we should welcome it because, hopefully, a larger number of Indians will now be exposed to the school of history – and tourism management – that Prof Rao represents. It has often been remarked that Indian writing is just not funny enough. With the ascent of ICHR’s Prof Rao and his fellow-travellers, the deficit in our literary output will unquestionably be made up.

ICHR’s Prof Rao has been unjustly castigated for a blogpost that he wrote in which he looked forward to a glorious future for the caste system, concluding thus: “The roots of positive aspects of Indian culture are so deep that the merits of ancient systems would be rejuvenated.” This unfair coverage by a biased paid media should not stop people from reading other posts on his blog. I recommend the one on how Mexican ziggurats reflect Vedic/Aryan philosophical principles, as also the one explaining how all “Hindu religious practices, customs, vratas or festivals and rites have a scientific base”. This last also includes an answer to the much-asked question: “Why are the fish and the pebbles in Ganga not attaining Moksha?”

One of the luminaries of the thankfully obsolescent “academic” establishment (henceforth referred to as “Marxists”, “Congressis”, “traitors” and ““ISI-backed intellectual mujahedin” interchangeably), Romila Thapar, has had the poor grace to call attention to the fact that Prof Rao – now the Indian government’s point man on matters historical – has not published any peer-reviewed work. As the many distinguished historians who write late-night blogposts on the internet have already pointed out, this reflects poorly not on Prof Rao, but instead on every single historian who has been peer-reviewed. I personally cannot understand why Prof Rao’s work on spiritualism and postmodernism has not been published to great acclaim by a major academic press. It begins, after all, by pointing out the unvarnished truth that “India with its unbroken civilisation since times unknown has no parallel in the world” (take that, China!) and then makes the unimpeachable point that “only the modern European concepts of nationalism and liberal democracy divided the country”.

Prof Rao, sensibly, cares nothing for these peers. Who are they to review him? His first two press releases as head of ICHR do not mention these peers, who are mainly Marxists, Congressis, or Minorities anyway. Instead, both thank his academic mentor, “Pujya Sri Mahamahopadhyaya Dr K Sivananda Murtyji”. This eminent historian is a Warangal-based homeopath and spiritual leader. Prominent among Mr Murty’s pronouncements is the sterling call for a new Constitution for Hindustan” which “should create a new Hindu nation-state which will be founded on Hindu ideals”, because, as reported by a devoted listener, “India is not ‘Bharat’ but an artificial entity based on a pseudo-secular anti-Hindu philosophy called ‘Indian Constitution’.” To our country’s eternal loss, the Marxist anti-nationals paid by the Vatican and the Saudis who dare to call themselves “eminent historians” have not permitted to be published in book form the thoughts about history summarised thus: “Our ancient India was subordinated to this newly created pseudo-secular anti-Hindu, pro-Muslim and pro-Christian Indian Republic.”

Among Mr Murty’s loudest followers is the renowned blog-reviewed historian of ancient India, astrologer David Frawley. Mr Frawley is white, which means that our patriotic nationalists are particularly desperate to hear praise from him on the subject of our glorious past. His books The Myth of the Aryan Invasion of India and In Search of the Cradle of Civilisation are particularly worth reading. As the patriotic historian’s favourite source, Wikipedia, points out, eminent historian Deepak Chopra has described them as “ground-breaking” and they have been reviewed by eminent peer-reviewed historical journal Yoga Today. They argue that the earlier Vedas, which the Marxist-Missionary nexus describes as being from a pastoral society, were actually written in the Indus Valley Civilisation – sorry, the Saraswati Valley Civilisation. It provides conclusive proof, in the unquestionably Indic form of frequent assertion, that it was from India that the Aryans spread out to Iran, Central Asia, and finally Europe. Such claims are looked down on by evangelical Christian CIA agents like Chicago’s Caroline E Haskell Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions Bruce Lincoln, who describes them as "exercises in scholarship (= myth + footnotes)”. Eh, but what does he know.

If not for little-known presses like Voice of India – founded by Sita Ram Goel in 1983, a man described by Mr Frawley as “one of India’s most important thinkers in the post-independence era” – we would be tragically unaware of this wonderful stream of little books that span the genres of history, myth, and tourism management. Mr Goel won eminence as a historian writing books about the destruction of Hindu temples by marauding Muslims that relied exclusively on the Muslims’ own accounts of the numbers of people dead and temples destroyed. He rightly believed that contextualising such claims with the likelihood that they were warlike or poetic exaggeration was the kind of thing done by Nehru-Gandhi-loving pseudo-secular time-servers. (Such context is only necessary, according to Mr Goel’s acolytes, when studying accounts of the killing of Buddhist monks by Hindu kings.)

Mr Goel was introduced to an amazed and adoring reading public through a series on the op-ed page of The Indian Express in the 1980s, which he owed to the good offices of Arun Shourie, then editor. Mr Shourie, at least, is one scholar of history and tourism management who has done his duty by the reading public in terms of volume and volumes. Frankly, the only sad part of Mr Rao becoming India’s leading historian is that it could, instead have been Mr Shourie. The “reformist” government may not value his economic expertise, but, as befits a group of interestingly educated people, it certainly deserves his expertise as the most eminent Indian historian. And tourism manager.

First Published: Mon, July 21 2014. 21:40 IST