I was asked a question, 'Why do you keep raising historical issues?'
What is history but a fable agreed upon?
The version of history we know, has been given to us, by vested interests. So a hot debate has erupted between groups in favour of and those against re-writing Indian history books and redefining the national narrative.
Is this a storm in a tea cup or is it something very important?
First a bit of background.
Significant parts of India have been occupied by a variety of foreign conquerors for more than 1000 years. The occupiers wrote their own version of Indian history. Some of it factual, a lot of it masala. Most documents and artefacts that could have helped define our history have been spirited away, by conquerors or have been destroyed.
History we are taught is always written by victors and conquerors, and they always project how great and noble they were and the civilising effect they had on the vanquished people.
Not all victories are military, sometimes the conquest can be a soft one, meaning cultural, social, religious, economical etc.
"India conquered and dominated China culturally for two thousand years without ever having to send a single soldier across her border."
Where does our current understanding of history comes from? In fact several sources.
In 1947, Britain, had to ensure that an independent India would remain dependent on and still be tied to Britain's apron strings, militarily, strategically, economically and politically.
So the British made sure the country's leadership remained in the hands of numerous Anglophiles, such as Jinnah and Nehru. People who looked like Indians but whose thoughts and beliefs were British.
"You realise, Galbraith, I am the last Englishman to rule in India."
Much of this distorted and factually incorrect versions of history, pales in comparison to what distortions and damage the Communists inflicted on the Indian national narrative and psyche.
The communists stated position were and remain against Indian independence in 1947 and they have always vowed to break up India. They planned to do this and almost succeeded by a process called ['Ideological Subversion' as explained by KGB master spy Yuri Bezmenov who was based in India for more than two decades.
Since independence, elected Congressmen and other politicians sought ministerial and executive positions for enhancing their wealth and influence.
The elected Communists very successfully sought to control the minds of the Indian people by demanding and getting control of all the universities education boards, information and broadcasting etc. The communists succeeded, beyond their greatest expectations.
Now our educationists and the media have completely brainwashed the minds of past and present Indians making them despise India and all things Indian. No where else in the world do a people take so much joy in self flagellation, as Indians do, denigrating themselves, and their fellow Indians and culture down into and below the mud.
Now a new generation of leaders, citizens seek a more positive socially relevant, national and regional narrative. A more honest and realistic portrayal of Indian history.
Battle lines have been drawn between one group consisting of dynastic elites, the well organised communists, the separatists, various minority groups, militant outfits of Jihadis and Naxals on one side and the hot tempered, fiery Nationalists on the other.
The Nationalists. have only recently captured political power. They have simply side-stepped main stream Indian media using social media. They have also started easing the stranglehold of Leftists on the educational institutions and history books. In addition the Nationalists are working closely with grass-root people across both rural and urban India. Sometimes they are too enthusiastic in swinging 'facts' the other way
In the coming days we will see many more skirmishes, but it will be the nationalists who will be likely to win. Whatever the outcome, the results will be a more multifaceted balanced portrayal of Indian culture, values and history.
The present and the future are almost always based on the past. Those who ignore their history lessons will almost always receive shocking and painful geography lessons.
Hu Shih, (1891-1962), Chinese philosopher in Republican China. He was ambassador to the U.S. (1938-42) and chancellor of Peking University (1946-48).
John Kenneth Galbraith was one of the most famous American economists, and ambassador to India. A great friend of Nehru.