Stretched across the mighty Himalayas in the north to the tumultuous oceans in the south, is nestled the world’s longest sustaining Civilization – Sanatan Vedic Dharma – the epitome of human advancements and evolution of ideas. From sectarian violence to regional strife, from separatist movements to class based clashes, from balkanizing forces to semitic onslaught on native faiths – our Nation has suffered a lot and yet it continues being a beaming beacon of defiance against every possible threat to its National fabric. India’s martial valor of continued resistance against evil forces is not without a historical backdrop. The freckles of a millennia long episode – of repeated aggressions & plunder that began with the fall of Sindh by Mohammad Bin Qasim in 711 AD, to military genocides and social adulteration during Mughal era, till the economic subjugation and administrative subversion under the British Raj – are still ripe in post-independent India in the form of historical distortion and cultural deracination by the Left dominated Education system.
In the past millennia, Global cultures have undergone sea changes, populace vanished, and territorial borders redrawn on multiple occasions. History during such periods of turmoil, has always been penned down by the imperialists to vilify the vanquished, which generates a sense of inferiority complex among the subjects, mitigating any risk of the ‘ruled’ challenging the ‘ruler’. India is no more a colony, the tide has now begun to reverse from the earlier western dictum of the Indic story to now Indian minds traveling to foreign lands as ambassadors of the Indian saga. In such testing times, it becomes pivotal to narrate Indian history from a native standpoint – Our story from our perspective for the world. Exposing the possible ramifications that the western siphoning of Indic history has been causing to the Indian republic can be a good staging point for establishing the fact as to why Indian history must be retold.
Today if an average Indian is asked about Indian history – the instant spill over would be that Greeks taught us civilization and brought us architecture; Mughal period was the golden era that built Qutub Minar, Taj Mahal, Lal Qila etc.; British introduced us to education system and railways; Gandhi gave us freedom. One clearly derives a notion that Indians were mere forest dwellers until Greeks enlightened us with civilization, Mughals gave us cuisines and monuments, and British ushered developmental progress in a poverty stricken India. This is the idea with which young Indian minds grow up and carry the burden of being an inferior race that could come to a mentionable position today owing to centuries of foreign rule. In a way imperialist domination has been heralded as an era of development and evolution of backward Indian society. One only gets awestruck when they visit the UNESCO world heritage sites of the civilizational laurels of Ancient India – Ajanta Ellora, Kailasa, Konark, Hampi, Mahabalipuram, and several other ransacked architectures – in Northern India, Pakistan and Bangladesh – that bear the brunt of perpetual raids from Islamic invaders. These archaic structures from pre-mughal era scattered across Indian subcontinent, are indicative of a sound knowledge of geometry and mathematics which implies the presence of a good education system in the form of world class universities that could have been possibly sustained with a great economy and a rich administration – All evidences of a flourishing civilization. In contrast to these real life monuments, school history is deviously mute with no proper chronological reference to pre-mughal India. Any logical mind becomes increasingly convinced that something is grossly flawed when intruders as Mughals, Turks, Afghans have been glorified while being selectively hushed on the heroic saga of warrior kings as Maharaj Suheldev, Krishnadeva Raya, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Maharana Pratap, who consistently liberated Indic civilization from the gnarls of marauders. The endless efforts of powerful Indic empires as – Mauryans, Vijaynagar, Marathas, Rajputs and thousand other confederacies – that India is still beholding the sacred fire of its forefathers while all other ancient civilizations have decayed in the ravages of time.
History has to be taught in a fashion as to solder regional disparities and bring afore the cultural composite of Bharat. History need not be propagated in silos such that people of Maharashtra are ignorant of Ahoms or people of Assam don’t identify the Peshwas, while both martial communities broke the backbone of mughal crescent in India. All major Indic empires should be part of central board curriculum and not just confined to regional history syllabus. This can forge a greater sense of federal unity among Indian states. When a student from Tamil Nadu and another from UP learn how the armies of their celebrated legends viz. RajaRaja Chola and Suheldev fought together in the Battle of Bahraich in 1034 AD to defeat Turk invader Ghazi Salar Masud, descendent of Mahmud Ghazni, to avenge the devastation of a sacred jyotirlinga shrine of western India; then history is perceived in its entirety with a constructive approach for a united Republic of India.
History lessons have been the fertile ground for ‘breaking India’ forces to infuse factional and religious divides. The mythical Aryan Invasion Theory that has been long debunked through DNA studies and archaeological evidences, is still recounted through history textbooks. The blooming of multiple Sanatani communities viz. Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism is attributed to Brahmanical tyranny by the coterie of leftist historians. Whereas throughout history, one can’t spot a single instance of battle between Indian communities due to their religious leanings nor has any Indic community ever desecrated the places of worship of another owing to difference in faiths. There are instead ample examples of peaceful coexistence – The numerous Jain, Shaiva and Vaishnava temples sprinkled across Hampi temple complex; Sikh monarch Maharaj Ranjit Singh’s battle flag depicting Maa Durga’s ashtabhuja avatar; Buddhist monks dressed in saffron with shaven heads like Hindu Sanyasis gaining education in the traditional Gurukul system.
A common misnomer for students of Indian history is that Bharatvarsh had always been a fragmented polity of warring factions that were united under Mughal banner and British raj. This creates a false sense of incompatibility among Indian denizens. The fact of the matter is that neither the British nor the Mughals ever ruled the entire Indian landmass. Mughals were limited to North India at the mercy of Rajput alliances; while the British crown never had any direct control over the 565 princely states. Post the hasty retreat of British in 1947, it was due to the efforts of honorable 1st Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Secretary of State VP Menon, that we see the map of India as it is today. Surprisingly, Indian history taught in schools, halts with the vivisection of the subcontinent in 1947. The aftermath consequences of a myopic decision as partition, the ensuing years of integration of Indian states, the decades of churn to hoist a globalized economy – Don’t our young minds deserve to know the making of modern India ? Being cognizant of the struggles that our leaders encountered in keeping up a unified India, shall inflame a sense of responsibility among students to uphold the sovereignty and integrity of India in their thoughts and action.
The constant impression that gets etched in the living memory of educated Indians, is that India had always been a soft power that always submitted to the supremacy of invading forces. What history lessons do not impart is how the swords of Sakas, Huns, Kushanas, Greeks that wreak havoc on everything else in its path, bent at Aryabhoomi borders and finally got assimilated under the influence and diversity of Indian civilization. Such was the impact of Indians that finds meagre mention in history textbooks. Not to mention India’s cultural spread across South East Asia, Japan to as far as Europe and South America via trade routes, and the countless foreign students that Indian universities as Nalanda, Taxila, Vikramshila attracted, who eventually became ambassadors of Indian science, philosophy and thought signature, on their way back. The naval expeditions of Cholas subduing Srivijaya kings of Indonesia, annexations by Emperor Lalitaditya Muktipada cutting down belligerent bullies to size from Central Asia to provinces in China – Indian kings on umpteen instances have displayed expansionism as a geopolitical tool. We are a dozing tiger shackled under chains of ideological slavery to the west, subscribing to the Imperialist world view that Indians were medieval era uncivilized pagans who in due course were tamed by the colonial masters.
The aggressors always knew that Indian natives being battle hardened bellicose races, could never be cowed down militarily on any battle field. The Mughals and the British eventually gathered from their encounters that Indians can instead be wielded through soft power of deceit, divide and rule rather than taking them head-on all at once. Gradually Indians were robbed of the shield that once made them immune to adversities – first distancing them from their social traditions during Mughal era, then from their knowledge disciplines in the British era, and finally from their civilizational identity in the socialist era. Despite such subjugation, Indians have left their mark in every honorable realm of modern times – proving to be useful assets in global corporations, making significant breakthroughs in scientific inventions, registering landmark achievements in space exploration and nuclear research – but in isolated pockets and of negligible proportions considering India’s demographic dividend. Today’s world has boarded the driverless train of technology with no idea towards the doom it’s heading. Indian civilization with its age old wisdom can be a guiding star to the wayward ambitions of contemporary times. Real Indian history can play a vital role for Indians, resembling the symbolic moment when Jambavan reminds Hanuman of his intrinsic valour for crossing the ocean of hurdles to locate glory. Retelling of Indian history as it was, shall reignite the morale of countrymen to strive collectively in reclaiming India’s stature as a Vishwaguru (Global Leader) and rescuing mankind from the pangs of extinction.
Writer : Avinash Mohpatra is the winner of Trunicle Lekhni competition. Avinash is Business manager at IBM & he is staunch believer of Bharat culture & Hinduism