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Keeping faith in make-believe history

by Khushwant Singh, 14 November 2008

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Deccan Herald, November 15, 2008

The Aryans’ role model is Adolf Hitler who purged Aryan Germany of semitic races by gassing millions of Jews and Gypsies while Germans of today regard Hitler as the devil-incarnate and are ashamed of him.

I was not aware that the Hindu Mahasabha and the RSS had set up a large number of schools across the country known as Saraswati Shishu Mandirs and Vidya Bharati Schools. The number of teachers employed by them runs into the thousands; the number of students into hundreds of thousands. They also have a publishing house to print their own text books. When I discovered what they teach in these schools, I was sorely disappointed. It is a make-believe historical fiction to boost our morale and foster suspicion and hatred against Indian-born minorities, notably Muslims and Christians, who don’t share a pride in our past.

Aryan myths

It is assumed that Bharat Varsha is co-terminous with Aryavarta: Dravidans, who were Indians before the Aryans came, are ignored. The Aryans’ role model is Adolf Hitler who purged Aryan Germany of semitic races by gassing millions of Jews and Gypsies while Germans of today regard Hitler as the devil-incarnate and are ashamed of him. RSS and Sena leaders hero-worship him. Buddhism and its great propagator, Emperor Ashoka, who preached Ahimsa (non-violence) were, according to them, unmitigated disasters as they robbed us of our martial qualities, made us cowardly and unable to resist marauding Muslim armies weilding swords in one hand and Koran in the other. Muslims were, according to K B Hegdewar, founder of the RSS “hissing Yavana snakes”.

A few examples from these text books are pertinent: Muslims’ greatest wish is to have a darshan of the black stone, shivalinga, installed in Mecca. The Qutub Minar of Delhi was built by Emperor Samudragupta and known as the Vishnu Stambha. (The fact that it is festooned with verses from the Koran is not mentioned.) It is asserted that the Babri Masjid was never a masjid because namaz was never performed in it. The present head of the RSS, K S Sudarshan made an outrageous statement in November 2001 in which he dismissed eminent historians as ‘anti-Hindu’ Euro-Indians. He claimed that “in ancient India we knew about nuclear energy and the sage Bharadwaja and Raja Bhoj not only described the construction of aeroplanes but also discussed details like what types of aeroplanes would fly and at what height.”

A significant outcome of the kind of history being taught in these schools is downgrading the role of Mahatma Gandhi in the freedom movement and exalting that of Veer Savarkar. Though Savarkar was acquitted on technical grounds of the charge of conspiracy to kill Gandhi, the Justice Kapur Commission later squarely implicated him as the man who inspired the foul deed. His portrait was installed in Parliament House during the rule of the BJP.

Before you accuse me of anti-RSS and BJP bias, take a look at a booklet RSS, School Texts and the Murder of Mahatma Gandhi. It is compiled by three distinguished professors of history of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (Aditya Mukherjee, Mridula Mukherjee and Sucheta Mahajan). Finally, ask yourself, is this kind of brain-washing of young minds and filling them with hate good for the country? It will turn our sweet dreams of a hate-free Hindustan into a nightmare of vicious civil strife.