There is a tremendous amount of intellectual dishonesty in saying that the Mughal emperors were moved by political reasons to kill Guru Tegh Bahadur. Or that the persecution of Hindus had nothing to do with religion. The Mughals– Babar to Akbar to Aurangzeb– were willing to crush Hindus at the slightest excuse – Rajiv Lochan
Prof. Romila Thapar, associated with JNU for long years and recognised as a marxist historian, uses a crude and rickety frame of reference when presenting her views on what constitutes the history of India or to be more precise the history of Bharatbhumi, the Indian subcontinent and its people. She always tries to project as if Indian history is only what she and her likes have written and taught over the last many years. She goes all out to counter any demand for objective history writing by describing it as motivated and fanned by rabid elements among the majority Hindus who want to serve their political ends by dividing the pluralistic and muti-ethnic society of India on religious and communal lines.
Participating in the teach-in on nationalism at JNU the other day, Romila underscored the point “the political requirements of today cannot be imposed on the history of the past”. She argues that a generalized statement that the last millennia be viewed as a period of victimization and enslavement of the Hindus by the Muslims is historically unacceptable. She goes on to emphasise that such generalization fans “communal nationalism”.
The communist historian says, as with nationalisms of all kinds, Hindu religious nationalism also turned to history by appropriating two dominant colonial theories that include the Aryan foundation of Indian civilization and the two-nation theory.
Romila draws attention to what she describes as history written by colonial scholarship and taught to the colonials by the colonizer, i.e., the British. Her analysis is that under the garb of religious nationalism both the Hindu and the Muslim endorsed the British two-nation theory. While one succeeded in carving out a separate Islamic state, the other wanted to fulfill the idea of the Hindu rashtra but this was opposed to anti-colonial secular nationalism. In this shallow manner she sums up the entire sequence of history as it unfolded, the rise of Mohammed Ali Jinnah, 1947 riots, slaughter of more than a million people and the biggest displacement of population in human history. On the subject of history writing, Romila carries her fixed frame of reference and has not bothered to ensure her reference point evolves beyond what she wrote “cautiously” as history and what, according to her, has been written by the historian she describes as the scholar trained in the colonial school. She forgets, the modern day historian, with all the latest tools of history writing, including scientific data of haplogroup migrations of ancestors not just over several millennia but as long ago as 2,75,000 years. Now there is sufficient and authentic data to prove how the ancestors of those who have been ethnic habitants of the gangetic plain with vertical ancestry dating back over 100,000 years had “ventured out of eastern Africa, they branched off in diverse groups that crossed and recrossed the globe over tens of thousands of years.
Pre-history notwithstanding, at the current juncture, when the so-called liberals, JNU gang – comprising of those who want to see India broken into pieces – and the marxist historians, are bent upon pushing their own agenda and narrative with a purpose, it is not the least surprising, to come across articles like the one written by a former JNU alumnus who has chosen to drive home the theory that “the Mughal emperors were more perturbed by political dimensions of social unrest rather than religious issues as affairs of political significance were considered something that needed a strong hand to be dealt with. Thus the growing influence of the Sikh Gurus over the rural, as also some urban, population of Punjab and north India was more a politically disruptive phenomenon than having purely a religious bearing.”
When contacted, and asked to give his expert comment on this article, Rajiv Lochan, who is an acclaimed scholar, historian and a JNU alumnus, said the essay repeats what is common knowledge in Punjab and Kashmir. The caveat that has been added towards the end is not supported by any evidence. There is a tremendous amount of intellectual dishonesty in saying that the Mughal emperors were moved by political reasons to kill Guru Tegh Bahadur. Or that the persecution of Hindus had nothing to do with religion. The Mughals– Babar to Akbar to Aurangzeb– were willing to crush Hindus at the slightest excuse. The Sikhs in the times of the Mughals were a Hindu sect. Hence the request by the Brahmins to them for protection, hence Guruji’s effort to ask that persecution cease.
Postscript: Question arises why Romila Thapar keeps going round and round in circles carrying a self-crafted or should I say crafty frame of reference and her trinket box of over-used and obsolete marxist jargons. While Romila, with her “cautious” history writing, has succeeded in keeping a lot of history buried for long, the modern historians, are now calling Leftists’ bluff. No wonder, they are being dubbed as communal by Romila and her band of historians.