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Left conspiracy

Left conspiracy

Author: Rakesh Sinha
Publication: The Hindustan Times
Date: February 15, 2002

Introduction: Indian Leftists began to exert their ideological influence on the Congress since the early Thirties.

The ongoing debate on Indian historiography will have a crucial impact on the definition of Indian nationality. The 'mainstream' historians and their apologists in the media easily find fault with non-Marxist social scientists; the neo-interventionists are called 'fascist' and 'communal'.

This is the trajectory of argument from Irfan Habib to Indrajit Hazra (Histrionics, a new discipline, Nov 27, 2001) and others of the same world-view. While nobody would disagree with Hazra's contention that objective history should be taught, amazingly, he finds no fault with existing historiographers. He may not be an adherent of Marxism, but draws his intellectual energy, like many others, from the dominant Marxist secularist historiography.

Indian Leftists began to exert their ideological influence on the Congress since the early Thirties. It is not a coincidence that a Congress report in 1931 suggested changes in the content of history books with regard to Hindu-Muslim relations. This paradigm has haunted Marxist historians who feel great scholarship in projecting Aurangzeb as a secular ruler.

The history of the freedom movement is the best yardstick to ascertain the objectivity of 'mainstream' historians. History books do not speak even 'half the truth' about the role played by Indian communists during the Quit India movement. Even before Arun Shourie exposed their role in the Eighties, Madhu Limaye revealed the truth in 1951 in CPI: Facts and Fictions.

They preferred to discuss the 'great' role of the Indian communists in leading the peasant and trade union movement. But these archive worms failed to locate a file of 150 pages which contains the correspondence between P.C. Joshi, the then general secretary of the CPI, and top British officials. Why is this complicity deliberately ignored?

Both Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi and Swami Shraddhanand lost their lives for communal harmony in 1931 and 1926 but the latter's sacrifice is lost in oblivion because he was an Arya Samajist. Madan Mohan Malaviya's social philosophy, which may have elements of conservatism as far as Hindu reforms are concerned, is slandered as 'liberal communalism'. RSS founder Hedgewar is even blamed as a British ally.

Subhas Chandra Bose and his INA were dubbed as an Indian edition of fascism by Indian communists. Had there not been a spontaneous upsurge in favour of Bose and INA prisoners, he wouldn't have got whatever little historical place is provided to him.

The Marxists' ideological history and boast for scientific interpretation began to crumble when medieval scholars and archaelogists of repute like S.K. Lal, B.B. Lal and B.L. Grover provided alternative views in 1992 on the question of the Ayodhya temple which happened to favour the VHP's claim. Irfan Habib and his loyalists attacked them as 'turncoats' who had been bought over by the Sangh parivar.

Hazra rightly points out that "the problem of Indian historiography is that it has always been handmaiden of the State". But who is to be blamed? Definitely those who have been enjoying patronage in the court of successive Congress governments.

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