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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

EMINENT HISTORIANS: Their Technology, Their Line, Their Fraud

Their Technology, Their Line, Their Fraud

By Arun Shourie
New Delhi: ASA Publications, 1998
Hardback, 271 pages

Reviewed by C. J. S. Wallia
IndiaStar Review of Books

Eminent Historians: TheirTechniques,Their Line, Their
Fraud is arguably the most important book published in
India since 1947. Arun Shourie, a noted scholar and
columnist, is the author of 14 other books, several of
them brilliant exposé of the Indian Communist party's
long-standing anti-national policies, the foreign
Christian missionaries' covert activities in India, and
the Congress party's corruption and pseudo-secular
policies that culminated in the massacre of thousands of
innocent Sikhs in Delhi in 1984.

Shourie received a Ph.D. in Economics from Syracuse
University and has served as a consultant to the World
Bank and the Planning Commission. He has also served as
the editor of The Indian Express. His writings have won
him major awards including the Astor, the Magsaysay, and
the International Editor of the Year. Recently, the
Federation of Indian Publishers conferred on him The
Freedom to Publish Award.

"Eminent Historians," the ironic title of his latest book
comes from the self-description a group of Marxist
historians, most of them academics, arrogated for
themselves while signing a newspaper petition during the
Ayodhya controversy. Although the group is not large in
number, (42 is the maximum), the same set has also
preempted for itself the titles of "prominent social
scientists" and "leading intellectuals" in similar public
petitions. The Marxist party line is to project Hindus as
exploitative feudalists and Muslims as liberators! Arun
Shourie's major thesis: During the past fifty years,
"this bunch of Marxist historians have been suppressing
facts, inventing lies, perverting discourse, and
derailing public policy" by seizing control of
institutions such as the Indian Council of Historical
Research (ICHR), the National Council of Educational
Research Training (NCERT), large parts of Indian
academia, and nearly all of the English-media newspapers
and publishing houses.

Included as principals in this group of Marxist
historians are Romila Thapar, Satish Chandra, K.M.
Shrimali, K.M.Pannikar, R.S. Sharma, D. N. Jha, Gyanendra
Pandey, and Irfan Habib. This group has, Shourie charges,
"worked a diabolic inversion: the inclusive religion
[Hinduism], the pluralist spiritual search of our people
and land, they have projected as intolerant, narrow-
minded, obscurantist; and the exclusivist, totalitarian,
revelatory religions and ideologies -- Islam,
Christianity, Marxism-Leninism -- they have made out to be
the epitome of tolerance, open-mindedness, democracy,
secularism!" By promoting each other's publications and
puffing up their reputations, this group has long been
"determining what is politically correct." One measure of
the insidious control these "verbal terrorists" have been
exercising over the English-medium publishing industry in
India is that Arun Shourie, despite his huge readership,
had to self-publish his books.

For several decades, these "eminent historians" have
striven hard to continually denigrate Hindu cultural
history, the oldest surviving civilization in the world,
by "blackening the Hindu period and whitewashing the
Islamic period." Indeed, Shourie should have challenged
them to refute American historian Will Durant's assertion
in hisThe Story of Civilization: "The Islamic conquest
of India is probably the bloodiest story in history. It
is a discouraging tale, for its evident moral is that
civilization is a precious good, whose delicate complex
and freedom can at any moment be overthrown by barbarians
invading from without and multiplying from within." Or
that of French historian Alain Danielou's statement, in
his Histoire de l' Inde : "From the time Muslims started
arriving, around 632 AD, the history of India becomes a
long, monotonous series of murders, massacres,
spoilations, destructions. It is, as usual, in the name
of 'a holy war' of their faith, of their sole God, that
the barbarians have destroyed civilisations, wiped out
entire races."

As the book's subtitle promises, Shourie succeeds in
unmasking these self-proclaimed eminents of "their
technology, their line, their fraud" by focusing on
specifics as exemplified below: his own television
debates with some of these "eminent historians"; their
failures to respond to published challenges by historians
and scholars of persuasions other than Marxist; their
documented efforts at distorting established historical

In July 1998, Manoj Raghuvanshi, host of a popular ZEE TV
program called Aap ki Adalat, Aap ka Faisla (Your Court,
You Judge) invited Arun Shourie and one of the
"eminents," K. L. Shrimali. Raghuvanshi posed the
question first to Shrimali whether Aurangzeb was a
religious bigot. Despite Raghuvanshi's repeating the
question, Shrimali gave no clear answer, only asserting
that Aurangzeb's court had many Hindu nobles. Shourie
countered this by pointing out that there were many
Indians among the persons honored by the British with
titles - - and both for the same reason. In Shourie's
words: "How does this wipe away the destruction of Hindu
temples by Aurangzeb? Aurangzeb had entertained no doubt
about the fact that his primary impluse was the religious
one. And that he faithfully implemented an essential
element of his religion, Islam, that is to destroy the
places of worship of other religions." As evidence,
Shourie read out several passages from Sita Ram Goel's
book Hindu Temples: What Happened to Them, The Islamic
Evidence. All Shrimali could mumble was that it was a
"questionable source." When Shourie pressed the point
that the source was the Akhbarat (Newsletter) of the
Court of Aurangzeb himself written on the very day the
news reached the court, the "eminent" historian merely
repeated "questionable source." Shourie comments: "So,
when an 'eminent' historian says that the sources were
questionable, they must be questionable" -- this is their
technology when cornered."

Sita Ram Goel's book is the focus of one of Shourie's
chapters that carries the ironic title "The Policy of
'Broad Toleration'!" Shourie quotes extensivley from this
400-page work regarding it as a "meticulous and
unimpeachable study": "We have cited from eighty
histories spanning a period of more than twelve hundred
years. Our citations mention sixty-one kings, sixty-three
military commanders and fourteen Sufis who destroyed
Hindu temples in one hundred and fifty-four localities,
big and small, spread from Khurasan in the West to
Tripura in the East, and from Transoxiana in the North to
Tamil Nadu in the South, over a period of eleven hundred
years. In most cases the destruction of temples was
followed by erection of mosques, madrasas and khanqahs,
etc., on the temple sites with temple materials. Allah
was thanked every time for enabling the iconoclast
concerned to render service to the religion of Muhammad
by means of this pious performance. All along, the
iconoclasts remained convinced that they were putting
into practice the highest tenets of their religion. They
also saw to it that a record was kept of what they prized
as a pious performance. The language of the record speaks
for itself. It leaves no doubt that they took immense
pride in doing what they did. It is inconceivable that a
constant and consistent behaviour pattern, witnessed for
a long time and over a vast area, can be explained except
in terms of a settled system of belief which leaves no
scope for second thoughts. Looking at the very large
number of temples, big and small, destroyed or desecrated
or converted into Muslim monuments, economic or political
explanations can be only a futile, if not fraudulent,

Goel's scholarly work was published in 1993 -- six years
of opportunity for the "eminent historians" to refute his
work. Quite the contrary, it is the Indian Marxist
historians who now stand discredited on many issues in
Indian history. Interestingly, Shourie cites from a
standard Soviet work A History of India by K. Antonova,
G. Bongard-Levin, G. Kotovsky (Progress Publishers,
Moscow, 1979), which, for example, on Aurangzeb, is free
of the inverted concoctions of the Indian Marxist
academics and agrees with the evidence presented by Goel:
"Aurangzeb was a cold, calculating politician, and a
fanatical Moslem, who stripped Hindus of their rights.
Between 1665 and 1669, he gave orders for Hindu temples
to be destroyed and for mosques to be erected from their

Several of Shourie's chapters appeared first as columns.
One of his readers sent him a copy of a circular sent by
the West Bengal Government Secondary Board ordering
revisions of Class IX History textbooks to conform with
the views of Indian Marxist "historians." The
accompanying pages contained two columns: Aushuddho
(errors) and Shuddho (Corrections). Shourie provides
numerous examples from these pages. In Bharuter Itihash
by Shobhankar Chattopadhyaya, published by Narmada
Publishers, page 181: Aushuddho -- "To prevent Hindu
women from being seen by Muslims, they were directed to
remain indoors." Shuddho -- Delete. In Bharater Itihash
by P. Maiti, published by Sreedhar Prakashini, page 139:
Aushuddho -- "There was a sense of aristocratic
superiority in the purdah system. That is why upper-class
Hindus adopted this system from upper-class Muslims.
Another opinion is that purdah came into practice to save
Hindu women from Muslims. Most probably, purdah came into
vogue because of both factors." Shuddho -- Delete. In
Swadesho Shobhyota by Dr. P.K. Basu and S.B.Ghatak,
published by Abhinav Prakashan, page 145: Aushuddho --
"Because Islam used extreme inhuman means to establish
itself in India, it became an obstacle for the coming
together of Indian and Islamic cultures." Shuddho --
Delete. In Bharatvarsher Itishash by Dr. Narendranath
Bhattacharya, published by Chakravarty and Son, page 89:
Aushuddho --"Sultan Mahmud looted valuables worth 2 crore
dirham from Somnath temple and used the Shivling as a
step leading up to the masjid in Ghazni." Shuddho--Delete
'and used the Shivling as a step leading up to the masjid
in Ghazni.'

In West Bengal, the Marxists have long held the state
government. However, similar revisions of history
textbooks were implemented at the national level under
the aegis of the National Council of Educational Research
and Training. For example, Satish Chandra's Medieval
History, a textbook for Class XI students, asserts that
"sometimes Sufi saints also played a role although they
were generally unconcerned with conversions." Shourie
comments: "If this eminent historian were to read the
accounts of these Sufis, he would learn how they acted as
the advance scouts of the armies of Islam!" In NCERT
sponsored books, notes Shourie, "Two sentences from the
Koran: 'To you your religion, to me mine,' and 'There is
no compulsion in religion' which are flatly over-run by
the text itself, to say nothing of the entire history of
Islamic rule over 1400 years, those two sentences are
flaunted as proof-positive of Islam being not just
committed to peace and tolerance, they are proof that it
is The Religion of Peace and Tolerance!"

Recently, Sita Ram Goel challenged the dean of the
Marxist Indian "historians," Romila Thapar, to produce
evidence to substantiate her assertion about the violence
Hindus perpetrated on the Buddhists, supposedly
destroying Buddhist viharas and constructing Hindu
temples on the ruins. None. Shourie observes: "They
traduce, they abuse, they denounce, they spit and run,
but if you so much as ask them to substantiate what they
are saying, they are deeply offended. A highly
personalised attack, they scream."

The largely Marxist membership of the Indian Council of
Historical Research appointed by the socialistic Congress
party, which was in power for nearly all of the fifty
years since independence, was reconstituted in July 1998
by the Bharatiya Janata Party, currently ruling at the
center. Unfortunately, it will take a long time for
undoing the harm done by the Marxist historians to the
Indian psyche: "they have used these institutions to sow
in the minds of our people [the Hindus] the seeds of

For anyone interested in contemporary India, this is a
must-read book.

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