|Our Special Correspondent|
|New Delhi, Nov. 17:
Forty-six academics and a musician today issued a public statement
hitting out against earlier comments by a bigger group of academics who
had condemned what they described as "legislated history" and a
prevailing atmosphere of "narrowness, intolerance and bigotry".|
The 47 include most of the nominated members of the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR), which was reconstituted under human resource development minister Smriti Irani's watch.
Their public statement accused the bigger group of 229 signatories - who made their statements over the past three weeks - of being "part of the politico-ideological apparatus" and imposing a "blinkered view of Indian historiography". Among the 47 are ICHR members Dilip Chakrabarti, Saradindu Mukherji, Nanditha Krishna, M.D. Srinivas, Meenakshi Jain, Michel Danino, Sachchidanand Sahai, Isaac CI, Nikhiles Guha and Purabi Roy.
Other signatories include the chairperson of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla, Chandrakala Padia, former chief information commissioner and Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (NMML) director O.P. Kejariwal, former Archaeological Survey of India director-general B.B. Lal and Madhu Kishwar.
The bigger group of 229 academics - some of whom had accused the BJP-led government of legislating history - included Romila Thapar, Irfan Habib, D.N. Jha, Mridula Mukherjee, Gopinath Ravindran, Shireen Moosvi, Rajan Gurukkal, K.N. Panikkar, Nayanjot Lahiri and Upinder Singh.
The statement by the 47, titled "Hypocrisy and Indian History", accuses Left-leaning historians of "abusive and unscholarly practices". It also uses the words legislated history.
It said: "While we reject attempts to portray India's past as a glorious and perfect golden age, we condemn the far more pernicious imposition by the Leftist School of a 'legislated history', which has presented an alienating and debilitating self-image to generations of Indian students, and promoted contempt for their civilisational heritage.... We call for an unbiased and rigorous new historiography of India."
The allegations against the 229 include: viewing the evolution of Indian society only through the prism of caste, refusal to acknowledge the brutality of Muslim rulers, neglect of tribal histories, misreading of archaeological evidence and bias against scientific inputs from other disciplines, and discrimination against historians who deviate from the Left line.
I was just wondering why the rebuttal from the BJP academics, historians, scientists would come.
The film makers led by Anupam Kher had already done their part.
Now the saffron coloured academics have given their views, for all they are worth.