Honorable Governor of Kerala Shri Arif Mohammed Khan was speaking at Kerala History conference. Not able to “tolerate” his speech, eminent and “tolerant” Historian Irfan Habib barged on to the stage and disrupted the speech. He also got into a physical brawl with the security guards of the Governor. He told the Governor, “You should not talk about Maulana Azad. You should quote Godse.” That was a worthy statement coming from a product of the legacy “Left” behind by Maulana Azad. Let’s ask two questions and try to find brief answers.
Question 1: Who was Nathuram Godse ?
Answer: He was the assassin of Mahatma Gandhi. He was connected to Hindu Mahasabha. A lot has been said and written about him. He was hanged to death for his crime.
Question 2: Who was Maulana Abul Kalam Azad ?
Answer: He was a Maulana or Islamic Religious Preacher. He was born in Saudi Arabia. He was the poster boy of Khilafat movement in India. He collected Rs. 14 Lakhs from Indians to support the Islamic Caliphate. That was 100 years ago, in an impoverished India under British rule. Maulana Azad made extensive and incendiary speeches across India in support of Islamic rule all over the world, especially in India. The movement he spearheaded lead to terrifying crimes against Hindus, especially in the Malabar. Maulana went onto become the first Minister of Education in the Jawaharlal Nehru Government and remained in that post for 11 years, till his death.
Today, our “eminent” Historians like Irfan Habib and intellectuals tell us, “Godse was a Hindu terrorist and Khilafat movement was freedom struggle against the British.” The inconvenient truth that it was a riot of religious bigots who wanted to establish their own Islamic State in India (or at least in the Malabar) has been buried by our Historians. That is where the exploration of Mythology of Indian Historians begins.
Myth is defined as an idea or a story which many people believe but that does not exist or is false.
Mythology is defined as very old stories and the beliefs contained in them. Mostly religious and connected to Gods and Kings of ancient times.Originally these words are believed to have come from Greek word Mythos, which means imaginary stories or false.
Greek Mythology and Roman Mythology are most commonly cited examples of Mythology. Once the European invaders came to India, everything about Indian civilisation became Mythology and thus we have come to accept the coinage “Hindu Mythology” for all of our heritage. Whatever the Europeans chose to tell us became our history and the rest of it all was consigned to be Mythology.
Though no book or “secular sources” claim so, there is no reason to rule out a possibility of the word Mythos itself originating from the Sanskrit word Mithya which means falsehood or artificial. Leaving the etymology behind, let us comeback to Mythology. Logos means “to study”. Hence Mythology technically means study of Myths.
Devdutt Pattanaik, a self-proclaimed Indologist or Mythologist considers himself an expert in most things including history. He attaches Myth to his name. His Twitter handle is @devduttmyth. He has described Mythology as some people’s truth while history is all people’s truth according to him. His TV show is called “Devlok with Devdutt Pattanaik”. With his sacred attachment to secularism, he has gone far and farther with his interpretations of some people's truth and all people’s truth as well. That will be a story for another day.
I have come a long distance from being the wide eyed, wonderstruck student of history taught in our schools. I realised our history is actually not Indian history. The history we were taught in schools was essentially history of Delhi. Rest of India features less than 10% in the scheme of things. Before Sanjay Leela Bhansali made “Bajirao Mastani”, 99% of Indians outside Maharashtra knew nothing about Bajirao Ballal Bhat, the warrior who never lost a single war out of the 41 he fought. Lachit Borphukan and the history of great Ahom Kings still remains unknown to most of India. Thousands of heroes of our nation have been turned into mere footnotes by our Delhi centric Historians.
One visit to Delhi in 1999 and wandering around the Capital was enough for me to realize old Delhi was a huge “Kabristan” or graveyard full of tombs built on destroyed temples. A small trivia should help readers to understand why I call Delhi a “Graveyard built on destroyed temples”. There is not a single big temple older than the Birla Mandir in Delhi, which was built in 1939.
“Why is an eighty year old Birla Mandir the oldest large temple in Delhi ?” That is a valid question any student of history should be asking. But questioning isn’t allowed in our Schools of History. Romila Thapar, Irfan Habib and others never liked questions. They just went on feeding humongous lies in the name of history and we learned them by heart and reproduced those lies in examinations.
Tipu Sultan was a great secular king who treated all his subjects equally and fought the British for the sake of freedom of India. Aurangzeb was a Benevolent Dictator who lived a frugal life and stitched toupees. The Moplah rebellion was a freedom struggle that began as a popular uprising of peasants against cruel landlords and British. Lies, damned lies and history; that is the order of progression of our Myths. We have secular Myths built around our history with the stated goal of maintaining communal harmony. A more recent Secular Myth was the thirteenth bomb blast in a Mumbai Mosque that was concocted by Sharad Pawar on 12 March 1993. There were twelve blasts in Hindu dominated areas but to maintain secularism, Sharad Pawar claimed there was a blast in a Mosque too. That is how Mythology is constructed and propagated.
I am not a historian and I would never be able to write a book on history anytime in my life. But the more I learned about our history, the more I realised we were fed Myths. Our history books are neither honest nor sincere. The proclaimed goal of maintaining communal harmony itself is a Myth. By not being honest, by not telling the truth about the greatest genocide of Hindus during the Islamic rule, our historians and their political masters have done the greatest disservice to true secularism in India. The stupid efforts to bury the bitter truths of history has done irreparable harm to communal harmony.
Both Hindus and Muslims of today have no role in what happened decades and centuries ago. But by trying to hide the truth, our Historians have created a huge trust deficit between the communities. Archeologist KK Mohammad is on record about the ASI finding ample evidences for existence of a temple under the Babri structure. He squarely placed the blame of deliberately hiding the truth at the doors of our Historians, especially Irfan Habib.
Why did these Historians want to hide the truth from us? What purpose did the deception serve? It definitely didn’t help us to build secularism or improve communal harmony. It only has lead to a significant number of Muslims idolizing monsters like Ghauri, Ghazni, Timur, Aurangzeb and Tippu. As more skeletons tumble out of the cupboard of our fake history, more Hindus have developed dislike for Muslims. These termite Historians have actually eaten into the woodwork of communal harmony in India.
If Mythology is study of Myths, then our history books are the greatest chronicles of Mythology. They built a castle of secularism and communal harmony on a fake and battered foundation of adulterated history. The edifice of Mythology has crumbled and the cracks of distrust, disharmony and disillusionment are threatening to disintegrate the nation.
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad was a proud Muslim who considered himself a descendant of Mughals. With that background, it shouldn’t come across as a wonder why our history books glorify Mughals and Islamic rule while almost everything else got trivialised or ignored. The foundation of Mythology was laid there and Maulana Azad rightfully can be called the “Father of Indian Mythology”.
We need a course correction. We need to be honest with the people, the Hindus and the Muslims. We need to tell all that was wrong without making present day population apologetic or vengeful. We must outlive the Mythology and learn our real history; unadulterated and honest history. Truth and truth alone can help us to come out of this world of Mythology constructed by people like Irfan Habib.
(The writer is a columnist and writes mostly on Politics, Cricket and Cinema)