Here’s the transcript (starting around the 0:33 time stamp.)
The negationists of India are not just tolerated, they are effectively celebrated. For they are rewarded by the establishment and often placed in the top echelons of power. Once placed, they go about the task of rewriting history and conjuring up centuries of Hindu-Muslim unity… out of thin air!
Indeed, the Muslim conquests down to the 16th century were for the Hindus a pure struggle of life and death. Entire cities were burned down, the
populations massacred, hundreds of thousands killed in every campaign and similar numbers deported as slaves. Every new invader made often literally his hills of Hindu skulls. The Bahmani sultans made it a rule to kill 100,000 Hindus in a year. In 1399, Timur killed 100,000 captives in a single day and many more on other occasions.
The conquest of Vijayanagara in 1565 left large areas of Karnataka depopulated and so on. The American historian Will Durant summed it up as follows:
The Islamic conquest of India is probably the bloodiest story in history. It’s a discouraging tale for its evident moral is that civilization is a precious good whose delicate complex of order and freedom, culture and peace can at any moment be overthrown by barbarians invading from without or multiplying within.
Yet these traumatic events of the past that pushed Hindu civilization to the
brink of extinction don’t find a place in the collective memory of the
inheritors of this civilization. The credit for this goes to the negationism
- Indian National Congress,
- Aligarh Muslim University and
- the Marxist historians.
The rewriting of history textbooks began even before India attained independence. The Congress supported the Khilafat movement with the aim of encouraging the Muslims to join the struggle for freedom but their strategy backfired by further intensifying the separatist tendencies among the Muslim community.
At that time, Congress leaders were not yet actively involved in the rewriting of history. They were satisfied to quietly ignore the true history of Hindu Muslim relations. After the communal riots of Kanpur in 1931, a congress report advised the elimination of the enemy image by changing the contents of the history books. Subsequent generations of Congress leaders would profess negationism very explicitly.
The second major source of negationism is Aligarh Muslim University, often described as the cradle of Pakistan. Unlike their more orthodox allies in the Deoband school, intellectuals of Aligarh found it difficult to reconcile their agenda of modernizing the Muslim community with the blood-stained history of Muslim rulers.
Around 1920, Aligarh historian Muhammad Habib launched a grand project to rewrite the history of the Indian religious conflict. The main points of this version of history are as follows:
- Trivializing the original accounts of Islamic chroniclers describing the slaughter of Hindus, the abduction of their women and children and the destruction of their places of worship by calling these accounts as exaggerations.
- Downplaying the religious zeal of the conquerors by attributing the loot and plunder to economic motives.
- Bringing in the racial factor and portraying the barbarism of the conquerors as unrelated to the doctrines of Islam.
- The violence of Islamic warriors was portrayed not to have played an important role in the establishment of Islam in India.
These arguments cannot stand the test of historical criticism. We can demonstrate this with the example of Mahmud Ghaznavi, who ravaged the lands of Gujarat, Sindh and Punjab.
Ghaznavi was a Turk yes but certainly not a barbarian. He patronized the arts and literature and was a fine calligraphist himself. The barbarity of his campaigns cannot be attributed to his ethnic stock nor did he care for material gains. He left the rich mosques on his path untouched and even turned down a Hindu offer to give back a famous Idol in exchange of a huge ransom. “I prefer to appear on Judgment Day as an idol breaker rather than an idol seller.”
The final boost to negationism was delivered by the Marxist historians who took over the reigns of India’s educational and research institutes and built a reputation for unscrupled history writing, in accordance with the party line. They took negationism to a whole new level. For Marxists like Bipin Chandra, communalism is not a dinosaur, meaning that it is a strictly modern phenomenon. They explicitly denied that before the modern period, there existed such a thing as Hindu identity or Muslim identity.
Even now, negationism in India is practiced with the utmost prowess by historians and writers under the spell of Marxism. It would be wrong to expect that it will die a natural death because it has become a deeply entrenched bias and a thought habit for many people. Children usually survive their parents and negationism will survive Marxism for some time unless a serious effort is made to expose it on a grand scale.
Read more, think critically, gather the courage to face the truth. Even the
Upanishads say Satyameva Jayate, the truth shall prevail.
I am Koenraad Elst for Upword.