May 22, 2005

Debate on Rewriting versus Saffronisation in Indian Historiography

This is response to Rewriting history is not 'saffronisation' at a blog titled "Colonial Historiography".

"In order to derive meaningful results, it is important to focus on fundamentals-both facts and methodology."

I concur with the idea presented on the above mentioned account. It is the most important aspect. "Puranas were not history", is a wrong statement. Now there are many definitions in postmodernist period, which shows that history can be written wherein the record of social perception whether preserved as epics or as traditional literature are also history. If that is not acceptable then the idea of Oral history and folklore stand no chance for survival. If that is the case, then those who desire to content may themselves try to reason that how rational and logical can their arguments are.

I also concur with the point that there is need for re-writing, Nay, to write from the beginning the history of India. There is need to write a history of a nation which came into new phase of life from 1947. It should not be called the rebirth or a new birth but rather entry into new phase of her existence; an existence wherein under the march of history, she allowed herself to receive the western perspectives but retaining her vital herself.

However, I would like to direct attention to one of my post titled Musing on Mechanism of Rise of Euro-centric World at If we are ready to reason and rationalize in case of Indian history, then we must also recognize that there are some established facts about the dominance of Europe in the world and over the world. You just can not overlook it. Eurocentricism is a bane of intellectual world. But just try to reason it for a while that why is it so? There is history of eighteenth and nineteenth century in which the races of Europe were definitely registering stupendous results. You can not overlook that.

I am ready to accept that I do not know Sanskrit. I am ready to accept that I have developed understanding of Indian History from the writing of the western scholars on Indian history. However, I have been teaching this subject. I have been thinking over it. I have identified many incongruities in the presentations of facts. When I teach that the Rajputs and then later Mughals failed before the onslaught of the Anglo-Saxon world only because India did not have ever thought of having warships, I really fail pain. I just want to shriek out that Kindly look at the achievements of Raja Raja Chola and Rajinder Chola. I just wanted to direct the attention towards the Vijaynagar trade. I want to question that was not Shivaji having any policy towards Janjis and sea forces. I want to question that did Aurangzeb not defeat English forces at sea. Why do we forget that Europeans were not liked because they were interrupting the trades of the members of royal family? Was not India a main center of ship building of small tonnage which means that it was a place for merchant ships. What I mean to say that reason and rationality can not be contextual. The valid point and truth would remain permanent even if you try to distort it.

But I want to raise a question. I want to ask that why have this not be done after 58 years. Why not can it be started just now? Where is the need of government? With the march of technology and such Information and communication means like internet and blogs, it should be done by the Indians themselves.

Yes there is need to write the history of India. Saffronization or no Saffronization accusation, Marxist interpretation or no such frame of reference evaluation of historic facts, the Indian history should find here first chapter not as starting of Hindu era followed by Muslim era but, it should start with reference to earlier social practices and economic history of Sindhu. Then the next chapters may follow but not that of J. S. Mills.
(Edited on June 3, 2005) Only grammatical correction.

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