The Politics of History

mohenjodaro_sindh

Written by Randeep Singh

The Times of India recently reported, based on the findings of the Archaeological Survey of India, that the Indus Valley Civilization may be more than 8,000 years old. This would make the Indus Civilization several thousand years older than the civilizations of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia.

This is an important discovery, but one that in contemporary India will likely be misused, skewed and distorted. No sooner had the Times of India reported the discovery, did its writer, Nitin Mehta,  muse over whether this meant that the Aryans were indigenous to the subcontinent.

Many Hindus believe that they are descended from that the Aryans. Hindu Nationalists, however, go further. They hold that the Aryans were indigenous to the subcontinent. This makes them natives on par with the Adivasis (aboriginals), entitles them to speak for the nation and puts them above those other perpetual outsiders, India’s Muslims.

But this discovery does not make the Indus Valley an Aryan civilization. Nor does it mean that the Aryans were native to South Asia. The latter theory has lost credence thanks to books like Frawley and Kak’s, In Search of the Cradle of Civilization, which sought to prove its hypothesis through astrology, astronomical evidence, and dates from the Puranas. 

There is no history though in Modi’s India; only, ideology in the garb of the Ramayana. History texts by scholars like Wendy Doniger are pulped. The head of the Indian National Historical Council heads an RSS chapter. In California, Hindu groups are pushing for the revision of history texts. How we react to events like these, and the Indus Valley discovery, will either lead India further into the forest of delusion or out into the open.

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Filed under Hindu Nationalism, History, India, Politics, Randeep Singh, Uncategorized

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