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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Hindutva View of History

It is time for  Indians of all hues to decide what kind of India they want,  a fascist one like Iran or Sudan or a genuine democracy where everyone has the freedom to eat, drink, wear and believe whatever the hell one wants to.

As Indians we need to be serious about our History – if teaching this history is creating problems between peoples, causing us pain, hatred and ill-will, then we need to assess the value of such education.

We need to focus on Science and Maths and add value to the lives of people. Either we want a better India or mess it up forcing people what they can or cannot eat, can or cannot believe.  Ultimately no one will live in peace and harmony. 

The past empires may have messed up the history in a hurry to write their own understanding of it and to suit their own agenda. They were not democracies, they got away with a lot of stuff. There was no one to question them.  We are a democracy and we need to create responsible societies. 

We need to laugh at our past, when human rights were violated, but guard ourselves from becoming like them and violate fellow Indians's rights. We need to teach humility over arrogance and the desires to control others. 

If RSS or any other organization that promotes superiority of one over the other, more right to one over the other, then we need to ask them to revise their manifesto and consider all Indians as equals.  

Here is one abstract:

“There is no mention of Hitler’s role in the concentration camps, the holocaust and the extermination of millions of Jews; in fact, the role of Hitler is seen as always positive.”16 Similarly, the Gujarat state class ten social studies textbooks contained chapters titled “Hitler, the Supremo” and “Internal Achievements of Nazism” where Nazi administrative efficiency is lauded. The Holocaust is not mentioned by name, but “the gruesome and inhuman act of suffocating 60 lakh [6 million] Jews in gas chambers” is noted. The section on “Ideology of Nazism” translates Hitler’s title of “Fuhrer” as “Savior.”17
This is the link to the full article.

The Hindutva View of History
Rewriting Textbooks in India and the United States Kamala Visweswaran, Michael Witzel, Nandini Manjrekar, Dipta Bhog, and Uma Chakravarti

When Hindu nationalist (or Sangh Parivar) organizations in India came to power at the national level in 1998, one of the first things they did was to establish a National Curriculum Framework (NCF) to change textbook content. The 2000 NCF curriculum debate reflected the intense conflict between competing visions of national identity that had dominated India’s public and political discourse over the previous two decades. In a significant departure from earlier curriculum frameworks of 1972 and 1986, which stressed democratic values, social justice, and national integration through appreciation of the commonalities of different subcultures, the principal focus of the NCF was “value education.”1 The chief end of history, as of education as a whole, was presented as the development of a “national spirit” and “national consciousness” through generating pride in the younger generation regarding India’s past and its unique “religio-philosophical ethos, which was presented as primarily Hindu.”2 These actions were vociferously challenged by academics and progressive, secular, liberal, or left groups who decried the Sangh Parivar’s ideological efforts to recast history. In the summer and fall months of 2005, U.S. “Hindu”

organizations with Sangh ties appeared at California Board of Education hearings, claiming that California textbooks discriminated against Hindus and presented a demeaning image of Hinduism. While there were indeed problems with the representation of Hinduism in the textbooks, the overall aim of the changes proposed by the Hindu Education Foundation and the Vedic Foundation was to propagate false notions of Indian history, including the idea that “Aryans” were the original or indigenous inhabitants of India, and that the core essence of Hinduism could be found in the Vedic religion of the Aryans. 

We will argue that these textbook edits attempt to manufacture a majoritarian view of society in which the cultural and political space for minorities will progressively shrink.

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