Age of Empires Version 2.0

History is the window through which we peek into the past, as we strive to…

History is the window through which we peek into the past, as we strive to shed light on the present and without which, we cannot hope to form an opinion on the kind of future we are headed towards.

Construction of a credible historical account most often involves a reliance on fragmentary literary and archaeological evidence coupled with reasonable speculation employed to stitch together a coherent chronological narrative.

It would not be incorrect to say that history is essentially just a consensus about what the past was probably like. Now, any consensus hints at a dispute that has been duly considered and finally rejected in favour of the more convincing or dominant view, suggesting that history is also a kind of disagreement, because rarely do we find incontrovertible proof to declare one and only one account of the past as solely genuine.

There is another, more interesting disagreement concerning history. This disagreement is not with the dominant view per se but about whether the past, as we know it, is truly over and done with or if it is still lurking in the shadows of the present, metamorphosed into a deceptive new outer form, while secretly retaining its core inner attributes.

As a case in point, the oft-criticized Varna (later distorted as caste) system of ancient India continues to find subtle expression, with important differences and significant similarities, in the meritocratic arrangements of contemporary society in India and elsewhere.

Clearly, the past, as long as it continues to hold sway over how power is currently shared by members of a community, is far from dead and informs the little choices we make and the myriad thoughts we think. It is largely in the purview of this disagreement over the ‘pastness of past’ that history becomes the syntax of collective identity.

If history is indeed the syntax of identity, then it is equally valid to say that identity forms the grammar of history. This reciprocity between the two finds resonance in Walter Benjamin’s profound yet simple assertion: “History is written by the victors”, where victors, we may infer, are not just the ones who actually win wars but also those that carry themselves as such. The final military outcome of wars is inconsequential in this context.

In other words, races, tribes, communities or cults that refuse to acknowledge the finality of their defeat hold on to their own definition of the self and retain a sense of continuity from the past to the present while those who count themselves among the vanquished tend to embrace the identity of the victors, completely losing out on their place and participation in either civilization’s evolutionary journey.[1]

Somewhere between the two extremes of cultural self identification and denial, are located the vast majority of people in today’s world, still recuperating from the devastating effects of centuries of religious and imperial conquests.

Academic Treatment of Imperial Conquests of India

The above raw hypothesis regarding reciprocity can be put to test by evaluating the difference in the treatment of Islamic(treated as a monolith for analysis) versus British invasion of India in our academia.

It is well known that the ‘native’ resistance to both these intrusions, separated by many centuries between them, was uniformly heroic and unrelenting, leading to their fall in the end, not exclusively attributable to the resistance alone.

But if we were to judge the magnitude of their respective successes, we would have to quantify it based on the extent to which the rulers were successful in getting their subjects to forsake their indigenous identity and embrace that of the invaders’.

From being a miniscule minority at the beginning of the medieval period, the Muslim population grew nearly a hundredfold to form 12 per cent of the total population of India by the end of the 18th century [2].

We see no such massive changes in religious demographics between the commencement and end of British imperial rule in India.This corresponds directly with how we view genocides under the two regimes.

While history students in India are rightly made to recount the horrors of the Jalianwala Bagh massacre and the Bengal famine, the widespread genocide carried out by various Islamic rulers is deliberately ignored, even though the number of innocent people killed by Muslim invaders runs into scores of millions, relative to which, British atrocities fade to insignificance—in the context of sheer numbers killed.

It would be tempting to explain away this partisanship of our historians as a function of the comparative proximity in time of the British Raj or in the fact that many Muslim rulers stayed over permanently and genetically mingled with the inhabitants.

But the systematic negation[3] of Islamic brutality in medieval India begs a more persuasive elaboration, in the absence of which, it is fair to conclude that this cover-up springs from the political compulsions of pandering to the acquired identity of a large number of people, who see themselves as the progeny of the oppressors.

pic1

Exploitation of natives under Medieval Islamic rule

British Colonial Rule

Lest we are quick to hand over a clean chit to the British imperialists and their metaphorical post colonial progeny, we must remember that the nuts and bolts of colonial domination were materially different from those of Islamic assaults.

One, religion was strategically employed to bring about the subservience of the native but it was not the lone or even the central mode of attack. Secondly, psychological dominance was achieved not so much by thrusting western customs down native throats as it was by undermining their already fractured confidence in the strength of their own ethos. And most importantly, the power imbalance achieved was designed to sufficiently outlast the direct colonial rule that had brought it about.

Predictably, colonial rule also resulted in polarization of indigenous identities,reflected symptomatically in debates between the ‘Orientalists’ and ‘Anglicists’ over education or in the split of Indian National Congress between ‘Moderates’ and ‘Extremists’ in 1907[4]. There are good reasons to believe that this process of polarization is currently underway in much of our politics and culture.

One of the most definitive characters of British imperial rule in India was the stark contrast in the colonial experience of the citizens of the two geo-political entities. For the man on the street in London, colonialism was a peripheral experience, one that was simply another fact of life while for the colonized Indian in Calcutta, it was the central truth around which her life was structured. As Edward Said lucidly explains this asymmetry: [5]

“In one instance, we assume that the better part of history in colonial territories was a function of the imperial intervention; in the other, there is an equally obstinate assumption that colonial undertakings were marginal and perhaps even eccentric to the central activities of the great metropolitan cultures. Thus, the tendency in anthropology, history, and cultural studies in Europe and the United States is to treat the whole of world history as viewable by a kind of Western super—subject, whose historicizing and disciplinary rigour either takes away or, in the post-colonial period, restores history to people and cultures ‘without’ history… These elisions and denials are all reproduced, I believe, in the strident journalistic debates about decolonization, in which imperialism is repeatedly on record saying, in effect, you are what you are because of us; when we left, you reverted to your deplorable state, for certainly there is little to be known about imperialism that might help either you or us in the present.”

Therefore, it is worthwhile to question from a meta-historical perspective, if colonial domination has really come to an end, in practice, if not in principle. Let us now examine in more detail how the repercussions of western supremacy play out along predictable lines under vastly different settings.

Current Repercussions of Western Colonialism

In the late eighties, as Stanford University was undergoing a period of introspective churning, there were demands from students and professors to modify the curriculum so as to include texts by more non-Europeans, women, people of colour, and so on.

Bernard Lewis entered the debate in the capacity of a well regarded scholar and an authority on Islam and took the extremist position that modification of the reading list would be equivalent to the demise of Western culture, leading to a reversion to slavery, polygamy and child marriage. He added that curiosity about other cultures, presumed to be unique to the west, would also come to an end.

Two and a half decades later, the newly elected government in India mulled over plans to revive popular interest in Sanskrit, the language in which most of the ancient Indian literature was originally written.

What followed was a political drama no less absurd than the radical views of the American scholar mentioned above, with many people calling the initiative regressive, ‘Brahminical’ and retrograde, accusing the government of ‘saffronization’, a term used to denote Hindu “extremism.”

pic2

Pratap Bhanu Mehta, a prominent intellectual,questioned the relevance of reviving a “dead language” in a culture that has “lost the art of fine distinctions” and “where public argument is nothing but the flouting of logic”. Ironically, he was doing exactly that in his attempt to argue imaginatively.

There are recognizable parallels in the closet supremacist’s hysterical rejection of alternative texts in an American university with the Macaulayist’s apologetic denial of Sanskrit’s place in modern India.

Both are barely concealed rants that miss the wood for the trees and imagine malice on the part of authorities, where there is none. Both men claim to respect and understand non western cultures, one through scholarship and the other through belonging. Both parrot colonial narratives long after imperial empires have physically withdrawn from the colonies.But one speaks as the conqueror and the other as the vanquished. Therein lies all the difference.

Cultural Decolonization

For any post-colonial society, the process of outgrowing the colonial straitjacket and rediscovering their aboriginal identities is painful and slow. It is also fraught with the very real danger of accidentally reverting to hostile, racist and possibly violent mindsets of the previous centuries.

Yet, it is a necessary step to achieve freedom from the ghosts of the past and immunity from what Rajiv Malhotra calls ‘Atrocity Literature’, which is nothing but pseudo-scholarship by a section of the western academia and motivated reporting by a significant part of the western media on socio-cultural complexities of former colonies[6].

These efforts are well funded by their governments for pre-planned strategic/military interventions that make the virtual annihilation of a whole region, on the pretext of searching for non-existent weapons of mass destruction, seem like benevolent efforts for strengthening democracy. White man’s burden, version 2.0.

Cultural decolonization, although seemingly focussed on divisive issues such as identity, if wisely carried out,can be the basis of a new world order that has cleansed itself of the obsessions of identity politics.

Only then can the truly urgent issues of environmental degradation, global warming, food and water security etc. be addressed sincerely and with the required global consensus. The current dichotomy between local and global is exaggerated mainly due to the skewed power equation between the have and have-not nations.

Consider the deplorable condition of River Ganga in spite of the reverence accorded to it in traditional thought. Why the concern for Ganga is compartmentalized to Hindu religious sentiment, as opposed to a direct feeling of devotion for its incredible contribution to life on the subcontinent, can be attributed to the absence of any sense of historical identity,regardless of the fact that millions ritually worship the river every single day.

Contrary to lazy theorizing about supposedly divergent aspirations of progressive environmentalists and regressive revivalists (as they call anyone who speaks of the need to get reintroduced to one’s history), keeping the Ganga clean is an endeavour that can only meet success if the ordinary dweller on her banks, accepts her for what she really is,the lifeblood of Indian civilization from times immemorial.

In the end, it must be emphasized that the one thing that can derail all sincere attempts at decolonization is the amplification of tribal instincts and xenophobia, dangerous foes that must be pre-emptively and systematically kept at bay.

Mere hatred for neo-imperialist institutions would only reinforce the cycle of victimhood, causing the world to get caught again in the eddies of colonial thought-currents. It would work wonderfully for those enjoying power to maintain the status quo but the rest of us and the planet surely deserve better.

References

[1] Muslim Separatism: Its causes and consequences – Sita Ram Goel

[2] Indian Muslims: Who Are They? – K.S. Lal

[3] Negationism in India: Concealing The Record of Islam – Koenraad Elst

[4] Bande Mataram: Early Political Writings – Aurobindo Ghosh

[5] Culture and Imperialism – Edward Said

[6] Breaking India – Rajiv Malhotra & Aravindan Neelakandan

Ashish Dhar, a Mechanical Engineer and an entrepreneur, lives in New Delhi. He is co-founder of pragyata.com, an e-learning portal dedicated to Indic knowledge systems.
  • Capt.Ajit Vadakayil

    What rubbish where is the JEWISH ROTHSCHILD CONSPIRACY.No wonder Hindus dont realise the real problems are not Islam,Christianity,Communism all the problems are because of the Rothschild Jewish Conspiracy.

    People need to call a spade a spade

    [1]Muslim Separatism: Its causes and consequences – Sita Ram Goel-Rothschild Jew coz he was Gandhian

    [2]Indian Muslims: Who Are They? – K.S. Lal-Lies about Islamic Atrocities hence co conspirator with Jewish Rothschild Zionist

    [3]Bande Mataram: Early Political Writings – Aurobindo Ghosh-Left mainstream politics coz he became a supporter of Rothschild lady whom he called mother

    [4]Negationism in India: Concealing The Record of Islam – Koenraad Elst- Jewish Zionist

    [5] Culture and Imperialism – Edward Said -Funded by Rothschild hence was critical of Western Imperialism in his writings

    [6]India – Rajiv Malhotra-Jewish Rothschild supporter hence does not reveal about them in his books nor reveals the real owner of East India Company

    Before anyone thinks of refuting me remember I have a 12 strand DNA hence whatever I say is like the word of God and you must at any cost accept it blindly without any due deligence

  • one more vadakayil loony has entered into the discussion to spread his jewish conspiracies.

  • Slasher

    Our historians and archaeologists have been worthless. Nay, beyond worthless.

    Our Indian History has been twisted beyond recognition by the White Invader and due to our own worthless “intelligentsia”.

    To know our TRUE history, I have some very interesting revelations for you…

    Punch into Google:

    “Ajit Vadakayil Mughal”

    or “Vadakayil Tipu Sultan”

    You may ask Vadakyil WHO?

    You cannot fight the enemy without knowing who it is. Our History has been hijacked and the Desh Drohi Media is hand in gloves with the enemy.

    Ajit is India’s most prolific blogger and most widely read on the planet.

    He has 310m (million) page views and writes with an uncanny perception. Time for every Indian to be TRULY educated. After reading, spread the word…

    • Capt.Ajit Vadakayil

      Tell them about me Slasher I am the one with a 12 strand DNA patent.Tell them how awesome I am at creating make belief half baked conspiracy theories which have no head and tail.Tell everyone how my theories are used as a Stick by the seculars to beat other Hindus up with.Dont forget to tell them about my tatoo.Tell everyone how my theories are superimposed on every other Hindu and hence others who unlike me have done great research and written scholarly books and articles are also called Misogynst & Chauvinists.Its all thanks to me I have had over 26 Lakh views of my profile can any of these scholars and archeologists and historians boast of such achievements.You seen the movie “The One” they were talking about you know who the Great Captain Ajit Vadakayil

      • Slasher

        I am no minion and I am glad a troll like you with Ajit’s handle is doing a great job getting everyone curious about his blog. Fantastic! Keep up your trolling Moron!!

        • Capt.Ajit Vadakayil

          Yes great!! my minion go and spread my conspiracy theories and don’t forget to tell them about my 12 strand DNA.Your absolutely right I,Capt.Ajit Vadakayil is indeed the one and only true “Father of Moronsmriti” hence also the first moron to be ever born in this universe.

  • srinivas kumar

    Every Hindu must and should shri sitaram goel jis work …..Please please read it !It removes all the brainwashing that is done by the seculars , marxists etc we have to reclaim bharatvarsha !!!
    http://voiceofdharma.org/books/
    Please read as many books possible here .These people have done Scientific and scholarly research unlike the marxists and the secular .

    • Capt.Ajit Vadakayil

      Rubbish Sita Ram Goel he was a Jewish Co conspirator along with the Belgian Zionist Koenrad Elst.If you dont believe me Punch Ajit Vadakayil on google.When I say punch I mean you literally make a fist and punch on the screen of your monitor to the point that it breaks then you will attain the 12 strand DNA which will enlighten you with the knowledge of the whole universe it does not work unless you break the screen so remember.

  • guest

    This is ultra important: ‘ keeping the Ganga clean is an endeavour that can only meet success if the ordinarydweller on her banks, accepts her for what she really is,the lifeblood of Indian civilization from times immemorial.’

    Just as environmentalists should rise and talk about ban on beef as an environmental issue not a religious one. In hinduism, from my understanding, practically every stipulate had a solid reasoning behind it. It is time for the Indic studies scholars –in India (the west won’t do it) to look at the scientific reasons for our rituals, recommendations–rather than relegating to them being religious. Something as simple as Mad Cow Disease can be, if a scholar so wishes to a write a paper, be connected to adharmic view of nature and animals—(feeding nature appropriate diet to cattle–vegetarian not ground beef)–It is important to think of collective history, as we need to connect to the larger idea of ‘our environment’ and then dig deep into our practices that kept them together.

    For example, I recently learnt that Golu–a festival where dolls are displayed during Navratri is related to the fact that post rainy season –it is important to encourage de-silting of irrigation canals. But today many young won’t know about it, and simply think of it is as a ‘idol worship day. But there were larger ecological reasons connected to uphold social aspects (Dharma)— We need teachers and scholars who can be multidisciplinary and connect these dots between history, science, society and ecology—and connect it to both national pride and contributing to knowledge and solutions that can help other nations as well

    • NARAYAN MAO

      What a hate-filled, fascist and communal post this is. I reserve the right to massacre anyone and anything whenever I choose, and destroy as many trees and pollute as many rivers as I want. Stop being intolerant towards me, you stinking fascist. Oh woe is me, such intolerance spreading through my India, Hindutvaadi fascists are everywhere, many hands make light work, don’t put all your eggs in one basket, etc etc etc… Arvindji saaaaaave uuuuuus! I will now be returning my birth certificate and driving licence in protest. Oh the Bihar election is finished, maybe I won’t bother then.

      • guest

        🙂

      • Capt.Ajit Vadakayil

        Your wrong its only me the know it all, ” The father of Conspiracy theories amongst Indian Bloggers”,Fascist are good dont you know that,its all a Jewish Rothschild Conspiracy to all the references that the author has mentioned are those of pro Zionists.You should know this its the only truth and the mother of all Truths.Arvind Kejriwals moochi exists because he worshipped the Jewish Rothschild and hence ppl have supported him.Dont read Hitler’s Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII its a Zionist conspiracy to portray Nazis in bad light.Nazis are kind hearted human beings,Bihar election was lost due to involvement and funding by Zionists for a pro Mahagathbandhan.Also Mussolini was not confused when he killed Jews on basis of colour even though many of the Jews were blonde and lighter skinned than the Christian Italians.I am telling you its all a Jewish Rothschild conspiracy a well read Maowadi like you should know this.If you want to know more Punch Ajit Vadakayil on Nazis on google.When I say punch I mean you literally make a fist and punch on the screen of your monitor to the point that it breaks then you will attain the 12 strand DNA which well give you the knowledge of the whole universe it does not work unless you break the screen so remember.

    • Capt.Ajit Vadakayil

      What do you know about Cleaning Ganga,just because you have read a few books or articles and watched a few videos of scholars you think you have solution to all the problems.I am telling you all the Ganga being unclean is all a Jewish- Japanese-Cannibal-Chitpawan Brahmin-Bengali Pan spitting Zionist Conspiracy they are all involved thats why Ganga is unclean.The Bengalis eat their pan and spit in Ganga,the japanese eat the flesh of Subash’s Army and throw it in Ganga,the Chitpawan Jews have different coloured eyes and use it to make the Ganga dirty,well the Jews you need to read Protocols of the elders of Zion to understand how manipulative they really are.

      I am telling you the Mad cow,the Swine Flu,the bird flue,Dengu,Ebola,male aloepecia,erectile dysfunction,violent diarrhoea,dandruff,ticks n lice are all coz of Jewish Rothschild they created all the problems and also have the antidote and once they are able to kill or make enough people bald they(cunning Jews) will sell it for a very high price.All these Rajiv Malhotra,Arun Shourie,Sita Ram Goel,K.S.Lal,Aurobindo,Tilak,V.D.Savarkar,Ambedkar,Gandhi,Peshwas,Ravindranath Tagore,Swami Vivekananda,Shankaracharyas etc all are Jewish Co conspirators.

      What are you talking about this idol worship you need 12 Strand DNA and actually we need the Pineal Gland of Shiva n the only thing that you should worship is this shiv lingam and your not suppose to worship anything else.

      If you dont believe me Punch Ajit Vadakayil on Peshwa,Shiv Lingam,Rothschild,Shankaracharya,Gandhi,Ambedkar,V.D.Savarkar,Bhakti Saints,Vaishnav etc on google.When I say punch I mean you literally make a fist and punch on the screen of your monitor to the point that it breaks then you will attain the 12 strand DNA which well enlighten you with the knowledge of the whole universe it does not work unless you break the screen so remember to do so.

    • Savarkar’s Disciple

      You might want to view this video
      Is Meat Eating a Matter of Personal Choice? A Scientific Analysis – Dr. Kulshrestha – Full Talk
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-VO_zZBBt8

      • guest

        Thanks will check, its long but see it as time allows. thanks for sharing. always welcome!!

  • Luffy

    Totally agree with Walter Benjamin: “History is written by Winners”. It is only fair that Islamists, followed by British and Loonie Leftists of Nehruvian Failed Socialist Policy get to define Hinduism even if most of it is a complete lie.

    Prithviraj Chauhan whose valor is praised by Hindus is stoned in Afghanistan and rightly so. That’s cause he allowed the enemy to live and result is Islamization of Bharat. When an enemy is in front of you there is no Right or Wrong. Only Winner and Loser.

    Modi and Bhakts were too busy defending Dadri during Bihar Elections. Instead if they had used it to counter-polarize it would worked in their favor. Rajiv Gandhi got absolute majority via counter-polarization only. There is no stopping Congis, AAPTards and other Sickulars from “Intolerant Hindus” and “Intolerant India” narrative come 2019 Elections. Time to use it to your advantage. Truly Counter Polarize. Rights and Wrongs don’t matter. Only Winners and Losers do. Dharma didn’t win the Mahabharata War, Krishna’s Strategy to kill Bhisma, Drona and Karna won it.

    • srinivas kumar

      Stoned in afghanistan?!Can you elaborate on this , seems interesting
      What do you mean counter – polarization of dadri?

      • Luffy

        In Afghanistan next to Ghouri lies a small tomb which is regularly stoned and stampled on by Muslims. It belongs to Prithviraj Chauhan.

        http://www.sanskritimagazine.com/history/not-so-known-history-of-maharaja-prithviraj-chauhan/

        Counter-Polarization is Reverse Polarization. Hahahaa I can’t divulge more details about it. I might be in jail for inciting hatred. But if there are smart heads in BJP they will understand.

        • am

          By counter polarization do you mean to say that just like now-a-days Hindus are blamed for each and every so-called communal intolerance it can reversed by blaming it on the muslims and blowing each and every case of muslim extremism to a point that the nation feels threatened by them, in short putting blame on the muslims for each and every stray incidents?

          • Luffy

            Can Hindus and BJP think of doing what you propose? Can they take the path of Adharma to implement Dharma. U know Opposition would play dirty come 2019 Elections. Can Hindus and BJP reciprocate?

          • am

            If modi has the courage it should by his 3rd year as Pm.

          • Martin Devadason

            Appreciate your reasoning method!

  • Sibby

    The problem is that the current India is Eurocentric. Anything happening in Europe is cherished in India while anything happening in India is considered retrograde or worse saffronization.
    1. When West (including Obama) is concerned about “so called” Church attack or Dadri Incident, all Indian mass media point finger at PM Modi.
    2. When UK and USA ban entry of Modi for 10 years without any proper investigation, Indian Media point finger at Modi.
    3. When American and UK funded NGOs breaks Indian laws and Govt tries to bring it to justice, Indian Media points finger at Modi.
    4. When Indophobic BBC shows India in bad light (It still calls Mumbai attackers as mere gunman instead of terrorists) and when India tries to stop it, Indian Media points finger at Modi in the name of freedom of expression.
    5. When Pakistan threatens India and even after three wars and multiple terrorist attack, Indian Media points finger at Modi for failing for peace talk.

    • Capt.Ajit Vadakayil

      The problem is that the current India is Eurocentric. Anything happening in Europe is cherished in India while anything happening in India is considered retrograde or worse saffronization.
      1. When West (including Obama) is concerned about “so called” Church attack or Dadri Incident, all Indian mass media point finger at PM Modi. -Zionist Jewish Rothschild Conspiracy
      2. When UK and USA ban entry of Modi for 10 years without any proper investigation, Indian Media point finger at Modi. -Zionist Jewish Rothschild Conspiracy
      3. When American and UK funded NGOs breaks Indian laws and Govt tries to bring it to justice, Indian Media points finger at Modi. -Zionist Jewish Rothschild Conspiracy
      4. When Indophobic BBC shows India in bad light (It still calls Mumbai attackers as mere gunman instead of terrorists) and when India tries to stop it, Indian Media points finger at Modi in the name of freedom of expression. -Zionist Jewish Rothschild Conspiracy
      5. When Pakistan threatens India and even after three wars and multiple terrorist attack, Indian Media points finger at Modi for failing for peace talk. -Zionist Jewish Rothschild Conspiracy.

      If you dont believe me Punch Ajit Vadakayil on google.When I say punch I mean you literally make a fist and punch on the screen of your monitor to the point that it breaks then you will attain the 12 strand DNA which well give you enlighten you with the knowledge of the whole universe it does not work unless you break the screen so remember.