Rewriting history so Hindutva brigade doesn't have to

The British were good, Hitler was best and the Wright brothers copied the design for their airplane from Lord Rama’s Pushpaka Vimana.

 |  7-minute read |   13-02-2017
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That history belongs to the victors is an often repeated adage. George Orwell was of the opinion that the most effective way to destroy a people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history. In India a political party is victorious every five years, hence Indian history is rewritten every five years. 

Since the BJP - and by proxy the RSS - is currently in power, they are shaping history in their Savarna image because why the hell not? After all, when you repeat a lie long enough, it starts becoming the truth for some. Everyone knows our exes were the crazy ones who just had to be dumped.

Narendra Modi thinks plastic surgery originated in India because "we worship Lord Ganesh. There must have been some plastic surgeon at that time who got an elephant’s head on the body of a human being and began the practice of plastic surgery”.

This is not some cockwomble mumbling to you after a night out on MDMA; this is the PM of India who gets to have control over the narratives that will be broadcast under his reign. 

Last year, school syllabus in Rajasthan erased Jawaharlal Nehru’s role as India’s first prime minister and the fact that Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated by Nathuram Godse, a Hindu nationalist, was skimmed over.

Last week, three senior Rajasthan ministers proposed to the Board of Studies that changes should be made in history textbooks to show that Maharana Pratap won against Akbar’s army.

Bollywood director Sanjay Leela Bhansali was recently assaulted by the Karni Sena over his depiction of the fictional queen Padmavati. A few days back, RSS head Mohan Bhagwat said everyone born in India is a Hindu (if everyone in India is Hindu, then why has the RSS been getting their chaddis in a twist over issues such as minority populations and "love jihad"? Hindu-Hindu bhai-bhai?).

bhag_021317083615.jpg RSS head Mohan Bhagwat (left) with PM Narendra Modi.

Who needs academics and historians who dedicate their whole lives to research when you can have the bright minds of Mohan Bhagwat (degree in animal husbandry) and Smriti Irani (PhD in inter saas-bahu relationships) telling you their version of history?

It seems facts don’t matter anymore if you can convince enough people that the version they’ve been given was part of an elaborate conspiracy. Napoleon Bonaparte said “history is a set of lies agreed upon” and, even if no one agrees with them but their own supporters, BJP/RSS seem hell bent on pushing their "alternative facts" onto the unsuspecting masses by applying the there-is-no-smoke-without-Muslims approach to research.

Turning myth into history and history into myth is not an easy task. The BJP has a lot of work cut out for them so I would like to suggest some edits to school syllabus that could possibly help them speed up the saffronisation of Indian history:

1. The bravery of true freedom fighters KB Hedgewar and MS Golwalkar

Everyone seems to think the RSS was completely absent from the Indian independence movement. This is nothing but lies spread by pseudo-intellectuals. Very few people know this but, while Congis like Gandhi and Nehru and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel were fighting the British, the RSS, under the leadership of Hedgewar and Golwalkar, was busy making the first prototypes of the Shake Weight™, a revolutionary breakthrough in strength training.

Americans later stole their ideas but it is well documented that Golwalkar used to lock himself for hours at end in his room for "research". According to RSS leaders, true freedom was freedom from flabby underarms which could be attained “if you just shake it. Back and forth. No batteries”.

rssbd_021317083819.jpg Everyone seems to think the RSS was completely absent from the Indian independence movement. This is nothing but lies spread by pseudo-intellectuals.

2. The British were good

The RSS never fought the British because according to them the British were a sweet and affectionate people. The Jallianwala Bagh was not a tragedy but a misunderstanding. Who told those people to go on a picnic even after Colonel Dyer’s orders? The Bengal famine was also not the fault of the British. Those Leftist Bengalis were just too lazy to work and make a living.

The British gave so much to India like the Victorian laws pertaining to sedition, homosexuality, adultery and limits to freedom of expression (all of which are applied presently by the BJP). In fact, according to the RSS, the British were simply AirBnb guests who had overstayed their welcome by 200 years.

jj_021317084217.jpg The Jallianwala Bagh was not a tragedy but a misunderstanding. Who told those people to go on a picnic even after Colonel Dyer’s orders?

In his memoirs, the third chief of RSS, Balasahab Deoras, narrates an incident when Hedgewar saved him and others from following the path of Bhagat Singh and his comrades. Apparently Hedgewar asked him: “Why fight the British when you can simply take credit for it and give certificates of patriotism 70 years later? Now join me in the bathroom and bring your raincoat.”

3. Hitler was good

Golwalkar always argued that Hitler was a good man whose heart was in the right place. Sure, to maintain the racial purity and culture of Germany he killed some six million Jews but when you want to make an omelette, you have to crack some eggs.

According to Golwalkar, “Germany has also shown how well nigh impossible it is for races and cultures, having differences going to the root, to be assimilated into one united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindustan to learn and profit by. Ever since that evil day, when Moslems first landed in Hindustan, right up to the present moment, the Hindu Nation has been gallantly fighting on to take on these despoilers.” Beautiful words that bring a tear to the eye.

 4. The Mughal Empire vs Hindu Kings

Muslims were foreign invaders and hence were bad, okay? Sure, the British were foreigners too but let’s not get into all that. Until the Mughals came about, all kings in India used to meet annually on the 14th of February and play Antakshari. It was under Akbar the Great (Akbar the Average to his wives) that the Mughal Empire spread a little, until he was stopped by Maharana Pratap who beat him in the Great Dance-Off of Haldighati with an impromptu Moonwalk.

After this, Maharana Pratap ruled over the whole of India ever after, because of course he did. Akbar’s grandson Shah Jahan was hired as an interior designer to make the Maharana a giant villa that has come to be known as the Taj Mahal.

Elsewhere, Aurangzeb, a Hindu born in India, sent Shaista Khan and Mirza Raja Jai Singh to meet Shivaji in a restaurant for negotiations. But Shivaji had hid a gun in the bathroom prior to the meeting and shot them both point blank and made an escape to the Deccan.

5. Adanis and Ambanis

It is a well known fact that the Indus Valley Civilisation was thriving because of two trader tribes. The Adanis had complete control over the Great Bath at Mohenjo Daro where they used to give massages to visiting sailors from Persia. The Ambanis, on the other hand, had monopoly over a large granary that archaeologists refer to as Harappa Fresh.

These tribes were so resilient that their descendents can still be found conducting business in modern-day Gujarat. Like cockroaches that survive a nuclear attack, these buoyant tribes outlived the Indus Valley and continue making money while everyone around them goes bankrupt.

 6. Indian inventions

There are far too many scientific breakthroughs and inventions that took place in ancient India. For example, few people know that the microwave oven was actually invented under the reign of Ashoka the Great (Ashoka the Average to his wives) or that liposuction was first conceived when Gautama Buddha was saddened by a drunk man calling him chubby. Since everyone born in India is Hindu, Akbar can be credited with holding the first TED Talks at Ibadat Khana.

Tipu Sultan, another Hindu, came up with the first prototype for cheese-graters when he was torturing Mangalorean Catholics. The recipe for gobi manchurian can be traced back to the time when Yudhishthira came across some cauliflower and ajinomoto during the Pandavas’ exile.

It is a well known fact that the Wright brothers copied the design for their airplane from Lord Rama’s Pushpaka Vimana but what many people don’t know is that the Vimana had more legroom, great in-flight entertainment and free check-in baggage allowance up to 30kg.

Also read: When mythology becomes history, Gurgaon becomes Gurugram

Writer

Abhishek Sikhwal Abhishek Sikhwal

Abhishek Sikhwal is a Calcutta-based writer.

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