Govt of India panel to handover report on rewriting history to Parliament, asserts Hindu scriptures aren't fiction

Culture minister Sharma
By Our Representative
A Government of India committee, set up by Union culture minister Mahesh Sharma to "collect" archaelogical and DNA evidence to "prove" that Hindus are direct descended from India's first inhabitants and they did not migtrate from elsewhere about 3,000-4,000 years ago, is all set to present its "final report" to Parliament.
A Reuters investigation, based on interviews with nine of the committee's 12 members and an examination into the minutes of the meeting, says that the aim of the committee is to "rewrite" history textbooks, especially meant for school children. Carried out by Rupam Jain and Tom Passenger, the investigation says, the effort is also to "make the case that ancient Hindu scriptures are fact not myth."
Notes the Reuters report, the effort is to challenge "a more multicultural narrative that has dominated since the time of British rule", according to which, "modern-day India is a tapestry born of migrations, invasions and conversions." The panel is referred to in government documents as the committee for “holistic study of origin and evolution of Indian culture since 12,000 years before present and its interface with other cultures of the world.”
The committee’s chairman, KN Dikshit, says, “I have been asked to present a report that will help the government rewrite certain aspects of ancient history", and one of the members, Sanskrit scholar Santosh Kumar Shukla, a professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, says he believes India’s Hindu culture is millions of years old. And culture minister Sharma, a doctor by profession and chairman of a chain of hospitals, says, the group’s work is "part of larger plans to revise India’s history."
The report says, the committee is in line with the "Hindu nationalist group" RSS' ideology, according to which "ancestors of all people of Indian origin - including 172 million Muslims - were Hindu and that they must accept their common ancestry as part of Bharat Mata, or Mother India."
The report quotes Balmukund Pandey, head of the historical research wing of the RSS, who meets regularly with Sharma, as saying that the time is now ripe to restore India’s past glory by establishing that ancient Hindu texts are fact not myth. And Sharma expects "the conclusions of the committee to find their way into school textbooks and academic research."
Pointing out that veteran historian, who has researched on ancient India, Romila Thapar, has contested the committee's findings, the report says, the question of who first stood on the soil was important to nationalists because “if the Hindus are to have primacy as citizens in a Hindu Rashtra (kingdom), their foundational religion cannot be an imported one.”
Those who are sought to be undermined through the committee's "findings" include Jawaharlal Nehru, India's first Prime Minister, "who promoted a secular state and tolerance of India’s Muslims", and said it was “entirely misleading to refer to Indian culture as Hindu culture.”
According to the report, the history committee met in the offices of the director general of the Archaeological Survey of India, a federal body that oversees archaeological research. Among the committee’s 14 members are bureaucrats and academics. The chairman, Dikshit, is a former senior official with the Archaeological Survey.
The report quotes Union human resources minister Prakash Javdekar, to whom the report will first go, as saying that he would "take every recommendation made by the Culture Ministry seriously,” adding, “Our government is the first government to have the courage to even question the existing version of history that is being taught in schools and colleges.”
The report says, "According to the minutes of the history committee’s first meeting, Dikshit, the chairman, said it was 'essential to establish a correlation' between ancient Hindu scriptures and evidence that Indian civilization stretches back many thousands of years. Doing so would help bolster both conclusions the committee wants to reach: that events described in Hindu texts are real, and today’s Hindus are descendants of those times."
The report, referring to the minutes of the committee, says, it's priority is to prove through "archaeological research the existence of a mystical river, the Saraswati, that is mentioned in another ancient scripture, the Vedas. Other projects include examining artifacts from locations in scriptures, mapping the dates of astrological events mentioned in these texts and excavating the sites of battles in another epic, the Mahabharata".
The report states, "In much the same way that some Christians point to evidence of an ancient flood substantiating the Biblical tale of Noah and his ark, if the settings and features of the ancient scriptures in India can be verified, the thinking goes, then the stories are true. 'If the Koran and Bible are considered as part of history, then what is the problem in accepting our Hindu religious texts as the history of India?' said Sharma."

Comments

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