India is a nation that is known for heritage, culture, strong tradition, values and ethics. There is no civilization in the world that’s old enough as of us, the Indians. We have a long history on our back. We have a whole library of ancient literature that paved the way in many scientific projects. However, at the same time, there are the people who leave no opportunities alone in making our own history and glorious past look dwarfed by ascribing the wrong notions and appendix to them. Well, as writers, the people have their rights to write what they write. However, at the same time, as writers, people do have the responsibilities and certain codes and ethics – they shouldn’t break those but they do break those. Today, I will be discussing, in brief, a historian who is standing between the ires from both sides – one side to defend her and another side to attack here. However, which side is justified is something up to the readers to decide only after reading her productions. So, today we are talking about one person from that list ‘Romila Thapar’ a self-made historian and popular choice of people with ‘certain’ ideological bend.
She was born in 1931. Her father was a military person that’s why her schooling was done in different parts of India wherever her father got posted. She has done her graduation in English literature from Punjab University. Later she obtained another degree from the University of London in Indian history. What might strike you is that she had to go all the way to London to study Indian History. In those days, when India was still in the chaos of independence struggles, head-scratching maths and sciences, we can all understand the prejudice of the British towards our history and culture. And it’s true that our education directly impacts our thoughts.
The writings of Romila Thapar are all over us – in the academics, in the colleges and in the popular culture. Her ‘history’ is the history of India for many people in the country and that’s really impressive because if her notions are challenged by people with a different point of view, it almost tantamounts to ‘blasphemy’ of a certain kind. Romila Thapar’s works are very different in terms of historical context. While the India that we are today has been raised with her and her kind of history, there is an India that survived this as well. The India that did not read her history knows very well where she is right and where she deliberately lets the stick fall short to the truth. The question is – why?
On the one hand, she tarnishes the image of ancient India and on the other hand, she tries to establish a notion that India was in a golden period under Mughals rule. She called Mughals as the biggest supporter and helper of Hindus. And anyone with the tiniest particle inside a human skull that might be classified as the head will ask – are you serious? According to Romila Thapar, the Mughals had built many temples and given lands to Hindus for various purposes. It’s a fair deal, isn’t it? Take one’s state and give them pieces of land…
Once the students cross the threshold of compulsion and get out of the stick’s circumference, they might ask – how could we endure what we endured, in fact? A very bigger, if not the biggest, intellectual crime committed by the historical writing of Romila Thapar is giving fuel to the notorious Aryan Invasion theory that has finally been rubbed off by the recent discovery of genetic qualities of two of the ancient skeletons found in Rakhigarhi. Romila Thapar is a ‘cunning’ historian and it can be proved by picking the gems from her writings.
“These tendencies, because their appeal is to emotion and to faith, can threaten the intellectual foundations of historical discourse.”
She writes about the ‘nationalist history’ and specifically ‘Hindu nationalist history’ in her book Ancient India. Ancient history based on the texts that the world acknowledges can lead to shaking of the ‘intellectual foundations’ that is, in fact, copyrighted to the historians like Mrs Thapar who does not even care to submit her CV to JNU as per the norms of the University. Then what is the base of your ‘history’, Mrs Thapar? Does a student have the right to ask you after reading your ‘perceptions’ on the ancient history of India?
She confuses people (those readers of her book) with the thoughts that depict that these were Hindu and Muslim historical sense that led to the partition of India in 1947. However, it is a fact well-acknowledged and documented whether that led to partition or someone’s dusky ambitions did.
Well, most (or all) of Romila Thapar’s historical writings are largely (or completely) based on her prejudice or a systematic school of thoughts that she follows. Her writings only acknowledge what she thinks she should and ignores what she thinks she should. History is not written on mere ‘perceptions’ or ‘hearsay’ as she does. It’s about time that the government of India gets the history books rewritten and let the students have a better view of the history that we had.
- A History of India
- Ancient India, Medival India
- The Past Before Us
She has authored many other books.
What can we conclude? Romila Thapar is a historian and she was doing everything without any trouble until the resistance from other sections of historians confronted her. The problem with such people with a self-entitlement is that they can challenge anything and anyone but they cannot face the challenges themselves. Her case is similar. She has done a great disservice to our ancient as well as contemporary history by persuading the minds of innocent students who cannot even complain about the books they read. For Romila, the only history is the history that tells Mughals were the golden rulers of India who made the country a golden bird! Hindus destructed their temples themselves. Hindus only blamed the oppressors because they were better than him… blah blah blah… Read real history. Spare yourself mental torture. All the best!
written by Ravi for The Indian Authors