History, a branch of social sciences, helps us to understand the past. It is neither just a record of events and incidents that happened in the past in a chronological order nor the interpretation of those events and incidents as per one’s own wishful understanding. Therefore, to understand the past truly and objectively, we need to have a proper grasp of those things by scientific interpretation known as historical method of analysis. Ignoring the scientific method of analysis, the reactionaries and fascist forces quite often try to give their own selective narratives to mislead the uninformed people and thereby serve the vested interests who thrive on the ignorance of people.
This is what is illustrated when the central ministers including the Prime Minister and the Home Minister as well as the RSS-BJP top brass in the name of ‘rewriting history’ are dishing out trashes and crass distortions of history solely to fan communal hatred and foment national jingoism.
Latest instance has been the PM’s address on the occasion of Sahibzade martyrdom day in Sikh tradition on 27 December last. While recalling the sacrifice of two sons of Guru Gobind Singh—Zorawar Singh and Fateh Singh, the PM ensured that ill feelings are stoked among the Sikhs against the Muslims. Branding this historical occasion as ‘Veer Bal Divas’ to be observed on 27th December every year from now onwards, Mr. Modi spoke at length about the need to be freed from ‘‘the narrow interpretation of the past in order to move forward’’. In the same breath he also added that ‘‘any country with such a glorious history must be full of self-confidence and self-respect.’’ The entire speech of Mr. Modi is replete with such instances of sub-serving the BJP’s politics of anti-Muslim hatred and religious fanaticism. It is fact that both the young sons of Guru Govind Singh were killed by Aurangzeb. But in the Sikh tradition, both of them are remembered as Sahibzades not as children and are called ‘Baba’ in reverence. This is the reason the Sikh organizations openly opposed the decision of the Central BJP government to celebrate it as ‘Veer Bal Diwas’ and demanded that it should be named ‘Sahibzade Martyrdom Day’.
Every student of history knows very well that in the feudal period, all kings ruled with the strength of a sword. Many of them led several wars, suppressed revolts ruthlessly and committed many heinous crimes. All these things happened irrespective of religion professed by different kings. Apart from the atrocities of some of Muslim Kings, history records the brutal crusade of Hindu Kings against Buddhism and rationalist thinkers. All these were done with the purpose of either expanding their territories or establishing complete hegemony over their subjects. Religion had played no or the least role in all these historical happenings. Likewise India emerged as a nation in course of its freedom struggle against the British imperialists in a given historical context of nation building. But the BJP-RSS brigade has been propagating that India as a nation existed from times immemorial and all others who came to India particularly the Muslim Kings are ‘outsiders’ or invaders as if it is a historical fact. The same distorted approach has crept into the so-called newly prepared UGC’s Leaning Outcome Based Curriculum Framework for History to be taught and learnt compulsorily at undergraduate level.
Contrary to these well-established historical facts an attempt is being made in the name of ‘‘Idea of Bharath’’ to inculcate a wrong notion among the students that Bharath or ‘Hindu nation’ existed from time immemorial and all others who came here are invaders and foreigners. Astonishingly, in the said curriculum framework, there is a special mention of the terms like ‘‘ethics of Indian valour’’ which means Indians possessed a characteristic feature of either achieving victory or sacrificing lives in battles but not showing their back. This is gross distortion and self-exaggeration in the name of ethics. Echoing the same jingoistic overtures, PM Modi mentioned in his speech that ‘‘the Mughals possessed an army of millions, while the Veer Sahibzaade of Guru (the two martyred children) were armed with courage. They did not bow down to the Mughals even though they were alone. This is when the Mughals walled them alive.’’ This way of presenting history serves no other purpose than their venomous communal agenda.
Prof. Apoorvanand of Delhi University rightly remarked that—‘‘it is true that there was a conflict between the Mughals and the Sikh leaders. But Sikhs today have refrained from using this historical fact to further politics of violence against Muslims. Sikh organizations have stood for the Kashmiri Muslims who have been targeted by the Hindutva forces. When they were being attacked in India, Sikh organizations came forward to help them. Sikhs stood by the Muslims when they protested against the new citizenship law.
When the Muslims in Gurgaon were stopped from offering Friday prayers, Sikhs opened the doors of Gurudwaras for them. The RSS and BJP want to include Sikhs in its violent project against Muslims. That is the only reason for them to remember Guru Gobind Singh or Guru Tegh Bahadur.’’ During the historic peasants’ struggle at the Delhi borders against three black farm laws, all religious communities-Sikhs, Muslims, Hindus and others came together and bravely fought and achieved victory which sent shivers down the spines of the ruling class. So, they are hell-bent on bringing disunity among the people using every occasion to weaken the united struggle of the masses against anti-people policies of the BJP government. This conspiracy must be exposed by unleashing a powerful ideological campaign against communal politics of RSS-BJP combine.