A search for India's true history
By Pramod Kumar
International conference on Indian history, civilisation and geopolitics.
"Indians are being cheated of their true history. The time has come to write an authentic and unbiased history of India free from ideological or colonial biases,” said former Union Minister Dr Subramanian Swamy while giving a call to reorient the policy of the Indian state to purge from history books’ false chronology of ancient India and myths such as Aryan invasion and racial divide of north and south Indians.
Dr Swamy was addressing the valedictory session of a three-day international history conference in New Delhi on January 11. The conference was organised on Indian history, civilisation and geopolitics by the US-based Indic Studies Foundation and the Akhil Bharatiya Itihas Sankalan Yojana (ABISY) at Indian International Centre from January 9 to January 11. Apart from historical themes, the conference also discussed India’s modern geo-political landscape and strategic affairs.
More than 100 distinguished scholars and historians from India, Greece, Belarus, US, UK, France, Sri Lanka, Nepal, etc. participated in the conference. The scholars challenged many aspects of ancient Indian history as it is taught today and exposed various myths that have been presented as facts by the Raj historians of the 19th century. The Indic Studies Foundation seeks to propagate a more accurate approach based on reason and rationality for the study and dissemination of the Indian civilisational ethos in the world, particularly to the USA and India.
The ABISY is dedicated to researching and writing Indian history spanning the last 5000 years. Major projects undertaken by it include determining the exact date of the Mahabharata as the sheet anchor of ancient Indian history, researches into kaalaganana (time-reckoninig) in Hindu traditions and researches into the now-lost Saraswati river.
Dr Swamy further said willful distortions in writing Indian history have been occurring solely due to state support and patronage since the British times until today. “The British rulers wrote our history to divide and rule us. But what is the excuse of Indian governments after Independence to continue with the same policy?”, he asked.
He said myths spread by biased historians have overtaken Indian history while actual events and places in our history have been declared myths! “Not long ago, the Saraswati river, the submerged city of Dwarka and Ram Sethu were ridiculed as myths. But their reality has been proved by archaeology and satellite imagery,” he added.
Lashing out at colonial historians for creating a vicious myth that women were discriminated against in ancient India, noted scholar Dr S Ram Mohan said scriptures such as Manu Smriti accorded a very high status to women and deprived sections. Quoting dozens of slokas from the three major code books of Hindus to prove the exalted and enlightened status women enjoyed in ancient India, Dr Mohan, who is also Additional Member (Finance), Railway Board, said: “Women had no rights in ancient India is a vicious myth spread by colonial historians. The reality is that all the three ancient code books of Hindus—Manu Smriti, Narad Smriti and Yajnavalkya Smriti—have a common theme of social welfare and an egalitarian society, with a very high status assigned to women and the deprived sections.”
He said all three Smritis have recommended lenient penalties for women compared to men and have prescribed death penalty for rape of a woman under police custody. Such kind of enlightened status of women was not found anywhere else in the world during the ancient times,” he added.
Dr BB Lal, former Director General of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), said in a paper presented at the conference on first day that there is absolutely no proof that the Vedas were written in around 1200 BC and that the invading Aryans massacred the people of the Indus Valley. Unfortunately, these malicious distortions are still being taught in our schools as facts, he said. Stating that new distortions in Indian history are being created even today, he said it is the duty of Indian historians to set these distortions right through cogent evidence and sustainable arguments.
Though the perception and mindset of historians play a dominant role in history writing, it is important for Indians to identify and challenge the distortions that have been deliberately introduced into their historical narrative over the centuries, he said.
Prof. Shivaji Singh, former Head of Department, Ancient History, Gorakhpur University, and president of ABISY, rejected the oft-repeated charge that Indians have no sense of history. “Ancient Indians had a robust historical tradition that originated in the Rig Vedic times and continued to develop and proliferate till the end of the medieval period. This tradition has created a rich and huge mass of historical literature that is unparalleled in the world,” he said. He explained that the indigenous Indian sense of history is unique because its main purpose is man’s self-fulfillment and self-realisation instead of vague objective such as furtherance of freedom, rationalism and individualism that are prevalent in the West. “You have to understand that the Indian sense of history is grounded in Indian culture and it should not be judged by the yardstick of how the Westerners write their history,” he added.
According to Kosla Vepa, executive director of Indic Studies Foundation, the objective of the conference was to decolonise various aspects of ancient Indian history and its chronology which were deliberately distorted and misdated during the British Raj with a view to causing confusion and a sense of inferiority among Indians.
The conference aimed to contribute towards correcting this mangled historical narrative of the Indian civilisation. “Much of the ancient Indian history taught to our youth today has absolutely no basis in fact and is not supported by modern research. This is causing terrible cultural damage to our society and has to be set right urgently by taking a more rational view of the past,” he added.
He also spoke about the demeaning condescension that many Western historians have bestowed upon India. “Books on Indian history sold abroad deliberately neglect our ancient history so as to minimise and sideline its contributions. At the same time, they try to whitewash the horrors that the British rule inflicted on India, such as the large-scale famines triggered by colonial policies. Changing the content of the textbooks worldwide and especially in the West to correct these distortions should be our goal,” he added.
Speaking at the conference on second day, Prof. Narahari Achar said most of the previous attempts at astronomical dating of the famous epic made the critical error of equating the Sanskrit word graha with a planet. “However, graha actually meant not only a planet but an heavenly object moving through the sky that can ‘grasp’ such as a comet or asteroid. Once we understand this, all apparent confusion and contradiction in the planetary positions given in the Mahabharata disappears. Though the epic has been variously dated from 5000 BC to 1000 BC by historians, this is for the first time that a scholar has taken into account the movement of planets excluding the comets to reproduce by simulation the astronomical references given in the Mahabharata. The year 3067 BCE arrived at by this method is consistent with the Hindu tradition and correlates perfectly with the time references given in Rigveda and Puranas for the epic,” he added.
Internationally acclaimed mathematician and philosopher Prof. CK Raju revealed that calculus was an Indian invention that was transmitted by Jesuit priests to Europe from Cochin in the second half of 16th century. “Indian infinite series has been known to British scholars since at least 1832, but no scholar tried to establish the connection with the calculus attributed to Newton and Leibnitz. When the Europeans received the Indian calculus, they couldn’t understand it properly because the Indian philosophy of mathematics is different from the Western philosophy of mathematics. It took them about 300 years to fully comprehend its working. The calculus was used by Newton to develop his laws of physics,” he added.
Defalsification of Indian history
By Dr. Subramanian Swamy
January 25, 2009
In this falsified history, it is made out that Hindus capitulated to Islamic invaders. But on the contrary,unlike Iran, Iraq and Egypt where within decades the country capitulated to become 100 per cent Muslims. India despite 800 years of brutal Islamic rule, remained 80 per cent Hindu.
The fabrication of our History begins with the falsification of our chronology. The accepted history of no country can be structured on foreign accounts of it. But Nehru and his Leftist cronies did just that, and thus generations of Indians have been brainwashed by this falsified history of India.
The UPA has succeeded in persuading more state governments to accept the NCERT texts. A report on Monday (January 5, 2009) said 12 more state governments have accepted to teach NCERT texts in their schools. For the last two weeks the Organiser is carrying a series of articles on the NCERT textbooks prescribed for students at the primary, secondary and higher secondary schools. We have found these books written with a peculiar mindset, to denationalise and deculturise the young Indian. These books fail to make the children aware of their true heritage. These books seem to distort even India's freedom struggle, Mahatma Gandhi's role and try to divide the society into different caste and class segments. Their idea is to convince the children that India as a nation came to exist only after August 15, 1947.
We request the parents, teachers, students and scholars to join this academic exercise to expose the shenanigans behind promotion of these books in Indian schools. —Editor The identity of India is Hindustan, i.e., a nation of Hindus and those others who acknowledge with pride that their ancestors were Hindus. Hindustan represents the continuing history of culture of Hindus. One’s religion may change, but culture does not. Thus, on the agenda for a national renaissance should be the dissemination of the correct perception of what we are. This perception has to be derived from a defalsified history.
However, the present history taught in our schools and colleges is the British imperialist-sponsored one, with the intent to destroy our identity. India as a State is treated as a British-created entity and of only recent origin. The Indian people are portrayed as a heterogeneous lot who are hopelessly divided against themselves.
Such a “history” has been deliberately created by the British as a policy. Sir George Hamilton, Secretary of State for India, wrote to the Home Office on March 26, 1888 that “I think the real danger to our rule is not now but say 50 years hence….. We shall (therefore) break Indians into two sections holding widely different views….. We should so plan the educational text books that the differences between community and community are further strengthened”.
After achieving Independence, under the leadership of Jawaharlal Nehru and the implementing authority of the anglicized ICS, revision of our history was never done, in fact the very idea was condemned as “obscurantist” and Hindu chauvinist by Nehru and his ilk. The Imperialist History of India What is the gist of this British imperialist-tailored Indian history? In this history, India is portrayed as the land “conquered” first by the ‘Dravidians’, then by the ‘Aryans’, later by Muslims, and finally by the British. Otherwise, everything else is mythical. Our history books today exhibit this obsession with foreign rule.
For example, even though the Mughal rule from Akbar to Aurangzeb is about 150 years, which is much shorter than the 350 year rule of the Vijayanagaram empire, the history books of today hardly take notice of the latter. In fact the territory under Krishna Devaraya’s rule was much larger than Akbar’s, and yet it is the latter who is called “the Great”.
Such a version suited the British rules who had sought to create a legitimacy for their presence in India. Furthermore, we were also made to see advantages accruing from British rule, the primary one being that India was united by this colonialism, and that but for the British, India would never have been one country. Thus, the concept of India itself is owed to the plunder of colonialists. In this falsified history, it is made out that Hindus capitulated to Islamic invaders.
But on the contrary, unlike Iran, Iraq and Egypt where within decades the country capitulated to become 100 per cent Muslims. India despite 800 years of brutal Islamic rule, remained 80 per cent Hindu.
These totally false and pernicious ideas have however permeated deep into our educational system. They have poisoned the minds of our younger generations who have not had the benefit of the Freedom Struggle to awaken their pride and nationalism.
It has thus to be an essential part of the renaissance agenda that these ideas of British-sponsored history of India, namely,
(1) that India as a State was a gift of the British and
(2) that there is no such thing as a native Indian, and what we are today is a by-product of the rape of the land by visiting conquerors and their hordes and
(3) that India is a land that submitted meekly to invading hordes from Aryan to the English, are discarded.
Falsification of Chronology in India’s History The fabrication of our History begins with the falsification of our chronology. The customary dates quoted for composition of the Rig Veda (circa 1300 B.C.), Mahabharat (600 B.C.), Buddha’s Nirvana (483 B.C.), Maurya Chandragupta’s coronation (324 B.C.), and Asoka (c.268 B.C.) are entirely wrong.
Those dates are directly or indirectly based on a selected reading of Megasthenes’ account of India. In fact, so much so that eminent historians have called if the “sheet anchor of Indian chronology”. The account of Megasthenes and the derived chronology of Indian history have also an important bearing on related derivations such as the two-race (Aryan-Dravidian) theory, and on the pre-Vedic character of the so called Indus Valley Civilization.
Megasthenes was the Greek ambassador sent by Seleucus Nicator in c. 302 B.C. to the court of the Indian king whom he and the Greek called “Sandrocottus”. He was stationed in “Palimbothra”, the capital city of the kingdom. It is not clear how many years Megasthenes stayed in India, but he did write an account of his stay, titled Indika. The manuscript Indika is lost, and there is no copy of it available. However, during the time it was available, many other Greek writers quoted passages from it in their own works. These quotations were meticulously collected by Dr. Schwanbeck in the nineteenth century, and this compilation is also available to us in English (J.M. McCrindle: Ancient India as Described by Megasthenes and Arrian).
The founder of the Mauryas, however, is not the only Chandragupta in Indian history, who was a king of Magadh and founder of a dynasty. In particular, there is Gupta Chandragupta, a Magadh king and founder of the Gupta dynasty at Patliputra. Chandragupta Gupta was also not of “noble” birth and, in fact, came to power by deposing the Andhra king Chandrasri. That is, Megasthenes’ Sandrocottus may well be Gupta Chandragupta instead of Maurya Chandgragupta (and Xandremes the same as Chandrasri, and Sandrocryptus as Samudragupta). In order to determine which Chandragupta it is, we need to look further. It is, of course, a trifle silly to build one’s history on this kind of tongue-gymnastics, but I am afraid we have no choice but to pursue the Megasthenes evidence to its end, since the currently acceptable history is based on it. In order to determine at which Chandragupta’s court Megasthenes was ambassador, we have to look further into his account of India. We find he was at Pataliputra (i.e. Palimbothra in Megasthenes’ account).
We know from the Puranas (which are unanimous on this point) that all the Chandravamsa king of Magadh (including the Mauryas) prior to the Guptas, had their capital at Girivraja (or equivalently Rajgrha) and not at Pataliputra. Gupta Chandragupta was the first king to have his capital in Patliputra. This alone should identify Sandrocottos with Gupta Chandragupta. However some 6-11th century A.D. sources call Pataliputra the Maurya capital, e.g., Vishakdatta in Mudrarakshasa, but these are based on secondary sources and not on the Puranas. Pursuing Megasthenes’ account further, we find most of it impossible to believe. He appears to be quite vague about details and is obviously given to the Greek writers’ weakness in letting his imagination get out of control. For example, “Near a mountain which is called Nulo there live men whose fee are turned back-wards and have eight toes on each foot.” (Solinus 52.36-30 XXX.B.) “Megasthenes says a race of men (exist in India) who neither eat or drink, and in fact have not even mouths, set on fire and burn like incense in order to sustain their existence with odorous fumes…..” (Plutarch, Frag. XXXI).
However, Megasthenes appears to have made one precise statement of possible application which was picked up later by Pliny, Solinus, and Arrian. As summarized by Professor K.D. Sethna of Pondicherry, it reads: “Dionysus was the first who invaded India and was the first of all who triumphed over the vanished Indians. From the days of Dionysus to Alexander the Great, 6451 years reckoned with 3 months additional. From the time of Dionysus to Sandrocottus the Indians reckoned 6452 years, the calculation being made by counting the kings who reigned in the intermediate period to number 153 or 154 years. But among these a republic was thrice established, one extending…..years, another to 300 and another to 120. The Indians also tell us that Dionysus was earlier than Heracles by fifteen generations, and that except for him no one made a hostile invasion of India but that Alexander indeed came and overthrew in war all whom he attacked.”
While there a number of issues raised by this statement including the concoction that Alexander was victorious in battle across the Indus, the exactness with which he states his numbers should lead us to believe that Megasthenes could have received his chronological matters from none else than the Puranic pundits of his time. To be conclusive, we need to determine who are the “Dionysus” and “Heracles” of Megasthenes’ account. Traditionally, Dionysus (or Father Bachhus) was a Greek God of wine who was created from Zeus’s thigh. Dionysus was also a great king, and was recognised as the first among all kings, a conqueror and constructive leader. Could there be an Indian equivalent of Dionysus whom Megasthenes quickly equated with his God of wine?
Looking through the Puranas, one does indeed find such a person. His name is Prithu. Prithu was the son of King Vena. The latter was considered a wicked man whom the great sages could not tolerate, especially after he told them that the elixir soma should be offered to him in prayer and not to the gods (Bhagavata Purana IV.14.28). The great sages thereafter performed certain rites and killed Vena. But since this could lead immediately to lawlessness and chaos, the rshis decided to rectify it by coronating a strong and honest person. The rshis therefore churned the right arm (or thigh; descriptions vary) of the dead body (of Vena) to give birth to a fully grown Prithu. It was Prithu, under counsel from rshi Atri (father of Soma), who reconstructed society and brought about economic prosperity. Since he became such a great ruler, the Puranas have called him adi-raja (first king) of the world. So did the Satpatha Brahmana (v.3.5 4.). In the absence of a cult of soma in India, it is perhaps inevitable that Megasthenes and the other Greeks, in translating Indian experiences for Greek audiences, should pick on adi-raja Prithu who is “tinged with Soma” in a number of ways and bears such a close resemblance to Dionysus in the circumstances of his birth, and identify him as Dionysus. If we accept identifying Dionysus with Prithu, then indeed by a calculation based on the Puranas (done by DR Mankad, Koti Venkatachelam, KD Sethna, and others), it can be conclusively shown that indeed 6,451 years had elapsed between Prithu and a famous Chandragupta. This calculation exactly identifies Sandrocottus with Gupta Chandragupta and not with Maurya Chandragupta. The calculation also identifies Heracles with Hari Krishna (Srikrishna) of Dwarka.
This calculation must be necessarily long and tedious to counter the uninformed general feeling first sponsored by Western scholars, that the Puranas spin only fair tales and are therefore quite unreliable. However, most of these people do not realise that most Puranas have six parts, and the Vamsanucharita sections (especially of Vishnu, Matsya, and Vagu) are a systematic presentation of Indian history especially of the Chandravansa kings of Magadha.
In order to establish these dates, I would have to discuss in detail the cycle of lunar asterisms, the concept of time according to Aryabhatta, and various other systems, and also the reconciliation of various minor discrepancies that occur in the Puranas. Constraints of space and time however, prevent me from presenting these calculations here.
However, on the basis of these calculations we can say that Gupta Chandragupta was “Sandrocottus” c.327 B.C. His son, Samudragupta, was the great king who established a unified kingdom all over India, and obtained from the Cholas, Pandyas, and Cheras their recognition of him. He also had defeated Seleucus Nicator, while his father Chandragupta was king. On this calculation we can also place Prithu at 6777 B.C. and Lord Rama before that.
Derivation of other dates without discussion may also be briefly mentioned here: Buddha’s Nirvana 1807 BC, Maurya Chandragupta c. 1534 BC, Harsha Vikramaditya (Parmar) c. 82 BC.
The European scholars have thus constructed an enormous edifice of contemporary foreign dates to suit their dating. A number of them are based on misidentification. For instance, the Rock Edict XIII, the famous Kalinga edict, is identified as Asoka’s. It was, however, Samudragupta’s (Samudragupta was a great conqueror and a devout admirer of Asoka. He imitated Asoka in many ways and also took the name Asokaditya. In his later life, he became a sanyasi). Some other facts, which directly contradict their theories, they have rather flippantly cast aside.
We state here only a few examples – such facts as (1) Fa-hsien was in India and at Patliputra c. 410 AD. He mentions a number of kings, but makes not even a fleeting reference to the Gupta, even though according to European scholars he came during the height of their reign. He also dates Buddha at 1100 BC. (2) A number of Tibetan documents place Buddha at 2100 BC. (3) The Ceylonese Pali traditions leave out the Cholas, Pandyas, and Cheras from the list of Asoka’s kingdoms, whereas Rock Edict XIII includes them. In fact, as many scholars have noted, the character of Asoka from Ceylonese and other traditions is precisely (as RK Mukherjee has said) what does not appear in the principal edicts.
The accepted history of no country can be structured on foreign accounts of it. But Nehru and his Leftist cronies did just that, and thus generations of Indians have been brainwashed by this falsified history of India. The time has come for us to take seriously our Puranic sources and to re-construct a realistic well-founded history of ancient India, a history written by Indians about Indians. Such a history should bring out the amazing continuity of a Hindu nation which asserts its identity again and again.
It should focus on the fact that at the centre of our political thought is the concept of the Chakravartian ideal – to defend the nation from external aggression while giving maximum internal autonomy to the janapadas. A correct, defalsified history would record that Hindustan was one nation in the art of governance, in the style of royal courts, in the methods of warfare, in the maintenance of its agrarian base, and in the dissemination of information. Sanskrit was the language of national communication and discourse.
An accurate history should not only record the periods of glory but the moments of degeneration, of the missed opportunities, and of the failure to forge national unity at crucial junctures in time. It should draw lessons for the future generations from costly errors in the past.
In particular, it was not Hindu submission as alleged by JNU historians that was responsible for our subjugation but lack of unity and effective military strategy. Without an accurate history, Hindustan cannot develop on its correct identity. And without a clearly defined identity, Indians will continue to flounder.
Defalsification of Indian history is the first step for our renaissance.
Invading the Sacred @ http://worldmonitor.wordpress.com/2007/08/13/invading-the-sacred/