Tuesday, November 03, 1998
SECTION: National

Project on history terminated

Date: 03-11-1998 :: Pg: 15 :: Col: a

By Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI, Nov. 2.

While worldwide academic research is getting more diversified and focussed, touching off a boom in area-specific encyclopedias, dictionaries and other reference books, the Human Resource Development Ministry under Dr. Murali Manohar Joshi is rolling it back.

The Indian Council for Historical Research (ICHR), reconstituted recently amid a controversy over some new - more BJP-friendly - faces, has scrapped a five-year old project which would have produced India's first "Dictionary of Social, Economic and Administrative Terms in Indian Inscriptions." A number of eminent scholars, including Professors R.S.Sharma, Romila Thapar, Irfan Habib and B.N.Mukherjee were working on it and over 50,000 entries - enough to make up two volumes - had already been compiled.

No explanation has been offered for aborting it and the minutes of the meeting at which the decision was taken simply say that after a "threadbare discussion" it was "resolved to conclude the project and terminate the present commitments."

In six volumes, the dictionary would have documented all those inscriptions found in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan which are backed by empirical evidence. Each inscription would have been evaluated for its authenticity by 54 historical principles, the bottom line being that unpublished inscriptions should not be ordinarily included. And this is suspected to be the reason for scrapping the project.

It is stated that the Sangh Parivar (an RSS/VHP group) with its preference for "faith" rather than facts would have been uncomfortable with a document which leaves no scope for individual interpretation of the sort that saw pro-BJP historians and archaeologists come up with unsubstantiated "evidence" on the Ayodhya dispute.

Attempts to construct history around isolated "discoveries" would not succeed if there is a standard reference book which decides what should be "in" and what should be excluded for lack of sufficient evidence. "It would no longer be enough to say that just because a tablet has been found near the disputed site in Ayodhya it is a proof that this is where Ram was born or that a temple existed there," said one ICHR scholar.

In fact, the project was intended precisely to prevent "freewheeling" history and avoid the kind of confusion which prevailed during the Ayodhya crisis when all manner of "evidence" was bandied about by the Sangh Parivar to justify its campaign against Babri Masjid. It was taken up in 1992-93 and would have taken another ten years to complete. Terminating it means a loss of Rs. 4.5 lakhs which have been spent on it.

Meanwhile, a controversy has erupted over the reconstitution of the Indian Council for Social Science Research (ICSSR) and it is being alleged that, as in the case of ICHR, many of the new faces in ICSSR have ideological affinity with the Sangh Parivar.

NOTE: A key objective of groups like the Sangh Parivar is to preserve Manu Dharma. Manu Dharma is the taproot of Racism (based on ones color) in the world society. Racism arose in the world society as a well-developed theory only in the 19th century, even though it has been prevalent in India in the form of the caste system from about the 8th century. If racism was prevalent in Shakespeare's day, he would not have written his play Othello which portrays a black man marrying a white woman in the 17th century! Racism in the world society was birthed when Manu Dharma  or the Laws of Manu devised by the Brahmins was translated into English. India and China were the most affluent regions in the world till about the 19th c AD. When the British came to India for trade, they deceptively took control by setting Indian against Indian, assisted by the Brahmins. This completely destroyed India's moral fibre and ruined its economy. The Brahmins worked with the British to take control of India. They were quick to portray Manu Dharma (the law of the Caste System based on ones skin color or varna) as the Hindu law, and through the translation of William Jones this poison entered the society of the world. Racism is destructive to the world society and it is the responsibility of every Christian to be a salt against this poison.

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