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How Leftist historians launched jihad against truth

How Leftist historians launched jihad against truth

At a time when India is fighting the novel coronavirus, professional revolutionaries are battling their own enemies. One such enemy is the saffronization of education. Much has been written about the changes in history writing, textbooks, etc., that the Bharatiya Janata Party governments have carried out. It is okay to highlight distortions in curricula and textbook, so we should also do that. But with a difference: we should have a look at the Leftist indoctrination that Marxist authors have done in the last seven decades.

Let’s focus on distinguished historians’ books which were published and prescribed by the National Council of Educational Research & Training (NCERT). For decades the council was dominated by Leftists. One of them was Arjun Dev, who wrote the two-volume, The Story of Civilization, for class IX and class X. The book was prescribed during the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.

In the chapter, ‘Socialist Movement and the Russian Revolution,’ he wrote: “The October Revolution had been almost completely peaceful. Only two persons were reported killed in Petrograd on the day the Revolution took place. However, soon after the new state was involved in a civil war. The officers of the army of the fallen Czar organized an armed rebellion against the Soviet state.” Further, regarding the consequences of the Revolution: “The overthrow of autocracy and the destruction of the aristocracy and the power of the Church were the first achievements of the Russian Revolution.

The second was the building of the world’s first socialist society. The Czarist empire was transformed into a new state called the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). The policies of the new state were directed to the realization of the old socialist ideal, ‘from each according to his capacity, to each according to his work.’ “Private property for production was abolished and the motive of private profit was eliminated from the system of production. “The first task that the new government faced was the building up of a technologically advanced economy. To do this, a new procedure was adopted—economic planning.

The industrial development of Europe in the 19th century had taken place as a result of the initiative of individual capitalists. In the USSR, industrialization was undertaken by the state, through the Five Year Plans. Under these plans, the entire resources of the economy were mobilized to attain an accelerated rate of economic development, keeping in view the purposes thereof—social and economic equality.

The unprecedented rate of development in the USSR has demonstrated the effectiveness of planning as a means of progress. “The Revolution resulted in the development of a new type of social and economic system in the USSR. By the abolition of private ownership and the profit motive, the existence of classes with mutually opposed interests was ended. Glaring inequalities in society disappeared.” In short, a paradise was created by the communists in a land benighted by the Czarist tyranny! What Dev does not mention are the odious aspects of this supposed heaven.

In a typical Leftist fashion of hiding important facts, he blacks out the unprecedented violence unleashed by the Bolsheviks in Russia. The word ‘Cheka’ does not figure anywhere in Dev’s account; the student could not know about a vile secret organization, which was responsible of for lakhs of deaths.

As a leading historian Paul Johnson wrote in Modern Times, “While the last Tsars had executed an average of seventeen a year (for all crimes), by 1918-19 the Cheka was averaging 1,000 executions a month for political offences alone.” Another historian, an eye-witness, estimated that more than 50,000 death sentences were carried out by the Cheka by the end of 1920. Further, Lenin added a new dimension to terrorism: the principle on which people were sentenced to death, says Johnson.

According to Johnson: “He [Lenin] was ceasing to be interested in what a man did or had done—let alone why he had done it—and was first encouraging, then commanding, his representative apparatus to hunt down people, and destroy them, not on the basis of crimes, real or imaginary, but on the basis of generalizations, hearsay, rumors. First came condemned categories: ‘prostitutes’, ‘work-shirkers’, ‘bagmen’, ‘speculators’, ‘hoarders’, all of whom might vaguely be described as criminal. Following quickly, however, came entire occupational groups.

The watershed was Lenin’s decree of January 1918 calling on the agencies of the state to ‘purge the Russian land of all kinds of harmful insects.’ This was not a judicial act: it was an invitation to mass murder. Many years later, Alexander Sozhenitsyn listed just a few of the groups who included ‘former zemstvo members, people in the Cooper movements, homeowners, high-school teachers, parish councils and choirs, priests, monks and nuns, Tolstoyan pacifists, officials of trade unions’—soon to classified as ‘former people’.

Quite quickly the condemned group decree-laws extended to whole classes and the notion of killing people collectively rather than individually was seized upon by the Cheka professionals with enthusiasm.” Such was the “almost completely peaceful” Russian Revolution that ended “glaring inequalities in society”!

Let’s move on to another distinguished historian, Satish Chandra, whose two-volume Medieval India was prescribed by the NCERT for the students of class XI and XII. His goal in life was to downplay the butchery and depredations of Muslim rulers in India. This is despite the fact the Muslim historians and chroniclers in the Sultanat and Mughal periods had faithfully recounted the bigotry, genocide, and plunder by Muslim rulers.

Ziaud-din Barani, Shamsu’d-din bin Siraju’d-din, Farishta, and many others are considered authentic sources of information by Satish Chandra himself. One of the sultans, Firuz Shah Tughlaq, wrote a book in which he boasted of destroying temples. Yet, Chandra insists that the sultans followed a “policy of broad toleration”! In fact, it has been a sustained endeavor of Chandra to negate, ignore, or gloss over the massacres carried out by Muslim rulers.

Finally, we examine the case of Bipan Chandra, whose Modern India was prescribed by the NCERT for the students of class XI and XII. He is the master of equivocation and prevarication; he would cite an exception as a law, and vice-versa. Well, all Leftwing intellectuals do that, but it is only a few who excel in such shenanigans; Bipan Chandra is one of those few. He wrote: “Socialist and Communist groups came into existence in the 1920s.

The example of the Russian Revolution had aroused interest among many young nationalists. Many of them were dissatisfied with Gandhian political ideas and programmes and turned to socialist ideology for guidance. M.N. Roy became the first Indian to be elected to the leadership of the Communist International.

In 1924, the government arrested Muzaffar Ahmed and S.A. Dange, accused them of spreading Communist ideas, and tried them along with others in the Kanpur Conspiracy case. In 1925, the Communist Party [of India] came into existence.

Moreover, many worker and peasant parties were founded in different pats of the country. These parties and groups propagated Marxist and communist ideas. At the same time, they remained integral parts of the national movement and the National Congress.” Notice in what glowing terms our distinguished historian has described the communists and the grand role socialism played in guiding the national movement.

Reading the above passage, one may get the impression that in the 1920s pro-Marxist worker and peasant parties—which remained “integral parts of the national movement and the National Congress”—formed the matrix of the freedom struggle; that the Communist Party was a force to reckon with; that Marxist ideas and ideals played a great and glorious role in the national movement.

However, Saumyendranath Tagore, a leader of the Bengal Workers’ and Peasants Party, went to Moscow in 1927 and told the Comintern leadership that “the actual number of communists in India … did not exceed more than a dozen…” This is also corroborated by J.N. Sahni, a journalist who wrote in his memoirs, The Lid Off, that communists were of no consequence till the British decided to prosecute them in the Meerut Conspiracy case (1929-33).

In fact, it was after Mahatma Gandhi expressed his sympathy for communists that people became aware of their existence. It is another matter that the communists were abusing Gandhiji as “the evil pacifist genius,” equating him with Judas. Further, Bipan Chandra does not write a word about the traitorous role played by the communists in 1942, when they not merely did they not participate in the Quit India Movement but actually helped the British.

Bipan Chandra does not merely negate and conceal the misdemeanors and misdeeds of communists; when it comes to writing about Muslims, he again indulges in prevarication and evasion. According to him, “in Malabar (northern Kerala), the Moplahs, or Muslim peasants, created a powerful anti-zamindar movement.” Some gloss! A violent, fanatical movement becomes “a powerful anti-zamindar movement.” This is Marxian historiography at its extreme: since the Theory does not recognize any factor other than economic, even Islamic terror is explained in economic terms. Even Mahatma Gandhi, one of the greatest champions of Hindu-Muslim unity, considered Moplah violence a blow to communal harmony.

I can cite myriad examples of the disingenuousness of other distinguished historians. All of them—Romila Thapar, R.S. Sharma, D.N. Jha—distort truths and sell spread lies. It is impossible to gauge the damage they have inflicted upon the society, by vending dangerous lies.