Abdul Bari Masoud
In the backdrop of raging political controversy over the fiction film Padmawati, distinguished academics, historians and intellectuals on Saturday expressed concern over the attempt by the present dispensation to institutionalize the distortions of the Indian history for political gains.
Speaking at the two-day national seminar on “Towards Equality, Justice and Fraternity in Contemporary India – Creating a Better Tomorrow through History” here, they warned of dangerous consequences of playing with the history.
Dr K Saleem Ali, IPS (Retd) who is also a historian of repute and ex. DGP of Tripura, dealt upon the historiography in the country saying that India is under threat from the historians who only focused on five subjects Timor, Mughal emperors Babur and Aurangzeb, Pig and Cow and DNA of the Gandhi family to create fissures in the society.
He said maintain neutrality is very tall order for any historian. There is strong a need to treat history as a scientific subject rather arts subject, he suggested. Commenting on the happenings in the country, former Police officer said the Kerala High Court judgment of annulling the marriage of Kerala girl Hadiya is a strange judgment and such things are happening because nobody is raising dissenting voice. On growing inequality, he said this issue does not become the part of political discourse in the country. It is a matter of concern that 1 percent rich has been controlling 28 percent resources of the country, he said.
It is the highest inequality since 1990 when the country was set in the capitalist economy mode; Dr Ali said who is written extensively on the role of history in fomenting communal violence in the country since the advent of British rule in India.
The seminar was organized by Delhi- based Institute of Objective Studies (IOS) with the collaboration with the New College, Chennai. In his presidential remarks IOS chairman Dr Manzoor Alam said history is being manufactured to vilify the Muslim rule in the country.
Referring the manufactured controversy over the film Padmawati, he said Hindutva-supported groups like Raj put Karni Sena has launched the stir to vilify Muslim ruler Alauddin Khilji as the film was based on the Malik Muhammad Jayasi’s classic epic Awadhi Padmawati.
He said the IOS has taken a task since its inception to bring a history books which reflect the factual and actual medieval history and to present the contribution of Muslim in the freedom movement as well as in the progress of the country. He appealed to experts of history to rededicate their efforts to salvage history from debasement and pay it the attention it deserves.
On the occasion, former judge of Madras High Court, Justice G M Akbar Ali said it is unfortunate that India failed to achieve the desired socio- economic equality in the last 67 years. The masses do not know what is written in the constitution as equality, justice and fraternity are very important goals. Justice Ali said the message of the preamble should be taken to the public.
In his key note address, Prof Kapil Kumar underlined that Muslim contribution was ignored in the history books.
He also pointed that Jinnah was not solely responsible for the partition of the country as the real actors behind the partition were somewhere else. He also said the Congress was guilty of killing the secularism after Independence by fielding Maulana Azad from a Muslim-dominated seat in the general elections.
The Approach paper stated that there is no denying the fact that religious minority of Muslims is marginalized in all key sections of development, particularly in education, health, and employment. This section of Indian society is suffering even from a fear psychosis created by riots and targeted violence. Communal violence as a tool of mobilization of majority vote is engineered in elections, particularly in the Hindi belt. Muslims need protection from political violence for their physical security, which is needed in all forms on an urgent basis.
The seminar is being organized as part of the IOS’ 30th anniversary celebrations programme.