To say there was 'wholesale falsification of truth' in history books is exaggeration: Khurshid

NewsDrum Desk
24 Nov 2022

New Delhi, Nov 24 (PTI) To say there was a "wholesale falsification of truth" in history written in modern India is an exaggeration, Congress leader and advocate Salman Khurshid said on Thursday, adding that it may be something that is happening today.

Khurshid was replying to comments by historian and author Vikram Sampath who said the history textbooks did not mention stories like that of legendary Ahom general Lachit Barphukan, and blamed the "Nehruvian consensus" for doing away with parts of history that Indians should be proud of.

Barphukan was a commander in the Ahom kingdom, the modern day Assam, who is remembered for leading the 1671 Battle of Saraighat that where the Mughals were defeated. The Assam government is celebrating the 400th birth anniversary of Barphukan at a national level in New Delhi on November 23-25.

"Every student of Indian history knows the list of battles that we lost, but the battle of Saraighat where Lachit actually won was not a part of our growing up years... In our country, this whole idea, or particularly how we look at our past and history with a sense of loathing, with a sense of apologia, I think that's been something that has been handed down by our colonial masters, perfected after independence by what is commonly known as the Nehruvian consensus," he said.

"We have given up a legitimate sense of pride that we need to have in our past," added Sampath.

Khurshid, however, said history was not written on directions of the government but by independent historians.

"Nehru didn't tell anyone to write a particular kind of history. There were some very eminent historians, don't write them off, they didn't belong to a community, did not have political ambition, who were just good professional historians, who had understood certain perspectives, presented them, questioned many issues, presented them. To say there was a wholesale falsification of truth, I think, is a bit of an exaggeration," he said.

It is something that may be happening today, Khurshid added.

"As I understand the Nehruvian consensus gently moved to ensure that all of that was uncovered and highlighted, or underscored," he said at the Times Now Summit here.

The Congress leader added the pride in the rich history of India is for the entire population of the country.

"We should really celebrate what we are today. If someone feels a particular individual, idea, or concept of movement has not got its share we must give it. We must be proud, but pride must lie in the entire population of the country and not in someone who thinks he is a saviour of that idea," he said.

Former diplomat, author and politician Pavan Verma said that history cannot be "glossed upon", adding that invasions left "great degree of destruction and damage", in particular to Hinduism, its temples and centres of learning.

"There are two great achievements despite those attacks, one is that Hinduism survived because it is a 'Sanatan religion' which reinvented itself particularly through the Bhakti Movement where it took religion to masses in their own language. Secondly in spite of that attack we built what I consider extremely valuable part of the heritage which we call the 'Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb' where we included in a syncretic manner the influences that have come in the cultural, philosophical, literary parts of our life," said Verma.

He added that the British conquest was "more lethal" in downplaying the Indic legacy. PTI AO SMN

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