Eminent Historians

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Eminent Historians
Eminent Historians.jpg
Author Arun Shourie
Country India
Language English
Publisher ASA Publications
Publication date
1998; others
Pages 271

Eminent Historians: Their Techniques, Their Line, Their Fraud is Arun Shourie's fifteenth book and was published in 1998.

It discusses the NCERT controversy in Indian politics and attacks Marxist historiography. Shourie asserts that Marxist historians have controlled and misused important institutions like the Indian Council of Historical Research, the National Council of Educational Research Training (NCERT) and a large part of academia and the media. He criticizes well-known historians like Romila Thapar and Irfan Habib. Shourie argues that Marxist historians have white-washed the records of rulers like Mahmud of Ghazni and Aurangzeb. Shourie presents examples to further his argument of how many of these text books describe in great detail foreign personalities like Karl Marx or Joseph Stalin, while they often barely mention important figures of India or of the Indian states. Shourie writes that this is in contrast to Russian Marxist text books. The standard Soviet work, A History of India (1973), is according to Shourie much more objective and truthful than the history books written by Indian Marxists.[1]

This book also talks about a circular which was issued by the Communist Government in West Bengal in 1989 in which it had asked the authors and the publishers of Class IX History textbooks to make sure that "Muslim rule should never attract any criticism. Destruction of temples by muslim rulers and invaders should not be mentioned." [2]

Quotations[edit]

  • They have made present-day India, and Hinduism even more so, out to be a zoo - an agglomeration of assorted, disparate specimens. No such thing as "India", just a geographical expression, just a construct of the British; no such thing as Hinduism, just a word used by Arabs to describe the assortment they encountered, just an invention of the communalists to impose a uniformity - that has been their stance. For this they have blackened the Hindu period of our history, and, as we shall see, strained to whitewash the Islamic period. (p. x)

Criticism[edit]

P. Heehs cited the book as an example of "reactionary orientalists' reaction against a perceived attack on Indian spiritual values".[3] Edwin Bryant cites the book as an example of Hindu nationalist criticism of Marxist historiography.[4] The historian D.N. Jha, who is one of the scholars Shourie has attacked in his book, has refuted Shourie claiming Shourie has distorted his writings, made false allegations of plagiarism against him, and that Shourie's book contains errors and inaccuracies. The book, according to Jha, contains "slander" and "has nothing to do with history." Jha also claims that Shourie's book has been written out of political opportunism.[5][6][7] In a July 2014 article, Jha writes:

Shourie had raised a huge controversy by publishing his scandalous and slanderous Eminent Historians in 1998 during the NDA regime and now, after sixteen years, he has issued its second edition. He appears and reappears in the historian’s avatar when the BJP comes to power, tries to please his masters and keeps waiting for crumbs to fall from their table.[7]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "INDOlink - Book Review - Eminent Historians". Retrieved 20 January 2015. 
  2. ^ Arun Shourie (2004). Eminent Historians; 3rd ed. New Delhi: Rupa Publications. p. 63.
  3. ^ "Shades of orientalism: Paradoxes and problems in Indian historiography", Heehs P., History and Theory; 42 (2): 169-195, May 2003
  4. ^ Edwin Bryant (2004), The Quest for the Origins of Vedic Culture: the Indo-Aryan Migration Debate, New York: Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-516947-8
  5. ^ "Grist to the reactionary mill". Indian Express. 9 July 2014. Retrieved 9 July 2015. 
  6. ^ "Votes do not guide intellectuals: D N Jha". Business Standard. 9 November 2014. Retrieved 9 July 2015. 
  7. ^ a b "How History Was Unmade At Nalanda! D N Jha". Kafila. 9 July 2014. Retrieved 9 July 2015. 

External links[edit]