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Issue #13: How The Sangh Parivar Invents And Spreads Fake History

India Ink
Issue #13: How The Sangh Parivar Invents And Spreads Fake History
By India Ink Team • Issue #13 • View online
Dear reader,
Happy New Year from all of us at the India Ink team. As we head into 2022, we’re hard at work on our new series. It will be a bit longer before you can see anything as we’re trying to finish two or three videos before we start releasing them. Very excited to show them to you when the time comes!
But till then, we will have more of our “listicle summaries” to share. As usual, this email only has part of the summary - you can’t see the interactive sections. For the full experience, read on our website.
Today’s paper is by historian Tanika Sarkar. It explores how the Sangh Parivar manufactures its version of history and takes it to the people through formal education, as well as other more informal avenues. It’s the first article by our new Academic Correspondent, Isha Phullay, a Master’s student at JNU currently.
It’s an important article and it lays out the challenge that organisations like India Ink face - as we routinely go against the Sangh Parivar’s version of history.
It’s been a difficult year for all of us - so here’s hoping that the next year is better. Thanks for your continued support and readership. If you’d like to support us financially, you can do so here.
India Ink Team

How The Sangh Parivar Invents And Spreads Fake History
Image by Suyash Dwivedi. Licensed under CC BY SA.40
Image by Suyash Dwivedi. Licensed under CC BY SA.40
  1. For almost a century, the Sangh Parivar has relied on the discipline of history to sustain itself and normalise its Hindutva vision of society. Inventing and spreading its own version of Indian history is as fundamental to the Hindutva political project as flawed claims of “racial science” were to Nazi ideology.
  2. The foundation of Hindutva history comes from the works of ideologues like V.D. Savarkar and M.S. Golwalkar. They believed the purpose of history was the recounting of national glory — glory that could only be achieved through war and conquest. So this version of history glorifies the Aryans “conquering” the indigenous people of India as well as the 1857 revolt against the British. And it denounces Buddhism for promoting peace, because it supposedly exposed the nation to foreign attack.
  3. In Hindutva history, “Hindu” and “Indian” are seen as interchangeable terms, while Muslims and Christians only represent violent foreign oppressors. But caste was a major stumbling block for this image of a Hindu nation, in which all Hindus are projected as a single united block. Savarkar acknowledged that Hindus weakened themselves through caste divisions. But simultaneously, he argued that by protecting Hindu blood and traditions from contamination, caste segregation led to the creation of a Hindu identity.
  4. The RSS runs the largest network of schools in India, second only to the Indian government. These schools often operate in areas where no other form of education is available and dole out Hindutva history along with charity. These schools train children using a formal and informal curriculum that combines Hindu pride and supremacy with hatred for all that is non-Hindu.
  5. Textbooks issued by the BJP-led central government in 2002 are representative of Hindutva history. These textbooks engage with facts very selectively: they show resistance against the British as led only by Hindu kings and not the masses, they mention Bhagat Singh as a revolutionary but ignore his socialism and atheism, they talk of Ambedkar drafting the constitution but say nothing of his critique of caste. History is turned into a biography of the nation, making patriotism the sole purpose of learning history.
  6. The RSS is also attempting to get involved in historical research, by packing the Indian Council of Historical Research with its people and creating pseudo-academic literature. The goal is to “Indianise” and “nationalise” research on history. This basically boils down to things like incorporating tribal legends into Hindu mythology, making Hindu mythology the basis of ancient Indian history, and updating older Hindutva histories to do away with inconvenient claims such as the foreign origin of the Aryans.
  7. The Sangh Parivar has been majorly successful in spreading its version of history because it is extremely simple and because in addition to formal schooling, it can also be spread through informal channels like festivals and charity programs. Secular history, on the other hand, remains mostly confined to academia and text books.
For the full article with more details and examples, read on our website.
How The Sangh Parivar Invents And Spreads Fake History - India Ink
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India Ink Team

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