ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Fallacies of Hindutva Historiography

Would the Hindutva historians, who claim that the Puranas, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata are true historical records needing no further interpretation, be able to tell us which of their versions are we to read? This response to Rajan Gurukkal's article, "A Blindness about India" (EPW, 6 December 2014), argues that not only is this an impossible claim to make on our ancient texts, such "historiography" will lead to the destruction of the social sciences in India.

Rajan Gurukkal raises a number of extremely important issues concerning the social sciences and more particularly history. I would like to add my comments to what Gurukkal has written. He has, quite rightly, questioned the generalisations that Indian historians merely collect factoids, and that their historical explanations draw on a Protestant Christian understanding of the past. The first of these activities may partially be applied to colonial writers on the Indian past but went out of fashion and usage half a century ago. As for the second generalisation, given the absence of a monotheistic god and a church it would be impossible to apply a Protestant Christian framework to Indian historiography. Such a framework has also long since been discarded by European historiography. To argue that there are secular versions of this framework would require a different discussion about the validity of this argument before it can even be applied to Indian historiography.

Ignorant Criticism

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