Books

Distorting history for Sangh propaganda

Book: Shivaji na hote to… (Hindi)
Author: Narsinh Joshi
Publisher: Archana prakashan, Bhopal
Year: 2008
Price: 35
Pages: 112

 

A. G. Khan

Born in 1925, the author is a committed Hindu Mahasabha/Jansangh/VHP activist. He delivered 175 lectures on Shivaji during 1974-75 period. Encouraged by public response he was entrusted with the same assignment in 1981-82 by the VHP during which period he visited (and lectured at) MP/UP/Bengal, Bihar, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra and delivered 225 lectures. If there is a vast army of dedicated activists in these states he must be given due credit for this success. He can be proud of indoctrinating the minds of generations that have produced the likes of Sunil Joshi and Pragya Sinh. As early as 1944 (when he was only 19) he participated in an essay competition on Samartha Ramdas. Later on he devoted his entire pursuit to the study of Maharashtrian saints. Though the present book was not intended to be a work on Shivaji (page 6) the title chosen was deliberately to convince readers - Shivaji’s immense contribution as saviour of the Hindu faith. The incomplete title is more suggestive than the complete line of the poem that a Hindi poet (of the Medieval period) Bhushan wrote praising Shivaji: Shivaji na hoto to sunati hoti sabhi (But for Shivaji every Hindu would have been circumcised) (Sunati - circumcised).

There is a lot of hate literature being churned by scores of Vivekananda Kendras over the length and breath of the country. Much venom is being poured by such intellectuals in the boudhiks of the shakhas. What prompts us to review the book is the fact that this is one of the books that the department of school education has distributed among teachers to “orient”in orientation of their minds. Government teachers in orientation programmes are being supplied with hate literature of this kind. This is a backdoor entry of saffron sermons which the late Arjun Sinh and Kapil Sibal tried to resist/stop. 

 

I

The book is a hotch-potch of mythology, history, literature. On the one hand, Ramdas is described as an incarnation of Hanuman (p. 54); on the other hand, he is said to have a vision of Ramchandraji also. Shivaji too is, in a vision, granted permission for his coronation as chhatrapati because being a non-kshatriya he was not entitled to become a raja. The fact that a very competent (and shrewd) Brahmin was induced to serve as purohit for the incarnation has not been mentioned. Gaga pandit was, of course, very handsomely rewarded. While citing from Bhavarth Ramayan, Muslims have been portrayed as the Ravana, “Rakshas dadhiwale hain”… “that women are a commodity for consumption, the idea of such demonic possession was grabbed by the followers of Islam.” (p. 43)

He bestows the halo of a visionary to samarth Ramdas who could know 350 years ago the menace of present day Islamic terrorism (p. 57). He gives credit to the inheritors of Shivaji’s legacy who accomplished what none in Indian history till then (for 800 years) could do – completely sealed the North-west border, stalling/stopping for any future Islamic aggression (p. 109) and, then of course, admits Ahmad Shah Abdali to be the sole exception. He reminds through mythological parallel of Kichak slaughter (who wanted to possess draupadi in Mahabharat) the murder of Afzal Khan (p. 96). “Battees danton ka hrishtpusht bakra” (a healthy goat of 32 teeth) was sacrificed at the altar of Tulja Bhavani (the goddess) (p. 96)

He reminds that even today the demonic attempt to establish Darus Salaam by routing faith continues (p. 61).

He reacalls that almost all the freedom fighters drew inspiration from Samarth Ramdas. He enumerates Nana Saheb Peshwa, (1857 freedom struggle), Tilak, Veer Savarkar and emphatically reminds that Dr. Hedgewar drew his administrative planning of sangth from Ramdas’s dasbodh (p. 55)

 

II

We must remember the fact that medieval history cannot be understood through communal lens. Don’t we know that Muslims in India had invited Babar against a Muslim – Ibrahim Lodhi? Rana Pratap’s army was commanded by a Muslim – Pathan, Salim Shah Sur whereas Akbar’s camp was commanded by Raja Mansinh – a rajput. Even Aurangzeb had a Rajput – Raja Jaisinh to command his forces. The five Muslim states always relied on Hindu Vijay Nagar state for their internecine wars in which every time the Hindu state used to be the ultimate beneficiary of such wars – the story of two cats and a monkey!

Coming to Shivaji’s case, we must note the fact (which such writers deliberately suppress), is that the commanders of his navy were Daulat Khan and Siddi Mistry. He had a faithful attendant (as bodyguard) Madari mehtar. His external affairs secretary was Mulla Haider. Sardesai admits these facts. Shivaji was above communal considerations which our modern fanatics want us to forget.

Returning to Shivaji’s inheritors let us again note that Shivaji’s grandson, Sahu, spent 17 years with his mother in Aurangzeb’s court. He was immensely fond of Aurangzeb’s daughters Zeenat-un-Nisa who considered him like her son and he too reciprocated as a son. When Shahu tried to claim Shivaji’s throne after the death of his uncle Rajaram, his widow opposed Shahu’s claim and she was supported (as well as opposed) by several Maratha noblemen. Similarly, Aurangzeb’s son Akbar, sought refuge in Shambhaji’s court against his father. Akbar was also supported by Durgadas. Such facts are deliberately suppressed by fanatics of both the sides to give a black and white account of medieval history. We are unwilling to bury the bruises of the past.
III

What induces the government machinery to reopen these wounds? Why should money be spent on such hate literature? What is the intention of the department wanting to popularise such monographs under the pretext of “orientation programmes”? It is time for secular forces to be vigilant lest we should suffer holocausts in future. Not content with gifting land to sangha outfits, the state government is now siphoning money to them.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 January 2012 on page no. 19

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