Saturday, June 25, 2022

Rewriting History from the Hindu Point of View

Most history books that Indian scholars have produced in the last 100 years look at India’s past from a colonial (European), Islamic, and Marxist point of view. Indians must rewrite their history from the Hindu point of view. Old facts have to be interpreted anew, and new insights into the past developed, from the Hindu point of view. Karl Marx has rightly said: "The first battlefield is the rewriting of History!” In the battlefield of history, the Hindus have a lot of work to do.


Ajit R. Jadhav said...

This time, I will not share an emulation of a statistically disturbed GPT-3 i.e. an emulation of the kind of "arguments" that I have so often heard in Pune/India in general, even among well educated people, that I have stopped moving among them. [For the last time's "note", I had simply changed the political actors, that's all, just to see what happens when such a thing is presented. But the rest all was kept quite similar in content and quality as what I've actually heard, even in the better circles. In Pune.]

So, instead, this time, I will write a bit of that kind which I had written even last time, but chose not to share. This time, it's directly a question:

Do you equate "Hindu" with "Objectivity"? the Hindu PoV with an Objective PoV? Is that your point?

If not, then which one of the two has a greater scope, in your opinion? Have you even given a thought to this matter?

Anoop Verma said...

@Ajit: History is both subjective and objective. To say that history should be 100% objective is to take a utopian stance. How can 100% objectivity possible about something that happened centuries or thousands of years ago? We have to apply subjective opinions to the facts of the past.

Also, it depends on the historians which period of history they want to focus on. Today we have a disproportionate amount of focus on the Mughals and the British phase of India's history. But the Indian civilization has existed for more than 6000 years.

We also need books on the Indian kingdoms that existed before the Mughals. The Indus Valley, the Vedica Age, the Buddhist Age, the Murya Age, the Gupta Age, etc., all these must be investigated. New information that has become available now must be used and old information must be reanalyzed.

Ajit R. Jadhav said...

>> "History is both subjective and objective."

Sorry Anoop, if that's how you propose to approach history --- a field of knowledge --- I should not engage you further. However, let me pick up a point or two, because these are of more general interest.

>> "How can 100% objectivity possible about something that happened centuries or thousands of years ago?"

Objectivity is primarily a matter of method, not of contents. A perfectly undiluted objectivity is *always* possible.

As to the conclusions regarding topics which involve insufficient or unclear or apparently contradictory evidence (or similar situation). This is a straw-man, really speaking. Mankind has long ago discovered proper principles, conceptual means, and methods, so that *objective* conclusions could still be drawn in such situations too. For example, selection of sufficiently broad words (concepts), explicit use of appropriate qualifiers concerning their (lack of) precision, helpful notes showing bounds of applicability, showing willingness --- in action --- to revise the conclusions, etc.

>> "Today we have a disproportionate amount of focus on the Mughals and the British phase of India's history."

I don't think so. In the popular culture at least, today, if there is anything out of proportion, it's the glorification of anything and everything Hindu. To the extent of diluting, if not outright annihilating, objectivity.

But, yes, you may have a definite point concerning school text books, academic courses at the college and university levels etc. I do not know, neither is it a matter of much interest to me. But yes, the humanities folks do tend to be wild, oscillating from one extreme to another. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that biases exist.

In correcting the *objectively* improper tilts, therefore, I would advise them to first get a correct understanding of some crucial concepts like "objectivity", and learn how not to begin by dispensing with it --- not even by diluting it. Understood?

Another point (if you are still with me).

In deciding what scheme of proportions is to be followed, the simple moving average isn't always good. Given that we live in the modern era where the rate of growth in knowledge itself has been growing, it is *objectively* necessary to look into other, better schemes. Would the exponential moving average work better? I don't know. Experts have to look into the matter and propose proper solutions. (I said: propose, not decide.)

Needless to add, applying the exponential average in the reverse temporal direction is a third-class technique too.


Look into history of maths, and of physics, and discussions (and even debates) therein, to have a sense of how better people approach similar things, but in a better way.

Anoop Verma said...

@Ajit, I am not disagreeing with you. But we need to consider the limitations of the human mind. It is not possible for humans to look at the past objectively. If it were possible for us to look at the past objectively, then there would be ONLY ONE view of history. But that is not the case.

On any major topic of history, there are thousands of perspectives available. Why is history so conservative? It is because history cannot be objective. Every historian looks at the past through the prism of his own eyes, eyes which are clouded by his own agenda, prejudices, biases, preferences, etc.

Every generation writes its own history--this is because every generation wants to see the past through its own eyes and not through the eyes of the earlier generation of historians.