Friday, July 29, 2022

Majumdar: On the Cult of Non-Violence

R. C. Majumdar

In his 1973 essay, “Indian Historiography: Some Recent Trends,” R. C. Majumdar has charged that the historians who were the followers of the cult of non-violence were distorting India’s history because they were politically motivated to make the case that non-violence was always a moral value in Indian society. Here’s an excerpt from Majumdar’s essay: 

“…the cult of non-violence is an ideal devoutly to be wished for, but when some historians of India seriously maintain that this ideal has been followed throughout the course of Indian history, one rubs his eyes with wonder, for not only are all the known facts of Indian rulers against the assumption that they were averse to war, but war has been recommended by political texts as a normal practice and sanctioned by religion through the Asvamedha sacrifice, eulogy of digvijaya, and of Kings who have won victory in hundred battles—samara-sata vijayi

“Such distortion of history can never be excused even in the name of Mahatma Gandhi.” 

In a scathing criticism, Majumdar accused the Indian government of misusing its powers to distort history for achieving the political agenda of promoting Mahatma Gandhi's utopianism, foisting on India a false conception of Hindu-Muslim unity, and indoctrinating the masses with the slogans of the freedom struggle. Here’s an excerpt: 

“This evil is enhanced by the fact that the Government, directly or indirectly, seeks to utilize history to buttress some definite ideas such as Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violence, an imaginary conception of friendly relation subsisting between the two great communities, and several popular slogans evoked by the exigencies of the struggle for freedom…”

In another passage, Majumdar notes: “I know from personal experience how the Government of India has sought to utilize history for the spread of ideas which they have elevated to the rank of national policy to their own satisfaction. They are not willing to tolerate any history which mentions facts incompatible with their ideas of national integration and solidarity.”

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