HomeExpositionsHistoryRomila Thapar Had Begun As A Nationalist

Romila Thapar Had Begun As A Nationalist

The formidable Marxist historian during her formative years showed the potential to pull the thread but she left it, as it was not rewarding as it still isn't

There was a time in the 1960s when Romila Thapar was pursuing higher studies and, while staying away in London, her sentiments were attached to India like the nationalists of today. In her papers published between 1966 and 1969, she attempted to narratetthe same thing that is needed nowadays, the influence of Indian thoughts over Western thinkers, which made them so curious that they studied India more than Indian scholars themselves did those days.

It looks as though Romila Thapar had once picked the thread that we at the Indology Foundation have picked and continue to work on, but she could not continue with her early passion and drive, for, Indians lose interest in their glorious past in comparison to the interest in knowing who insults or hates them and then react or troll them.

One may note how big a way ‘an RSS platform for thinkers’ is celebrating a webinar series on Hindu hatred in the Western world and calling such people who have hardly any exposure to the great Hindu thoughts that have been earning great respect in the Western world for over two centuries. Great discussions are happening on diseases but overlooking the immunity-boosting medicines.

It’s to be known that the likes of William Shakespeare made the Indian youth the centre of their plays and Isaac Newton admired Indian Brahmins for their pursuit of knowledge, such things are to be told and retold instead of the negative and reactive tales invoking momentary sentiments

One can see all those who spread insulting episodes, rapidly become popular and ideological masters and turn heroes of the Indian population. They get fellow supporters and fans in great numbers, which does not help in getting a lead over the left-wing narrative.

The writings of Romila Thapar in those days suggest she had the potential to pull the thread, but she left it, for the thread was not rewarding as it still is not.

When she returned, she found leftists dominating history and social ‘sciences’ in academia and gradually became a red card-holding member of the communist party.

Leftists still buy and read books, remain aware of what happens around them in history and cultural domains, they like to be in connection with one another for a purpose and contribute to their common causes. This is the reason that they still have an edge.

Other Indians, particularly Hindus, still do not contribute for good and great purposes. During the lockdown, newspapers published more stories of Sikh gurudwaras’ services than those rendered by Hindu organisations. Hindus have forgotten the basics that the Puranas inscribed for them such as donating books, umbrellas and shoes in tirthas (pilgrimages). In recent times, it has not been noticed that even our akharas are emphasising a resumption of such philanthropic activities at melas and festivals. Therefore, it would not be an exaggeration to say that not the good but the evil arouses Hindu sentiments more, which is a very disappointing trend.

For this reverse thinking, Hindu society has lost many potential scholars.

They are more into talks of Puranic stories, which are mostly done for entertainment purposes and hardly for exploring credible inventions and discoveries registered in those texts.

It has been observed that they no longer like to have a minimum budget for buying books and, therefore, patriotic publishers are not growing in competition with left-wing publishers, especially those who work in the English and regional language domains. Hindus are criticised for spending twice on a mobile data pack than on books.

This is the reason Hindu folks have no icon to lead them culturally and historically.

Whatever, and how much is to be written, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar cannot become a Mangal Pandey or a Bhagat Singh or a Shyam Ji Varma, but owing to the vacuum spread due to the absence of an iconic figure, Hindus are pushed to medium level compromising faces like Sawarkar and others.

But the solution is simple. Hindus need to change their thinking and approach; they must learn to welcome the values of their great past that their ancestors left behind for them. It is for the Hindus to reclaim that legacy and then they must get the same established through Wikipedia-like websites popular across the world.

A simple point of beginning could be to organise such mega-events for indigenous Hindu scholars in India and abroad that Hindus do organise for Prime Minister Narendra Modi whose shows give us momentary relief and a political stature but it’s the civilisational identity and stature that would make Hindus respectable and influential in a manner where both the East and the West follow them with pleasure. That can be the first point of becoming the civilisational world guru.

It is recommended for Hindus to keep at home at least one Veda, one of the two epics — the Ramayana or Mahabharata — and a book of the history of Indian literature, which is enough for them to develop an interest in positive reconstruction of their legacy.

A copy of a Veda would remind Hindus how they applied mathematics to make chhandas of Vedic mantras, which had no other parallel in that ancient period.

The Mahabharata would just not talk about the great war of Kurukshetra but also about the theories of statecraft, economy, innovations like the making of wheel-based boats and diplomacy.

The history of Indian literature would make Hindus aware of the great works produced in India.

They will learn that when Europe had no grammar, Indians developed the science of etymology, which is called nirukta in Sanskrit. Their excitement will grow manifold when they read how, based on Yaskas Nirukta and Panini’s grammar, etymology began in Europe and the greatest linguists of the contemporary Western world Noam Chomsky and Paul Kiparsky acknowledged the same in their publications.

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Lalit Mishra
Lalit Mishrahttps://swadharma.in/
Indologist from India, member of advisory boards of many universities, currently a visiting fellow of the Vedic Science Centre, Varanasi, empanelled by some newspapers as an expert on history and science

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