Loose comments tarnish India’s image: Historians

SansadTV Bureau

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Voicing strong concern over efforts to rewrite history, eminent historians have asked leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi to refrain from making statements contrary to well established historical facts, asserting that loose or irresponsible comments would tarnish India’s reputation.

The historians said that they were perturbed to hear voices being raised in certain “influential quarters” on the need to rewrite Indian history through an abundant use of ancient mythology and speculative chronology.

“Unfortunately even the Prime Minister has suggested that in the hoary past Indians had learnt, and then, forgotten, plastic surgery of a kind going far beyond what is now possible.

“There is widespread belief that soon text books will be revised or rewritten, to inculcate such a strongly misleading and divisive brand of history among pupils in our schools,” the historians said in a resolution passed at the platinum jubilee session of the prestigious Indian History Congress.

The Congress, established in 1935, is known to be the largest professional and academic body of Indian historians.

In the resolution, the IHC said, “Throughout its existence it has been committed to the cause of the scientific method in history and its pursuit free of any sectarian or chauvinistic approaches.”

It said IHC was confident that all genuine historians would stand by the values of their profession and resist interested distortions of our past.

“It also calls upon all members of the political establishment to refrain from making statements contrary to well-established historical facts. They should understand that loose or irresponsible statements of this kind tarnish the good repute of this country,” the resolution said.

In a separate resolution, the IHC said it was disturbed at the “so-called” restoration works at the Humayun’s Tomb, a World Heritage Site, observing that laid down norms for conservation of monuments and archaeological sites appear to have been violated by private agencies tasked to protect such historical sites.

“One notable example is Humayun’s Tomb. Here two principles namely strict use only of materials that were originally employed in construction and repair, and clear demarcation of the current additions in the name of restoration, have been clearly violated”.

“Even colour-schemes appear to have been changed. Moreover, facilities are being provided to tourists in a manner that threatens to damage the environment of the movement,” it said.

The IHC hoped that a “full report on the so-called restorations and a fresh colour-scheme that have been devised by the private agency concerned, and how the lapses made can now be rectified.

“At the same time, until the matter is settled, no preservation and restoration work on other monuments by private agencies should be permitted.”