Cult of Eminent Indian Historians and the Ayodhya verdict


It has been said time and again that the so called “Indian History” experts were anything but.  Justice Aggarwal declared:

“One cannot say that though I had made a statement but I am not responsible for its authenticity since it is not based on my study or research but what I have learnt from what others have uttered”.

But that is precisely what the so called “experts” were doing!  Here is an interesting low down and their “qualifications” on these so called History and Archeology “experts” in India:

  • Suvira Jaiswal deposed “whatever knowledge I gained with respect to disputed site is based on newspaper reports or what others told” (other experts). She said she prepared a report on the Babri dispute “after reading newspaper reports and on basis of discussions with medieval history expert in my department.”
  • Supriya Verma, another expert who challenged the ASI excavations, had not read the ground penetration radar survey report that led the court to order an excavation
  • Shereen F Ratnagar (Archaeologist) has written the “introduction” to the book of another expert who deposed, Professor Mandal. She admitted she had no field experience.

Wikipedia introduces her as “She was a professor of archaeology and ancient history at the Centre for Historical Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi”.  (Note the interesting factoid that a professor of archeology, as per her OWN admission under oath in front of a High Court bench declared she had NO FIELD EXPERIENCE)

  • Supriya Verma and Jaya Menon alleged that pillar bases at the excavated site had been planted but HC found they were not present at the time the actual excavation took place.

Interestingly, Supriya Verma who probably also gets her history lessons from Newspapers and Hearsay is all agitated, for obvious reasons:

“It is almost as though they themselves were not convinced by the evidence. They are clearly conceding that there was no archaeological evidence of a temple or of its demolition…It is a judgement of theology,” she said.

Incidentally, Supriya Verma has done her PhD under this Shereen Ratnagar, which calls into question as to what was she even learning??  And that brings us to another main point:


We saw that Supriya Verma who apparently writes and challenges history without being privy to any official report – probably based on newspaper reports (like her colleague Suvira Jaiswal) who in turn quote her as an expert and publish that “history” in the first place; had gotten her PhD. under another “archeologist”.  Judge Aggarwal puts the “secret” of this entire nexus in the best possible words:

He also pointed out how the independent witnesses were all connected — one had done a PhD under the other, another had contributed an article to a book penned by a witness.

The group of “Eminent Indian Historians” is a CULT.  They promote each other, give PhDs to each other, write prefaces and articles to each other’s publications and promote them – based of course on each other’s writings and newspaper (which are no more than Tabloids anyway) reports.

Arun Shourie wrote a book titled “Eminent Historians” (a sarcastic title for the expose on this Cult of Historians).  He had suggested – with merit, it now seems – that:

During the past fifty years, “this bunch of Marxist historians have been suppressing facts, inventing lies, perverting discourse, and derailing public policy” by seizing control of institutions such as the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR), the National Council of Educational Research Training (NCERT), large parts of Indian academia, and nearly all of the English-media newspapers and publishing houses.

This group is not very large – probably over 40 – but it  keeps circulating the “Eminence” around for each other.  The main characters and protagonists of this Cult of Historians group are Romila Thapar, Satish Chandra, K.M. Shrimali, K.M.Pannikar, R.S. Sharma, D. N. Jha, Gyanendra Pandey, and Irfan Habib.

So strong is the hold of these historians on even the publishing industry that Arun Shourie had to self-publish his books because no one would let him publish his books.  In context of this, the exchange between Arun Shourie and KL Shrimali (an “Eminent”) is very interesting:

In July 1998, Manoj Raghuvanshi, host of a popular ZEE TV program called Aap ki Adalat, Aap ka Faisla (Your Court, You Judge) invited Arun Shourie and one of the “eminents,” K. L. Shrimali. Raghuvanshi posed the question first to Shrimali whether Aurangzeb was a religious bigot. Despite Raghuvanshi’s repeating the question, Shrimali gave no clear answer, only asserting that Aurangzeb’s court had many Hindu nobles. Shourie countered this by pointing out that there were many Indians among the persons honored by the British with titles – – and both for the same reason. In Shourie’s words: “How does this wipe away the destruction of Hindu temples by Aurangzeb? Aurangzeb had entertained no doubt about the fact that his primary impluse was the religious one. And that he faithfully implemented an essential element of his religion, Islam, that is to destroy the places of worship of other religions.” As evidence, Shourie read out several passages from Sita Ram Goel’s book Hindu Temples: What Happened to Them, The Islamic Evidence. All Shrimali could mumble was that it was a “questionable source.” When Shourie pressed the point that the source was the Akhbarat (Newsletter) of the Court of Aurangzeb himself written on the very day the news reached the court, the “eminent” historian merely repeated “questionable source.” Shourie comments: “So, when an ’eminent’ historian says that the sources were questionable, they must be questionable” – – this is their technology when cornered.”

“Eminents” of the Cult of Historians are miffed

Coming back to the Ayodhya judgment.  What has miffed these “History and Archeology” experts and which has really ticked them off is that the Allahabad High Court and Archeological Survey of India clearly and unequivocally cooked their goose by ordering the excavations at the site.  Until it was done, these guys – based on each other’s lies and newspapers reports – were giving out fictional stories about our history as they pleased.  You can see the level of frustration in the tone of another one of the same society (D.N. Jha, history professor at the Delhi University):

Dr. Jha asked why the court had requested an excavation of the site. “If it is a case of ‘belief,’ then it becomes an issue of theology, not archaeology. Should the judiciary be deciding cases on the basis of theology is a question that needs to be asked,” he said.

Now, look at his argument and logic:  The Court should NOT have excavated the site.  Why?  Because by doing so it gave precedence over Theology as opposed to Archeology!

Huh what!??!!  One does excavations to find more evidence, so how does that become an issue of theology??  Excavations could have found that there was nothing under the structure at all.  But that’s not how it happened!

Well, he further goes on to say:

“The historical evidence has not been taken into account.”

Depends, of course, what Jha really means by “History” – because in case of these guys History gets broken down to His-Story.

As has been said time and time again on Drishtikone, that Indian History is a bunch of baloney written by people who have no more expertise in History and Archeological Stories than the famous writer in Indian hinterlands – Gulshan Nanda.  We might be better off letting him write our NCERT history books for us.  At least they will be more dramatic and interesting and kids may actually read them before their exams instead of depending on “kunjis”!

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