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unclassified - 15 04 2001 - 12:06 - katatonik

Recreating history

Tehelka.com claims to be India’s first independent news portal. Its team is an impressive gathering of renowned publishers and experienced journalists, poised to stir up India’s otherwise rather dull media, er, soup. The first big stir was Tehelka’s revelation of how India’s defence deals rely on corruption. It was not just the revelation as such that created uproars, but the means by which it was effected: In their so-called “Operation West-End”, Tehelka used a spycam, something unheard of so far in Indian investigative journalism. The case became so notorious that one journalist speculates reporters will soon be asked by politicians “are you doing a Tehelka on us?” Needless to say, discussions on media ethics followed suit and are still rampant.
Currently, the homepage of Tehelka runs two intriguing pieces about attempts on the part of religious institutions and forces to recreate history. The Indian “National Council for Educational Research and Training” has decided to do away with history as a subject in the new high school curriculum from class VI to class X. History textbooks as such will be abolished, though “historical themes” will be included in an “integrated book” on social sciences and humanities – “historical themes” such as the spread of Indian civilization, and contributions of Indian culture to the world at large. Indian meaning Hindu, or what is retrospectively considered as Hindu. (Mind you, the label “Hinduism” is of relatively recent origin; referring to ancient Indian religions as “Hindu beliefs” is an anachronism.) Muslim rulers in India, the British Period, world history as well as modern history in general are likely to be unknown to future Indian generations lest their families make up for official educational neglect. “Intellectual eugenics”, Tehelka judges in its charming subtle fashion, and talks of a “Goebbelsian move.”
Recreating Indian history from a strictly Hindu nationalist perspective reaches far back. Some people are busy trying to demonstrate that ancient Vedic texts describe “earlier versions of of today’s nuclear weapons and spacecraft”, precious technological knowledge lost to Great India through the invasion of evil Muslims. Surprisingly enough, noone as yet discovered that Vedic literature describes prototypes of computers and software. Do you not just SEE the obvious connection with the rise of India’s computer industry?

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