Secularists, Marxists and the ‘Avarana’ of Truth
During the recent book release function of the Kannada book “Aavaranada Anaavarana (The unraveling of ‘Book’Aavarana)”, written by N.S.Shankar in Bangalore, noted writer and Jnanapeeta award winner U.R.Ananthamurthy, while speaking about the book for its “critical analysis” of Kannada novel Aavarana by noted author S.L.Byrappa said-
“Bhyrappa does not know either Hindu religion or the art of story-telling. He is only a debater…He does not go beyond his opinions. He constructs the plot and selects characters only to suit his opinions and end up as a debater, rather than a creative writer.”
Further Chandrashekhar Kambar and G.K. Govinda Rao who were also present said “Avarana is a bad book” and “Reject the book” respectively.1
Let us examine how valid are their comments.. S.L.Byrappa is one of the most popular writer and Kannada novelist. He has a Phd in Philosophy; his doctoral dissertation entitled “Satya Mattu Soundarya” (Truth and Beauty) explores complex relationships between truth, ethics, beauty, art, existence, and philosophy. He has written some of the celebrated novels like “Vamsha Vruksha”, “Daatu”, most notably his magnum opus, “Parva”.
The present novel “Avarana” meaning “veil” or “truth masking”, is his second historical novel covering the time period between 8th - 14th centuries of India. His first historical novel 'SArTa' covered the time up to 8th century. The latest novel Avarana is already going for its 10th edition2. The novel has seen nine editions in four months after it was first published in February last. The conflict of truth v/s untruth is the topic explored in his previous novel SAkshi at individual level. AvaraNa explores the same problem at the global level. The twin objectives of the novel- explore history and expose historians, who are distorting it. In the book Byrappa tries to show the real history of India under Moghuls.
The Marxists and Seculars have created the myth that Muslim rulers were tolerant. They deny that there was mass temple destruction and mass Killing of Hindus. But, Dr.Koenraad Elst in his book “Negationism in India Concealing the record of Islam”3 writes- “The Muslim conquests, down to the 16th century, were for the Hindus a pure struggle of life and death. Entire cities were burnt down and the populations massacred, with hundreds of thousands killed in every campaign, and similar numbers deported as slaves. Every new invader made (often literally) his hills of Hindus skulls. Thus, the conquest of Afghanistan in the year 1000 was followed by the annihilation of the Hindu population; the region is still called the Hindu Kush, i.e. Hindu slaughter. The Bahmani sultans (1347-1480) in central India made it a rule to kill 100,000 captives in a single day, and many more on other occasions. The conquest of the Vijayanagar empire in 1564 left the capital plus large areas of Karnataka depopulated. And so on.”
About the destruction of Hindu Temples, Sita Ram Goel writes in his book “Hindu Temples :What Happened To Them -Volume II :The Islamic Evidence”4-
“Mahmûd of Ghazni robbed and burnt down 1,000 temples at Mathura, and 10,000 in and around Kanauj. One of his successors, Ibrãhîm, demolished 1,000 temples each in Hindustan (Ganga-Yamuna Doab) and Malwa. Muhammad Ghûrî destroyed another 1,000 at Varanasi. Qutbu’d-Dîn Aibak employed elephants for pulling down 1,000 temples in Delhi. “Alî I ‘Ãdil Shãh of Bijapur destroyed 200 to 300 temples in Karnataka. A sufi, Qãyim Shãh, destroyed 12 temples at Tiruchirapalli. Such exact or approximate counts, however, are available only in a few cases. Most of the time we are informed that “many strong temples which would have remained unshaken even by the trumpets blown on the Day of Judgment, were levelled with the ground when swept by the wind of Islãm”. Further, Goel takes pain to make a long list of places where temples were converted to mosques. I shall list here only a few important ones5-
Epigraphy evidences[temples have been converted to mosques]
1. Quwwat al-Islam Masjid, Qutb Minar, Delhi by Qutbud-Din Aibak in 1192 A.D.
2. Masjid at Manvi in the Raichur District of Karnataka, Firuz Shah Bahmani, 1406-07 A.D
3. Jami Masjid at Malan, Palanpur Taluka, Banaskantha District of Gujarat: ?The Jami Masjid was built? by Khan-I-Azam Ulugh Khan, The date of construction is mentioned as 1462 A.D. in the reign of Mahmud Shah I (Begada) of Gujarat.
4. Hammam Darwaza Masjid at Jaunpur in Uttar Pradesh, Its chronogram yields the year 1567 A.D. in the reign of Akbar, the Great Mughal
5. Jami Masjid at Ghoda in the Poona District of Maharashtra, The inscription is dated 1586 A.D. when the Poona region was ruled by the Nizam Shahi sultans of Ahmadnagar
6. Gachinala Masjid at Cumbum in the Kurnool District of Andhra Pradesh, The date of construction is mentioned as 1729-30 A.D. in the reign of the Mughal Emperor Muhammad Shah.
1. Jhain[name of the place], Jalalud-Din Firuz Khalji went to the place and ordered destruction of temples, mentioned in Miftah-ul-Futuh.
2. Devagiri, Alaud-Din Khalji destroyed the temples of the idolaters , , mentioned in Miftah-ul-Futuh.
3. Somanath, Ulugh Khan, mentioned in Tarikh-i-Alai
4. Delhi, , Alaud-Din Khalji , Tarikh-i-Alai
5. Ranthambhor, mentioned in Tarikh-i-Alai
6. Brahmastpuri (Chidambaram), Malik Kafur, Tarikh-i-Alai
7. Madura, mentioned in Tarikh-i-Alai
8. Fatan: (Pattan), mentioned in Ashiqa
9. Ma?bar: (Parts of South India), Tarikh-i-Alai
These evidences clearly prove that there was indeed Hindu holocaust and the destruction of temples. Dr.Koenraad Elst while while summarizing the Hindu losses at the hands of Muslim invaders concludes6- “There is no official estimate of the total death toll of Hindus at the hands of Islam. A first glance at important testimonies by Muslim chroniclers suggests that, over 13 centuries and a territory as vast as the Subcontinent, Muslim Holy Warriors easily killed more Hindus than the 6 million of the Holocaust. Ferishtha lists several occasions when the Bahmani sultans in central India (1347-1528) killed a hundred thousand Hindus, which they set as a minimum goal whenever they felt like "punishing" the Hindus; and they were only a third-rank provincial dynasty. The biggest slaughters took place during the raids of Mahmud Ghaznavi (ca. 1000 CE); during the actual conquest of North India by Mohammed Ghori and his lieutenants (1192 ff.); and under the Delhi Sultanate (1206-1526). The Moghuls (1526-1857), even Babar and Aurangzeb, were fairly restrained tyrants by comparison. Prof. K.S. Lal once estimated that the Indian population declined by 50 million under the Sultanate, but that would be hard to substantiate; research into the magnitude of the damage Islam did to India is yet to start in right earnest.”
S.L.Byrappa, shows all these facts by using the story-within-a-story technique. The novel’s main character, Lakshmi turned Razia, discoveres the truth of Islamic history of India and writes a novel to express her understanding and to oppose the system that is creating an AvaraNa[veil] to prevent society from understanding the truth. The novel ends with Lakshmi/Razia trying to publish her novel, to find it banned by the government. This is similar to the many books banned like “Understanding Islam through Hadis” by Ram Swarup, “The Calcutta Quran Petition” by Sita Ram Goel which has tried to question Islam or the Islamic history of India. The historical facts about the medieval India under Islamic rule have been taken from104 references from 51 authors. The list of books that appear in the novel ranges from Babur Nama to Naipaul to Artha Shastra of Kautilya.7
If we just examine the history texts books prescribed in the schools, we will notice how history has been suppressed, distorted and misrepresented and complete falsehood has been propagated. Just few days back there was uproar in Rajya Sabha over distortions in NCERT school textbooks, including description of freedom fighter Balgangadhar Tilak as “terrorist” and terming Jat community as “marauders”.8 Ram Swarup has this to say about Marxist historians and their distortions- “Marxists have taken to rewriting Indian history on a large scale and it has meant its systematic falsification. They have a dogmatic view of history and for them the use of any history is to prove their dogma. Their very approach is hurtful to truth…. The Marxists contempt for India, particularly the India of religion, culture and philosophy, is deep and theoretically fortified. It exceeds the contempt ever shown by the most die-hard imperialists”9
Some of the other falsehood these Secular-Marxist historians propagate are-
1] Aryan Invasion Theory
2] Large scale destruction of Buddhists and Jain temples at the hands of Hindus in pre-Islamic India
Let us examine the Aryan Invation Theory [AIT]. Dr.Koenraad Elst, in his “The Vedic Evidence”10 after examining the Vedic corpus for any evidence for Aryan invasion theory proposed by the Marxist school, concludes- “The status question is still, more than ever, that the Vedic corpus provides no reference to an immigration of the so-called Vedic Aryans from Central Asia. This need not be taken as sufficient proof that such an invasion never took place... Perhaps such an invasion from a non-Indian homeland into India took place at a much earlier date…But at least, such an ?Aryan invasion? cannot be proven from the information provided by the Vedic narrative itself.” He further provides Astronomical and Litarary evidences against the AIT in his other essays.
In his book “Myth of Aryan Invasion Theory of India”11, David Frawley while commenting on the Political and Social Ramifications concludes-
“First it served to divide India into a northern Aryan and southern Dravidian culture which were made hostile to each other… Second, it gave the British an excuse for their conquest of India. They could claim to be doing only what the Aryan ancestors of the Hindus had previously done millennia ago. This same justification could be used by the Muslims or any other invaders of India. Third, it served to make Vedic culture later than and possibly derived from the Middle Eastern… Fourth, it allowed the sciences of India to be given a Greek basis… Fifth, it gave the Marxists a good basis for projecting their class struggle model of society on to India, with the invading Brahmins oppressing the indigenous Shudras (lower castes)” He further concludes that- “In short, the compelling reasons for the Aryan invasion theory were neither literary or archeological but political and religious that is to say, not scholarship but prejudice”
These clearly show that AIT which Marxists have been propagating is based on assumptions and pre-conceived notion, rather than hard evidences.
Now let us examine the second claim. Sita Ram Goel12 while comenting on the issue says- “It is intriguing indeed that whenever archaeological evidence points towards a mosque as standing on the site of a Hindu temple, our Marxist professors start seeing a Buddhist monastery buried underneath. They also invent some ?aiva king as destroying Buddhist and Jain shrines whenever the large-scale destruction of Hindu temples by Islamic invaders is mentioned. They never mention the destruction of big Buddhist and Jain complexes which dotted the length and breadth of India, Khurasan, and Sinkiang on the eve of the Islamic invasion, as testified by Hüen Tsang.”
Further he names some of the important places like Delhi, Mathura, Hastinapur, Kanauj, Sravasti, Ayodhya, Varanasi, Sarnath, Nalanda, Vikramasila where Buddhist and Jain temples were destroyed by the swordsmen of Islam.Finally he concludes in the following words- “It was also conceded that though Brahmanical, Buddhist and Jain sects and subsects had had heated discussions among themselves and used even strong language for their adversaries, the occasions when they exchanged physical blows were few and far between. The recent spurt of accusations that Hindus also were bigots and vandals like Christians and Muslims, seems to be an after-thought. Apologists who find it impossible to whitewash Christianity and Islam, are out to redress the balance by blackening Hinduism” These things clearly proves the claims of JNU historians as wrong.
The character assassination of Byrappa done by Ananthamurthy is uncalled for and progressives and intellectuals stoop into. The controvercy between Ananthamurthy and Byrappa ended when after few days, when he declared that he will not take part in literary functions in future. This is a clear case of what can be called as “Spit and Run”. This has been a general strategy used by these pseudo-secularists.
Just few months back there was another controversy, courted by DV Shankaramurthy, the education minister of Karnataka when he said that Tipu Sultan was anti-Kannada and that he should not be glorified. Then, noted Dramatist of Karnataka Girish Karnard called for an open debate with the minister and firmly contested that Tipu Sultan was a national hero. Previously he had written a play titled - "The Dreams of Tipu Sultan" in which he portrayed Tipu Sultan as a magnanimous character and national hero. This stand of glorification of Tipu Sultan and the suppression of atrocities he committed against Hindus was countered by S.L.Byrappa with facts and figures. But, when Karnad gave his response to Byrappa, instead of countering the points rised by Byrappa and justifying his glorification of Tipu Sultan, he accused Byrappa of becoming a "dhiDIr"(quick) historian overnight.13 Another case of character assassination.
These accounts clearly shows how these self-proclaimed “progressives” and “intellectuals” are building an “Avarana” around the “Satya”[Truth] of History and Religion and how they are misguiding the common Indians under the guise of “National Ingetration” and “Communal Harmony”. S.L.Byrappa wrote that “The relationships between communities, (Hindu and Muslim in this context) should not be built on false foundations - but on solid truths”14. Indeed, True National Integration can only occur when the facts of history are accepted and a new beginning is made.