Girish Shahane & Lonely Planet – A liberal’s crusade

The entire burden of Mr. Girish Shahane’s song against Lonely Planet, an Australian Travelogue publishing company, is the fact that it tends to speak the truth about Islamic invaders of Hindusthan. (Mr. Shahane’s letter and my response can be read here)

Of course Mr. Shahane embellishes this basic grouse by drawing attention to LP’s less than satisfactory treatment of European (Christian) colonialists, especially the Portuguese in Goa and by pretending to cry against the tendency to boil up ethnic diversity amongst Muslims and Hindus as simply Muslim and Hindu identities of invader and the invaded respectively. Mr. Shahane might feel that dwelling upon ethnic diversities amongst Muslims invaders, more than their common Islamic identity might somehow blunt the edge of historical inquiry. If this is correct, he is welcome to his illusions. Hindus are not bothered about Muslim ethnic diversity as much as they are about how these various tribes used the ready tool of Imperial Islam in order to achieve their ends.

Interestingly, Mr. Shahane assumes the liberal position on Muslim invaders as “indigenous” to Hindusthan because after all they “made their home” here. As pointed out earlier, liberals limit their conception of nationality to birth and residency. Traditional and religious continuity and ethno-cultural rootedness matters very little if at all, while accepting individuals or groups as nationals and native to any land, to them. Be that as it may, what this self-imposed principle logically leads to is gross distortion of historical facts to make barbarous invaders seem at worst, like the local neighborhood bandit.

The other non-surprising liberal tendency Mr. Shahane betrays in his writings is the rubbishing of native Hindu heroes and traditions. Therefore Maharana Pratap, whom he admits was the lone Rajput who stood against Mughal oppression, is dismissed in flippant fashion. The lore of Rani Padmavati, ironically popularized by a Muslim, Malik Muhammed, in his Padmavat or Padumawati written in honor of Sher Shah, another Muslim invader, is trashed as loser Rajput (post defeat) exertions against their victorious Muslim tormentors. So the need to beat down any vestige of Hindu pride is logical in a scenario where their invasive detractors are to be pulled up to the status of “indigenous” natives of Hindusthan.

There seems to be a complimentary current in Mr. Shahane’s thought processes. That is to highlight a general Mughal greatness as against probable *other-ethnic* Muslim barbarity. This is exemplified in the reference to the damage done to the Konark Sun Temple by Muslim invaders and that LP alluded to the Mughal Jehangir’s role in its destruction. Mr. Shahane refutes this specific charge against Jehangir while nevertheless suppressing the involvement of Muslims. In a similar vein Jehangir’s role in Guru Arjun Dev’s brutal execution on his orders and possible clemency upon pain of conversion to Islam, is played down as something the invader was not aware of.

Mr. Shahane is particularly touchy when the nativity of royal Mughal usurpers is questioned. He bristles with anger and insists that these cannot be foreigners because they made this country their home. I would like to remind Mr. Shahane that Babur, the man credited with re-starting the line of Timur in Hindusthan, had to make this land his home because his own in Ferghana was already occupied by the Uzbeks. This adventurer had little choice but to build his empire here or else he would be without home or hearth where he came from – if at all he managed to live long enough to get there. Indeed, it’s such a sad and depressing scenario that brought realization to this strange “native” of Hindusthan; and his future successors. Nevertheless it does not seem that even dire circumstances such as these motivated Muslim invaders to really settle down and make Hindusthan’s traditions and cultures their own. It does not seem to have motivated them to share power with native Hindu ruling families as equals or as partners. They simply seem to have behaved like invaders and conquerors. Paying little heed to the welfare and development of local people, cultures and traditions and instead focusing on the advancement of Islam and its power. I don’t blame them; they did not have the likes of Mr. Shahane to advise them.

The point of this post is not to express surprise and disgust at Mr. Shahane’s blatant revisionism but to inform readers that such behavior is quite normal to liberals. Traditional Hindu nationalists should expect such writings everywhere and counter them with facts and logical reasoning.

As far as Mr. Shahane himself is concerned, he does indeed make special efforts to insert his weird notions of historical account in friendlier and more interested travel magazines he writes for.

– Namaste

Post script – A detailed and point by point refutation of Mr. Shahane’s history by Sandeep. Excellent!

2 Responses

  1. I just despair. How long will these lies last? When there is not a shred of truth behind their assertions, how have they survived for decades and managed to destroy any vestiges of cultural pride in the nation? Are facts and logic even useful in such a quest? I fear only power matters. Power to privatize the university system and force out the Marxist historians, power to free Hindu religious institutions and power to fund proper historiography.

  2. Have you read my post “resistence syllabus”?

    The power resides in lay Hindus. A power that cannot be taken away but is free to use.

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