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Modi government populating institutions with mediocre people: Historians

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New Delhi, Sep 29: Amidst repeated allegations by professional historians that history is being rewritten by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA government, a two-day All India History Summit kicked off at the Nehru Memorial Museum Library (NMML) on Saturday with prominent historians asserting that the major institutions in the country are being populated by “mediocre” people with RSS patronage. They also expressed fear that this will damage the country’s academic discourse.

Asked about allegations by intellectuals, activists and historians that there have been attempts to “re-write” history, Thouseef Madikeri, the Director of Centre for Educational Research and Training (CERT), which organised the summit, agreed that there is “no question about it”.

“The Hindutva forces are trying to rewrite history, and it is not a recent phenomenon, they have been trying to do so since 1970s. Akhil Bharatiya Itihas Sankalan Yojana (a subsidiary organisation of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) worked on it for a long time. The changes that we are now seeing in history textbooks are old contributions, but they are being implemented now,” Madikeri told IANS on the sidelines of the summit.

“What they are doing now is getting control of the institutions like the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) and Universities by populating them with their people. So whatever RSS wanted to do, is now being implemented since the past four years. Attempts and research are over, now they are implementing the changes by placing their mediocre historians at the top posts of our institutions,” he added.

He said that the position of historians is that they believe that such things happen “all the time”.

“But the problem with the BJP is that they do not have credible people, they do not have qualified historians, they are placing mediocre people at top posts of the institutions. We have no problem with ideology but the person concerned should have credible qualities. That is missing and that is a big problem because it is going to do damage to the academic discourse,” he contended.

Prof Najaf Haider, from Centre of Historical Studies at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) pointed out that there are two ways in which history is being rewritten.

“One is under the excuse that the syllabus should be cut short and the theme should be downsized and then you are bringing changes to the history textbooks. You are selective. You have the mandate to remove things but when you remove, you are removing them with an agenda,” Haider told IANS.

He further said that the second method of rewriting history is by contesting the established facts of history.

“Very well established facts of history are being contested and new facts are being given without any evidence or basis. Evidence is very important, there is a tendency to make statements without evidence and in history, evidence is sacred. Without evidence you cannot say anything.

“Of course, interpretation is also important but interpretation without evidence has no value. So we are very concerned that, particularly the history of medieval India is being rewritten and we are all protesting against it. Professional historians, in their writings and teachings, are trying to resist as much as possible the attempt to rewrite history and also to support the writing of history in a scientific and non-sectarian way,” he added.

The All India History Summit is organised by CERT in collaboration with Centre for Study and Research (CSR) Hyderabad and Student Islamic Organisation of India (SIO).

In exhaustive sessions, experts are debating on topics such as “History of India: Theoretical Approaches”; “Caste in Indian History”; “Histories of Adivasis”; “Minorities in India”; “Islam and Muslims in Indian History” and “Hindutva Attempts in Indian History”, among others.

The summit will conclude on Sunday evening.

By Saket Suman

(Saket Suman can be contacted at [email protected])

IANS

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Uttar Pradesh: 8-yr-old raped in Azamgarh village

The girl was rushed to a hospital where her condition was stated to be serious, the police said.

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Azamgarh (UP), Sep 30 : An eight-year-old girl was allegedly raped by a 20-year-old man in a village in Jiyanpur area of the Azamgarh district, police said on Wednesday.

The accused took the girl with himself from her home telling her mother that she would have her bath in his house, the police said, quoting from the complaint lodged by the girl’s mother.

The accused had also taken from the girl’s mother her clothes, the police aid.

But when the child returned from the neighbour’s house, she was writhing in pain and bleeding, the police said.

The girl was rushed to a hospital where her condition was stated to be serious, the police said.

Azamgarh Superintendent of Police Sudhir Kumar Singh said the accused, identified as Danish, has been arrested.

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Uttar Pradesh: 14-year-old raped in Bulandshahr

A report has been lodged against the accused and efforts are on to nab him. The accused will be taken into custody soon, police said.

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Bulandshahr (UP), Sep 30 : A minor girl was allegedly raped by her neighbour in Uttar Pradesh’s Bulandshahr, police said on Wednesday.

Senior Superintendent of Police Santosh Kumar Singh said on Wednesday night, the girl’s father submitted a complaint in this regard, alleging that his 14-year-old daughter was raped by their neighbour Rizwan (20) on Tuesday night.

The victim is undergoing medical treatment. A report has been lodged against the accused and efforts are on to nab him. The accused will be taken into custody soon, police said.

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India

‘No moral right to continue’: Priyanka Gandhi’s scathing attack on Yogi Adityanath after death of Hathras gang-rape victim

The 19-year-old died in a Delhi hospital on Tuesday. The woman was admitted there in a critical condition after being brutally raped by four men in her village in Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras district.

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Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi took on Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath for the death of Hathras rape victim, saying he doesn’t have any moral right to continue as chief minister.

“I was on the phone with the Hathras victim’s father when he was informed that his daughter had passed away. I heard him cry out in despair. He had just been telling me that all he wanted was justice for his child. Last night he was robbed of the chance to take his daughter home for the last time and perform her last rites,” Gandhi said in her first two tweets on the issue on Wednesday.

She also asked Adityanath to resign. “@myogiadityanath RESIGN. Instead of protecting the victim and her family, your government became complicit in depriving her of every single human right, even in death. You have no moral right to continue as Chief Minister,” Gandhi tweeted.

The 19-year-old died in a Delhi hospital on Tuesday. The woman was admitted there in a critical condition after being brutally raped by four men in her village in Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras district.

The incident took place on September 14. She was first admitted to JN Medical College and Hospital in Aligarh, but was shifted to Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital after her condition deteriorated where she breathed her last.

The UP government has been facing flak from Opposition parties over the issue. Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav had said that “no hope” is left from the “insensitive government”.

Reacting to the incident, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) president Mayawati tweeted in Hindi, “The news of the death of the Dalit girl after gangrape in Hathras, UP, is very sad. The government should provide all possible help to the victim’s family and ensure quick punishment to the culprits by prosecuting them in a fast-track court.”

The Congress has questioned the “silence” of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and women leaders of his party and alleged that Uttar Pradesh under the Yogi Adityanath government has become the country’s “crime capital”.

At a press conference, Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate alleged that for eight days no gangrape charges were pressed in the matter and that the UP chief minister’s information advisor and Agra Police kept calling the incident “fake news”.

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