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Revision of India’s history for building an Aatmanirbhar Bharat

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The new way to serve the nation individually is to be more self-reliant, as our Hon’ble. Prime Minister has rightly urged, “Be vocal for local.” Aatmanirbhar Bharat is the only way to rebuild our nation. However, such issues are multi-faceted. It not only involves traders to encourage selling Made in India products or buyers buying them, but also requires people, in large scale to make them with a finesse comparable to those foreign made products.

After all, we don’t want to be a nation that just makes cheap products. But in order to do that, the Nation needs to have more self-esteem. The best way to do that is to inculcate the confidence in them while they are still in their budding stages of life; while they are still in school. And that means, modifying the narrative of our history from an Indian’s point of view. This method was adopted by the Japanese post WW-II and the results are right in front of our eyes.

Indian history has always been narrated from the westerners’ point of view; at least that’s how it appears to this retrospective author who was educated in a westernized Christian missionary school. There are many reasons for my dissent to the narrative I have been taught. It is unlikely that ancient India was troubled by the caste system like it is today. With more and more understanding of the ancient texts, it has now come to the light that it was a way to categorize specialized skills and was not determined by the occupation of one’s birth parents. Today people believe that the idea of specialization was introduced by the western world. But is it entirely impossible that the caste system of ancient India was basically the same as modern day job specialization? I would be intrigued to know if today people would allow an economist to do the job of a surgeon or expect a surgeon to fly a combat aircraft! Then again, in the modern world, do we not have occupation specific communities like the medical community, the engineering community and so on?

For example, there was the Asia-Pacific Microscopic Conference (APMC) in February 2020 in Hyderabad. Microscopists from all over the world participated in it. The event was a grand success. But imagine what a chaos it would have been if an economist wanted to participate in it saying that he was denied “equality or freedom of participation”. That is what is happening today when it comes to building the narrative about our ancient past. Is it not entirely possible that the “caste by birth” system came in much later due to the inherent corruption of the human mind? For instance, in 2007, Dr. K. Murugesan and Dr. Gandhimathi from Tamil Nadu, India, made their son perform a surgery for putting his name in the Guinness Book of World Records as the youngest surgeon in the world. Despite being educated themselves, they let their 15-year-old son perform a surgery illegally. Their son was no specialist, and yet his parents due to their personal greed, tried to establish their son as the world’s youngest surgeon.

Today law and order in this country has come a long way and so it is possible to take action against such wrongdoings. However, the law and order situation of ancient India is not known, and it is highly possible that the system of job specialization may have gotten corrupted into the oppressive caste system we see today. In fact, Amish Tripathi’s book, The Immortals of Meluha, gives a very fresh interpretation to the whole caste system. The final point being is, we really don’t know the conception and implementation of the caste system since its genesis. But it is absolutely necessary to know the truth about the caste system before projecting it as a blot in India’s ancient history.

Secondly, newly unearthed facts about the Saraswati Civilization are seeing the light of day. But most main stream historians are still reluctant to accept these facts as it goes against their entire theory of the Aryan Invasion. Their theory was proposed only by archeologists/ historians, who were not aided by advanced technology or scientific evidences. However, Maj. Gen. GD Bakshi and team are rigorously trying to establish the truth about the Saraswati Civilization. His team takes a multidisciplinary approach to assimilate and correlate not just archeological evidences but also geological evidence and satellite imageries. Just like science and technology has progressed by adopting a multidisciplinary approach, is it not high time that the same be done in reconstructing our history correctly? There is a plethora of scientific proof to support the existence of the Saraswati Civilization, yet it is being labelled as myths and therefore, not incorporated into the textbooks.

(Left) Path of river Saraswati, which dried up over the course of thousands of years. (right) Present day course of rivers, with a dried up river bed of the ancient Sawaswati river.

Thirdly, ancient architectural heritage has also been misinterpreted. People still insist that the temples of Ancient India and its carvings were made by primitive people using just chisels and hammers. However, current findings suggest otherwise. Recent experts, such as Praveen Mohan, are now questioning how intricate geometric patterns with perfect angular accuracy could be achieved by primitive tools when reproducing the same today would require the usage of modern CNC machines. Mysterious objects such as the Shivalingam made out of black basalt at Warangal Fort with perfect cylindrical shape and mirror finish could not have been made using chisels and hammers as they would for sure leave tool marks and some amount of tapering. Even the fine polishing of black basalt rock statues in Ramappa Temple called Madhanikas should amaze us because such a mirror-finish surface today can only be achieved by diamond polishing or colloidal silica polishing. There are carvings in the very same temple that look like modern day drilling and polishing tools. This just goes on to show that our entire history was not carved by people who simply used chisels and hammers.

(Left) Multiple ‘Madanikas’ made of black basalt rock attached to the Ramappa temple pillars at an angle. (Right) Well preserved and finely polished Madanika standing beautiful even today.

Ancient people do not appear to be accidental metallurgists either. The people we call “primitive” carried out melting and casting of metals and alloys and had arrived at some pretty amazing alloys as well. Wootz steel, supposedly discovered in Europe has its origins in India. Even the Delhi Iron Pillar, which cannot be accurately dated back shows minimal rusting even to this day, thanks to the advanced ancient metallurgists. Even today alloys are not discovered by accident by unskilled people. Alloy design is itself considered to be a specialized branch of metallurgy or material science. It seems absurd to suggest that ancient people who had discovered alloys like brass and bronze were absolutely primitive people, because the extraction of its component metals such as copper, zinc and tin are also found as ores. These people had to have some knowledge of mining, extraction, alloy making, casting and shaping. Is it wise to still continue calling ancient Indians ‘primitive’?

Delhi Iron Pillar with inscriptions in Sanskrit (magnified in the subset)

Then again, let’s take the example of the mysterious Kailash Temple of Ellora. Nobody really knows when the temple was built. History books say that a huge mountain was cut and turned into a monolithic marvel in time less than two decades, again with chisels and hammers. While that may be believable to many, let us give it a second thought. It is documented that the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb had destroyed thousands of Hindu temples during his rule. He had also sent a thousand soldiers to destroy the beautiful Kailash Temple, but despite spending 3 years trying to demolish the temple, they could only disfigure a few statues. So how could the Mughal army fail in turning the creation to ruins? They failed because even destroying it was a monumental task! So, imagine the task that lay ahead in front of the craftsmen when they started creating it, supposedly with “chisels and hammers”.

A complicated sculpture of Shiva with Parvati with the damaged portions marked with a red X.

Lastly, footprints left by Hindus (in this context, Hindu is a person who had his roots in Hindusthan) are being unearthed all around the world, especially in the tropical belt. A popular Hindu saying goes,” Jitne kankar, utne Shankar.” It means that Lord Shiva can be found in every piece of stone. Shiva is the most popular Hindu God and is popularly represented as a Lingam, a solid cylinder with a dome-shaped top. Lingams have already been found in not only the entire South-Asian region but also in Columbia, South America! Thousands of underwater lingams, as well as an underwater sculpture of sleeping Vishnu, are still there in a place formerly known as Sahasralinga (present day Phnom Kulen) in Columbia. Who other than Hindusthanis (people of Hindusthan) would have worshipped those Shiva-lingams? More and more lingams are being unearthed in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Indonesia to name a few. Are these findings so irrelevant that these need to remain in the blind spot of our eyes? Moreover, evidence is being found that ancient Indians did go on overseas voyages because of which they built lighthouses. The questions are raised if the modern-day Olakkannesvara Temple at Mahabalipuram was in fact an ancient lighthouse! All the features of a lighthouse are exhibited by the structure. But since building ships and lighthouses and going on voyages would effectively prove that ancient Indians were not primitive, mainstream historians are reluctant to incorporate these findings into the books of impressionable young Indian minds.

(Left) Submerged Shivalingas carved on the river bed at Sahasralingas (now known as Phnom Kulen) in Colombia. (Right) Submerged carving of sleeping Vishnu in the same river bed with Lakshmi towards his foot, and Brahma sitting on a lotus coming out of his belly-button.

We cannot build a confident nation on porous historical foundations. It is highly probable that ancient Indians were not simply primitive people who sat inside their huts and caves with chisel and hammers. Surely they would have been specialized people who were experts in architecture, machining, metallurgy, and even world explorations. Many recent findings indicate these facts and could be used in rewriting our history more accurately. It is self-harmful to hold the opinion that the absolute truth must first be found and then incorporated in rewriting our history.

Such a process is harmful because it is extremely difficult for children to unlearn the history taught at schools as they grow up and accept new findings. Distorting our history as myth is the reason we still have disputes like in the case of Ram Mandir vs Babri Masjid. Moreover, research, even in the field of history should be a scientific process. Quick absorption of the latest findings is necessary, even in the case of history. Research in any field is not absolute but a continuous process.

Imagine where the world would be standing today if scientists had decided not to teach the students about the smallest indivisible particle. While our forefathers learned that the atom was the smallest indivisible particle, we learned that electrons, protons and neutrons are, and now the next generations are learning about quarks, antiquarks, and so on. Science has progressed in leaps and bounds over the last few decades because it has accepted and assimilated the current state of affairs in the field. But history has remained backward.

India’s heritage has been overshadowed by biased historians who have belittled our history. As children, we were indirectly taught to be ashamed of who we are. Yes, “Who We Are” heavily depends on “Who We Were”. The Ancient Indians were for sure great scholars, builders and explorers. But this fact has never been revealed to us while growing up. As a result we have a deep-seated under-confidence, and have become reliant on others. That is another reason why despite more than 70 years of independence, those within India are still dependent on others, while those who migrated abroad have been more self-reliant. Self-reliance has always been in our genes, but shameful and biased history has made us otherwise.

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