For the love and sanctity of India, its history and social sciences…a conservative’s musings

The repeated revisions and pruning of the NCERT history and political studies textbooks under the current regime, has been in news again. History, politics, sociology and the way India’s past, its society and politics are represented rakes up matters among the most erudite of scholars who otherwise would care little for our schools and the sorry curricular transactions that transpire in our classrooms even with most thoughtful of textbooks. This time, several scholars associated with the NCERT’s social sciences textbooks seek removal of their names from them. The narrative of these texts with several deletions, these writers allege, ends with different meanings from what was originally intended. And these changes were done without their consent. They claim the repeated changes are attempts at whitewashing history, rather saffronising them. It is the consequence and one of the many orchestrated charades of Hindutva politics that in excising portions on RSS’s role in Gandhi’s assassination, democracy and riots where the Sangh forces were clearly culpable, they allege, distort the sacred secular narrative that these authors had laboured to establish.

Yogendra Yadav and Suhas Palshikar

However textbooks on history and society are produced with an overt political agenda. They are inextricably linked to the way the powers that be decide to fashion the nation, its past and its representations that sync with a ruling party’s ideology and views. These textbooks were put together under the Congress-Left regime some 17 years back who had a different political premise then. The issue therefore is not, as these authors claim, one of mere falsification or distortion. The textbooks authored by most of these scholars in the news today have an inbuilt slant (not to speak of prejudice and bias) that then can’t claim to give an objective view of India’s past, its society and polity. Yes, the way they arrive at their position is rigorous even if circular, where rather than discrete facts but context and conditions are highlighted. Yet do we find these self righteous scholars ever reflecting on their paradigmatic limitations and their own biases?

The fact that counters to their narratives by current political incumbents have been feeble, flimsy and folkloric lacking rigor and robustness and weakly grounded in issues related to knowledge, emboldens these scholars to provoke, embarrass and posture their supposed intellectual superiority. At the same time, with no compunction the present incumbent too bulldoze their decisions reflecting a level of desperation eased only by brute power they enjoy at the moment. Little do they realise the need to cohere their arguments which well can be done systematically and substantively to counter the skewed narratives of these signatories and their school of thought. However the alternative can emerge only now, for in the event of the Congress-secular forces back in the centre (which looks very probable) social science as a discipline will remain fixated with the so called left-secular narratives. Between the dishonest and prejudicial rendition of the latter and the vacuity of the Sangh, history and social science as a discipline will be hollowed out.

I have written a book titled ‘India’s Past, its Learnings and its Textbooks’ itself in this connection - on history textbooks and representation of India's past. This current piece in several ways aligns and further shores the arguments made in it.

Historiography grounding textbooks - Defaults and its Contests

A. Firstly society, its past and present can be viewed differently and there well could be alternative views to the one espoused by schismatic scholars of the kind in the news. A society and indeed humanity in general arrives at a certain moment when deliberating and reflecting on meaning, purpose and nature of human existence becomes very defining whose introspective character transcends time and epochs. While there certainly were periods prior and cultures elsewhere in Indian subcontinent and later too, displaying certain cultural genius, the deeply philosophical and inquiring textual traditions of the putatively Vedic period (1500 too 600 BCE approx but where I also include the post Vedic and Buddhist/Jaina period as well) became foundational as a normative lodestar to subsequent cultures and polity. This was both an structuring and an open system, laying down trajectories of social and political practices, norms and institutions like family, state, status in which notwithstanding several egregious aspects that had clawed in, was still malleable enough to be contested, adapt, appropriate, mutate and change as the culture expanded across the subcontinent. Therefore every key epoch across time and space i.e. the period of Janapadas, Mauryas, Guptas in the north or the Sangam period in ancient Tamilakkam, the Pallavas, Chalukyas, Cholas, Rashtrakutas in the south and Deccan, the Rajputs, the several early medieval states of Kashmir, the Palas and Ahoms expanded the sacred geography beyond the Indus river and the Gangetic valley. In this there was evolution, compounding and expansion of the Hindu culture beyond rituals and incantatory texts to arts, architecture, crafts, literature, beyond its Vedic foundations. Vis Emile Durkheim’s idea of social facts which ‘consisted of manners of acting, thinking and feeling external to the individual, which are invested with a coercive power by virtue of which they exercise control over him’, the coercion was elastic for individuals and communities to shift and create newer and parallel identities but in certain relationship even in antagonism to seemingly unfulfilling, hardened by ritualism and stratified culture, within a relatable socio-cosmological universe. So even an Buddha or Mahavira or an Basavanna or Islam influenced Kabir or Nanak or a Ravi Das for all their critique of priesthood and caste, themselves did not cease to be a Hindu. The duality of hierarchy and egalitarianism, contest and harmony, continuity and change constituted Hinduism’s social factity. There was a structure even to change in what is implied in the French adage of ‘more a culture changes the more it remains the same’. Studies then could unearth several underlying sociological and philosophical currents that reveal unifying, harmonising and cohesive identity which despite seeming social, cultural and political divisions, represented an unique collective. Recent works by people like Valerie Stoker on Vijayanagara, Andrew Nicholson on early Hinduism, Geoffrey Samuel on Buddhism and Nathan McGovern on Vedic cultures and Buddhism, establish the syncretism prevailing in Hindu cultures and that they were not so antipathetic to each other as certain narratives have it. Behind such latter discourses are heft of scholars of apparent repute. To therefore claim certain unity in Hinduism as encompassing even its alleged contestants in Buddhism and Jainism is a historical one. Contemporaneously then, with seemingly changed socio-economic and political circumstances, recalling certain past as of as one of unity rather than seeing multiplicities of pasts (unlike NCERT history textbooks misleadingly monikered ‘Our Pasts’) an overall homogeneity to provide certain directions to harmonize a society in so much multiple turmoils, is again valid and legitimate.

B. Therefore to argue an overarching collective that considerably weakened for more than half a millennium under Islamic rule with its different cosmology and theology is also credible. Further colonial rule’s new civil system created a new epistemology to inferiorize and empty Hinduism. However it may just not be the case that it was colonialists who engineered a contrived agency within Hindus and Muslims to view each other as different and incompatible through colonial epistemology. Here therefore I would disagree entirely with the left-secular school who use such a sophisticated but essentially a divide and rule argument. I partially also disagree with scholars like S N Balagangadhara or J Sai Deepak who go overboard in holding colonial knowledge penetrating the very Hindu ‘being’ and render it eternally subservient to the west with our cognitive prisms too being colonised. Their grouse against modernity and mediating colonial malevolence is taken. Its pathologies are manifest. However modernity is an evolving and multifaceted phenomenon not entirely colonial in origin (one can refer to Sanjay Subrahmanyan and Velchuri Narayan Rao for starters). Further ambiguity, fuzziness and indeterminacy too is modernity’s trait (but whose such character the left-liberal-secular scholarship conveniently claim to browbeat Hindutva. I will come to this shortly) not just identity marking, differentiating in mere quantitatives and then reducing it to a qualitative worth. For vis, Anthony Giddens modernity is reflective. I contend that re-enchantment too is possible in modernity and it’s immanent to its nature. Modernity is not without the ability to foster capacities to meaningfully mediate one’s identity based on faith and culture in a globalized, technology laden capitalist world. The examples of Japanese, Koreans or even Chinese in this regard would not be out of place.

Further modernity as a normative ideal emerged for an aspiring civil society under colonialism. During the freedom struggle the latter indeed became the quest. However the fault lines as it turned out were civilizational and therefore deeper - notwithstanding the labor of the left-liberal-secular historiography to show acculturative and enculturative processes in medieval Islamic rule. This they matched further by studies highlighting so called hegemonic processes of Brahmanical Hinduism in ancient period. All these was redeemed only by so called counters and contestation by Buddhism, Jainism and Bhakti movement, underscoring the eternally fissured ancient period and an intrinsically oppressive Hinduism. This as argued earlier (A) is untenable in light of arguments made to use a more integrative episteme than a wilful centrifugal one.
The inner prakara of Vaikunth Perumal Temple in Kanchipuram have relief sculptures depicting 
not scenes from Hindu mythology or epics but the history of the Pallava dynasty in chronology 
that can be regarded very modern. Among other temporal episodes from Pallava history it 
depicts battle of monarchs Mahendravarman I and Narasimhavarman I show with 
Pulakesin II of the Badami Chalukyas.

So the rifts eventually resulted in vivisection of the country no less. Yet a substantial political elite continued to desire a new nation and society which declared its modernity in new pluralities where a ‘creative’ sense of unity was to be co-created through a new document (our constitution) based on novel knowledge frames. So social science scholarship played its role championing a highly tenuous pluralistic vision. An educational curriculum right from schools to universities was so created which over-identifies divisions and schisms across India’s ancient Hindu past, where no possible readings of certain collective identity is seen possible. Thus the period of Pallavas, Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas, Cholas, Pratiharas, Tomaras, Palas celebrated as Hindu are represented non-Hindu given their constant inter feuds devoid of harmony and accord and where no overt self-referencing as Hindu is evidenced. Columns, podcasts of Anirudh Kanisetti and his book Lords of the Deccan, itself based on more academic works on early and late medieval Deccan attempts to popularise this questionable thesis. But I ask if having such cleavages based on self aggrandizement of monarchs and yet identifying to a collective - are they inseparable? For all feuds between European potentates and between Islamic states did not preclude Christian crusades and Islamic jihads? Surely Hindu states too were cognizant of certain meta-character and contra Ambedkar, Hindu society did have ‘consciousness of a kind’ even as an intrinsically accommodative Hinduism to its credit did not require meta identity in overt granularity abstracted in one single book or one institution. In this Hinduism I contend, mimicked secular modern and cosmopolitan qualities. Yet in left-liberal-secular scholarship pre-Islamic state and society even if plural was oppressively so, under the coercive dominance of Brahmins and the landed elite, helped by institutions like caste and temples. The only political icons that were worthy of reverence from ancient India were Mauryas particularly Asoka for they patronised Buddhism, Jainism and Ajvikas as opposed to an exploitative and abhorrently malevolent Hinduism. Rarely thus would a Samudragupta or a Chandragupta Vikramaditya or a Narasimhavarman, Pulekesi, Amoghavarsha, Raja Raja be held up as an exemplar in such discourses. They too allegedly perpetuated Brahminism with patronage given to Brahmins and temples. Not to deny, certain valorisation is not amiss in such studies where some dynasts are recognised as distinct regional potentates but which too came under repeated contest in a given geography despite sharing limited regional affiliations. Struggle, contest, conflicts, attrition is the default leitmotif in such perspectives but rarely consent, harmony and cooperation. This constant unearthing of forces of oppression, exploitation, social division and power etc becomes critical studies (much lauded in educational sociology) and latter a mere apologia for perpetuating privilege. A selectivity guided by ideology and epistemology which have its limits and been overused, is apparent.

King Rajaraja Chola and guru (teacher) Karuvurar, Brihadeesvara temple, Tamil Nadu, 11th century. 
This is the earliest royal portrait in Indian painting. In keeping with ancient traditions, the guru 
is given importance and the king is shown standing behind him

Analogously these left-secular readings then veer to argue that medieval India under Islamic rule was credibly more multicultural but which eventually was short circuited under colonial dominance with its ‘divide and rule’ shenanigans. Therefore independent India, this discourse suggests, should restore the multicultural ideal obtained more under Mughals.

Conjecturing a new Historical

But today we have the political presence and ideology of Hindutva which seeks to leverage & reassert a new identity for national pride. In this harking to certain epochs and periods to chart newer trajectories of identity politics, programs and policies can be tenuous too. But in itself endeavours to diffuse such readings in light of Hinduism‘s inherent permeability and malleability need not be polarising. Can the Sangh attempts, disregarding its crudities informed by shallow erudition, to politicise what seemingly remained a depoliticised but inherently cosmopolitan faith, be dishonoured as fascist and totalitarian? One would not mention Hegel here who was known to be dismissive of both India and Hinduism but his larger argument of history being awakening to human freedom inherent in various quests - faith, art, and state does correlate to developments in India from early modern to colonial period. For freedom, agency and identity are political quests and therefore their emergence implies politicisation. In such a sense when commentators lament politicisation of Hindu identity and quick to label it fascist it’s a bit puzzling. Taking Aurobindo’s exegesis on nationalism, where Hegel’s influence is patent and then braid it with Vivekananda’s unraveling of Hinduism, the latter’s intrinsically emancipative, egalitarian and fraternal structure becomes evident but where several of its egregious dead weight accretions like caste too were to be shed as India embraced and embodied modernity. Therefore an awakening that Vivekananda often spoke about makes nationalism incumbent on Hindu culture as a mode of recovery to fulfill its historical role. The assertive Hinduism need not be seen as an embarrassment where even politically weaponising it, as indeed the saffron forces are seen doing, in itself does not counter ahimsa, Hinduism’s normative ontology. Belligerence is not what is condoned here but upholding of certain rights. This can be proclaimed notwithstanding Gandhi’s spin on Hinduism appearing congruent to multiculturalism and modernity (his version of modernity in many ways also coalescing with Tagore’s, which liberal-secular scholars like Ashis Nandy or Partha Chatterjee view as indigenous and uniquely modern, a non derivative, non European modernity) but defanging and emasculating it. For in such discourse, Hindu identity is valorised in ways of its fuzziness, its nebulousness. Modernity, the European version of it, it is argued, masquerades as an universal and balefully imposes on indigenous practices and identities, more definitive, attributable and definable features, that then sets itself for conflicts and hardening of communal, national identities vis others. But Gandhi in seeming subversion in making Hinduism as inclusive and plural (not that Ambedkar took it seriously) made it carry such an onus in his fight to counter European modernity. Colonialism, as viewed by Gandhi and later argued by post colonial scholarship, rationalises modernity through the power of Europe’s seeming epistemic superiority. So Gandhi in effect made Hinduism unilaterally and exclusively unburden itself of colonising, identity affirming quests even as Abrahamic faiths particularly Islam was hardening its identity markers which Gandhi himself abetted. I contend that such a view and strategy undermined the dharmic role of Hinduism. To argue further, I can only bring forth the repeated beseeching of Vivekananda, where India had to take upon itself to restore its worth and position in concrete terms, in certain historicity, in a world inexorably emerging and moving in such trajectories of history - nation states, technology, markets. (That technology, markets and globalisation doesn’t weaken nationalism and nation states, is now apparent. In fact these and migrations have, ironically (?) only strengthened nation states and cultural identities even in so called melting pots of Western Europe and US) This to me was not necessarily an insight obtained from an European epistemic prism but more an universal movement. So to remain outside the march and development of world consciousness but not without a honest mediation and tempering from our unique sense of belonging as 'Hindu', experiences and expressions of indigeneity, was to be delusional. World spirit of modernity is not of European origins and has multiple founts from across the world in which pre colonial India, China, Africa, the Americas pooled into the potlatch.

The articulation of Hinduism from early modern to colonial epochs and post colonial, had varying expressions- the syncretic movements of Maratha saints from Sant Namdev, Jnaneshwar, Tukaram to Phule or the anti caste struggle of Narayana Guru or the seeming anti-Hindu rabidness of Periyar, not to speak of Ambedkar but he in certain erudition and theistic pursuits. What’s to be noted is such expressions were germane to Hindu practices even from post Vedic times and it should flow from the arguments made so far that positing Hindu with putative Aryan-Sanskrit-Brahmanical Vedic texts and period, firstly appears as a straw man argument and secondly it also doesn’t exhaust its Hinduness or make practices normatively opposed to Sanskritic culture, non Hindu. The twin quests for spiritual emancipation inscribed in several texts and more temporal egalitarian quest in its practices and social movements, is Hinduism’s dialectic quality. And over a couple of centuries, it is imbued with an historical consciousness. The more simple argument therefore being that notwithstanding political, sectarian and linguistic divisions, there’s partaking from a common discursive cultural geist. In this sense new horizontal collectives based on different identity markers can get accommodated even if cognisant of such a geist is latent and often disarticulated.

Koodala Sangama - the place of !2th century seer Basavanna's

 Prospects of new history

However for what I see are challenges and complications, I highlight four interrelated points. First, does the saffron cultural upsurge and its ideology representative government today have it in them to establish their historical and historiographic contentions in certain depth and finesse to be converted to an appropriate pedagogy with well written out textbooks? Unfortunately and sadly not. One problem is even academically such a Hindu reading of past (going beyond the works of so called Indological scholars like David Frawley, Michael Danino or Koenraad Elst or the neo post-colonists, if they can be called- Rajiv Malhotra, S N Balagangadhara or Arvind Neelakantan) from a modern historiographic perspective is lacking. Its proponents, at their crudest, something that was seen in the last attempt under BJP's revision NCERT textbooks, however well meaning, blanch the causal links that interplay between culture, economy and polity. In several state textbooks like the one in Karnataka currently, events, developments and processes are merely repeated iterations of disembodied facts and there is over abstractness without pragmatic posers and responses. Further such scholars albeit in certain robust understanding of philosophy but in strange similarity to the post colonial left scholarship, impute history with Abrahamic and hegemonic Eurocentric quests that seek to recover one truth. And enlightenment traditions themselves for all its claims of empiricism and use of reason implicitly furthers a cultural imperialist theory. This view I disregard. A Hindu reading of the past cannot but be coeval with frames of knowledge from elsewhere including European enlightenment and post enlightenment traditions. As technologies of applied knowledge, history and allied social sciences need concrete validity, I dare say instrumental validity, something the left-liberal chatterati and often even Indologist curl their faces to.

Second in such a thrust, I argue, particularly at school levels, historicity is more important than history. It is more about a perspective that explains how and why things happen than merely knowing what happened. Causation has to be central and the complexity of causation and its constituents suitably framed and understood. In this, factoring the child’s social world without being pedantic and didactic is a must. To render the deep seated philosophy and approaches embodying Indic, if not Hindu culture - its dance, music, art, science, architecture, its cosmologies, world views and social practices in terms that are very emic, will be a pedagogic challenge. Cognitively appropriate learning and teaching principles for such indigenous, organic knowledges in keeping with democratic values in an environment that isn’t stifling and fear inducing has to be researched well and experimented. As things stand, more authoritarian and monologic methods are seen ok in such endeavours for the truths are seen to be self-evident, much like truths espoused by holy Abrahamic books.That’s something Hindu antique knowledge and methods weren’t with vada being its methodological core. Nevertheless, towards enabling practical understanding, comparative method drawing from folklore studies, anthropology, psychoanalysis and even natural sciences are therefore required. However, as discussed a few instances earlier, to many scholars, the latter knowledge frames are sullied by Eurocentrism and therefore the singularity, nuances of Hindu culture, as such irreducible, are then misunderstood, twisted and caricatured. They have examples of Sheldon Pollock and Wendy Doniger. Nevertheless in my view certain pragmatism should guide curriculum, for abstract cultural ideas can also be too profound on minds that cognitively are yet to, vis Jean Piaget, move firmly to formal operational (students from class VI to X). This would not in any way dis-imbibe a broader appreciation of the Hindu genius and the kind of anchor, inspiration our culture and past can provide in times of uncertainties, disenchantment that inevitably a competitive, market economy with its dreary routines wreaks.

Thirdly and relatedly, there’s the matter of citizenship - a new form of ethical relationship in the public sphere nurturing new normativities transcending not just relationships based on class, status, language, ethnicity and faith but also going beyond constitutionally legislated rights and duties. This onerous onus importantly though not exclusively is on social sciences. Towards this interalia the textbooks do need to address the hierarchical and unedifying aspects of our past, but in certain nuance and clarity. For current NCERT textbooks limits and over-reads hierarchy, divisions as a Hindu default. That the more robust notion of our ethic embodied in त्वं जीव​, अन्येऽपि जीवन्तु - live and let live, which also subsumes contemporary notion of citizen is an insight that should emerge. Several seers, thinkers and even monarchs but in the context of their times like the Vedic sages or Asoka, Samudragupta, Harsha, Sankara, Ramanuja, Basava etc sought to bring a social order based on mutuality and respect. A sense of service, duty, trust and obligation not necessarily coercive prevailed and it was probably this aspect that explains the robust materiality, the profound advancement at several levels in India, seen more concretely during later epochs of ancient period and the early medieval. This was evident in evolved state building of different dynasties like Guptas, Pallavas, Chalukyas, Palas, Cholas, Pratiharas etc attested by wealth of epigraphic records and in domains as varied as philosophy, piety (devotion exemplified in Bhakti), sciences particularly medicine, metallurgy, astronomy and the performing arts - architecture, sculpture, dance, music and literature. Notwithstanding the periodic conflicts between these states, a permeability, acceptance, tolerance, coexistence marked the geist of these times. Probably which was why Islamic rule though theologically so different, even if perceived foreign was accepted for many centuries before an awakening of difference emerged but maybe in certain sporadity. Therefore the modern notion of citizenship had certain antecedents in Indic/Hindu cultures but it was not blemish free with certain communities including women, for the tasks they did condemned to ignominy and marginalisation. Even if some social shifts and changes did happen, the thinking of classifying people on tasks and birth, kind of fossilised societal thinking and set up false identity markers of worth and belonging which prompted the likes of Ramanuja and Basava to question and rebel. A proselytising Islam for all its professed egalitarian virtues itself could have prompted certain regression. Then colonialism circumscribed opportunities for many, making the majority of people as those involved in crafts and guilds like textiles redundant with latter’s destruction and Hindu art and crafts censured, illegitimised as primitive and inferior, losing all patronage and support. The majority of peasants of course were crushed with rents and taxes of an order and sustained intensity not experienced before. Yet it was in this colonial context and in opposition to it that ideas of freedom, liberty became more substantive, endowing people with greater agency and autonomy. With it also came notions of equality and justice to set right and address several tyranny and shortcomings inherited from past sans thought and inquiry. Therefore democracy as a new political regime in a densely networked world requires new social and cultural notions of self and interaction, a new civil society to sustain an order that goes beyond values, dispositions however redeeming that we have inherited. Also the intrinsic spirit of harmony, cooperation, acceptance that still permeates and in fact abused and perverted by many today, that a perception of it being overwhelmed by western sensibilities and Abrahamic faiths is profound. This needs to be thoughtfully addressed by a well researched and thought of social science curriculum comprising of vigorous textbooks and teachers who can render such pedagogy as praxis. These aspects in nuanced but clearly articulated narratives should infuse our new history and politics textbooks.

Gandhi's politicisation of Hinduism via claims of non institutionlised modernism needs
a nuanced critique 
Fourthly the present then, shaped by combined forces of capital, trade, market and technology impinges on domains beyond the material to the cultural, social and political. For all its limitations and flaws, the ensuing modernity has unleashed a momentum unique in both world and Indian history. Aspirations and hope for a better life of dignity and comfort permeates not just the middle classes but also demographics of the poor, working classes and rural masses where education has to facilitate opportunities. But an education that NEP 2020 makes a case for - enabling skills that ensures industrial productivity and employability, will prove to be challenging for subjects like history. How is history or social sciences going to make itself relevant where mere hosannas about India’s past glories or vicious poly-iterative laments about the divisions, oppression, exploitation of working classes, isn’t really helpful after a point? Therefore there’s a need to bring in, something that pedagogically keeps in mind children’s socialisation too, aspects like popular culture, technology, food, health, trade/business/industry/enterprise. The latter four domains are the provenance of science and commerce and looking at several components of these from a historical standpoint will not just strengthen their worth and significance but importantly help in shoring history with credibility and utility. For example how and in what context fertilizers came into production and the ways in which they help the world transition to industry and services away from agriculture. And also how the same scientist and industrial group also produced the toxic gases used to exterminate Jews in Nazi Europe. Likewise how something seemingly simple screws and nuts made possible industries to manufacture appliances, armament and automobiles that otherwise wouldn’t have been possible. Then the way glasses, lenses and opticals have fundamentally altered the way the world is shaped - from being merely a work of few craftsmen to a billion dollar industry today, shaping architecture, warfare, medicine apart from astronomy these have created new socialising spaces we take for granted. Sugar, its role in energising billion working classes to slog in factories on little wholesome food and the not only the context of increasing diabetes in the world but also the pernicious plantation culture on the back of slavery that facilitated the painful and brutal transition of the world. Going further back in time, the kind of food and culture that mediated the lives of people in stone ages dynamically shaped human physiology. Our digestive system, respiratory system for example, evolved on raw food, nuts, fruits, meat obtained through hunting and gathering. Humans had not even become food producers. However with cultures becoming more sedentary and food production becoming a default enabling easy access to starch, sugar and salt particularly post industrial revolution, has greatly impeded human health with heart diseases and diabetes becoming pathological norms. This is largely on account of mismatch or human physiology's inability to adapt to cultures and living style so different from the era when evolution equipped us with such physiology that made us Homo sapiens. These examples I give as insights to enable diachronic understanding of our present, an interactive view laden with connections across several domains that children can truly be excited about.

So instances above is what I meant by historicity and historical rather than merely history. While sources are important for understanding the past and the ways one interprets them, history also has to be about developing an ability to analytically and I dare say critically to look at the past which is crisscrossed with connections of kinds and across space and time that answers to the present. I have dwelt on such possibilities in further detail in my book.

Thus several such insights should emerge in any textbook venture that desires to not only cultivate a sense of purpose, meaning, pride and citizenship attributes in our children but make it an important component in India’s transition to an enlightened knowledge society rooted in its ancient antiquity.

Painfully though the prospects seem to be dim with the current regimes’ less than satisfactory eruditional worth and ill informed interventions, even if they may have the heart and spirit in the right place.

What shape a history curriculum will have under the framework I'm suggesting ? I have outlined it below graphically. Kindly zoom in to have a clearer view. Please do note that this is a just an attempt which will require further working and detailing to make it more coherent and meaningful in sync with the kind of narrative I have argued for above.