Monday, January 19, 2009


IAmUC] Modern India's modern myths ---**** best article****
sri venkat Mon, Jan 5, 2009 at 11:44 PM

Modern India's modern myths
By Tavleen Singh
04, 2009 at 0246 hrs

It is my belief that the first column of a New Year should try to be
cheerful no matter how bad the times. So, despite the attempt to bump
off our new Home Minister in Guwahati on New Year's Day I am not going
to say more than one sentence about terrorism this week. Here is that
sentence. May the attempt to assassinate him make Shri P. Chidambaram
realise that no amount of national investigative and policing agencies
will make any difference if ordinary policemen remain untrained and
under-equipped and if intelligence gathering at the level of the local
police station remains as abysmal as it is across India.

Now for something cheerful. As someone who loathes the self-loathing
writers, historians, hacks and politicians who became such a noisy
chorus in the international media after the attack on Mumbai, I want
to have fun this week demolishing their myths about India.

Myth 1
The first of these myths is that India itself is a myth. The Mahabharata and the
Ramayana are myths that were written by men who lived in a place
without geography or history. Sanskrit came from this same nebulous
arena as did the Vedas and the mathematicians who invented the zero.

The idea of India did not exist until the British created it is the
contention of India's self-loathing `liberals'. In the words of a
historian of recent celebrity, India is an `unnatural nation as well
as an unlikely democracy'. He does not bother to explain what he means
by `unnatural nation' since the nation state itself did not exist till
not very long ago. Long, long before that there was a country called
Bharat whose borders were clearly defined and whose certainty
continues to be perfectly understood by ordinary Indians across India.

When a pilgrim from Tamil Nadu or Karnataka sets off to attend the
Kumbh Mela in Allahabad, he does not think that he is travelling to a
foreign country. When a family from Bengal travels to Banaras or
Mathura to drop off some inconvenient widow in one of the ashrams,
there they do not think they are travelling abroad either. The only
people who have a problem defining India are liberal, English-speaking
`secular intellectuals' who usually don't speak even a single Indian
language. They understand no more about the idea of India than those
intellectual refugees from the West who make India their home and
become `experts' on all things Indian. They belong to the same club
because they all make a living out of writing books, histories and
articles about this India that is so unnatural a nation, so accidental
a country.
Myth 2
The second myth perpetrated by the self-loathers is that there is no
such thing as Hindu India. There is a `composite' culture that is
Hindu and Muslim and that is that. Anyone who dares suggest that for
many centuries before Islam came to our shores India was a Hindu
country is instantly reviled as a rank `communalist' of the Hindutva
kind. It is important to note here that the self-loathing liberals
have no problem describing a period of Indian history as Mughul and
another period as British. The problem is `Hindu' India because the
premise that there was a country called Bharat that was entirely Hindu
in ancient times is somehow offensive.

Myth 3
Modern India has given birth to modern myths. The most popular myth
among `secular liberals' in these times of Islamist terrorism is that
the Indian state is so evil that the jihad is a valid response. It is
our fault, they like saying, all our fault. If the Babri Masjid had
not been demolished, if Narendra Modi had not allowed Muslims to be
massacred in Gujarat, if Kashmir had not been so badly handled, if
Muslims in India had not been kept destitute and poor, if there were
more Muslims in the police and government, then none of this would be

If you respond, as I like to, that none of the above mentioned causes
had anything to do with 9/11, the bombings in London and Madrid or the
attacks on nightclubs in Bali, other causes are instantly identified.
Palestine, the war in Iraq and currently Israel's bombing of Gaza.

You would not think that there could be an alliance between religious
fanatics and those who believe they are intellectuals of liberal, left
persuasion but in India there is. This bizarre alliance is so strong
that Indian leftists have become the most ardent spokesmen (and women)
of the Islamists. They find themselves in this extraordinary role
because nothing motivates them more than their passionate loathing of
India. May I suggest a cure. It is time for them to spend an extended
holiday in Pakistan or Bangladesh to discover what countries in which
history is myth are really like.


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