Sunday, January 25, 2015

Long Live Charlie Hebdo! : A letter to the left leaning in wake of Charlie Hebdo shootings of January 2015

- Harsh Kapoor

[This article first appeared on South Asia Citizens Web (sacw), to read it on sacw please click here. A slightly edited version of the below article is appearing in Mainstream Weekly, 31 January 2015]

The January 2015 terror attack on the Paris satirical weekly and its gross misinterpretation by people of Left liberal sensibilities in India and much of the world.

We recently witnessed a devastating terror assault by fanatics who gunned down close to 200 children in a school in Peshawar. Was this a desperate cry of the dispossessed in Pakistan? I am glad that the various tiny fractions of the left in Pakistan stood up and condemned it openly, some in India also stood up for the first time. It provoked widespread shock and disdain.

But the terrorist assassination of 12 cartoonists, journalists and workers at Charlie Hebdo in Paris on 7 January 2015 has provoked very different reactions. Geographical location of the murder seems to drive this.

I am utterly astounded and shocked at the manner in which many in the left leaning and liberal circles in India have reacted to the devastating terror attack in Paris. Has a section of left gone mad? Why do they have to deflect a straight forward issue and start providing rationalisation for terror attacks from the Muslim fundamentalists. We are being given an endless spiel on French colonisation, the war for decolonization in Algeria, the exclusion of the so-called Muslim ‘community’ in France, the blowback for France’s foolish involvement in the recent wars in Libya and Syria and so on. The role of poor and dispossessed is being invoked.

Commentators from the anglo saxon world and even our desi left intelligentsia who are waxing eloquent on the Charlie Hebdo massacre are making the most absurd amalgam between the French establishment and a truly radical far left wing magazine which shared absolutely nothing in common.

Charlie Hebdo is presented as the center of all evil that existed ever and that it had it coming, that their cartoons were racist and hurt sentiments. All this reminds me of 1989 and the Rushdie affair when this hurt sentiment industry made it big and has since become globalised. India’s Picasso, M.F. Hussain, was forced to leave his country by the wrath of the Hindu Far Right, all in the name of hurt sentiments. Many of the same radicals who stood by M.F. Hussain are now shamelessly standing up with free rationalisation for the Charlie Hebdo killers. Why such different treatment for different religio-fundamentalist strands? Were the poor and dispossessed involved in going after M.F. Hussain or in the assassination of M.K. Gandhi? What about the assassination of Salman Tasseer? Poor and oppressed, any takers?

Charlie Hebdo was born in rebellious times of May 1968 in France. It had been preceded by other radical magazines like Hara Kiri and Enragé and many others. But they are in many ways part of a lineage of a very long historical tradition dating back to the French revolution and Jacobins of radical caricature making and mocking the powers that be — religious or other — in every sphere of life. The French revolution was the time of incredibly powerful irreverence and it gave birth to a very incisive form of satire and lampooning. Many magazines with satirical drawing accompanying text emerged during this time and have continued since. Later a much softer version of this developed in Britain and elsewhere.

The 1968 generation Charlie Hebdo has had an even more militant libertarian non conformist view of the world, groomed by a radical antipathy to the political power of religious authority, and a deep identification with ideas of the broad left. Pungent depictions the magazine runs are devastatingly funny that poke fun at everything, just every thing that makes for daily life. This vitriolic humour has come to be vital part of French intellectual and popular culture and there is a social acceptance for it. Millions read satirical comics, satirical newspapers, and magazines. Its anti religious politics takes apart the clergy, most of all the nuns, bishops, popes, rabbis, all who represent the high and mighty and, more recently the Dalai Lama, the new cults, and also in the recent times imams, mullahs as gate keepers of religion.

Charile Hebdo has a bawdy, burlesque style of black humour. Not for the weak hearted. In 1970 Charlie Hebdo made fun of Charles de Gaulle, president and leader of the Resistance, on the day of his death, provoking demands from the Right for its ban. The publication ceased in 1981 and was revived in 1991. Charlie Hebdo and its cartoonists have faced hundreds of court cases since its creation. But it has continued to strike against powerful capitalists, bureaucratic and religious elites. The many targets of Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons and journalism have been the far right extremists, police repression, war mongering, the big corporate media, anti immigrant policies, capitalist and employer wrongdoing, the big banks and the stock markets, cuts in public spending and the military industrial complex, the nuclear industry, homophobia, conservative social values, denial of climate change, the food industry, the big pharma etc etc.

In the English speaking world, there is practically no tradition of satirical magazines like Charlie Hebdo or say a newspaper like Le Canard Enchainé (A Duck in chains — Canard/Duck is French slang for newspaper) that deploy sardonic cartoons with investigative journalism and opinion pieces as standard fare. The kind of fiercely brutal cartoons that appear in Charlie Hebdo and the like in France have no chance of appearing in Britain, in the United States, Canada, Australia and most of the world. This would pass as obscene bad taste, it is matter of culture as to what is obscene or distasteful. In a country like India, the Charlie style cartoons would be unacceptable to both the left and right and the non ideological and unthinking.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Where Have all the Swings gone?

- Subhash Gatade

Who ‘stole’ our playground ?

Photo Courtesy : Brian Inganga/AP
There are occasions when simple questions raised by innocent people – even by kids – invite brutal wrath of the authorities. The kids of Langata Road Primary School in Nairobi learned it a very hard way. Back from Christmas vacations when they found that the playground of the school – which provided them enough space to unwind themselves – has just ‘disappeared’ behind ‘iron walls’ with security people guarding it, they had raised this simple question. Sympathetic teachers had told them that a dominant politician in Nairobi, who wanted space to park cars of people visiting a neighbouring mall owned by him, has ‘taken over’ their playground.

Definitely it was not an unusual event – at least in Nairobi which happens to be one of the fastest growing real estate markets in the world – where real estate mafias are so powerful that with the connivance of political masters they are able to ‘acquire’ vacant or unmarked land plots without much difficulty. And land belonging to public schools is considered ‘under threat’ of land sharks as it is not properly delineated to them.

But nobody could have predicted that the kids in Langata School would prove to be biggest stumbling block in their ‘peaceful’ expansion and would literally ‘make history’. As rightly pointed out by an analyst these kids did what ordinary Kenyans are rarely able to do: defend disappearing public space.

It is widely known how the silent protest by the kids – some as old as 8 years – and their attempt to recover their playground was met with brutal lathicharge and firing of tear gas shells on the kids, with fresh reinforcements from police and military being called to ‘quell’ this ‘mini revolt’.

The whole incident caught on camera sparked outrage across the city and also on social media. The shocking images and videos of the ordeal caused so much uproar that President of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta, had to personally intervene who condemned the use of tear gas, suspended a senior government official and sent his interior minister to the school the very next day, who personally apologised to the kids. It does not need underlining that their playground which was literally taken over by the real estate man and properly fenced was restored to the kids.

As if to redeem itself of its guilt the government had rushed in bulldozers to the playground supposedly to ‘gift’ the students a brand new flattened soccer field.

Gregory Warner, International Correspondent of NPR ends his story on this episode with these words.
That’s not how these stories usually end. Land grabs are such a divisive issue in Kenya that the most controversial ones have sparked deadly ethnic riots and even acts of terrorism.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

मजहब पर व्यंग्य बनाम व्यंग्य का मजहब

-जावेद अनीस

पेशावर में बहाया गया मासूमों का खून अभी जमा भी नहीं था कि मजहबी पागलपन ने एक और हादसा अंजाम दे डाला है और इस बार नफरत की यह लकीर मोहब्बत के शहर कहे जाने वाले फ्रांस में खीची गयी है नए साल के पहले हफ्ते में जब दुनिया भर में लोग शांति और प्रगति की कामना करते हुए एक दूसरे को शुभकामनायें दे रहे थे तो उसी दौरान पेरिस से प्रकाशित होने वाली एक पत्रिका के कार्यालय पर हमला करके 12 इंसानों को मार डाला गया "शार्ली ऐब्डो" नाम की इस व्यंग्य-पत्रिका में इस्लाम के पैगंबर के कार्टून छापे गये थे 

यह वही मैगजीन है जिससे तमाम कट्टरपंथी नाराज थे और इस मैगजीन से जुड़े तमाम लोग अलकायदा की हिटलिस्ट में शामिल थे। लेकिन जो हुआ उसका अंदाजा किसी को भी नहीं था गौरतलब है कि इस हमले के कुछ दिन पूर्व ही मैगजीन ने टि्वटर पर आईएसआईएस चीफ अल बगदादी  की तस्वीर वाली एक फोटो पोस्ट की थी। जिसमें व्यंग्य करते हुए बगदादी के अच्छे स्वास्थ्य की कामना की गई थी इससे पूर्व 2011 में भी इस मैगजीन के ऑफिस पर बम फेंक कर से हमला किया गया था लेकिन कोई हताहत नहीं हुआ था। हमें लगा था की इंसानियत अपने मतभेद जाहिर करने के लिए मारकाट का खूनी शगल बहुत पीछे छोड़ आई है लेकिन यहाँ मतभेद निपटाने का पुराना और घिनौना रूप ही लागू है और अब तो हमारे हाथों में इस पुराने खेल को जारी रखने के लिए आधुनिकतम हथियार भी हैं।

इस बार हमला “फ़्री स्पीच” पर था, और वह भी उस मुल्क में जो पिछले कुछ सदियों से  अभिव्यक्ति के आजादी बड़ा पक्षधर रहा है। फ्रांस आधुनिक सभ्यता और ज्ञानोदय का मरकज है, फ्रांस की क्रांति ने ही मानव और नागरिक अधिकारों की घोषणा की थी और इससे निकले समानता, स्वतंत्रता और भातृत्व के नारे आज आधुनिक समाजों के आधार स्तंभ हैं पिछले करीब तीन सदियों से पूरी दुनिया विचारों,साहित्य और कलां के क्षेत्र में फ्रांस की ओर ही देखती रही है

दरयाऐ सेन के किनारे बसा इसका शहर पेरिस दुनिया के सबसे ख़ूबसूरत और आधुनिक शहरों में से एक है।  पेरिस में 1777 में ही “जूरनाल द पारी” नाम की पहली पत्रिका का प्रकाशन शुरू हुआ था और देखते ही देखते दो सालों के दरमियान ही पेरिस से 79 पत्र-पत्रिकाएँ प्रकाशित होने लगीं, उस दौरान वहां ऐसे लोग पैदा होने लगे थे जो फ्रांस की स्थितियों पर अपने कलम से व्यंग्य करते थे ऐसे ही एक दार्शनिक विचारक थे “वोल्तेयर”(1694-1778) जिन्होंने तत्कालीन फ्रांस में चर्च पर व्यंग्य कसते हुए कहा था कि “अब तो कोई ईसाई बचा ही नहीं, क्योंकि एक ही ईसाई था और उसे सलीब पर चढ़ा दिया गया” उन्होंने उस समय कैथोलिक चर्च को उसके असहिष्णुता, अंधविश्वास और पाखंड के कारण उसे नष्ट करने का आह्वान किया था

Sunday, January 11, 2015

टिपू सुलतान से नफरत, नाथुराम गोडसे से प्यार

English version of this article is available  HERE

 – सुभाष गाताडे

आखिर मैसूर का शेरकेसरिया पलटन को आज भी क्यों खौफनाक लगता है

केसरिया पलटन ने फिर एक बार उसी कारनामे को अंजाम दिया है। उन्होंने फिर एक बार महान टिपू सुलतान /20 नवम्बर 1750-4 मई 1799/ – जो उन गिने चुने राजाओं में थे जिन्होंने अंग्रेजों के खिलाफ लड़ते हुए युद्ध के मैदान पर वीरगति प्राप्त की थी – की विरासत पर प्रश्नचिन्ह खड़े करने की कोशिश की है। श्रीरंगपटटनम की ऐतिहासिक लड़ाई में मौत का वरण किए टिपू सुलतान की शहादत 1857 के महासमर के लगभग पचास साल पहले हुई थी। और बहुत कम लोग हक़ीकत से वाकीफ हैं कि ब्रिटिशों के खिलाफ संघर्ष में टिपू सुलतान ने अपने दो बच्चों को भी खोया था।

हिन्दुत्व ब्रिगेड द्वारा टिपू सुलतान पर लांछन लगाने का फौरी कारण यही दिखता है कि पिछले दिनों कर्नाटक सरकार ने टिपू जयन्ती मनाने का फैसला लिया है। प्रख्यात इतिहासकार और टिपू के अध्येता प्रोफेसर बी शेख अली की नयी किताब टिपू सुलतान: एक क्रूसेडर फार चेंजके विमोचन के वक्त़ मुख्यमंत्राी सिद्धरमैया ने पिछले दिनों यह ऐलान किया था।
अपने वक्त़ से बहुत आगे चल रहे टिपू, जो विद्वान, फौजी एवं कवि भी थे, वह हिन्दू मुस्लिम एकता के हिमायती थे, उन्हें नयी खोजों के प्रति बहुत रूचि रहती थी और उन्हें दुनिया के पहले युद्ध राॅकेट का अन्वेषक कहा जाता है। टिपू फ्रेंच इन्कलाब से भी प्रभावित थे और मैसूर का शासक होने के बावजूद अपने आप को नागरिक के तौर पर सम्बोधित करते थे और उन्होंने अपने राजमहल में स्वतंत्राताके पौधे को भी लगाया था। इतिहास इस बात का गवाह है कि टिपू ने ब्रिटिशों के इरादों को बहुत पहले भांप लिया था और घरेलू शासकों तथा फ्रेंच , तुर्क और अफगाण शासकों से रिश्ते कायम करने की कोशिश की थी ताकि ब्रिटिशों के वर्चस्ववादी मंसूबों को शिकस्त दी जा सके और उन्होंने अपनी बेहतर योजना और उन्नत तकनीक के बलबूते दो बार ब्रिटिश सेना को शिकस्त दी थी।
उनके झंझावाती जीवन का एक प्रसंग जो हिन्दुत्ववादी संगठनों द्वारा प्रचारित की जा रही उनकी छवि के विपरीत स्पष्ट तौर पर दिखता है, उसकी चर्चा करना समीचीन होगा। वह 1791 का साल था जब मराठा सेनाओं ने श्रंगेरी शंकराचार्य मठ और मंदिर पर हमला किया, वहां के तमाम कीमती सामानों की लूटपाट की और कइयों को मार डाला। पदासीन शंकराचार्य ने टिपू सुलतान से सहायता मांगी, टिपू ने तत्काल बेदनूर के असफ को निर्देश दिया कि वह मठ की मदद करे। शंकराचार्य और टिपू सुलतान के बीच हुआ पत्राचार, जिसमें तीस पत्रा शामिल है तथा जो कन्नड भाषा में उपलब्ध है, उसकी खोज मैसूर के पुरातत्वविभाग ने 1916 में की थी। मठ पर हुए हमले को लेकर टिपू लिखते हैं:
ऐसे लोग जिन्होंने इस पवित्रा स्थान का अपवित्राीकरण किया है उन्हें अपने कुक्रत्यों की इस कलियुग में जल्द ही सज़ा मिलेगी, जैसे कि कहा गया है लोग शैतानी कामों को हंसते हुए अंजाम देते हैं, मगर उसके अंजाम को रोते हुए भुगतते हैं।’ ‘/हसदभ्भी क्रियते कर्मा रूदादभिर अनुभूयते//

इसमें कोई दो राय नहीं कि टिपू जयन्ती मनाने का प्रस्ताव दक्षिणपंथी संगठनों को नागवार गुजरा है, राज्य में प्रमुख विपक्षी पार्टी भाजपा ने इसे वोट बटोरनेका हथकंडा कहा है। उनके एक वरिष्ठ नेता ने टिपू को जुल्मी तानाशाहके तौर पर सम्बोधित करते हुए प्रस्तावित कार्यक्रम के औचित्य पर ही सवाल खड़े किए हैं। भाजपा के एक अन्य वरिष्ठ नेता डी एच शंकरमूर्ति ने उन्हें कन्नडाविरोधीकहा है क्योंकि वह कन्नाडिगानहीं थे। उनका यह भी आरोप है कि टिपू के राज सम्भालने के पहले राजकारोबार की भाषा के तौर पर कन्नड के स्थान पर पर्शियन का इस्तेमाल उन्होंने शुरू किया। वैसे अगर याददाश्त पर थोड़ा जोर देने की कोशिश करें तो पता चल सकता है कि यह वही सज्जन हैं, जिन्होंने उच्च शिक्षा मंत्री के पद पर रहते हुए जबकि भाजपा और जनता दल /सेक्युलर/ सांझा सरकार चला रहे थे यह ऐलान कर दिया था कि वह कन्नडा इतिहास से टिपू का नामोनिशान हटा देना चाहते हैं। यह अलग बात है कि बढ़ते जनाक्रोश के चलते सरकार को इस योजना को मुल्तवी करना पड़ा था।
याद रहे कि अभी पिछले ही साल जब कर्नाटक सरकार ने यह निर्णय लिया कि 26 जनवरी की दिल्ली की परेड में टिपू के सम्मान में झांकी निकालेंगेा, तबभी इन ताकतों ने उसका विरोध किया था, यहां तक कि जब तत्कालीन संप्रग सरकार ने श्रीरंगपटटनम जहां टिपू शहीद हुए थे, वहां जब एक केन्द्रीय विश्वविद्यालय उन्हीं के नाम से खोलने का प्रस्ताव रखा था, तबभी इन ताकतों ने उसका विरोध किया था।

Under the saffron flag: Long Forgotten Battle Against Hindutva Terror

Militant Hindutva has its roots in RSS’s earliest articulations of its worldview. It is an organised threat to Muslims and India’s nationhood, and has a long list of acts of terror to its credit.
“(They) were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination when daylight had expired. Nero offered his
gardens for the spectacle.”
—Tacitus (Roman historian and official, c.58 to 115 C.E.) The Annals, Book XV, C.E. 62-65
Nanded, a city in Maharashtra with a mixed population of different faiths—witness to the final days of Guru Gobind Singh, Sikhism’s Tenth Guru—made national headlines in 2006 for unexpected reasons.
A bomb blast at the house of Laxman Rajkondwar, a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) activist in Patbandhare Nagar, on the night of April 4 and 5 woke the whole colony. When neighbours followed by police rushed to the place, they found the bodies of two youngsters in a pool of blood. One of them was Naresh, son of Laxman Rajkondwar. The other was Himanshu Panse, a leading activist of a rightwing Hindutva formation (RSS/Bajrang Dal) in the region.
The new element in this blast was visible to everyone. It showed an increasing similarity between Hindutva militancy and terrorism of other hues. While various enquiry commissions have looked into riots in post-Independence India and corroborated the role played by the RSS in instigating riots, the irony is that the organisation is still able to maintain its missionary image. Part of this is because the group has long maintained a strict division of labour within its ranks, delegating much of the dirty work to fringe workers.
The Nanded blasts proved to be an exception to this pattern, as RSS links were obvious. This is why, in the immediate aftermath of the explosions, the Sangh Parivar went to great lengths to suppress the news. Indeed, activist friends of this writer in Maharashtra were themselves unaware of any such incident.
The inadvertent exposure of a Hindutva terror module was followed by media investigations into similar previous incidents. Interrogation of five accomplices of the two dead men revealed that many earlier terror acts in the region where the police could not make headway were the handiwork of this module.
At one go, the police could unearth the perpetrators of the Parbhani blast at Mohammadiya Masjid (November 21, 2003); Purna (district Parbhani) blast at Meraj-ul-Uloom Madarsa and Masjid, Siddharth Nagar (August 27, 2004); and Jalna blast at Quadriya Masjid, Sadar Bazar, (August 27, 2004). (refer to Tehelka, “Nanded Blast: The Hindu Hand”, December 30, 2006.)
The April 6 blast was followed by another on February 10, 2007, in the same city which also led to the death of two men—Pandurang Amilkanthwar and his cousin Dyaneshwar Manikwar—both of the Shiv Sena. A fact-finding team led by Justice (retd.) Kolse Patil and other civil liberty activists brought out an exhaustive report on the incident but it was not followed up.
It is more than eight years since Nanded and a face of militant Hindutva—which can easily compete with violent extremisms claiming allegiance to this or that faith—became apparent. Much water has flowed down the Ganges (and all the water bodies of this part of earth) since then.
Barring a few officials of the investigating agencies—in their private communications—today no one talks about Nanded’s sudden arrival on the terror map of the country. Perhaps the residents of Nanded also would also like to forget those gory incidents, but questions remain and they will reverberate for a long time. One tends to think that since the blasts in Nanded “inaugurated” the yet unfolding Hindutva terror phase, if the police and administration had been more efficient and less prejudiced, they could have nipped the menace in the bud.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Love Godse, Hate Tipu Sultan: Why the 'Tiger of Mysore' Still Troubles the Saffrons

- Subhash Gatade

The saffrons have done it again.

They have once again showed utter contempt towards the legacy of legendary Tipu Sultan, (20 November 1750 – 4 May 1799) one of those rare kings who was martyred on the battlefield, while fighting the Britishers at the historic battle at Srirangpatnam and whose martyrdom fighting the colonials preceded the historic revolt of the 1857 by around 50 years. Not very many people even know that he had even sacrificed his children while fighting them.

The immediate reason for stigmatisation of Tipu Sultan, by the leaders of Hindutva Brigade, concerns move by the Karnataka state government led by the Congress to celebrate Tipu Jayanti or Tipu's birth anniversary. The Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had made this announcement releasing a book 'Tipu Sultan: A Crusader for Change' by historian Prof B Sheik Ali.

A commemorative postal stamp  issued
by Government of India after independence
A ruler much ahead of his times Tipu Sultan, a scholar, soldier and a poet, was an apostle of Hindu-Muslim unity, was fond of new inventions, and is called innovator of the world’s first war rocket, one who felt inspired by the French Revolution and who despite being a ruler called himself Citizen and even had planted the tree of ‘Liberty’ in his palace. History bears witness to the fact that Tipu sensed the designs of the British and tried to forge broader unity with the domestic rulers and even tried to connect with French and the Turks and the Afghans to give a fitting reply to the hegemonic designs of the British and had defeated the British army twice with his superior planning and better techniques earlier.

An interesting episode in his eventful life throwing light on his character which the saffrons love to forget is worth emphasising. It was the year 1791 when Maratha Army raided the Sringeri Shakaracharya mutt and temple, plundered the monastery of all its valuables and even killed many. The incumbent Shankaracharya wrote to Tipu Sultan for help. He immediately ordered the Asaf of Bednur to provide help to the mutt. An exchange of around thirty letters written in Kannada is available which took place between Tipu Sultan and the Shankaracharya, which were discovered in 1916 by the Director of Archaeology in Mysore.

Expressing his indignation at the raid Tipu had written:
"People who have sinned against such a holy place are sure to suffer the consequences of their misdeeds at no distant date in this Kali age in accordance with the verse: "Hasadbhih kriyate karma rudadbhir-anubhuyate" (People do [evil] deeds smilingly but suffer the consequences crying)."
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It is evident that the proposal to celebrate Tipu Jayanti has stirred a fresh controversy in the state. BJP, the main opposition party, has termed it 'vote collection' exercise. One of their senior leaders, called Tipu a ‘tyrant’ and even questioned the government's move to celebrate the day. Another saffron leader D H Shankaramurthy called Tipu "anti- Kannada" as he "was not a Kannadiga". He also blamed him for 'replacing Kannada - which was supposedly the official language before Tipu ruled Mysuru- with Persian.' People can brush up their memories and can find that this was the same gentleman who as higher education minister had announced his move to 'obliterate the great Tipu Sultan’s name from the pages of Kannada history.' It is a different matter it was a time when BJP shared power with JD(S) then and this move faced stiff opposition from different sections of society and had to be dropped ultimately.

It need be reminded that last year the decision of the Karnataka government to honour him with a tableau at the Republic Day parade had provoked the Hindutva Brigade. They had also felt agitated when the then central government was contemplating naming a central university after him. It was the time when UPA II government had decided to set up a non-religious central university bearing Tipu's name in Srirangpatnam - the very place he was martyred.

Two years back when countdown had already begun for the BJP led government in the state another stalwart from the saffron family - the then education minister of Karnataka - had unashamedly compared Tipu to Britishers and called him "a foreigner" like British (Jan 25, 2013, 16:38 IST , DNA).

It is worth looking into why the saffrons love to hate Tipu Sultan and what is the basis of their allegations against him. But before that it would be opportune here to look into how 'falsification of history' to suit the ‘divide’ and ‘rule policy of the Britishers vis-a-vis Tipu has been going on since quite some time. In this connection Prof B N Pandey's speech in the Rajya Sabha, titled ‘History in the Service of Imperialism’ is worth quoting (1977). Professor B. N. Pandey, Professor of History in Allahabad University, who later became Governor of Orissa, had narrated his experience. In his speech he mentioned how way back in 1928:
“..[w]hen he was a Professor of History in Allahabad University some students came to him with a book written by one Professor Harprasad Shastri, Professor of Sanskrit of Calcutta University in which it was mentioned that Tipu Sultan told 3000 Brahmins to convert to Islam otherwise they will be killed, and those 3000 Brahmins committed suicide rather than becoming Muslims. On reading this Professor B. N. Pandey wrote to Professor Harprasad Shastri asking him on what basis have you written this? What is the source of your information? Prof. Harprasad Shastri wrote back that the source of information is the Mysore Gazetteer. Then Prof. Pandey wrote to Prof. Shrikantia, Professor of History in Mysore University asking him whether it is correct that in Mysore Gazetteer it is mentioned that Tipu Sultan told 3000 Brahmins to convert to Islam. Prof. Shrikantia wrote back that this is totally false, he had worked in this field and there is no such mention in the Mysore Gazetteer, rather the correct version was just the reverse, namely, that Tipu Sultan used to give annual grants to 156 Hindu Temples, he used to send grants to the Shankaracharya of Shringheri, etc.”
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