Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh-affiliate Akhil Bharatiya Itihas Sankalan Yojana (ABISY) is on an ambitious project “to bring Indian history out of its imperial past and provide it with references from a national historical and cultural perspective”.
The project aims to restructure British-imposed eras and re-categorise them in the Indian historical context.
In addition to this, the affiliate is working to bring out a “comprehensive history of the country” in eight volumes by 2024. a year before the Sangh celebrates 100 years of its existence.
Speaking to News18.com, Balmukund Pandey, national organisation secretary, ABISY, said about working on the project that the references that exist are distorted and thus unproductive.
“We want to present a comprehensive history of the country by 2025 when we celebrate the centenary of the Sangh. We have formed committees at district levels and we are working to present the history that was kept unreported or hidden,” he said.
The Sangh functionary said that the affiliate does not believe in the division done by James Mill, the Scottish historian, of Indian history, as Hindu, Muslim, and British (Christian).
“We do not agree with that division,” said Pandey. “Jawaharlal Nehru in an attempt to correct history had got the periods renamed to Ancient, Medieval, and Modern.”
Pandey said that ABISY is re-working the division of the period.
“Our division is based on categorisation by Professor Satish Chandra Mittal,” said the RSS functionary.
History is divided into four eras, according to the organisation. These are: from the Vedas era till Samrat Harsh Vardhan ( 647 AD) and can be extended till the 15th century. The second period starts with Samrat Harsh Vardhan and goes on till 1760. This is considered an era of cultural victories and an era of struggle. “Our writing of history and Vedas stopped during this period, as Muslims started attacking our nation,” said Balmukund.
The organisation believes the third period spans from 1760 to 1947 and has been called an era of reawakening. ” In 1757 the Battle of Plassey took place. After that, in 1760, the British captured Bengal, and till 1947 when India gained its independence can be called an era of cultural nationalism and thus marks the third era. When we fought Islamists and came to the era of Akbar, that period saw us ready. Saints like Meerabai and other writers and scholars like Bankim Chandra and Veer Savarkar came,” said the Sangh functionary.
The fourth era in the division is from 1947 till today.
‘Comprehensive history of India’
A committee is working on the “comprehensive history of India”, which also includes Afghanistan and Pakistan.
“It will cover contemporary history but also the Ramayan era, and Mahabharat era. Our aim is to produce a series of eras starting from Mahabharat till 2014 that is based on evidence and not prone to distortion,” said Balmukund.
There is a lot of work left, says the ABISY functionary. The committee called Varishtha Itihaskar Parishad which has 35 historians across the country is working on this compilation of evidence and proofs gathered from various texts, Vedas, and oral histories.
“The aim is to form committees in every district and bring in facts and findings from them. We have activated our teams in every district to give us references about the histories of their areas. Out of 650 districts, we have covered 350. If we take the Medieval period, it is basically Muslim-dominated and Delhi-centric. We will expand on this. We have an elaborate history. Take the example of the Ahom Kings. Had they not been there, many Buddhist nations of Southeast Asia would be Islamic nations. King Prithu stopped Bakhtiyar Khilji in Assam. In the south, Raja Krishnadevaraya ruled for many years. He was a Hindu King,” Balmukund said.
How it will be publicised
There are two steps to this process, according to the organisation. The first is to collect references, and the second is to do research on them.
According to Balmukund Pandey, the University Grants Commission (UGC) too has sought the expertise of ABISY historians.
“The need arose as the valiant past of the country was not taught or brought to the fore. Wherever we won the battles are not part of history. This is to correct many distortions. For example, when we study Rajput history, there is no need to only study Akbar, Babur, and Aurangzeb. Efforts are being made to balance the history by bringing in achievements of other kings like Ahoms,” added the Sangh functionary. “We are ready to give our research to NCERT as well if they want it. We have study material ready. Real history is being brought forward.”
On opposition allegations of changing history, Balmukund said history can’t be changed. “There are new findings in research and that should be updated on the basis of new findings. British-era historians called Bhagat Singh a terrorist but today he is called a revolutionary. We can’t change the fact that his name was Bhagat Singh or the date he was hanged on. And if doing this is tagged as changing history by RSS, we are proud of it,” he said.
The RSS functionary said there is no attempt to rewrite history but only to present the existing history in view of new findings.
Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav
The RSS affiliate is bringing out 75 books on India’s unsung heroes. A series is being planned along with 100 seminars conducted throughout the country. In addition, Balmukund Pandey said that there will be a mahadhiveshan (mega convention) in December.
“From December 25 to 28, there will be a mahadhiveshan in Sasaram. There will be a focus on ‘self-awakening’. Vivekananda, Veer Savarkar, and Khudiram Bose weren’t fighting to get a post. But there was a movement to awaken people to free their motherland,” he said.