March 6, 2018 7:05:30 am
The Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) is hosting a three-day conference to correct “distortions” in Indian history. Research papers ranging from those claiming that information on Netaji’s disappearance was suppressed by the British and Indian governments to ones questioning the Aryan invasion theory will be presented at the conference, that began on Monday.
The keynote address was delivered by historian Ramachandran Nagaswamy, who criticised the distortion of the concept of secularism, which, he said, these days has come to mean “anti-Hinduism”.
Historian Romila Thapar was the centre of Nagaswamy’s critique as he accused her of peddling the lie that the concept of Dharma was introduced by Asoka Maurya.
Dharma, Nagaswamy said, is a thought older than Asoka and is found in teachings of Buddha and Manu.
“Historians like Romila Thapar hold a view that Asoka expounded an idea new to Indian political and social theory, that Asoka did not see dharma resulting from the good deeds that were inspired by formal religious beliefs but as conformity to social ethics. According to these historians, Asoka’s dharma is not Buddhist in nature but it was a new and original idea to which he gave a definition. It is a distorted idea as Asoka himself repeatedly says (in his edicts) that what he thought was not his own, but the ancient paurani prakriti,” he said.
The three-day conference is aimed at correcting distortions of India history, which, as an ICHR note states, “was distorted and mutilated by a colonial perspective and motivation to belittle the achievements of this civilization and create a schism between communities”.
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