The cover story, “Beyond Rhetoric”, in the Organiser says that there are various possibilities for new levels of cooperation between India and China. The script is to be rewritten. Pointing out that the Chinese media and establishment were “antithetical” in their perceptions about Prime Minister Narendra Modi, it says the attitude has changed to “euphoria and enthusiasm with his announcement of the visit through Chinese social media platform.” According to an article, Buddha, Doctor Kotnis, Rabindranath Tagore and Atal Bihari Vajpayee are four figures who made a deep impression on the Chinese consciousness: “ Modi has an opportunity to enter this league through his… visit to China, provided he decides to go beyond the established popular rhetoric created by the Western scholars and continues to create more space for societal interactions.”
The article says that most areas of contention are a colonial legacy, which have created further misperceptions with Western interpretations: “If civilisationally we could co-exist for centuries together, why we cannot do so while shaping the Asian century is the critical question we need to address…”
It blames Jawaharlal Nehru for letting the “colonial legacy” undermine the civilisational perspectives in the 1954 agreement. According it the Organiser, although Rajiv Gandhi and P.V. Narasimha Rao tried to establish direct contact with China, it was Vajpayee who really made the difference and injected an element of trust in bilateral relations. Now, new developments have opened ample opportunities to rekindle the civilisational and social interactions.
An article in the Organiser says it is time to write histories of the Dharmic subalterns of India in the medieval period, as most available textbooks often represent indigenous Indians as toiling away in their fields, paying their taxes, as armies of various sultans or the Mughal dynasty battled in adjacent pastures. “There is a rich alternative history waiting to be explored.
In fact, much research waits… that could unlock the mysteries of why India, among all nations subjected to centuries of Islamic imperialism, resisted mass conversion,” writes Yvette C. Rosser, an American scholar. The author says academics have, for decades, “sidetracked and stonewalled” research projects or in-depth discussions that focus closely on the destruction and dislocation associated with the incursions by invaders.
Not many details are available about what the locals did to resist them: “The lost centuries of Indian history are due to contemporary roadblocks constructed to prevent a dispassionate discussion of the traumas brought to India by the early Islamic invasions.” According to Rosser, today’s India has developed a national identity based on a perceived political or national unity shared by its diverse people, whose shared histories long pre-date the independent India of 1947.
Presenting the example of the “discovery” of the Saraswati river in Haryana, an editorial in Panchajanya says certain things, no matter how ancient, cannot be denied or hidden. What is there cannot be hidden for long. The alleged discovery of the Saraswati river in Mugalwali village of Yamunanagar district of Haryana has, the editorial claims, answered those who said the river was just a myth. The editorial then connects India’s reaction to the Nepal earthquake to the ancient links between the two countries. Inferring that Nepal was a part of Bharat, it says India’s sudden response shows the cultural bonds between the two. And, it says, Nepal, being the birthplace of Lord Buddha and Mother Janaki, has a special place in Indian minds.
Compiled by Liz Mathew.