The Risks of Looking at India’s History Through the Eyes of Pseudo-Historians – By Rohan D’Souza
…. Recently, Meera Visvanathan in an article in the Caravan magazine served up a reality check to the many immodest efforts by Sanjeev Sanyal to rewrite Indian history…. In her article, Visvanathan clarifies what writing history means and what is not “history”. Notably, history cannot be reducible to facts. If anything, the reigning consensus amongst professional historians is that history makes sense only when grasped as a relationship between fact and interpretation. That is, academic history always walks on two legs and does not aimlessly hop around between one fact-point to another fact-place….
It should be noted that pseudo-history takes birth by first declaring “conspiracy”. The opening lines in many YouTube talks or books usually begin with a sweeping declaration: that ‘leftists, liberals and Nehruvian’ historians have conspired to write an inglorious history of India. This assertion, interestingly enough, is never backed by any systematic review of the existing literature on the so-called ‘old order historians’….
It must be kept in mind that one of the dangers of pseudo-history is, what the past means to the idea of India. While academic historians are involved in trying to meaningfully understand how the past differs from the present, for pseudo-historians, in sharp contrast, it is about realising the political ambition of trying to project their version of the present into the past.