By- Ram Kumar Ohri, IPS (Retd.)
Our India is a land of surprises and shocks. No wonder despite a change in regime at the centre, the controversial historian Romilla Thapar is back in business - courtesy Janab Najeeb Jung, the eminent Lt. Governor of Delhi. She is now one of the co-opted members of the high profile Delhi Urban Heritage Foundation, i.e. DHUF.
The high profile Foundation is headed by Delhi’s Lt Governor, Najeeb Jung, who is said to be greatly interested in preserving the urban heritage of Delhi, appointed the self-anointed eminent historian and another left-liberal, Amar Farooqui, to the high profile DHUF when the likely outcome of the general elections 2014 was being debated on 24 /7 television channels.
For decades Ms. Thapar has been a controversial historian accused to be anti-Hindu and pro-Muslim historian. She courted massive controversy when she wrote the allegedly partisan and garbled versions of the ancient Indian history for books approved by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (i.e., NCERT). Many texts of her books had to be re-edited and re-written in the year 2002 during the NDA regime. There were serious allegations of twisting the truth against her by several well known historians - left liberal and sham-secular educationists excluded. No wonder, her nomination to the DHUF has led to raising of eyebrows of several non-leftist historians and experts on conservation of Indian heritage.
On the face of it the Delhi Urban Heritage Foundation does not appear to be seriously concerned about preserving the real ancient heritage of Delhi. Although it has identified more than 1200 heritage structures for conservation, its focus all along has been on non-Hindu architectural sites. During a meeting chaired by the Lt. Governor it came to light that the renovation and landscaping of the following two allegedly important heritage sites:
i) Lado Sarai Tomb
ii) The ex –Viceragal Lodge at Delhi University.
The members of the DUHF present in the meeting of June 16 , 2014, presided by the Lt. Governor reviewed the progress of restoring Sultan Garhi tomb, the Anglo-Arabic High School at Ajmeri Gate and the Architectual Park at Mehrauli .
Apparently in their infinite wisdom the members of DUHF have decided that the first priority has to be accorded to restoration of tombs of Muslim seers and structures concerning the minorities – ostensibly in deference to Dr Manmohan Singh’s ‘Muslims First’ policy statement made on December 9, 2006, in a meeting of the National Development Council. No wonder for the DUHF the history of Delhi begins with the Muslim rule and ends with the British occupation of Delhi.
It is time that the Lt. Governor and his learned team-mates including Ms. Thapar stopped the phony restoration work of tombs, etc. They must re-read the long celebrated history of the non-Muslim and non-British era before barbaric invaders ransacked Delhi. According to the well recorded history, the city of Delhi has the following five ancient temples dating back to the Mahabharata period of history:
i) The Hanuman temple in Connaught Place which has a self-manifested Murti of Bal Hanuman – also known as Bajrang Bali (child Hanuman);
ii) The famous Kali temple at Kalkaji containing a Murti of Maa Durga sculpted in rock. Twice in the year celebrations are held at the temple during Navaratri;
iii) The Yog Maya temple near Qutub Minar;
iv) The ancient Bhairava temple near Purana Qila; and
v) The famous “Neeli Chhatri Mahadev” temple located outside the broken ramparts of old Delhi, near Nigambodh Ghat.
In addition there are many more temples including Shri Gauri Shankar temple in Chandni Chowk, a number of Jain temples and Gurudwaras of historical importance dotting the national capital. Most of them need restoration and ornate landscaping. It is a mystery why the Delhi L.G. is not interested in the restoration and landscaping of scores of Hindu and Jain Mandirs of Delhi, including a number of Gurudwaras of historical importance. But with Romilla occupying the cenrestage in the Delhi Heritage Foundation it looks mission impossible.
I am not a historian. But before concluding this blog I would like to make a submission. Why is it necessary for Indians to confer the title of heritage structures on the burial places of invading tyrants and the so-called holy men acccompanying them? Sometime in the middle of the year 2008 there was a news item in the mainstream English press bemoaning the dilapidated condition of the tomb of Ghiasuddin Balban. It was argued that the tomb of this great slave king was an important ‘heritage’ structure which ought to be renovated and protected for the benefit of the posterity. Now who was this Balban who has to be regarded as our pride, our heritage, and who must be presented to the posterity as representative of our glorious tradition? Was he a benign ruler fit to be glorified as a national icon? No he was not, never was.
According to Minhaj Siraj, a Muslim historian and contemporary of Balban, the slave king waged a war on the ruler of Avadh, King Trilokyavarman of Chandela dynasty, and after defeating the valiant king carried away his wife, sons and dependants as slaves. Again Balban had twice attacked the kingdom of Bhojpur (in today’s Bihar) and in the process enslaved a large number of women and children. Similarly in Katihar (located in today’s Bihar) he had ordered a massacre of all male children above 8 years of age and enslaved thousands of hapless Hindu women. The savage ruler Balban also attacked Mewat and Shivalik regions, ravaged the kingdom of Ranthambore, and made a proclamation that any soldier of his army who brought alive a captive kaffir’ (read Hindu)would be rewarded with 2 silver tankahs and the one who brought the head of a killed Hindu will be rewarded with one tankah. I do not know why the Archaeological Survey of India has been hell-bent on erasing these acts of wanton barbarism by Balban by falsely presenting his tomb as something of which the Indian people and the posterity should be proud.
Unfortunately we have a large battalion of sham-secular busybodies like Romilla Thapar who have turned the word heritage on its head by bestowing unwarranted national pride and high status on alien invaders who ruthlessly killed lakhs of innocents, destroyed thousands of beautiful temples and mercilessly pillaged our glorious heritage.
Time has come to make our historians and archaeologists understand the true meaning of the word ‘heritage’. If necessary it should be done by making them go through a course of de-schooling. In no other country are the charlatans masquerading as protectors of our heritage are honoured like we do. In any case, the structures and landmarks of plunderers and murderers need not be restored and tom-tomed as our national pride.
- Monday, 23 June 2014
- Last Updated on Thursday, 31 July 2014
- Published Date
- Written by Ram Kumar Ohri, IPS, (Retd.)