History as villain

News report from Rajasthan:

Rajasthan Minister Vasudev Devnani on Thursday said major changes are being made in school curriculum and biographies of freedom fighters will be included so as to ensure “no one like Kanhaiya Kumar is born” in the state.

“To inculcate the feeling of patriotism in students, major changes are being made in the curriculum,” the Rajasthan Minister of State for Education (primary and secondary) said in the assembly.

Bingo. For every problem, every societal ill, the BJP has one solution: rewrite history. Unwittingly, the minister puts his finger on the problem — and it is not what he thinks it is.

Unwittingly, the minister puts his finger on the problem — and it is not what he thinks it is.

What Devnani misses is this — history books didn’t give rise to a Kanhaiya Kumar (worth mentioning, here, that his brother who went to the same schools and read from the same books ended up losing his life battling Naxals).

Kanhaiya as emerging phenomenon owes his rise rather to the present, to the actions of this government and its fellow travelers. If not for a two-day period between February 9-February 11, Kanhaiya would have remained a student leader with limited visibility on a university campus; in this, he would have been no different from the hundreds of student leaders doing their thing on campuses across the country.

Over that 72-hour period, the baby BJP activists of the ABVP manufactured an issue. Their friends in the media amplified it. A BJP MP escalated it by filing an FIR. The echo chamber, in an example of wish fulfilment, then seized on that FIR to validate their original OTT “coverage”. The home minister of this country and sundry colleagues latched on to what they imagined was a nicely timed distraction from the snowballing Rohit Vemula incident. The ruling dispensation’s lapdogs in the police hierarchy willingly carried the water for the political class. As the original storyline unravelled, the party and its fellow travellers escalated the volume and ferocity of their attacks, rather than discreetly allowing the issue to die down. And the education minister put the lid on it with a speech in Parliament that had only nodding acquaintance with facts.

Thus, the BJP and its echo chamber elevated an otherwise obscure student leader into a national focal point.

History had nothing to do with it. Dissent stems from the dissatisfactions of today. It cannot be cured through massaged stories of a distant past.

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One thought on “History as villain

  1. Just recently a quote from Kathopanishad: “Abiding in the midst of ignorance, thinking themselves wise and learned, fools go aimlessly hither and thither”. May be the upanishads are talking about our ministers.

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