88 scholars to bring out independent report on Indian civilisation

New Delhi: Eighty-eight national and international scholars have come together to bring out a report on the civilisation and history of India in the last 12,000 years.
The launch of the report by the group, led by cultural activist and literary critic Ganesh Devy, was announced at the India International Centre here on Sunday.
With 100 sections on a vast spectrum of subjects, including genetics, archeology, anthropology, linguistics and philosophy, the report aims to present a “scientific view of history” as opposed to the Centre’s similar project started in 2020.
In September 2020, the government had set up a committee to study “the origin and evolution of Indian culture dating back to around 12,000 years ago”.
The government committee had come under fire at the time for not having any south Indian, Northeast Indian, members of religious minorities, Dalits and women.
The genesis of the collective report, Devy said, lies in “the contestation between the scientific view of history and the ideologically charged attempts to distort and twist history of South Asia unfolding before us in recent years”.
“It is designed to provide a comprehensive picture of the population movements, emergence of social and political organisations, development of philosophies and metaphysics, the diversity of languages and expression, major social movements, impact of colonialism on Indian ideas and culture, the long freedom struggle and the making of India since Independence,” Devy said.
The report covers a large temporal span, beginning with the arrival of the Homo sapiens and ending with the onset of the third millennium in the year 2000.
The event was attended by several eminent personalities, including poet and cultural critic Ashok Vajpayee, historian Narayani Gupta, political scientist Zoya Hasan, social theorist and critic Ashis Nandy, and CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury.
“This work is of tremendous significance to actually bring together the reality that we are different, we are a combination of various histories, various civilisations. India, as I have always seen, is a living crucible of civilisational advance, of confluences that have continued to come to the country, influence each other and develop our civilisation further,” Yechury said.
He also noted that “the battle of visions for India” is still continuing that started a century ago with the birth of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
“Three visions developed in the freedom struggle, what is happening right now is the continuation of that battle of these visions. The mainstream vision was of the Congress…India cannot be anything but a secular democratic republic,” he said.
He added that the Left reasoned that the country has to move towards economic independence and move towards socialism.
“And the third vision was completely contradictory to these visions that India’s character must be defined on the basis of the religious affiliation of its people. Thus, was born the notion of the Hindu Rashtra and an Islamic state, leading to the two nation theory,” he explained.
“So the battle of these visions is the conversion of a secular democratic republic into a rabidly fascistic Hindu Rashtra. The current battle we are engaged in is actually the continuation of this battle,” Yechury added.
The report, initiated by Bhasha Research and Publication Centre, is expected to come out in March 2023.

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