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Showing posts from January, 2004

Hiatus Aborted

Myth against History-DILEEP PADGAONKAR(Times of India)

The ugly turns and twists in the controversy over an American scholar's book on Chhatrapati Shivaji drive home the point yet again that in this country it is myth, not history, that ignites popular imagination.

History is stuffed with ambiguities and contradictions. Its resources cannot be easily marshalled to push ideological and political agendas. A myth, on the other hand, is sanitised enough so that the good guys can be set apart from the bad ones without a trace of ambiguity.

The casteist and the communalist, the regional chauvinist and the political opportunist can thus exploit it to further partisan goals.

When members of the Sambhaji Brigade, a chauvinist Maratha outfit, ransacked the Bhandarkar Institute, a leading centre for Indological studies in Pune, and terrorised those historians and writers who had collaborated with the author, James W Laine, it was precisely because the book, in their eyes, slandered the great …

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