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Delhi was ‘Dhillikapuri’, Qutub Minar was Sun pillar — pro-Hindutva press on capital’s Hindu past

ThePrint’s round-up of how pro-Hindutva media covered and commented on news and topical issues over the past few days.

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New Delhi: Qutub Minar was once a surya stambh — pillar of the Sun — and Delhi was Dhillikapuri, a city established by a Hindu king in the 11th century, proclaimed Panchjanya, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s (RSS) Hindi mouthpiece this week.

Zeroing in on the national capital’s past, the magazine’s cover story alleged that Delhi’s true history had been obfuscated by “Leftist historians”.

“All historical and archaeological evidence suggests that Delhi was founded by the Hindu emperor Anangpal the Second. The Tomar dynasty ruled here and named it Dhillikapuri. This is also corroborated by several inscriptions discovered by the British archaeologist General Cunningham. Despite this, this truth remained buried in the papers for a long time. But the illusion created by Leftist historians will not last long. Efforts have begun to remove the real founder of Delhi from oblivion,” claimed Panchjanya’s cover story, titled ‘Delhi kiski’.

Rewriting India’s history textbooks to correct alleged bias and omissions, political strategist Prashant Kishor’s abortive negotiations with the Congress, and the new Prime Ministers’ museum in Delhi were among the other subjects that dominated the pages of publications affiliated to the RSS, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and sister organisations, as well as the writings of some Right-leaning authors this week.

Anangpal Tomar and ‘surya stambh’

Panchjanya’s article on Delhi’s history followed a heritage walk organised in mid-April by the National Monument Authority near Anangtal Baoli — a stepwell believed to have been built by Anangpall II Tomar — in Mehrauli, which was also attended by senior RSS leader Krishna Gopal. Union ministers Meenakshi Lekhi and Arjun Ram Meghwal also visited the area later, with the latter asking the Delhi Development Authority to restore the dilapidated baoli. 

Epigraphical evidence — including the Bijolia, Sarban and other Sanskrit epigraphs — suggests that King Anangpal built Dhillikapuri between AD 1052 and 1060. 

According to the Panchjanya article, “Overall, it is known from historical evidence that Delhi was a very small city during the reign of the Tomar dynasty. Archaeological evidence also reveals the engineering abilities of Anangpal Tomar. Anangpur fort is located in Anangpur village near Faridabad. Anang Dam and Surajkund Reservoir are excellent examples of water harvesting techniques of that era. Anangpal II died in 1081 AD. He ruled Delhi for 29 years, six months and 18 days”, the article says.

In another article in Panchjanya, Dr Anekant Jain, professor of philosophy at Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri National Sanskrit University in Delhi, said that Qutub Minar —  a minaret in the Qutub Complex in Delhi’s Mehrauli, said to have been built by Sultan Qutbuddin Aibak in the 13th century — was originally a surya stambh or sun pillar.

“The 12th-13th century poet Budhshridhar mentions a place called ‘Dhilli’ and pillars reaching the sky. Another Jain historian, Professor Rajaram Jain, has compared this pillar with the Qutub Minar, which was built by King Anangpal. Budhshridhar had said that many inscriptions included small or large bells, indicating that there must be a larger bell that would ring at particular intervals, telling time,” he wrote.

Jain added, “The main entrance of the Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque built alongside the Qutub Minar has an inscription in Arabic language. Qutubuddin Aibak has written: ‘In Hijri 587 (AD 1191-92), Qutubuddin Aibak conquered this fort and built this mosque by breaking the 27 buttkhanas (temples) built in the Sun Pillar’s enclosure. Each temple was built at a cost of 20 lakh dehliwals (name of coin minted in Delhi).” 

Also read: ‘Idea of Bharat under threat’ — what pro-Hindutva press wrote about Jahangirpuri violence

History from ‘other’ perspective

The RSS’s English mouthpiece, Organiser, dedicated its cover story this week to the #TextbookDebate — the ongoing controversy over the removal of certain portions of Mughal history from Class 10 NCERT textbooks. The article argued that history textbooks have overlooked significant issues, and that many prejudices are present in their coverage of the early mediaeval and mediaeval periods. 

In an article titled ‘Dis-course correction’ Dr Ankita Kumar, who describes herself as an independent researcher, wrote, “A few portions of the NCERT textbooks are deleted to reduce the burden of students, as expected under National Education Policy. We need to reshape the discourse on nationalisation of educational content for reconnecting future generations to our roots.” 

“When it comes to India’s early mediaeval and mediaeval periods, many prejudices are present, and some events and significant issues are overlooked. The history of the region beyond the Deccan, for example, is not covered in history textbooks. For instance, the dynasties are just mentioned in passing references,” she added.

“The Vijayanagara Empire ruled for almost 400 years and even survived for 80 years after the famous battle of Talikota in 1565. However, it has been denied justice and a proper position in history textbooks. The Vijayanagara Kingdom defeated the powerful Portuguese Empire in 1558, and India’s political situation might have been different if they had won the battle of Talikota,” she wrote. 

Dr J.S. Rajput, a former director of the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), whose books have previously been launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, also wrote an article in Organiser covering the same issue. 

“Unfortunately, the history of India, already politicised and traumatised by the British to meet their political and communal agenda, was further mutilated by a set of historians who worked under ideological compulsions and, in the process, introduced severe distortions at their free will. Much of it was done in the name of secularism, which in itself was defined to meet certain political presumptions,” he wrote. 

Rajput added that the “other viewpoint” was just not allowed any place in textbooks. “Today, it stands scientifically proved that there was no such invasion, but our textbooks are still adamant about it! All along in the post-Independence period, the youth of India lost a chance to learn and internalise that Indian civilisation had the universality of vision, it respected diversity of every kind, and it had no quarrel with any other religion or sect.”

Rajiv Tuli, author and Right-wing columnist, wrote in Firstpost about the concept of Ramrajya, arguing that it is truly democratic in nature. 

“At a societal level, Ramrajya is an ideal social order which is just, moral and legitimate. There is no basic conflict or antagonism among various citizens. It rules out that the basis of development is a conflict or antagonistic or dialectical as championed by either communists or Hegelians. Neither the sole guiding principle is a self-centred profit which is the ethos of capitalism (sic). So, an ideal society is a prelude to an ideal nation.”

“On the economic level, it does not presume like communism that man is primarily a materialistic animal and all relations are the superstructure of the prevailing economic relation. It aims at the well-being of all leaving none. The ideal of economic activities and distribution of the wealth of national resources in Ramrajya is on the principle: ‘Each according to his ability and each according to his need,’” Tuli wrote. 

Also read: ‘Indian Muslims have Stockholm Syndrome’: What pro-Hindutva press said on Ram Navami violence

“Prashant Kishor – no donkey in a horse race”

Commenting on political strategist Prashant Kishor’s failed negotiations with the Congress, Organiser claimed that Kishor just chooses to work with the winning side. 

“Is PK really invincible against Amit Shah as he claims? If we analyse PK’s success story, we can understand he almost always chooses to work with the strongest party or alliance. There’s not a single instance of PK helping the underdog to win. In spite of PK playing all the tricks for SP-Congress, BJP won a massive mandate in UP-2017. He stayed out of the active campaign during the 2019 general election. In short, PK knows his limitations but won’t admit them,” wrote Right-wing author Dr Govind Raj Shenoy. 

“The problem with PK is his barely concealed ego. He knows the truth that in spite of all his ‘achievements’ he hasn’t defeated Amit Shah in UP and he has yet to win a general election against BJP. Ego is like the proverbial ‘hot ghee’. One can neither swallow it nor spit. From working pro bono for BJP in 2012 to charging crores to work as a consultant to any party that can defeat BJP, he’s come a long way in a decade,” he added. 

On new PM museum

BJP Rajya Sabha MP Vinay Sahasrabuddhe wrote an article in The New Indian Express hailing the new Museum of Prime Ministers, dedicated to all prime ministers of India, on the site of the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library in Delhi. 

Sahasrabuddhe wrote, ““Firstly, it marks the institutionalisation of the end of political untouchability practised religiously so far by the Congress and many so-called progressive political groups. Secondly, it also sets up a unique example of how a project that could be considered purely political could be handled in a completely non-partisan and objective manner.”

He added,” So far, only five ex-PMs — Nehru, Shastri, Indira, Rajiv and Vajpayee — have their samadhis right in the capital. Besides, the national capital has museums dedicated to Nehru, Shastri and Indira only. The new sangrahalaya puts an end to this elective generosity.” 

“In our country, [a] few PMs had decorated themselves with Bharat Ratna while they themselves were in the office. For a few others, their decoration had to wait for a more sympathetic political party to come to power. With this project, PM Narendra Modi has opened a new refreshing chapter of democratising national recognition to our past PMs,” he alleged.

Also read: ‘Indigenous people becoming minority’ — what pro-Hindutva press wrote on Assam’s Hindus

‘Jihadi onslaught’ in Kerala

Organiser also wrote about the 2003 killing of eight Hindus by a Muslim mob at Marad beach in Kerala’s Kozhikode district, on the 19th anniversary of the incident.

The article in Organiser said, “The entire anti-Hindu media in Kerala downplayed this incident. They were busy highlighting the local people who fled that area. None of the Kerala visual/ print media visited the victims’ homes. The senior editor of a leading visual media suddenly attacked ‘unbiased secularism’ and called for a condemnation of whoever was responsible for the attack.”

“Did anyone know who was responsible? The pattern was quite clear. When Hindus die, it is better to be vague about who is responsible or blame both communities as being equally responsible for the violence. You just cannot blame the Muslims alone, can you? Massacre or no massacre, it was ‘secularism’ that mattered,” it said. 

“With roughly 130 Hindu families of Marad gone, the stretch of Kozhikode beach, 65 kilometres long, from Ponnani to Marad, would be totally cleansed of Hindus, just as Hitler’s Germany became Judeo free”.

RSS ideologue J. Nandakumar, head of the think tank Prajna Pravah, also tweeted about the “Jihadi onslaught, planned & executed by Muslim League-NDF (now PFI)-CPM axis and funded by Pakistan”. The Popular Front of India (PFI) is an Islamist organisation formed as a successor to the National Development Front (NDF) in 2006.

(Edited by Rohan Manoj)

Also read: Israeli diplomat’s praise for ‘nation-building’ RSS — what pro-Hindutva press is writing about


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