According to a member of the new breed of Indian historians,
KSS Seshan, History is to society what memory is to
the individual. No individual can take any intelligent decision
in his day-to-day life if he is devoid of the memory. Similarly,
any society that is bereft of its past is bound to get degenerated
under the weight of its own ignorance of the past.
History is an integral part of human knowledge and is
imperative for its intrinsic values. Past provides the much-needed
indicators for us to know and draw lessons. In a way, history
is the foundation for the edifice of the present as well as
Another of Hinduisms renowned present-day scientists
and thinkers is Navaratan S Rajaram. He is a mathematician,
computer scientist, linguist and historian of science. He
has more than 25 years experience in teaching and research
at several universities in the US. Since 1984 he has been
an adviser to the US National Aeronautical and Space Administration
His other interest is the study of the scientific foundations
of ancient history, particularly the history of ancient India.
He has worked on the connection between Vedic mathematics
and the mathematics of ancient Egypt and Old Babylonia.
In his book of essays on The Hindu View of the World, Rajaram
laments the fact that there appears to be certain boundaries
that some Indian intellectuals will not venture to cross,
choosing rather to work with a self-imposed framework bounded
India became an independent nation in 1947 and he insists
that there is a passage of time long enough to allow
a re-examination of her past. It is time we do so even if
it makes some people unhappy. A few ruffled feathers cannot
be allowed to stand in the way of truth and progress.
One locally ruffled feather is my friend Marion OCallaghan
who accused the BJP government of India of reconstruction
of Indian history (Newsday, March 28). An Indian architect
of the Christian history of India is a woman named Romilar
Tapar who does not know Indias ancient languages like
This western-trained historian is the darling of Christians
who created their own version of the history of India and
other continents they conquered and dominated for hundreds
of years. But Tapars version is being challenged over
the past 25 years by modern scientists and historians with
newly unearthed evidence.
Christian missionaries here in Trinidad and in India have
always projected Hinduism in a negative light and some of
us have acquired the unconscious habit of looking at ourselves
and our civilisation through Christian eyes. But this habit
of measuring something with alien values is a serious limitation
in understanding Hinduism and its ancient culture.
Sarah Morton, an icon of the Presbyterian Church, in an effort
to extract more Canadian donations, wrote in the Presbyterian
Witness (Canada) that the Hindu scriptures and stories Are
samples of the wicked absurdities that delight the hearts
of the Hindu people. To make a feast and cause the Brahmans
to read them to the assembled crowd is an act of the highest
merit. It should make us humble to see how the boasted intellect
of man can degrade itself. The writer humbly hopes that the
reading of them may draw forth anew the sympathy and aid of
Christians for those who are without God.
According to Rajaram, trying to understand Hinduism through
the eyes of another belief is like trying to understand
quantum mathematics through Newtowns Law of Motion.
It cannot be done. One must try and understand Hinduism on
its own terms, and not in terms of the internal and external
features borrowed from other exclusive creeds.
The Rigveda is the oldest of Hindu scriptures and no one has
been able to definitely state when it was first composed or
revealed. European Christian scholars and even an ideologist
like Max Muller tries to fix a date of 1200BC.
But Rajaram and others charge that this is tied to the Christian
belief that the world was created at 9 am in October
4004 BC and the biblical flood took place in 2448 BC.
This was pure superstition since modern scientific evidence
The Vedic civilisation in India can be traced to at least
7000 BCEin archaeological remains at Harappa, Mohegodaro
and other excavation sites. There are places in the Rigveda
where we find descriptions of what seems like eyewitness accounts
of the cracking of the ice caps, which according to some is
a pointer that the Rigveda was written/revealed before the
end of the ice age.
MAHARAJ is the Secretary General of the Sanatan Dharma Maha