How British Distorted Indian History Part 1

How British Distorted Indian History  Part 1

The history writing by the British was a deliberate and systematic effort. The British used history of India as a tool for demoralizing the natives. History of India was twisted, falsified and misinterpreted on a grand scale. In a letter dated December 16, 1868 the famous Indologist Max Muller wrote to the Duke of Argyll, the then Secretary of State of India, ‘India has been conquered once, but India must be conquered again and that second conquest should be a conquest by education’. (Ref: ‘The Life and Letter of F. Max Muller, edited by Mrs. Max Muller, 1902, Vol.1, p.357). Prof. Max Muller was not just a philosopher, he was also an examiner for the Indian Civil Service (ICS) examination. Teaching of falsified history played a great part in this ‘second conquest’.

1. Who were these British history writers ?

They were mainly army officers and administrators of the East India Company. For example:     Major General John Malcolm – A Memoir of the Central India (1824)     Captain Grant Duff – History of the Marathas (1826)     Gen. Briggs – History of the Rise of Mohammedan Power in India (1829)     Lt.Colonel James Todd – Anals and Antiquities of Rajasthan (1829-32)     M. Elphinstone (Resident at Peshwa Court, later Governor of Bombay), History of India (1841)     Joseph Cunningham (brother of Gen.A.Cunningham) History of Sikhs (1849)     Lt. R.F.Burton – History of Sindh (1851)   Thus this is akin to victors writing the history of the vanquished. How many American Western movies depict the generosity and the bravery of the native Americans? Do you know of a single British movie depicting the courage, intelligence and skill of the German and Japanese soldiers? Hence we can imagine what kind of ‘history’ these British officers and administrators must have written or the slant there in. But these very books became standard textbooks in India and were prescribed for teaching the later day examinees of the Indian Civil service and the Indian army.

2. Effect of British Version of History on Indian Leaders Since almost all our leaders were educated under the British system this slanted history had tremendous impact on the psyche of our leaders. By learning such history our leaders developed a severe inferiority complex, and suffered from loss of self confidence and self esteem. They started despising their ancestors. They became convinced that unless they followed the West blindly, borrowed ideas, concepts and technology from her India had no salvation.

Let us see what our leaders were saying over the years :   “These (British) Gurus have been sent by God from far off lands” G.H.Deshmukh alias Lokhitawadi in 1848 CE in Shatapatre no.46. This view was also shared by Justice M.G.Ranade and Mahatma Phule. “It must indeed be considered our good fortune that when Christian missionaries set out to spread Christianity in the world, they did not forget India…” Keshavachandra, Brahmo Samaj leader in 1860 CE. Mahatma Phule started Satya Shodhak Samaj (Society for Search of Truth) in 1873 CE. Everyone joining the society had to take an oath of allegiance to the British Crown. “How can Hindus, who were ruled by Muslims for 700 years and are being ruled by the British for last 75 years claim to have a glorious past?” – G.G.Agarkar in ‘Sudharak’ (Reformer) in 1885 CE. Of course Agarkar would not say the same about the Spaniards or the Portuguese who were ruled by the Arabs for 600-700 years. Agarkar’s native Maharashtra was ruled by Muslims for 380 years (1296 to 1674 CE) and not 700 years, but that did not matter).

Gopal Krishna Gokhale founded Servants of Indian Society in 1905. The members of this order were committed to a frank acceptance of the British connection as ordained in the inscrutable dispensation of Providence for India’s good (Ref: Political India 1832-1932′,J.Cunning ,editor, 1932, p.186). This despite the horrors of British administration during the plague outbreak of 1897 and 7 years of suppressive reign of Curzon (1898-1905). ‘The Hindus’ has been a life of continuous defeat. It is a mode for survival of which every Hindu will feel ashamed‘- Dr.Ambedkar in 1937. Even the anti-Hindu writer of ‘Early History of India’ like Vincent Smith dismisses such fantastic statements.


Savarkar wrote a resounding reply to Ambedkar’s outburst and said ‘What Ambedkar says is false. Hindus have survived the onslaughts of the foreigners over the centuries because of their bravery. But even if what Ambedkar says were true, should he not be determined to avenge past defeats ?’ Amazing ! What kind of history of India was taught to our leaders ?

3. British Version of Indian History Until the invasion of India by Alexander the Great, there was nothing worth mentioning in India. After Alexander, the Greeks taught civilization to Indians, and gave them the Western ideas. Then came the Shakas, Huns, Kushans etc. They also kept teaching the natives. In the eighth century Mohammed bin Kasim invaded India. It marked the begining of the Muslim rule. Then came the Ghazanvis, Ghoris, Gulams, Turks, Afgans, Khiljis, Tughalaqs, Lodis and Mughals. They were very brave and noble. They carried out reforms after reforms. Lastly came the English.

They could not tolerate the prevailing anarchy. ‘We rule India’ they said. Some kings accepted their protection. Those who resisted, collapsed like a deck of cards. The British taught peace and prosperity to this troubled land. Under them everyone is happy. They introduced rule of law which Indians never knew before. Thus the history of hindus (according to the British) is as dark as coal tar. There is nothing in it to be proud of. It is natural that only foreigners should rule India. The best the natives can do is to serve the British by becoming their obedient servants. Why could Indians not counter them with our own version of history ?

4. Neglect of History in India It must be admitted in all fairness, that it was the British who first wrote the history of India.

The Hindus probably are the only race, who despite having such intelligence, bravery and tremendous capacity for successive revivals, have showed such pathetic neglect of history. There was utter lack of historical sense. Lokamanya Tilak writes “Even if we read the whole of Harsha-Charita by Banabhatta, we cannot make out when did this famous king rule or what was the extent of his kingdom ? Had it not been for the Chinese traveller Hsuen Tsang (and the English scholars who translated his memoirs from Chinese into English) we would have never known the history of Harsha “. Records were not properly kept and where they were kept they were not preserved. Even today very important documents are getting rotten and destroyed by insects, in many families, but the owners will not give them to historical societies. History as a subject did not always have a place in education. For example, Maharaja of Jaipur, JaiSingh I never learned about the history of Bappa raval, Prithvi raj Chuhan, Mahmud of Ghazni, Mohammed Ghori and others. During the upbringing of Peshwa Bajirao I, he learnt nothing about the East India Comapny and its resistance to Shivaji at Surat, the history of the Mughals or the history of Maratha-Mughal struggle. Far reaching consequences of such neglect were never realized. A true historian should have the ability to doubt the validity of currently held beliefs in light of new evidence. reject the traditional line of thinking when it becomes evident that it was based on wrong assumptions or weak, flimsy foundations. Analyze the evidence critically and establish the facts based on common sense, reason and logic.

All this was cleverly disallowed by the British. Historical research was reduced the drab work of compiling data and translation of documents. The faculty of interpretation was strongly discouraged. It is therefore essential that Indian history be rewritten.

5. Rewriting Does Not Mean Fabrication It must be emphasized that rewriting of Indian history does not mean fabrication, as was done by the Nazis or the Communists. Savarkar wrote in 1937 : “To praise one’s ancestors out of affection for them may be foolish, but humane. However to tolerate deliberate denunciation of the ancestors without challenging the allegations is disgraceful. Because such falsehoods, if repeated often will make us lose self respect and confidence”. “Only those people avoid mention of their defeats in the past that are not strong enough to avenge the defeats“. “When writing history the writer must write the events as they happened. He should not concern himself about the effect of that writing on present situation. .. It is natural to write about glorious deeds of our forefathers, but we are reluctant to describe disgraceful event or disasters, defeats. A historian must avoid such hiding of facts. Whatever happened in the past it should be described as it happened…“

6. Late Awakening There were some scholars during the British Raj who realised the importance of history in nation-building. They were furious at the state of affairs. Rajwade, Vasudevshastri Khare and others started work around 1900 CE. The formidable task of collecting and compiling evidence was so immense that Rajwade could not foresee the starting of writing of the History of the Marathas, in his life time. In 1907 Savarkar came to London. After studying the contemporary British books in India Office Library he concluded that he had to reject the traditional view of the Great Revolt of 1857. It was not a Sepoy Mutiny as commonly believed. The British authors themselves do not use the term Sepoy Mutiny, instead they call it Indian Mutiny. Savarkar Proclaimed that it was a War of Independence in which everyone from the Maharajas to the road sweepers took part. His book was promptly proscribed even before its publication ! Savarkar protested on September 17, 1909 “If my book is seditious, why does not the Government show courage to take me to court ?” The British Authorities did not prosecute Savarkar for his book. Such is the importance of true history.

In 1991 Bharat Itihas Sanshodhak Mandal (Indian Society for Historical Research) was formed. In 1918 Mr.N.C.Kelkar, one of Lokamanya Tilak’s lieutenants, published a book Marathas and the English which dismissed the traditional theory that Marathas lost due to internal dissensions, lack of unity and lack of foresight. In 1923 Major B.D.Basu wrote The Story of Satara exposing the barbaric behavior of the British to Maharaja Pratapsingh of Satara who was falsely accused and dethroned in 1839. G.S.Sardesai’s New History of Marathas came out in 1946 exactly 120 years after Grant Duff’s History of the Marathas. Incalculable damage had been done in 120 years. But the awakening had begun. The question then arises, why did not things change after the British left India in 1947?

Source:  Mystery of India

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How British Distorted Indian History Part 1

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  1. arpit tiwari
    arpit tiwari 15 October, 2015, 21:22

    you have beautifully explained the content with this write up. I congratulate you for this challenging endeavor.In the last line you have raised a very fundamental question as to why we didn’t make efforts for correction of the falsified facts… the simple answer can be… a negligence of the need of correct interpretation by the nehruvian hegemony,the self centered approach of the political parties and the indifferent attitude of the Indian masses and intelligentsia.

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  2. Umavli
    Umavli 16 October, 2015, 16:05

    When can we expect the articles on how the Hindi speakers distorted Indian history or is this not part of your extremist agenda?

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