Frontline 25 years later
- The first edition of Frontline for 2010 just came out, in celebration
of the magazine's 25th birthday. The giant issue looks back at the
biggest stories in India from the last 25 years and attempts to take stock of
India's current global economic, social, and political position.
One essay by K.N. Panikkar, entitled "The Hindutva Ride," covers that
sorry story from the last two decades (see also closely related
stories in that section):
Another article, by Parvathi Menon, looks at the most important stories
in the magazine from the last 25 years involving Indian history and
political manipulation of historical research. It's nice to see that Menon
prominently includes among those stories the cover article that
Michael and I wrote nine years ago on Hindutva manipulations of
history. ("Horseplay in Harappa" is now widely used in university
classrooms, and I still get an average of 600 downloads a month
from it on my website alone -- one of a dozen sites or so sites
that carries reprints of it.)
Menon's story, with the snippet on our article:
> “Horseplay in Harappa”, the title of Frontline’s Cover StoryI'm not an Indologist but a comparative historian, and Rajaram and Jha
> (October 13, 2000) by Indologists Michael Witzel and Steve Farmer,
> laid to rest Hindutva claims that the Indus Valley was of Vedic
> vintage. They demonstrated as false the claims of the historians
> N.S. Rajaram and Natwar Jha that they had deciphered the Indus
> script and that its language was Vedic Sanskrit. The two claimed to
> have found a horse seal, which they said established the early Vedic
> origins of the Indus civilisation. Witzel and Farmer proved that the
> “horse” was actually a not-so-clever manipulation of a digital image
> of a broken Indus seal depicting a unicorn bull.
are/weren't historians of any sort, but oh well. :^)
Menon, by the way, has covered Hindutva distortions of history via
textbooks in India for a long time. See this prescient article from
early 2000: <http://www.frontlineonnet.com/fl1706/17061090.htm>.
Later, of course, after the ultimate failure of the Hindutva textbook
in India, they took the movement on to California, in 2005-6. They were
stopped in that case in good part due to actions of many researchers
on this List, which is itself about to celebrate its 5th birthday.
Cheers and Happy New Year! 2009 was a rough one....