In an opinion column on The Print, Historian Hilal Ahmed said that we don’t need the idea of India proposed by Nehru Ambedkar etc. but need their positivity. Whatever that means.

Sometimes you start reading a piece and get impatient because you already know where its leading. You know because you identify the author with a particular political ideology so the piece becomes predictable. You feel like stop reading and giving your reactions and counter arguments but you struggle to read it till the end lest they call u presumptuous. You struggle to read in the hope that towards the end somewhere there will be a logical connection between the headline of the piece and the content, and a call for action. (After all why would we write opinions unless we want to move something with them? Every opinion should have a meaning and purpose otherwise it is just blabber, and possibly counterproductive as our useless blabber can be used by unscrupulous people to justify their agenda). With all that going on in your mind, unable to concentrate you still read till the end only to find that the article is over and none of the meaning you were looking for was provided by the author.

This happened to me today with an opinion piece written by historian Hilal Ahmed on The Print. The headline of the article is, “Emotion or evidence – liberals crying for National Archives just don’t get Hindutva history.” (Link)

It is about the proposed moving and partial demolition of the National Archives of India which has caused a great concern among most historians and academics (except those driven by Hindutva agenda) who believe that many valuable records of India’s history might be destroyed, either deliberately or due to inefficiency. Several critical pieces have been published by academics criticizing the lack of transparency in the entire project of relocating it. One such piece is on Indian Express.

Now Mr Hilal Ahmed says the liberals who are “crying” do not get Hindutva history. Ok. So should they stop crying? I read the article till the end to understand what should liberals do, but he did not provide a call to action for liberals. All he did was give reasons to Modi govt to ignore the concerns raised by other academics and continue with the project in the opaque way.

This is why I always feel that Muslim intellectuals who constantly attack liberals are only furthering Hindutva’s objectives by diluting the concerns raised by liberals.

His last para, which attempts to give some sense to what should liberals do is totally incoherent:

The liberal critique of Hindutva history suffers from a strange victimhood syndrome. Their intellectual laziness does not allow them to respond to Hindutva with a refined and constructive imagination of India’s inclusive past. They always take refuge in old ideas of India proposed by Nehru, Gandhi and Ambedkar almost 70 years ago to counter Hindutva’s New India. We do not need Nehru’s idea of India anymore. But we really need Nehru’s optimism, his historical method and his adherence to inclusive politics.

Hilal Ahmed, The Print, 3 June 2021

We don’t need Nehru’s idea of India? What is he even saying? He just gave justifications to Hindutva to destroy the evidence based history about which liberals are raising concerns.

Read the piece and let me know what you think about advocates of Muslim identity politics attacking Hindu liberals (particularly Congress party) in the comments section. Please subscribe to my blog: