Eminent Marxist historian Dwijendra Narayan Jha is dead. He was a former professor and chair at the Department of History at Delhi University specialising in ancient and medieval history of Bharat. His “specialization”, however, was more in the concoction of facts to suit the leftist narrative. In his books, he focused more on imparting the ideology than imparting the facts. Often, the facts he gave were unsupported by evidence and sometimes in contravention of evidence. In this article, we present four instances where the “eminent historian” lied through his teeth.
“No temple below the disputed structure in Ayodhya”
This first lie is the most famous one. During the Ram Janmabhoomi movement, he along with fellow Marxist Professors R.S. Sharma, M. Athar Ali and Suraj Bhan released a “Historians Report to the Nation” in May 1991. The report claimed that “The full blown legend of the destruction of a temple at the site of Rama’s birth and Sita ki Rasoi is as late as the 1850s. Since then what we get is merely the progressive reconstruction of imagined history based on faith.” So, according to them, there was no temple below the disputed structure as the “legend” was of 1850s and not earlier. This was before the disputed structure was demolished in 1992.
They were the advisors of Babri Masjid Action Committee and were also witnesses in the court for the Muslim parties. Indeed, D N Jha had not signed the report, however others were examined by the Allahabad High Court. Suraj Bhan, the archologist in the team said : ‘I gave this report in May. I might have gone to Ayodhya in February-March…In my first deposition I may have stated that I had gone to the disputed site before June 1991 for the first time.’ Bhan said under oath that the Report to the Nation was written under pressure in six weeks and without going through the record of the excavation by B.B. Lal. Whose pressure was it? There are no answers.
Further in the case, ASI findings totally disproved the lies of D N Jha and company. The court also remarked that the report was at best an “opinion” and not based on any facs. However, the good professor continued to peddle the same lies even as late as 2019 in propaganda portal The Wire. In this interview, he also says that in comparison to Muslims “Hindus are more notorious in destroying the temples or places of worship.” This lie is what we examine next.
Nalanda was destroyed by Hindus
To whitewash the destruction by Muslims, Marxist historians have spun fictions of Hindu kings destroying temples of Buddhists or of other Hindu sects. However, there are no examples of the same, so they have proceeded to create fake stories. D N Jha was a master of mendacity and this is fully shown in his repeated assertion that Nalanda Mahavihar and its libraries was destroyed by a “Hindu fanatics”! In his words:-
“A Tibetan tradition has it that the Kalacuri King Karna (eleventh century) destroyed many Buddhist temples and monasteries in Magadha, and the Tibetan text Pag Sam Jon Zang refers to the burning of the library of Nalanda by some Hindu fanatics.”
– Prof D N Jha, Presidential address at Indian History Congress, 2006
The Muslim historian of Sultanate period Minhaj-i-Siraj details in his history book Tabaqat-i Nasiri, written in 1260, how the plunderer Bakhtiyar Khilji destroyed the temples and universities of eastern Bharat. This is one of the most reliable books about early Sultanate period in Bharat. Minhaj details the destruction of a Odantapura Vihar and how all the inhabitants, Buddhist monks, of the Vihar were killed and no one remained who could tell him the meaning the books in the library. In fact, Buddhism, which had flourished in Bharat for 1600 years, suddenly vanished almost completely as soon as Muslims became masters of Delhi and started raiding the plains of Ganga.
The ruins of Nalanda Vihar are just 15 km away from the site of Odantpura Vihar, which today is called Bihar Sharif. No one knows which Muslim plunderer destroyed Nalanda, but it is certain that a Muslim destroyed it. This is evidenced by the the account of Tibetan monk Dharmaswamin, who came to Bharat in 1234 to learn Buddhism. He found that people in Vihar were always in fear of Muslim attacks and that Nalanda had been destroyed almost completely except 2-3 buildings. One nonagenarian teacher, Rahul Sribhadra, 4 pandits and 70 monks remained and they too fled one day as Muslims attacked with Dhramaswamin carrying his guru on his shoulders!
So, how did Jha make this extraordinary claim? He referred to Pag-Sam-Jon-Zang, a Tibetan book written about 500 years after the destruction of Nalanda. The book abounds in claims of miracles and says that a Hindu Sadhu did “Surya Sadhana” and magically destroyed the Nalanda shrines and libraries! Surely, Jha was not one to believe in miracles, specially Hindu ones, but to malign Hindus, anything goes. Similarly the story of Kalchuri King Karna destroying Buddhist temples is not corroborated by any evidence, but these Zakir Naiks of Bharatiya history are assured in the knowledge that noone will question them and if they do, will be deplatformed.
Jainas were persecuted by Hindus
To create a narrative of Hindu intolerance, it is important to show that Hindus of old persecuted those who were religiously different. D N Jha and his associates have thus promoted stories of Jaina persecution by Hindu sadhus and Kings. For example in his presidential address to Indian History Congress in 2006, which was published as a pamphlet named “Looking for a Hindu Identity“, Jha says :-
“Sambandar defeated the Jains in all contests and succeeded in converting the Pandian king of Madura from Jainism to Śaivism, leading eventually to the impalement of eight thousand Jain monks.”
In the very next line he says “Although there is no record of such a massacre.” But in the very next line he further says ” Śaiva intolerance of Jains is corroborated by several legends found in the Sthalapurā of Madura.” So basically, a massacre that did not happen shows that Saivas were intolerant of Jains!
As such, all sects seek to present themselves as superior to all others. The harsh words about Jains and Buddhists in Hindu texts and about Hindus in Jain texts refer to the extensive debate culture of the times that is acknowledged even by Amartya Sen in his “The Argumentative Indian”. The intolerance, if any, was limited to words, which only increased the body of Bharatiya knowledge. Thanks to these debates, today it is impossible to talk about Bharatiya logic, maths and science without mentioning Jaina and Buddhist contributions.
Jainism was never a very large religion like Buddhism, perhaps because it demands certain observances and changes in lifestyle, which not everyone can make. Wherever the Jains have a significant population in Bharat, they continue to have wonderful living temples built in ancient and medieval times. These were built with patronage of Kings, who were often Hindu and many a times, by donations of wealthy Jains.
A great example of communal harmony can be seen in Dharmasthala in Karnataka. This is a state where D N Jha alleges that Jains were persecuted the most, specially by Lingayats, a Saiva sect. The Dharmsthala temple was established 800 years ago, quite close to the time of Saint Basavanna. A Jain Pergade family established Sri Chandranath Swamy Jaina temple and appointed Brahmin priests, who requested for a Shiva temple too. The same was also built. Today, Vaishnava Brahmins serve at the Dharmsthala and Heggade, a Jain of the same family which established the temple, is considered agent of Lord Majunath/Shiva!
Hindu Dharma is a religion created in the 19th century
Consider the following claims made by D N Jha in the same presidential address of 2006 :-
- “Hinduism is the youngest of all religions, a nineteenth-century neologism popularised by the British.”
- “Not until the nineteenth century did it come to be labelled sanātanadharma.”
- “It had to wait for its first codification by the Englishwoman Annie Besant who, in collaboration with Indian scholars like Bhagwan Das, drew up a textbook on sanātanadharma for use at the Central Hindu College, Benares”
Disregarding that Besant identified more as an Irish, and not English, and that she only codified what was there since thousands of years with no additions, why would such statements be made? Can we say the same about Islam and Christianity, that these are not religions, or recent constructs, considering the diversity between dozens of sects bent on killing each other since centuries? In a way, Hindu Dharma is not a religion like Abrahmic religions are, but the Marxists persist in using western categories to analyse Bharatiya concepts and still have to use deceit and lies to get across their point. They have followed the colonial missionary minded authors in naming Hindu Dharma as Brahminism.
Although Jha does know that the term “Hindu” and “Sanatandharma”has been used by inhabitants since centuries, he himself gives examples from texts like Mahabharata and Manu Smriti, he refuses to believe that these refer to a single religion. He says that these refer either to geographical terms or to narrow definitions of Dharma. What Jha ignores is that Hindu Kings have been claiming the title of Hindu Suratrana at least since mid 14th century. As for Saiva, Vaishnava or any other sub-identity of Hindus, Muslims and Christians also have many sub-identities. However, whereas Hindus accepted Shiva and Vishnu as emanations of the same reality since at least the times of Adi Shankaracharya, there has been no conflict between these. The same cannot be said about sects which call each other “Kafir” and “Infidel” and kill each other for the same even today. Surely, those differences are much bigger and Hindu Dharma has much more unity.
Further, the name Hindu might have come into vogue in 13th or 14th century, but even today a vast majority of its practices are rooted in antiquity of thousands of years. Even today, a majority of our religious books, festivals, philosophies and events are same as 3000 years ago. Probably, the concept of respecting and accepting diversity and evolution is alien for a authoritarian Marxist, but it is second nature for a Hindu. Hindu sees behind the naam-rupa and focuses on the essence, which the shallow brains cannot understand.
Jha claimed many more absurd things and still remained the darling of Bharatiya academic world. No leftist Historian ever criticized him for his lies. After his death, newspapers showered glowing tributes on him. His assertions continue to be used to break Bharat. Muslims argued that there was no temple below the disputed structure and continue to claim the same, even after archaeological evidences on strength of his booklet. Radical Ambedkarite groups, supported by Muslims, claim that Nalanda was destroyed by Brahmins or “Hindu fanatics“, on basis of his authority. His assertions on 19th century creation of Hindu Dharma is now being carried forward by people like Divya Dwivedi.
A person’s legacy can be assessed by his impact on the society. D N Jha will be remembered for his efforts to break Bharatiya society and specially Hindu society.