29, Mar 2018 | Staff Reporter
‘Time to resist attempts to refashion national psyche’
Social activist Teesta Setalvad has urged the youth to thwart attempts to refashion the national psyche through a sustained manipulation of history.
Delivering the Prof. Sukumar Azhikode Commemoration Lecture 2018 on ‘Refashioning Bharat into Akhanda Rashtra’ at Sree Sankara University of Sanskrit at Kalady on Wednesday, Ms. Setalvad said the attempt to rework the national psyche was taking place at the social, cultural and political levels.
‘Refashioning the consciousness of Bharateeyata’
“The attempt is to refashion the consciousness of Bharateeyata that has emerged from the 200 years of our freedom struggle against colonial rule. It is time for us to come up with counter narratives to resist this, which will only be possible through an articulation of local history,” she said.
Holding that any faith that tends to manipulate a rational consciousness is dangerous to society, she said that the atomisation of society aided by neo-liberal principles had been permitting this reconstructed history to take root.
“Ours is a tradition of multifarious empowerment, oppression, questioning, and autocracy. However, those who want to refashion our psyche always pick and choose the symbols that suit their interest and construct their version of history, imposing narrow religious and sectarian ideology of ‘Indianness’ into a far more complex scenario,” she added. Noting that this steady, insidious project of alteration would reach its centenary by 2025, she held that the movement only gained momentum after the 1980’s. “Slowly and insidiously, an ideology that India was mono-cultural, mono-linguist, upper caste-based, and religious, is taking root. But in reality, we have always been a varied linguistic, socio-ethnic culture,” she observed.
While it took a long time for Indian books to absorb radical thoughts, the falsification of history had been making inroads into the public education system, as evident in the text books of Dinannath Batra. “His collection of books has become a compulsory read in States like Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. These books are seeking to become mainstream because they hold political power,” Ms. Setalvad said.
Sanskrit varsity Vice Chancellor Dharmaraj Adatt and Valsalan Vathussery, head of the department of Malayalam, were those among who spoke on the occasion.
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