ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

A+| A| A-

A Work of Erudition and Sympathy

The Hindus: An Alternative History by Wendy Doniger; First published in 2009 by the Penguin Press, Indian edition by Penguin/Viking; pp 753 + index, Rs 999.

Way back in 1950 or thereabouts a leading commentator on the matters Hindu, a Savarkarite, Balshastri Hardas, published (in Marathi) a massive volume based on his lectures on the Mahabharata in Pune. It sought to look at the epic as a tome of Indian history. Before long in his torrential flow of words he left the myth aside and tried to turn the epic into a one great testament of (Savarkarite) Hindu nationalism. In keeping with the times he let some cold war rhetoric into it and attacked the communists and S A Dange in particular. The main thrust of the Hardas argument was that the communists do not know their history and therefore nationalism. But the halfbaked version of the post-Enlightenment nationalism did no better than what Hardas thought the communists and Dange did. He mythicised the “nationalist” history that had been so popular throughout the nationalist period.

Dear Reader,

To continue reading, become a subscriber.

Explore our attractive subscription offers.

Click here

Back to Top