KALEIDOSCOPE: Pictures of Hindu deities and spiritual leaders are displayed at a roadside shop in New Delhi in Feb.
While the majority of Indians are Hindus, Muslims and people of other faiths account for a fifth of the populace.
The panel is referred to in government documents as the committee for “holistic study of origin and evolution of Indian culture since 12,000 years before present and its interface with other cultures of the world.”Sharma said this “Hindu first” version of Indian history will be added to a school curriculum which has long taught that people from central Asia arrived in India much more recently, some 3,000 to 4,000 years ago, and transformed the population.
The government of Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi had quietly appointed the committee of scholars about six months earlier.
Details of its existence are reported here for the first time.
Shashi Tharoor, a prominent member of the Congress party, said right wing Hindus are “leading a political campaign over Indian history that seeks to reinvent the idea of India itself.” “For seven decades after independence, Indianness rested on faith in the country’s pluralism,” Tharoor said, but the rise of Hindu nationalism had brought with it a “sense of cultural superiority.” RISING TIDE: Shashi Tharoor, above, a parliamentary deputy from India's main opposition Congress party, said the rise of Hindu nationalism had brought with it a “sense of cultural superiority.” REUTERS/Anindito Mukherjee A HISTORY FOUNDED ON HINDU TEXTSThe history committee met in the offices of the director general of the Archaeological Survey of India, a federal body that oversees archaeological research.
Among the committee’s 14 members are bureaucrats and academics.
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They want ultimately to shape the national identity to match their religious views, that India is a nation of and for Hindus. Dikshit, told Reuters, “I have been asked to present a report that will help the government rewrite certain aspects of ancient history.” The committee’s creator, Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma, confirmed in an interview that the group’s work was part of larger plans to revise India’s history.