We have seen how the BJP and RSS have failed to understand the real India and have made the unwatchful reader believe that there used to be an Indian parliament before the British. But here's more stuff. This time, it's about Thomas Babington Macaulay, the architect of Indian Education, and a person infamous for allegedly making the following statement on February 2, 1835, in the British Parliament:
I have travelled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief, such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such high calibre, that I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage...Jean Dreze, a leading economist who has authored many articles and books with Nobel Prize winner Amartya Sen, argues in the Times of India today that Macaulay never said that. Dreze talks about this in the context of Macaulay's quote re-appearing in the BJP's manifesto (bold: ours):
This "quote" (abridged here) is a wonderful prop for Joshi's arguments. But there is a catch - Macaulay never said this. The quote is a well-known fabrication, which has been the subject of many comments and articles.Sure enough, there is no dearth of Indologists, even of the likes of Koenraad Elst, a supporter of the Hindu cause, who argue that Macaulay actually never said that. Here's what Elst says about how the whole quote was "fabricated" (bold: ours):
Consider the same quotation as it appeared in the Arsha Vidya Magazine, September 2004: "His words were to this effect: I have travelled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief. (etc.)"Different historians have different versions of history. So we can't tell whether Jean Dreze and Koenraad Elst are right or whether the RSS is right. But for a think-tank (RSS) which can make people believe that there was an Indian Parliament which decided inter-state boundaries and names of states before the British, erecting a scarecrow called Macaulay is not a difficult task. Is it?
Now things are becoming clearer. The "quotation" is introduced with the qualifier: "His words were to this effect." So there you have it: Macaulay never said this. The alleged quotation came into being as a mere paraphrase, and as we shall see, not even a very faithful one. It is given in that form in Niti (April 2002, p.10), a periodic publication of the Hindu nationalist association Bharat Vikas Parishad, Delhi, whence most of the Indian quoters have borrowed it. And this in turn has it from what appears to be the oldest traceable source of all these quotings: The Awakening Ray, vol.4, no.5, published by The Gnostic Center (USA).
This Gnostic Center had most likely acquired its knowledge of Macaulay from its Indian contacts, but unfortunately we have no information on that. At any rate, the quotation's publication in an American medium certainly added to its credibility among Indian readers, for that happens to be Macaulayism in action: accepting Western sources as a priori more reliable than Indian ones. From its subsequent transposition to an Indian forum onwards, all those gullible Hindus and Congress secularists and India's Muslim president have sheepishly swallowed it and relayed it to the next gullible audience.
If what Dreze is saying is true, it's a pity that the RSS / BJP have to resort to negative tactics in order to foster a sense of political unity in India. While it is true that India is spiritually united, the RSS / BJP have tried to impose a false political unity on India's history. And what's worse, instead of taking up real issues such as providing good education in the various Indian languages, they still use these negative tactics.
On a similar note, while there is a lot to learn from the great literature base of Sanskrit, the RSS / BJP have learnt and taught what should not be learnt or taught - that Sanskrit is the mother of all languages - a blatant lie!
Given the fact that Shri Keshav Baliram Hedgewar founded the RSS with the aim of uniting India under a strong positive agenda, it's a pity that the RSS has strayed from its original direction and has started accommodating all these negative tactics and scarecrows.