Critical Analysis of Indian Historians' Writings on Buddhism - Part 2

 

Ratnesh Katulkar

Continued from here.

ratneshIt was during the Mauryan period, particularly at the time of Asoka, that India reached its zenith. There was an advanced stage of development in the field of architecture (which is visible in the remains of the Asokan inscriptions), science and technology, literature, administration and above all the emergence of the welfare state which is still  absent in many part of the world in the modern times. Still none of the historians finds this period as the golden era of India; rather most of them even do not hesitate in declaring the Gupta period (300 AD) as a golden age. The reason they give for this declaration is the growth and development in the fields of arts, science and literature. The argument, however, has little truth, as there had already been much development in these sectors during the Mauryan regime. Moreover, how one can ignore that in the light of these developments in Gupta period there was emergence and establishment of the downfall of society? The evil customs like caste, untouchability, patriarchy in its worst form, like enforced widowhood, sati system and the rise of feudalism were the striking characteristics of this period.1 As rightly marked by Kosambi, 'During Gupta period, the civilising and socialising work of the Buddha and of Asoka was never continued. The tightening of caste boundary begins.'2

In the history of ancient India and of Buddhism, the decline of Buddhism is of remarkable importance. This issue should be a striking subject of study, for when Buddhism continued to survive in other parts of world why was it extinguished from the land of its birth? The reasons for the decline of Buddhism mentioned by historians are weird. R.C. Majumdar, who tried to present Asoka's Dhamma as non-Buddhist old tradition strangely blamed his appointment of Dhamma Mahamatra and policy of non-violence as the factors responsible for the decline of Buddhism.3 So there is a chunk of historians who think that the large donations to Sangha led to economic decline of the Mauryan Empire. But none of them tried to accept the Buddhist sources as evidence. Dr Ambedkar dealt with this issue seriously. Using the reference of Haraprasad Shastri, he says:

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Critical Analysis of Indian Historians' Writings on Buddhism - Part 1

 

Ratnesh Katulkar

ratneshBuddhism is one of the most prominent topics in the study of ancient Indian history. The reason for its presence and visibility in Indian history owes to its existence to a wide time scale traversed during the 6th century BC to 11th century AD. There is no doubt that many special and unique features of Buddhism not only reshaped Indian culture and society, but it also played an eminent role in spreading its teachings across the world, where it is still shining as one of the prominent religions. However, in its own birth land, Buddhism was not able to sustain its existence.

Indian historians shared their diverse opinions on this subject. But the strange and the weird commonality in their writings is that they all seem to be biased against Buddhism and on some occasions they have committed factual errors in dealing with this important subject. There have also been many instances when the same allegation or beliefs were repeated by a number of prominent Indian Historians but without referring to each other. Thus, there was repetition of same allegations again and again in the manner of putting old wine in new bottles.

This paper1 is an attempt to critically evaluate the writings of these eminent Indian historians.

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Mayawati on the Rohith Vemula issue

 

Statement released by the Bahujan Samaj Party at its Central OFfice In New Delhi on Monday, February 29, 2016. Translated from Hindi by Karishma Choudhary.

Ms. Mayawati ji's Statement in the Rajya Sabha  

• The single member Judicial Inquiry Commission -- which was constituted for investigation into the case of abetment to suicide of Shri Rohith Vemula -- does not have a Dalit member. Besides this, there are fundamental flaws which make this Gazette Notification invalid and illegal.

• BSP National President, MP (Rajya Sabha) and former Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Ms Mayawati ji stated this inside the Parliament, outside it and to the media as well. In this manner, the anti-Dalit mindset of the BJP lead Central Government has been exposed in front of the country.

• Death of Shri Rohith Vemula due to autocratic and tyrannical government and the JNU issue were clubbed together in the Parliament because of mutual understanding between the BJP and the Congress. It is the result of anti-Dalit mindset of both parties.

Mayawati-EP-E

New Delhi, 26 February. 2016. 

• The National President of Bahujan Samaj Party, MP (Rajya Sabha) and former Chief Minister, Uttar Pradesh, Ms. Mayawati elaborated on the case of abetment to suicide of Shri Rohit Vemula, inside the Rajya Sabha, outside it as well as to the media. She exposed the anti-Dalit mindset of the Central Government led by Narendra Modi and said that in this case the BJP government is operating in the same vile and wrong manner as the Congress Party used to when it was in Government at the centre.

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Why Madhusudan Refused to Play it Safe

 

Devesh Kapur, D Shyam Babu and Chandra Bhan Prasad

Born to an indentured laborer father in a Dalit family where food mattered more than studies, Mannam Madhusudan Rao began as a construction worker. Today, he runs his own construction company that is completing a township worth Rs 250 crore. This is the story of how he took this remarkable journey – the colossal risks, successes and failures through which he has persevered, all the while fighting the stigma of caste and entrepreneurship in a culture that values a job, preferably a safe government job, over independence.

The wide road leading to Jubilee Hills is difficult to navigate with its heavy motor traffic and unwieldy dips and turns. The near absence of pedestrians on the road points to its being an exclusive residential area in Hyderabad, sought by those with the means to afford its dramatic hilltop views and discreetly nestled mansions, a luxury anywhere in urban India.

mmr 1

Mannam Madhusudhan Rao, founder of the MMR Group. Photo courtesy Mannam Madhusudhan Rao

The major artery, Road Number 86, slices through the heart of Jubilee Hills, servicing the numerous mansions and apartment complexes that have mushroomed on its hilltops. The rich and famous of Hyderabad – film stars, politicians, contractors, big-time moneylenders, industrialists and bankers – have laid claim to the hills. Their homes provide a convenient getaway from the heat and chaos of the city below, while remaining close enough to keep tabs on their business preoccupations. So it is with Mannam Madhusudan Rao, known as MMR, who occupies a prized apartment on the hilltop.

In his late thirties, MMR owns and runs the MMR Group of Companies, involved in construction, including infrastructure projects. He is racing to complete an entire township in Rajahmundry, a project worth Rs 250 crore.

MMR's route to his coveted hilltop address began with a dinner party in September 2011 at a country club in Jubilee Hills. "That's a dinner I didn't relish," he now admits. "It was more about drinks than food!"

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A life lived for the community

 

Rakshit Sonawane

Till 1994, Kishore was one of those forgotten people who have to struggle to get the minimum necessities in life, and undergo humiliation and abuse from the rich and powerful who have everything in life handed to them on a platter.

kishore shantabai kale

An illegitimate son to a tamasha dancer (tamasha being a performing folk art in Maharashtra famous for its dancers who sing 'laavni' — raunchy songs), Kishore was born into the Kolhati community. It is a community that survives on tamasha shows and where the girls are groomed to become dancers. The men live on the earnings and generally turn to alcohol.

Kishore wanted more from life. After somehow convincing his family, he went to school. The authorities wanted to know his father's name so that they could admit him. After a lot of persuasion and delay, Kishore was allowed to use his mother Shantabai's name as his middle name.

The poverty, superstition, alcoholism and illiteracy that he grew up around gave him the drive to study medicine so that he could do his bit for society in general and his community in particular. With help from his aunt Madhu Kambikar, a Marathi film actress, he enrolled in Grant Medical College, Mumbai, for his MBBS. He was teased and insulted endlessly by more 'civilised' children who wanted to know where his father was and what his mother did.

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