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Akhil Bharateeya Itihaas Sankalan Yojana

&

Indic Studies Foundation

 

are proud to announce the convening of an

 

An International Conference

on

Indian History (ICIH2009)

 

This is envisaged as the first in  a series   of Conferences each with  a dominant theme. The    theme  of this conference  is Distortions in Indian history

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An International Conference

on

Indian History

(Bhartiya Itihaas)

jointly organized by

Indic Studies Foundation, California, & ABISY Delhi

at

India International Centre, 40 Lodi Estate, New Delhi

on

January 09 (Friday) - 11th (Sunday), 2009


 

Call For Papers:

Abstracts of papers for presentation at the conference are invited.

Deadline for Abstracts of Papers  September 30 , 2008

Deadline for full length papers      October 30,      2008
 

Registration: Rs. 500/- per person up to October 15, 2008. Late Registration: Rs. 600/- after October 15, 2008 and Rs. 100 for Students and local delegates. Please send your registration fee either by cheque or through a bank draft in the favour of ‘……………………………………………….’ payable at Delhi.


 


 

Theme of the Conference

We have the honor and privilege to cordially invite you to participate in an International Conference on  Indian History  scheduled at India International Centre, 40 Lodi Estate, New Delhi - 110003 on January 9-11, 2009.

 

It  is  quite clear  that the Geopolitical and Strategic Environment facing India during the early decades of the 21st century remains a challenging one. It is imperative that we seriously ponder the causes that led to such a situation and identify remedial measures that could correct it.

Whatever the geopolitical situation, it is indeed a product of historical development. Responsible particularly are the strategic choices that our policy-makers made after India became independent in 1947. 

Let us narrate the developments from the beginning. During the period of authoritarian colonial regime the Colonial overlord was extremely solicitous in shielding the Indians from the burden of making choices relative to their own governance.  In the aftermath of the gaining of independence, India's first Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, fashioned his own unique response to these challenges by formulating a non-alignment policy premised on the reality that the world had to contend essentially with two superpowers. The fact of the matter, however, was that he leaned heavily towards the western alliance and this continued at least till the end of his tenure in office. 

It was only during subsequent years and decades that India and the Congress Party interpreted the policy of non-alignment as if it were a canonical principle of Indian foreign policy. In other words, there is ample evidence that at least in the conception of Pandit Nehru, non-alignment was a means to an end rather than an end in itself, a subtlety that was frequently forgotten during subsequent decades. 

What was Jawaharlal Nehru's set of assumptions that led him to formulate the non-alignment policy? He had a developed sense of history, no doubt, but a sense of history almost wholly western in its inspiration. As a result, the India that he 'discovered' was India of the western imagination, not Bharat of indigenous conception. India, to him, was 'an ancient palimpsest on which layer upon layer of thought and reverie had been inscribed, and yet no succeeding layer had completely hidden or erased what had been written previously'. Nehru correctly emphasized the accretion of cultures in India, but he failed to recognize the original spirit of Indic civilization. He  could not see that this ancient palimpsest he was talking about had, in fact, an original inscription engraved on it so deeply that layer upon layer of subsequent engraving could neither hide nor erase it.  

As a student of Indian history, Jawaharlal Nehru was aware of Kautilya's geopolitical strategy described elaborately in his Arthasastra. But, instead of following this active 'Chanakya-niti', the perception that emerged in the Western capitals was that, he chose to adopt a moralistic tone in India's conduct of foreign policy.

The vision of the Arthasastra is truly breath taking, its practical utility timeless and the clarity of its exposition unique. 'The Theory of Dvadash Rajya Mandalam' (The Circle 12 Kings) and 'Shadagunyam'(Six styles of Diplomacy) have eternal relevance. The techniques of manipulating public opinion and creating disinformation, propounded by Kautilya anticipated modern intelligence systems by several centuries. It is not surprising then, that the lessons taught by that Master strategist, Kautilya alias Chanakya, should have served as an appropriate example for India in the fashioning of its own modern intelligence apparatus.   

Probably all would have been well, or so we think, had India adhered to Chanakyan principles at least in dealing with potential adversaries and against those who would attempt to belittle India's role in world affairs, but we are cognizant of the fact that there are no easy solutions. Alas, the sad reality is that it is Pakistan, not India, whose geopolitical strategy is inspired by Kautilya's principles! 

In such a scenario, a logical question is whether such a laissez faire attitude towards the conduct of foreign policy stems from the propensity to amnesiacal bouts that the Indic periodically inflicts upon himself when it comes to his/her history?  

This brings us to the motivations for holding the conference. There is widespread nonchalance to the history of India amongst the body politic and a certain amount of disdain that the ancients have anything to teach us. Few amongst the educated elite take the trouble to connect our History with the strategic environment today, The general tendency of Indics is to blame themselves for whatever happens in such sweeping terms that it is difficult to suggest a remedial path.  

We hope the present International Conference would go a long way to dispelling such attitudes. The underlying premise for studying strategic choices in the same venue as History is that the study of history provides valuable lessons to making such choices. But, if the history is distorted one can make false conclusions and the resulting choices may be suboptimal or even worse. 

The conference has basically two objectives. One is to increase awareness of strategic thinking and to show that a strategic approach based on long-term objectives is key to creating an environment for a civilization in which the future is less threatening and offers greater and better choices. The second objective is to increase awareness of the importance of learning the accurate history of India and its impact on the future choices that a country can and should make in its vital interest.  

Hopefully, the conference would provide an occasion for questioning the established narrative of Indian history, present new research, uncover new facts, examine the relevance to the current strategic environment and propagate the correct history to the public at large and eventually influence those who would make policy for India. 

In addition to Indologists, historians, and the community of think tanks specializing in strategic issues, the contents of the conference are equally relevant to parents of school-going children, community and educational leaders, and public service professionals. Cultural self-esteem among impressionable young minds is a direct derivative of incorrect history taught in schools. Also the representation of the community in the media and in public space is a consequence of the same. Thus, for all of the above reasons and many more there is a veritable need from all quarters, scholars and general public alike to come together and effect a joint program of correction and propagation of the true history of the subcontinent. 


 

Suggested Presentation Topics 

We request interested authors to submit presentations in related areas including but not restricted to, the following

Mainly Historical Themes

  • Is  it a valid premise to assume that the current history is seriously mangled and distorted? We believe an objective appraisal of Indian history as exemplified in the the presentations at HEC2007 came down heavily in favor of such  a proposition, but we will keep an open mind and hear those who would argue against such a thesis
  • Identify key distinguishing characteristics and dates of the Indic civilization of relevance to the current strategic environment facing India 
  • Indicate those areas of Indian history which are egregiously in error and the resulting impact on the manner in which India is viewed in the world today 
  • Provide examples of policy based on an erroneous interpretation of History 
  • Propose methodology and criteria to evaluate the accuracy of the current or future proposed narratives of Indic history
  • Discuss the present day nonchalance towards history and rekindle the interest in History
  • Discuss the Recognition and Revival of traditional knowledge sytems in Republican India
  • We know the history of a country affects  the economic choices it makes, but how does the economic well being - or lack thereof -- in a  country  or the economic choices it makes affect the history of the civilization.
  • In the seventeenth century, as during most of the history during the Christian era, the Indian GDP according to Angus Madison, comprised 25% of the world on a PPP basis. Examine the causes of the rapid deterioration in the economic well being of the subcontinent beginning after the Battle of Plassey, resulting in the First of the Great Famines of Bengal in 1777, and the death by slow starvation of 1/3rd of the population of Bengal.
  • Discuss the potential impact of the new politically correct dogma , unique to India which goes under the name of Secularism and its impact on the historiography of India and the discipline of History, and more importantly the caricaturization of the  Hindu as a Saffron  Fascist
  • Identity and Politics interact not only in history writing, but also in current affairs. How much of the identity politics today, including so called subaltern studies is a consequence of the massive distortion and reinventing of caste by the colonial overlord ? Did the 1971 war and Pokhran I cause the large increase in funding of South Asian studies

 The Occident and The  Geopolitics of India

  • Discuss the extent to which the current History of India  is an Occidentalist Revision
  • Discuss the extent of India's contribution to technology and the sciences in the past and the consequences for Indian policy makers in dealing with other civilizations and nation states. Discuss possible transfers of technology from India to Greece and later to Europe, and the impact it may  have had on the resurgence of Europe, such as the Renaissance and the Enlightenment. For instance there is ample circumstantial evidence that the Gregorian calendar was fixed in 1582 after the Jesuits learned about sidereal measurements and the accurate trigonometric tables from the Jyotish in Kerala.
  • Discuss the potential Indic origin of the realist imperative (e.g. John Meerscheimer and Hans Morgenthau) of the Occidental in his formulation of foreign policy (It  is   our contention that  the imperative  has been  a significant strand in the Indic strategic weltanschauung, ever since the time of  Sri Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita, . The efficacy with which he plied his craft is  attested to by the fact that he was equally trusted by both parties in the war 
  • Discuss the implications of the Sarasvati Sindhu civilization on the posture of Pakistan, if any, and the relationship between India and Pakistan
  • Did European, American (E&A) history and the influence of such a History on modern Indic ethos lead to misinterpretation of ancient history.  Probing E&A history and the inaccuracies there will give a bigger picture of the influences on Indic history.   Examples of such inaccuracies include suppression of the Meso- American civilization in North American (or Australian) history. This, may be a wise step by adopting an 'offence is the best form of defence'.  In any event, a thorough grasp  of the   History of the   Occidental People & their record   of depredations  over   vast areas  of the globe is an essential weapon in the armoury of the Indic people as they compare the records of the various civilizations.
  • Encourage and Report on independent study of Mesoamerica by Indics to assess whether the Occidental has applied a similar Eurocentric approach to the historical narrative of the Incas and the Aztecs
  • Discuss the various ways  in which the Occidental has caricatured   the Indic such as for example by reinventing the caste system as  the  prime  determinant of the Indic civilization.
  • Discuss the manner in which Indian Literary and Scientific historiography has  been characterized by the Occident  and the almost    total ignorance  of the  works of   such stalwarts as Bhartrihari among the youth of India today.
  • The Goan inquisition and its impact   on Indian society,   especially in the Konkan area

The  Diaspora 

The  trials, tribulations ,contributions, their future and their  future interaction with the Mother Civilization . What   do we know about the first Indo- Americans

Women in Indian History from ancient times to the modern era and their status through the ages

 

 

Interactions between China ,India and the   Rest of   Asia

 

We encourage participants, individual presenters as well as those interested in developing a session as session chairman to think out of the box while approaching these topics. We would like to focus on topics that need an interdisciplinary approach which might have  a greater chance of leading to unorthodox solutions.

 A paper submission is not necessarily required to participate in the session deliberations. You may choose to contribute ad-hoc to the discussions, or submit a poster that we will exhibited in the hallways and be part of the plan for propagation among students and general public including the media. Conference attendance is highly recommended but not mandatory to be a valuable asset to the session deliberations.

You may submit your paper which will be tabled at the session in absentia, and deliberated upon by the session participants.

Additional Notes for Session Chairman

Those  who would be interested in developing a session on these or related topics should contact me ASAP, so that we    can plan for the sessions. Those who   are in academia should bring it  to the attention of students, so that we can organize funding for some of  the participants. we will be approaching a number of people to investigate their     interest in developing a session, but please do not hesitate to approach the names at the bottom  especially if this a subject you are deeply interested in.



 

A Possible taxonomy

The Ancients (7000 BCE-4000 BCE)

The maturation of Civilizational Values (4000 BCE -2000 BCE) includes the Sarasvati Sindhu Civilization.(the Brahmana Era, the Sutra era, the Upanishadic era)

The Puranic Era

The flowering of the Civilization

The Development of the Sciences and the Arts

The Classical Era

The Medieval Era

The Colonial Era

The Modern Republic

 

Potential issues related to History and historiography

A. Preliminary issues: Historical reality and historical reconstruction;

Inadvertent and intentional distortions;

Distortion openly justified by the so-called ‘motivated’ and ‘committed’ historians.

Historian’s job is judging history (on the basis of data and evidence) not pleading history (to promote any ideology).

B. Colonial-Missionary distortions of Indian history.

C. Post-colonial diversification of distortions, impact of post-modernism and post-structuralism.

D. Contemporary contending paradigms of Indian history: Western Elitist (which is almost a Colonial-Missionary legacy), Secular-Marxist, Subaltern, Deconstructionist, and other post-modern and post-structuralist paradigms like that of the Annales School.

E. Post-colonial geopolitics and Distortions of Indian history.

F. Identity politics and distortions of Indian history (Ref.: subaltern paradigm).

G. There is a continuity of Indian historical tradition from the earliest times to the present, distinguishing Gaathaa, Naaraashanshee, Aakhyaana, Puraan.a and Itihaasa as graded levels of more and more reliable universal history. Why particularize it as ‘Hindu nationalist’ paradigm? 

H. Solutions:

a) Exposing politics of history,

b) Making history more and more objective by adopting con-disciplinary approach as, for instance, correlating early historical processes with natural processes (geological, genetic, etc),

c) Introducing Hypothetico-Deductive approach (in place of the current Inductive),

d) Judging Indian history in terms of Indian ideology and Indian world-view.



 



 



Philosophy and Guide to Conference Sessions

If I can answer any of your questions, feel free to give me a call at 925-998-2529 (mobile). You can reach me via e-mail by replying to this communique.

Looking forward to your early response, which in turn will help us to organize a fruitful conference.

Sincerely yours,


Kosla Vepa, Ph.D. Indic Studies Foundation Inc.



 



 

Organising Committee

International Conference Convenor

Dr. Kosla Vepa Ph.D. Director, Indic Studies Foundation Inc.

Tel.: 925-998-2529 (mobile) E-Mail: history-seminar@heconf.com Kosla.Vepa@indicstudies.us

Chairman

Prof. Shivaji Singh: Shivala Nagar, Mohaddipur,GORAKHPUR - 273008. +91- 9792250787, 9335449829 prof_sivaji@yahoo.com

Session Planning Co - Chairmen

Prashant Bharadwaj :467, Sector-12A, Gurgaon, Haryana India +91-9910464100 Email: grdprashant@gmail.com

OmPrakash Misra :omprakashnlu@gmail.com

Hospitality Committee

 

Publicity Committee

 

Fund Raising Committee


 

Sponsors

Indic Studies Foundation

India Research Foundation

Patriots Forum

India-Forum.com

Infinity Foundation

Previous  Conferences on this topic

  HEC2007   (proceedings available)    , Dallas, Tx

  can be ordered through www.lulu.com

 

 

 
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