In what is a clear manifestation of a deep sense of entitlement and intolerance within the leftist intellectual circles, Irfan Habib, the Marxist historian who is infamous for whitewashing atrocities of Mughal rule, tried to breach Kerala Governor, Arif Mohammad Khan’s security, during the Governor’s inaugural address at the Indian History Congress at Kannur, Kerala.
The act by the ‘eminent historian’, who enjoyed the fruits of being a Congress supporter, exposes the kind of intolerance ‘left-liberal establishment’ have towards the people who do not agree with their version of truth.
The incident happened at the 80th session of Indian History Congress, being held at Kannur University (Khan is Chancellor of the University through his position as Governor of Kerala) under the leadership of Vice-chancellor Prof. Gopinath Ravindran.
Kerala Governer, Arif Mohammad Khan was the Chief guest at the event. Some speakers before Khan, including Irfan Habib, had raised the issue of the Citizenship Amendment Act. When Arif Mohd Khan started speaking about this issue and touched upon the protests against the CAA, Irfan Habib went bonkers and got up from his seat to physically stop him. Some delegates joined Irfan Habib in his shameful attempt to heckle and shout down the Kerala Governer, a Constitutional authority.
Irfan Habib was rattled when the chief guest Arif Mohammad Khan quoted Maulana Abul Kalam Azad during a scathing speech. Habib told him to ‘quote Godse’ while other delegates also made their anger known.
This is how a governor of an Indian state is treated, by leftist fake historians. And then THEY talk about #Intolerance. #IrfanHabib is a thug, who can not tolerate anyone holding a point of view different from his. pic.twitter.com/PvvsrtewKc
— Shefali Vaidya (@ShefVaidya) December 28, 2019
Inaugural meet of Indian History Congress does not raise controversies. But at 80th session at Kannur university, Shri Irfan Habib raised some points on CAA. But, when Hon'ble Governor addressed these points, Sh.Habib rose from seat to physically stop him, as clear from video pic.twitter.com/mZrlUTpONn
— Kerala Governor (@KeralaGovernor) December 28, 2019
Habib is son of Mohammed Habib, a Marxist historian from Aligarh Muslim University, and grandson of Mohammed Naseem, a wealthy barrister and a member of Congress party. He was professor of History at AMU and later appointed as Professor Emeritus after retirement.
Habib identifies himself as Marxist historian and another Marxist historian and economist-Amiya Kumar Bagchi, who is also President-elect of IHC- described him as “one of the two most prominent Marxist historians of India today and at the same time, one of the greatest living Marxist historians of India between the twelfth and eighteenth centuries.”
Irfan Habib is vice president and working president of the Indian History Congress (hereafter IHC), a body of professional historians (read Marxist historian), established in 1935.
As IHC is in news once again with what happened in Kerala, this article tries to look at the other facets of the professional body of historians.
Established in 1935, and have 2530 life members, 33,000 annual members. The union enjoys ‘monopoly’ over the historical narrative of the country, and almost all the history books promoted by the central government (NCERT, recommended in Central Universities syllabus), state governments, are written by the members of IHC.
The “eminent” members IHC are the usual suspects, who presented or fabricated the evidence contrary to the historical Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, on which Babri Masjid was constructed. Romila Thapar, D N Jha, Bipin, Chandra, Satish Chandra, R S Sharma, Mridula Mukherjee, Nurul Hasan, Sumit Sarkar, Athar Ali and many others enjoyed monopoly over official narrative of history. Post the Supreme Court’s Ayodhya verdict that came in favour of the temple, these leftist historians stood exposed. And the more interesting fact is, almost all of them are self-described Marxists and belong to ‘Marxist school of historiography’.
Almost all the office bearers, regional members, sectional presidents, and E. C. are “Marxists”. A person does not enjoy ’eminence’ until and unless s/he is a member of IHC, and this body has a monopoly of Marxists. The topmost professional body of Historians is dominated by the people from one school of thought; one could not find a single member from any other non-Marxist school in this body.
The members of IHC also dominated the government history research bodies like- Indian Council of Historical Research, an institution under Ministry of HRD. Habib was chairman of ICHR from 1986 – 1993, and he employed his colleagues from IHC at ICHR too. After the Modi government came to power, it tried to end the monopoly of Marxist and Nehruvian historians, by placing historians from diverse schools of thought.
During the pre-independence era, the Indian historical sphere was dominated by nationalists such as RC Majumdar, Jadunath Sarkar and K N Neelakanta Shastri as well as those from Marxist school of history. Thereafter, with the influx of Nehruvian ideals, there was a surge of Marxist historians. With them, the historic focus was shifted from nationalist history to social and communist history.
With the establishment of the ICHR, the entire emphasis continued to be on the so-called ‘people’s history,’ leading to the domination of few left historians like Romila Thapar, Irfan Habib, Bipan Chandra among others.
Given the increasing dominance of Marxist historians, the professionals from all other schools were shunned; and this led to dearth of right-wing historians in post-independence India.
In the 21st century, a new class of professionals, who were educated in foreign institutions during college years and worked outside India for their life, like- Sanjeev Sanyal, Parsenjit Basu, Kamlesh Kapur, Michel Danino- started writing history from a fresh perspective, and gained immense popularity among readers. But, these writers were dismissed as ‘amateur’ or ‘untrained’ by the likes of Romilla Thapar.
The people like Irfan Habib, or the other members of his cabal who were entitled to having first claim on the ‘official version’ of history, are rattled by the loss of that prestige. And all the frustration that was displayed the IHC is a result of that! Kerala governor Arif Mohammad Khan, being a staunch critic of leftist ideology in India, came at the line of fire from these eminent ‘distorians’, however, this frustration signifies a rather general sentiment among many marxist historians who are losing ground and being discredited at a fast rate.