The much awaited and interesting session related to the history of ancient and medieval India was held at the second day of the Kerala Literature festival at Kozhikode with the renowned historian Upinder Singh who is also the daughter of Man Mohan Singh and P J Vincent being the moderator.
The session begin with Vincent quoting Romila Thapar that history is an unending dioalogue between past and present and he also addressed Upinder singh to be a resourceful person who is very actively involved in the professional movement .
He posed the challenges faced by history in the modern India and referred the book written by Upinder Singh. “ A history of ancient and early medieval India: from stone age to the 12th century”.
He canvassed Upinder Singh to about the recent debates about Ancient India to which he opined.”I wrote the book after teaching history to the young UG students and it is not just the work of my research”. She also said that she realized how young people found ancient Indian history boring so she asked her to bring it alive along with the diversity and plurality. She also wants to on corporate the circumstance of marginalized group and women into the discussion of ancient India. She added that she aspires to show the students as well as the citizens the beauty of ancient history and arts.
She remarked “no discipline can move forward without debates.” So wished her book not to be the last word of ancient history with her book she wants to show the readers how historians with history and build arguments.
Vincent asked her about her political violence becoming a reality and the philosophical political tradition of ancient India. She said” Violence is the part of the history of ancient India and the whole idea of peaceful and harmonious India is a myth.
It is a part if the history all communities and non violence is something we want in and politics, complete nonviolence is impossible”.
When Vincent commented “the history of South India is peripheralised and the role of forest people is too marginalized”, she responded by saying “I tried to give justice to peninsular India with evidence available though the south was undifferentiated land. Coming to the forest people, I have a whole chapter on wildness. The ruler’s interaction with the forest people in the ancient India is ruler like Ashoka told them they would use force if needed. Therefore, there is always a political threat caused by forest people. In the ancient text there are a lot of reference to Rishis which is important in the history also , there are a lot of inscriptions and art which refers to the forest people.
She also pointed out that when we try to connect ancient and modern India it Is not a straight-line and there are a lot of continuity and discontinuity. The complex nature of Maoist insurgencies today different from state of forest people. She also pointed out that when we try to connect ancient and modern India it is not a straight line and there are a lot of continuity and discontinuity. The violence, she said that in the religious aspect of ancient India non violence did not seep into the politics. Complex nature of Maoist insurgencies today is different from the state of forest people. Talking about the contradiction between religious non violence and political violence , she said that in the religious aspect of ancient India non violence did not seep into the politics.
There was an interactive session held were audience raised some powerful question to which she answered very intensively.