Wittingly or unwittingly the central government has kicked up a row by constituting an experts’ committee to study the Indian Culture for the past 12,000 years. The Committee set up by the ministry of culture has 16 members and all are from north India. It has led to a furore in the South, which believes that the Dravidian history is the oldest and Dravidians are the original inhabitants of what we call India, today.
The Ministry of Culture which handles the department of archaeology has issued a notification with the names of experts tasked to study India’s ancient past on Wednesday. It says the aim is to study origin and evolution of Indian culture.
Noted historians and archaeologists from the north, KN Dixit, RS Bisht, BR Mani, Santosh Shukla, RK Pandey, Makkan Lal, GN Srivastava, Mukundam Sharma, PN Shastri, RC Sharma, KK Mishra, Balram Shukla, Azad Kaushik and MR Sharma are on the committee.
Former Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy has launched a campaign against this committee, calling it an insult to Dravidians, who have not been appointed to the committee.
In a series of tweets and statements, he has described it as an Aryan committee constituted by the BJP-led central government to ensure that India’s history is north Indian history.
Speaking to News18 he said, “I have serious doubts about the objective and purpose of this committee. It is full of those who are appearing to have prejudices over culture, history and heritage, besides being fully occupied by the North Indians.”
“It does not have even one member from Karnataka or Tamil Nadu, two oldest states and cultures in India. We are Dravidians and no Dravidian from the South is on the committee. It raises serious doubts about the motives of the Centre. Sadly, it does not have even one female member,” he said.
Congress MP from Tamil Nadu, Manickam Tagore, has also expressed concerns over the committee calling it an insult to South and East.
“It seems they are studying a history which would be okayed by the RSS. How can we study India’s ancient history without any representation from the South and East? These two are much older regions. What BJP is doing is dividing India further in the name of studying our ancient culture,” Tagore said.
The Tamil Nadu Congress MP further said that he would raise the issue in the ongoing Parliament session to ensure that experts from South and East are also included in the committee. He demanded that all 30 States and 22 official languages should have at least one member each on the committee.
Several Kannada and Tamil activists have taken to social media to question Centre’s motives. Most are suggesting that the findings of the committee should be dismissed by the Southerners as there have no representation.
Some are calling it an RSS-guided committee to come out with a theory that north Indian history is India’s history. “The RSS has always denied the very existence of Dravidian race, history and culture. Using this committee, they want to make it official,” many Kannada and Tamil activists have said.
If the Centre does not revise the Committee, it is likely to snowball into a bigger issue in the coming days.