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4. Harsha of Kashmir, a Hindu iconoclast?

4. Harsha of Kashmir, a Hindu iconoclast?

4.1. Claims of Hindu iconoclasm

Whenever the history of the many thousands of temple destructions by Muslims is discussed, the secularists invariably come up with the claim that Hindus have done much the same thing to Buddhists, Jains and Animists. In particular, the disappearance of Buddhism from India is frequently explained as the result of ‘Brahminical onslaught’. Though extremely widespread by now, this allegation is entirely untrue.

As for tribal ‘animists’, numerous tribes have been gradually ‘sanskritized’, acculturated into the Hindu mainstream, and this never required any break with their worship of local Goddesses or sacred trees. The latter have easily found a place in Hinduism, if need be in what Indologists call the ‘little traditions’ flourishing in the penumbra of the ‘great tradition’. The only break sometimes required was in actual customs, most notably the abjuring of cow-slaughter; but on the whole, there is an unmistakable continuity between Hinduism and the various ‘animisms’ of India’s tribes. Hinduism itself is, after all, ‘animism transformed by metaphysics’, as aptly written in the 1901 census report’s introduction discussing the infeasibility of separating Hinduism from ‘animism’.

As for conflict with the Jain and Buddhist sects, even what little evidence is cited turns out to prove a rather different phenomenon on closer inspection. The very few conflicts attested were generally started by the sectarian Buddhists or Jains. This way, a few possible cases of Shaiva (esp. Virashaiva) intolerance against Jains in South India turn out to be cases of retaliation for Jain acts of intolerance, if the event was at all historical to begin with. if there was a brief episode of mutual Shaiva-Jaina persecution, it was at any rate not based on the religious injunctions of either system, and therefore remained an ephemeral and atypical event.

The oft-repeated allegation that Pushyamitra Sunga offered a reward for the heads of Buddhist monks is a miraculous fable related exclusively in a hostile source and contradicted by the finding of art historians that Pushyamitra was a generous patron of Buddhist institutions. Of the Buddhist emperor Ashoka, by contrast, it is known from Buddhist sources that he ordered the killing of Jain monks. Moreover, the Vinaya Pitaka relates another incident in which he ordered the killing of five hundred Buddhist monks. He was angry because they rejected his interference in an internal dispute in the Buddhist order. This event incidentally illustrates how even the actual killing of Buddhists need not be motivated by an anti-Buddhist animus.

However, even Ashoka’s acts of intolerance remained exceptional events because they lacked scriptural justification. Likewise, the alleged oppression of Brahmins by the Buddhist Kushanas can never have been more than exceptional because it had no solid scriptural basis; unlike Islamic iconoclasm and religious persecution, which is firmly rooted in the normative example of Prophet Mohammed. Judging from the evidence shown so far, I maintain that Hindu persecutions of Buddhists have been approximately non-existent. Buddhism was alive and flourishing in dozens of institutions including international universities like Nalanda when Mohammed Ghori and his lieutenants appeared on the scene to destroy them all in the last decade of the 12th century.

To sum up: ‘1) Buddhism was flourishing all over the country when the Islamic invaders arrived on the scene; 2) both Buddhism and Jainism were being patronised by kings whom the Marxists label as Hindus; 3) Buddhist monks fled to Nepal and Tibet only after thousands of them were massacred and their monasteries destroyed by the Islamic marauders; 4) Buddhism continued to flourish all over Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka till attacked by the armies of Islam in the fourteenth century; 5) Buddhism did not survive the Islamic assault because, unlike Brahmanism and Jainism, it was centred round monasteries and monks.’1

4.2. An ‘eminent historian’ on the warpath

The matter should have been put to rest there, but some Marxist polemicists just cannot let go of what they had hoped would be a trump card in their struggle to death against Hinduism. Next to the Pushyamitra fable, the most popular ‘evidence’ for Hindu persecutions of Buddhism is a passage in Kalhana’s history of Kashmir where king Harsha is accused of looting and desecrating temples.2 This example is given by JNU emeritus professor of ancient history, Romila Thapar, in a book and again in a letter written in reply to a query on Arun Shourie’s revelations on the financial malversations and scholarly manipulations by a group of secularist historians including herself.3 The letter found its way to internet discussion forums, and I reproduce the relevant part here:

‘As regards the distortions of history, Shourie does not have the faintest idea about the technical side of history-writing. His comments on [D.D.] Kosambi, [D.N.] Jha and others are laughable - as indeed Indian historians are treating him as a joke. Perhaps you should read the articles by H. Mukhia in the Indian Express and S. Subramaniam in India Today. Much of what Shourie writes can only be called garbage since he is quite unaware that history is now a professional discipline and an untrained person like himself, or like the others he quotes, such as S.R. Goel, do not .understand how to use historical sources. He writes that I have no evidence to say that Buddhists were persecuted by the Hindus. Shourie of course does not know Sanskrit nor presumably does S.R. Goel, otherwise they would look up my footnotes and see that I am quoting from the texts of Banabhatta’s Harshacharita of the seventh century A.D. and Kalhana’s Rajatarangini of the twelfth century A.D. Both texts refer to such persecutions.’4

Hopefully she is aware that the Harsha of her first source (Harsha of Kanauj) is not the same person as the one of her second source, the villain Harsha of Kashmir. Let us at any rate take a closer look at this paragraph by the ‘eminent historian’.

Most space of her para and indeed her whole letter is devoted to attacks ad hominem, much of it against Mr. Sita Ram Goel. In his book Hindu Temples, What Happened to Them, vol.1 (Voice of India, Delhi 1990), Goel has listed nearly two thousand mosques standing on the debris of demolished Hindu temples. That is to say, nearly two thousand specific assertions which satisfy Karl Popper’s criterion of scientific theories, viz. that they should be falsifiable: it must be clear which test, if not met, would decide on the wrongness of the assertion. In practice, every secularist historian can go and unearth the story of each or any of the mosques enumerated and prove that it was unrelated to any temple demolition. But until today, not one member of the well-funded brigade of secularist historians has taken the scholarly approach and investigated any of Goel’s documented assertions. The general policy is to deny his existence by keeping him unmentioned; most publications on the Ayodhya affair have not even included his book in their bibliographies eventhough it holds the key to the whole controversy.

But sometimes, the secularists cannot control their anger at Goel for having exposed and refuted their propaganda, and then they do some shouting at him, as done in this case by Romila Thapar. It is not true that Sita Ram Goel is an ‘untrained person’, as she alleges. He has an MA in History from Delhi University (1944). And he has actually practised history, writing both original and secondary studies on Communism, Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism.

Goel also happens to be fluent in Sanskrit, quite unlike Romila Thapar, whose knowledge of Sanskrit has subtly been tested by questioners during lectures and found wanting. Having gone through Urdu-medium schooling and having lived in Calcutta for many years, Mr. Goel is fluent in Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, English and Sanskrit, and also reads Persian (a course of Persian being a traditional part of Urdu-medium education). This is the perfect linguistic equipment for a student of Indian history, and in that respect at least, Goel can argue circles around the ill-equipped Professor. In Hindu Temples, vol. 2, a book of which Goel sent Prof. Thapar a copy, he has discussed the very testimonies she is invoking as proof (along with her similarly haughty and status-oriented reply and his own comment on it)5, - yet here she maintains that he has not bothered to check her sources.

Note, at any rate, Romila Thapar’s total reliance on arguments of authority and status. No less than seven times does she denounce Shourie’s alleged incompetence: Shourie has ‘not the faintest idea’, is ‘unaware’, ‘untrained’, and ‘does not know’, and what he does is ‘laughable’, ‘a joke’, ‘garbage’. But what exactly is wrong in his writing, we are not allowed to know. If history is now a professional discipline, one couldn’t deduce it from this Prof. Thapar’s letter, for its line of argument is part snobbery and part medieval invocation of formal authority, and either way quite bereft of the scientific approach.

Reliance on authority and especially on academic titles is quite common in academic circles, yet it is hardly proof of a scholarly mentality. Commoners often attach great importance to titles (e.g., before I obtained my doctorate, I was often embarrassed by lecture organizers introducing me as ‘Dr.’ or even ‘Prof.’ Elst, because they could not imagine that someone could be competent without such a title). But scholars actively involved in research ought to, know from experience that many publications by title-carrying people are useless, while conversely, a good deal of important research is the fruit of the labour of so-called amateurs, or of established scholars accredited only in a different field of expertise. Incidentally, Prof. Thapar’s pronouncements on medieval history are also examples of such transgression of specialism boundaries, as her field really is ancient rather than medieval history.

At any rate, knowledge of Sanskrit is not the issue, for the Rajatarangini is available in English translation, as Romila Thapar certainly knows: Rajatarangini. The Saga of the Kings of Kashmir, translated from Sanskrit by Ranjit Sitaram Pandit, with a foreword by Jawaharlal Nehru, 1935. With my limited knowledge of Sanskrit, I have laboriously checked the crucial sentences against the Sanskrit text.6 I could not find fault with the translation, and even if there were imperfections in terms of grammar, style or vocabulary, we can be sure that there are no distortions meant to please the Hindu nationalists, for the translator was an outspoken Nehruvian. If I am not mistaken, he was the husband of Nehru’s sister, Vijayalakshmi Pandit, whose defects did not include a weakness for Hindutva.

4.3. An eminent brawl

Let us now check Prof. Thapar’s references, starting with the review article on Shourie’s book by S. Subramaniam: ‘History sheeter. Bullheaded Shourie makes the left-right debate a brawl’. This article itself is quite a brawl: ‘Shourie has nothing to say beyond repeating the Islamophobic tirade of his henchman, the monomaniacal Sita Ram Goel who is referred to repeatedly in the text as ‘’indefatigable’ and even ‘’intrepid’. Goel’s stock in trade has been to reproduce ad nauseam the same extracts from those colonial pillars Elliott and Dowson and that happy neo-colonialist Sir Jadunath Sarkar.’7

It is, of course, quite untrue that Shourie’s book is but a rehashing of earlier work by Goel. As can be verified in the index of Shourie’s book, Goel’s findings are discussed in it on p.99-100, p. 107-108, and p.253-254; that leaves well over two hundred pages where Shourie does have something to say ‘beyond repeating the tirade of his henchman’. Goel may be many things, but certainly not ‘monomaniacal’. He has written a handful of novels plus essays and studies on Communism, Greek philosophy, several aspects of Christian doctrine and history, Secularism, Islam, and of course Hinduism.

Goel’s writings on Islam are much richer than a mere catalogue of atrocities, and even the catalogue of atrocities is drawn from many more sources than just Elliott and Dowson. The latter’s alleged colonialist motives do not nullify the accuracy of their translation of Muslim testimonies; it is not without reason that their 8-volume study was called History of India as Told by Its Own Historians. I am also not aware that Goel has repeated certain quotations ad nauseam; to my knowledge, most Elliott & Dowson and Jadunath Sarkar quotations appear only once in his collected works. Finally, Goel’s position is not more ‘Islamophobic’ than the average book on World War 2 is ‘Naziphobic’; if certain details about the doctrines studied are repulsive, that may be due to the facts more than to the prejudice of the writer.

So, practically every word in Subramaniam’s evaluation is malicious and untrue. No wonder, then, that he concludes his evaluation of Shourie’s latest book as follows: ‘But serious thought of any variety has been replaced by spleen, hysteria and abuse.’ That, of course, is rather the case with Shourie’s critics, including Subramaniam himself who keeps the readers in the dark about Shourie’s arguments and withholds from us his own rebuttals. If Romila Thapar refers to his review, it can only be for its ‘treating Shourie like a joke’, but by no means for its demonstrating how history has now become a scientific discipline. All it demonstrates is the bullying rhetoric so common in the debate between the scientific and the secularist schools of Indian history. As a reader commented in the next issue: ‘The review of Arun Shourie’s Eminent Historians ironically hardly mentioned what the book was about. It read more like a biographical sketch of the author with a string of abuses thrown in.’8

As for NU professor Harbans Mukhia, in a guest column in Indian Express, he surveys the influence of Marxism in Indian historiography, highlighting the pioneering work of D.D. Kosambi, R.S. Sharma and Irfan Habib in the 1950s and 60s.9 He argues that this Marxist wave began without state patronage; this in an apparent attempt to refute Shourie’s account of the role of state patronage and of the resulting corruption in the power position Marxist historians have come to enjoy. This is of course a straw man: Shourie never denied that Kosambi meant what he wrote rather than being an opportunist eager to please Marxist patrons.

The dominance of Marxist scholarship started with independent and sincere (though by no means impeccable) scholars like Kosambi. In a second phase, the swelling ranks of committed Marxist academics got a hold on the academic and cultural power positions. In the next phase, being a Marxist was so profitable that many opportunists whose commitment was much shallower also joined the ranks, hastening the inevitable process of corruption. I may add that in the present phase, Marxists are furiously defending their power position while their history-rewriting is being exposed and demolished; and
in the final phase, they will lose their grip and disappear.

Anyway, the only real argument which Mukhia develops, is this: ‘To be fair, such few professionals as the BJP has in its camp have seldom levelled these charges at least in public. They leave this task to the likes of Sita Ram Goel who, one learns, does full time business for profit and part time history for pleasure, and Arun Shourie who, too, one learns, does journalism for a living, specializing in the investigation of non-BJP persons’ scandals.’

It is not clear where Mukhia has done his ‘learning’, but his information on Goel is incorrect. Goel was a brilliant student of History at Delhi University where he earned his MA. in some parts of the period 1949-63 he was indeed a ‘part-time historian’, working for a living as well as doing nonprofit research on the contemporary history of Communism. He did full-time business for profit between 1963, when he lost his job after publishing a book critical of Jawaharlal Nehru, and 1982, when he handed his business over to younger relatives. Ever since, he has been a full-time historian, and some of his publications are simply the best in their field, standing unchallenged by the historians of Mukhia’s school, who have never gotten farther than the kind of invective ad hominem which we find in the abovementioned texts by Romila Thapar, S. Subramaniam and Mukhia himself.

As for Shourie, Mukhia is hardly revealing a secret with his information that Shourie ‘does journalism for a living’. The greatest investigative journalist in India by far, he has indeed unearthed some dirty secrets of Congressite, casteist and Communist politicians. His revelations about the corrupt financial dealings between the Marxist historians and the government-sponsored academic institutions are in that same category: fearless and factual investigative journalism. Shourie has a Ph.D. degree in Economics from Syracuse University in U.S.A., which should attest to a capacity for scholarship, even if not strictly in the historical field. When he criticizes the gross distortions of history by Mukhia’s school, one could say formally that he transgresses the boundaries of his specialism, but such formalistic exclusives only hide the absence of a substantive refutation.

After all, it is only the contents of an author’s writings on history which must stamp him as a real c.q. a would-be historian. For instance, Shourie’s historical research on Dr. Ambedkar has suddenly brought back to earth the deified Ambedkar of the early 1990s.10 None of the politicians or intellectuals who had extolled Ambedkar beyond all proportion till the day before have challenged the research findings presented by Shourie. Likewise, Shourie’s allegations of both financial malfeasance and scholarly manipulation (amounting to wilful distortion of Indian history) against Harbans Mukhia’s circle stand unshaken.

4.4. Kalhana’s first-hand testimony

Now, let us look into the historical references cited by Romila Thapar. To check Banabhatta’s Harshacharita, concerning Harsha of Kanauj (r.606-647), no knowledge of Sanskrit is needed, for the book has long been extant in English and Hindi translations.11 I have not found the allegations cited by Romila Thapar, nor any other description of a case of religious persecution (though Bana mentions in passing that the Buddhist monks did not love the Brahmins, a legitimate exercise of their freedom of opinion as guaranteed under all Hindu regimes). On the contrary, the text testifies to Hindu society’s achievement of an impressive communal harmony, as even the otherwise Hindu-baiting translator E.B.Cowell is forced to admit.

Of course, being myopic and easily distracted when reading difficult texts, I may have overlooked the tell-tale passage. Perhaps the eminent historian could provide the exact location and quotation herself? Meanwhile, I have been able to consult both the Sanskrit original and the English translation of Kalhana’s Rajataranigini, and that source provides a clinching testimony.

Harsha or Harshadeva of Kashmir (r. 1089-1111) has been called the ‘Nero of Kashmir’, and this ‘because of his cruelty’.12 He is described by Kalhana as having looted and desecrated most of the Hindu and Buddhist temples in Kashmir, partly through an office which he had created specially for this purpose. The general data on 11th-century Kashmir already militate against treating him as a typical Hindu king who did on purely Hindu grounds what Muslim kings also did, viz. to destroy the places of worship of rival religions. For, Kashmir had already been occupied by Masud Ghaznavi, son of Mahmud, in 1034, and Turkish troops were a permanent presence as mercenaries to the king.

Harsha was a fellow-traveller: not yet a full convert to Islam (he still ate pork), but quite adapted to the Islamic ways, for ‘he ever fostered with money the Turks, who were his centurions’.13 There was nothing Hindu about his iconoclasm, which targeted Hindu temples, as if a Muslim king were to demolish mosques rather than temples. All temples in his kingdom except four (two of them Buddhist)14 were damaged. This behaviour was so un-Hindu and so characteristically Islamic that Kalhana reports: ‘In the village, the town or in Srinagara there was not one temple which was not despoiled by the Turk king Harsha.’15

So there you have it: ‘the Turk king Harsha’. Far from representing Hindu tradition of iconoclasm which no one has ever known or discovered, Harsha of Kashmir was a somewhat peculiar (viz. fellow-traveller) representative of the Islamic tradition of iconoclasm. Like Mahmud Ghaznavi and Aurangzeb, he despoiled and looted Hindu shrines, not non-Hindu ones. Influenced by the Muslims in his employ, he behaved like a Muslim. Even Ranjit Sitaram Pandit is forced to admit the impact of Islam, though in veiled language: ‘The Turks referred to here, it is clear, are those who in accordance with the religious ideas of the Arabs had renounced pork.’16

All this is said explicitly in the text which Romila Thapar cites as proving the existence of Hindu iconoclasm. If she herself has read it at all, she must be knowing that it doesn’t support the claim she is making. Clearly she has been bluffing, making false claims about Kalhana’s testimony in the hope that her readers would be too inert to check the source. Worst of all, she has made these false claims about Kalhana’s testimony even while denouncing others for not having checked with Kalhana.

4.5. Romila Thapar on Mahmud Ghaznavi

It is not the first and only time that Romila Thapar has somehow missed the decisive information given in primary sources. In her much-publicized paper on Somnath and Mahmud Ghaznavi, she questioned the veracity of Mahmud’s reputation as an idol-breaker, claiming that all the references to Mahmud’s destruction of the Somnath temple (1026) are non-contemporary as well as distorted by ulterior motives.17

That was the Ayodhya debate all over again: when evidence was offered of pre-British references to the destruction of a Rama temple on the Babri Masjid site, the pro-Babri Masjid Action Committee historians
replied that the evidence was not contemporary enough, but without explaining why so many secondary sources come up with the temple demolition story. Likewise here: if there was so much myth-making around Ghaznavi’s Somnath campaign, even making him the norm of iconoclasm against which the Islamic zeal of every Delhi sultan was measured, what momentous event (other than that he really destroyed the Somnath temple) triggered all this myth-making?

Anyway, in this case the claim that there is no contemporary evidence for Mahmud’s explicitly religious act of destroying the Somnath idol and temple, is simply false. Though Romila Thapar does mention Ghaznavi’s employee Alberuni, she conceals that Alberuni, who had widely travelled in India and was as contemporary to Ghaznavi as can be, has explicitly confirmed Ghaznavi’s general policy of Islamic iconoclasm and specifically his destruction of the Somnath temple. It is in fact Alberuni who gives the oft-quoted detail that the main idol was broken to pieces, with one piece being thrown into the hippodrome of a mosque in Ghazni and another being built into the steps at the entrance of the mosque, so that worshippers could wipe their feet on it.’18 Mahmud’s effort to desecrate the idol by all means shows that his iconoclasm was not just a matter of stealing the temple gold, but was a studied act of religious desecration.

He thereby smashed to pieces yet another pet theory of the Romila Thapar school, viz. that the Islamic iconoclasts’ motive was economic rather than religious. I think it is demeaning to devout Muslim rulers when their religious zeal is explained away as a mere matter of greed. Also, in Islam there is no contradiction between greed and religious zeal, as the division of the spoils is a rightful conclusion to a jihad, sanctioned by Prophet Mohammed’s own example. At any rate, it is precisely the primary sources which leave no stone standing of the edifice of Nehruvian history-rewriting.

It may be remarked here in passing that Prof. Thapar also demonstrates her very weak grip on religious issues with her little excursus on the occasional Muslim interpretation (rendered more plausible by the imprecision of the Arabic script in transcribing Indian words) of Somanatha as ‘Somanat’, and hence of the temple as a place where the Arabian Goddess Manat was worshipped. In spite of her own position, she actually hits the nail on the head in her rendering of what she describes as Turco-Persian myth-making: ‘The link with Manat added to the acclaim for Mahmud. Not only was he the prize iconoclast in breaking Hindu idols, but in destroying Manat he had carried out what were said to be the very orders of the Prophet.’

Well, exactly. Far from being some semi-literate’s private myth-making, this is a fanciful elaboration on what is otherwise a pure instance of Islamic theology, valid for all Muslims who take their religion seriously. Regardless of whether Manat was worshipped in the Somnath temple (or earlier in a Somnath-devoted open-air sacred space), the Islamic struggle against ‘polytheistic, idolatrous’ Hinduism was but a continuation of Prophet Mohammed’s own struggle against and destruction of the native ‘polytheistic, idolatrous’ religion of Arabia. The continuity between these two Pagan traditions had been acknowledged by their own votaries: pre-Islamic Arab traders in Gujarat paid their respects to Shiva Somnath, as Hindu traders in Bahrain or Yemen did to the Gods and Goddesses of Arabia in the Kaaba. In Islam, it was therefore a pious act to treat all instances of Hindu idolatry the way Prophet Mohammed had treated the idols in the Kaaba upon conquering Mecca: destroy them. In spite of herself, Prof. Thapar has pointed out the purely Islamic basis for Mahmud’s behaviour.

4.6. A small apology

It gives me no enjoyment to demolish the false credibility of a highly-placed historian like Prof. Romila Thapar. indeed, those who have read earlier works of mine, esp. Negationism in India (1992), will have noticed that my language even in polemic has softened and become more focused on viewpoints rather than groups of people such ‘the’ Muslims or the Marxist historians. I truly regret it if the above chapter has hurt the feelings of the august professor, as I guess it must have. The only mitigating circumstances, which still cannot undo my sincere regret, are the following two.

Firstly, it must have become quite apparent in passing that she herself has done her share of levelling accusations against people. I dare add that she has often made allegations very lightly, either without bothering to check the sources or deliberately not taking the sources’ information into account. in my research on various topics, I have run into allegations by Prof. Thapar which flew in the face of both the documentation available to historians and the general knowledge available to the public.

Thus, when writing on the Aryan invasion debate, I encountered a paper by her on the same topic in which she alleged that in the Arya Samaj, ‘the untouchables were excluded’19 Every Indian, and a fortiori a historian originating in the Arya Samaj’s Panjabi heartland. must be aware that the Arya Samaj pioneered the struggle against untouchability, and that its office-bearers voluntarily risked exclusion from their own castes by inviting untouchables to participate in the Samaj’s activities on equal terms. It is hard to find a way of explaining the eminent historian’s slur on the Arya Samaj as a mere mistake.

Secondly, in my criticism of other authors, I take their social position into account. I will avoid being harsh on a poor and marginal author who is made to suffer for his opinions by being thwarted in his career. On the other hand, people who enjoy fame, profitable appointments and royalties from prestigious publishers, should have a thicker skin. Prof. Thapar is the most-applauded Nehruvian historian alive at the time of my writing, so my little bit of criticism is easily outweighed by all the more pleasant aspects of her position.

In early 2001, she even received an honorary doctorate at the Sorbonne, France’s premier university. Most unusually, the awarding committee made it a point to lambast, in its official announcement, French journalist François Gautier for having exposed some of the scholarly frauds committed by the eminent historian. Rather than check Gautier’s allegations, which implied that rewarding Romila Thapar would taint the fair name of the Sorbonne, the French professors acted as her good political buddies and awarded her the honour anyway. Fair enough: at her age, she should not be denied some fine laurels to rest on.


  1. Hindu Temples, vol.2 (2nd ed.), p.421. 

  2. Rajatarangini, Taranga 7: 1089 ff. 

  3. Romila Thapar et al.: Communalism in the Waiting of Indian History, People’s Publishing House, Delhi 1987 (1969), p.15-16, and repeated in her letter to Mr. Manish Tayal (UK), 7-2-1999, concerning Arun Shourie: Eminent Historians, ASA, Delhi 1998. 

  4. Manish Tayal: ‘Romila Thapar’s reply to ‘’Eminent Historians’‘,, 16-2-1999. 

  5. Sita Ram Goel: Hindu Temples, What Happened to Them, vol. 2 (second edition), p.408-422. 

  6. M.A. Stein, ed.: Kalhana’s Rajatarangini or Chronicle of the Kings of Kashmir (1892), republished by Munshiram Manoharlal, Delhi 1960. 

  7. S. Subramaniam: ‘History sheeter. Bullheaded Shourie makes the left-right debate a brawl’, India Today, 7-12-1998. 

  8. K.R. Panda, Delhi, in India Today, 21-12-1998. 

  9. Harbans Mukhia: ‘Historical wrongs. The rise of the part-time historian’, Indian Express, 27-11-1998. 

  10. Arun Shourie: Worshipping False Gods. Ambedkar and the Facts which Have Been Erased, ASA, Delhi 1997. 

  11. E.B. Cowell and F.W. Thomas: Harsa Carita of Bana, Royal Asiatic Society Oriental Translation Fund, New Series no. VIII, London 1929 (1897); and Jagannatha Pathak: Harsha-Charita, Chaukhamba Vidyabhavan, Varanasi 1964. Also vide V.S. Agrawala: The Deeds of Harsha, Prithivi Prakashan, Varanasi 1969, and Bijnath Sharma: Harsha and His Times, Sushma Prakasha, Varanasi 1970. 

  12. S.B. Bhattacherje: Encyclopaedia of Indian Events and Dates, Sterling Publ., Delhi 1995, p.A-20. 

  13. Rajatarangini 7:1149; translation by Ranjit Sitaram Pandit, Sahitya Akademi reprint, Delhi 1990, p.357; other relevant passages at p.352. 

  14. Enumerated in Rajatarangini 7:1096-1098; translation by R.S. Pandit. 

  15. Raiatarangini 7:1095; translation by R.S. Pandit, p.352. 

  16. Rajatarangini, p.357n.; translation by R.S. Pandit; emphasis added. 

  17. Romila Thapar: ‘Somanatha and Mahmud’, Frontline, 23-4-1999. The Communist fortnightly refused to publish a rebuttal by a historian of equal rank, Prof. K.S. Lal; it was published as ‘Somnath and Mahmud’ in Organiser, 4-7-1999. 

  18. Edward Sechau, tra.: Alberuni’s India, London 1910, vol.2, p.103. 

  19. Romila Thapar: ‘The theory of the Aryan race and India: history and politics’, Social Scientist, Delhi, January-March 1996, p.8, discussed in K. Elst: Update on the Aryan Invasion Debate, Aditya Prakashan, Delhi 1999, p.5.