The murder of linguistic history — I

“Even so, I was surprised when looking at the guidebooks students study for Pakistan studies at the BA level. I found versions of linguistic history which are simply untrue.”
The murder of linguistic history — I

By Dr Tariq Rahman

Published: July 16, 2011–i/

The writer is Distinguished National Professor Emeritus of Linguistic History

KK Aziz’s landmark study of the distortion and falsification of history in textbooks entitled The Murder of History: A critique of history textbooks used in Pakistan, was first published in 1993. Since then, a number of people, including myself, have written on this subject. In India, too, the saffronisation of textbooks was opposed by well-meaning people and Krishna Kumar’s book Prejudice and Pride: School Histories of the Freedom Struggle in India and Pakistan (2001) is a major study on this subject. The gist of all these works is that the state and powerful interest groups distort textbooks of history so as to indoctrinate students to support their narrative and the policies emanating from it.

While some form of indoctrination goes into the deliberate construction of identities — mainly nationalistic identities — all over the world, it is rarely as crude as in the textbooks one comes across in our educational institutions. Even so, I was surprised when looking at the guidebooks students study for Pakistan studies at the BA level. I found versions of linguistic history which are simply untrue. Let me expatiate upon some of these untruths in a series of articles, of which this is the first.

The book in question, published by a shadowy publishing house in the Urdu Bazaar of Lahore, is used by students of Pakistan studies, history, politics, international relations as well as those preparing for their civil service examinations.

The book claims that the British were enemies of Urdu. The facts, however, are that the British taught Urdu, which they mostly called ‘Hindustani’, to their officers in Fort William College.

The first department of Urdu was, in fact, established by them there under the supervision of John Borthwick Gilchrist who wrote A Grammar of the Hindoostanee Language in 1796. Urdu was later spread in the lower schools of present-day Utter Pradesh (UP) by British officers, notably James Thomason (1804-1853) during the 1850s. In 1853, the authorities made the knowledge of Urdu necessary for employment so it spread faster. Later, when the British conquered Punjab in 1849, they spread Urdu to the schools in both Punjab and present-day Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. Again, as in UP, they also made Urdu the language of lower jobs and hence, people learned it in their pragmatic interest.

The second major lie in the textbook is that during the Urdu-Hindi controversy, the British drove out Urdu from the courts and imposed Hindi instead.

In fact, while individual British officers were divided amongst themselves, the British government did not drive out Urdu from its major strongholds i.e. present-day UP and Punjab. The guide mentions Lt Governor AP Macdonnell (1859-1925) as the man who threw Urdu out of the lower courts and offices of the North Western Provinces (NWP, present-day UP). Macdonnell’s papers are available in a special collection at the Bodleian Library of the University of Oxford. I read them first in 1993 and again in 2010 for my recently-published book From Hindi to Urdu: A Social and Political History (2011).

Macdonnell received petitions from the supporters of Hindi — about 86 per cent of the population — to replace Urdu by Hindi in the courts. He sat on them for three years and eventually decided that (1) petitions could be received in both Urdu and Hindi scripts (2) summonses and proclamations will also be in both (3) only people who could read both scripts would be given government service (April 18, 1900).

In short, Hindi was allowed but Urdu remained the language of the courts and lower offices.

Macdonnell wrote to the viceroy, Lord Curzon, that it would be politically dangerous to remove Urdu. In his own words of May 18, 1900: “A political danger of considerable magnitude here intervened. The dethronement of Urdu, and the enthronement of Hindi, would mean an embittered war between Mohomedan and Hindu and the excitement of Mohomedan hostility against the government.”

The British government wanted peace and order, of course, and could not afford a civil war (our present governments do not seem to mind that though). Hence Urdu remained the court language till September 1949, two years after the departure of the British, when it was replaced by Hindi in the Devanagari script by the Legislative Assembly of India.

Apart from pure ignorance, one wonders where this notion of the replacement of Urdu by Hindi comes from. My guess is that it comes from developments in Bihar and the Saugor and Nerbudda territories (present-day Madhya Pradesh) and the hill tracts of the NWP, which are confused with the rest of north India.

In 1835, FJ Shore, officiating commissioner of Saugor and Nerbudda, replaced Persian by Hindustani in the Devanagari script. Officials in Kumaun and adjoining hilly areas were also doing this. Yet, at least in the Saugor and Nerbudda areas, the Persian script (Urdu) was introduced 10 years later. Thus, when this area was amalgamated with Central Provinces (CP) in 1861, Urdu came to predominate.

Only in Bihar, two governors, Sir George Campbell and Sir Anthony Eden, removed Urdu. The former attacked Persianised Urdu in 1871, and the latter ordered the use of Hindustani in the Kaithi or the Devanagari scripts to the exclusion of the Urdu script. Later, because of Hindu resistance to Kaithi, it was excluded and Devanagari triumphed.211064-DrTariqRahmanNew-1310828381-158-640x480

Yet, in the cultural heartland of UP and the Muslim-majority areas of Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, it was Urdu which was officially supported and promoted — even at the expense of the indigenous languages of the people — by the British.

Hence, to claim that British rule was inimical to Urdu is either ignorance or misleading propaganda. In any case, I would urge authorities to pay more attention to textbooks to create less biased minds than we have done in the past.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 17th, 2011.


Just 90 companies caused two-thirds of man-made global warming emissions

Chevron, Exxon and BP among companies most responsible for climate change since dawn of industrial age, figures show.


Wednesday 20 November 2013 16.07 GMT

Sandbag’s report into the emergence of emissions trading in China : carbon pollution

Oil, coal and gas companies are contributing to most carbon emissions, causing climate change and some are also funding denial campaigns. Photograph: David Gray/Reuters

The climate crisis of the 21st century has been caused largely by just 90 companies, which between them produced nearly two-thirds of the greenhouse gas emissions generated since the dawning of the industrial age, new research suggests.
Sandbag’s report into the emergence of emissions trading in China : carbon pollution
The companies range from investor-owned firms – household names such as Chevron, Exxon and BP – to state-owned and government-run firms.

The analysis, which was welcomed by the former vice-president Al Gore as a “crucial step forward” found that the vast majority of the firms were in the business of producing oil, gas or coal, found the analysis, which has been accepted for publication in the journal Climactic Change.

“There are thousands of oil, gas and coal producers in the world,” climate researcher and author Richard Heede at the Climate Accountability Institute in Colorado said. “But the decision makers, the CEOs, or the ministers of coal and oil if you narrow it down to just one person, they could all fit on a Greyhound bus or two.”

Half of the estimated emissions were produced just in the past 25 years – well past the date when governments and corporations became aware that rising greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of coal and oil were causing dangerous climate change.

Many of the same companies are also sitting on substantial reserves of fossil fuel which – if they are burned – puts the world at even greater risk of dangerous climate change.

Climate change experts said the data set was the most ambitious effort so far to hold individual carbon producers, rather than governments, to account.

The United Nations climate change panel, the IPCC, warned in September that at current rates the world stood within 30 years of exhausting its “carbon budget” – the amount of carbon dioxide it could emit without going into the danger zone above 2C warming. The former US vice-president and environmental champion, Al Gore, said the new carbon accounting could re-set the debate about allocating blame for the climate crisis.

Leaders meeting in Warsaw for the UN climate talks this week clashed repeatedly over which countries bore the burden for solving the climate crisis – historic emitters such as America or Europe or the rising economies of India and China.

Gore in his comments said the analysis underlined that it should not fall to governments alone to act on climate change.

“This study is a crucial step forward in our understanding of the evolution of the climate crisis. The public and private sectors alike must do what is necessary to stop global warming,” Gore told the Guardian. “Those who are historically responsible for polluting our atmosphere have a clear obligation to be part of the solution.”

Between them, the 90 companies on the list of top emitters produced 63% of the cumulative global emissions of industrial carbon dioxide and methane between 1751 to 2010, amounting to about 914 gigatonne CO2 emissions, according to the research. All but seven of the 90 were energy companies producing oil, gas and coal. The remaining seven were cement manufacturers.

The list of 90 companies included 50 investor-owned firms – mainly oil companies with widely recognised names such as Chevron, Exxon, BP , and Royal Dutch Shell and coal producers such as British Coal Corp, Peabody Energy and BHP Billiton.

Some 31 of the companies that made the list were state-owned companies such as Saudi Arabia’s Saudi Aramco, Russia’s Gazprom and Norway’s Statoil.

Nine were government run industries, producing mainly coal in countries such as China, the former Soviet Union, North Korea and Poland, the host of this week’s talks.

Experts familiar with Heede’s research and the politics of climate change said they hoped the analysis could help break the deadlock in international climate talks.

“It seemed like maybe this could break the logjam,” said Naomi Oreskes, professor of the history of science at Harvard. “There are all kinds of countries that have produced a tremendous amount of historical emissions that we do not normally talk about. We do not normally talk about Mexico or Poland or Venezuela. So then it’s not just rich v poor, it is also producers v consumers, and resource rich v resource poor.”

Michael Mann, the climate scientist, said he hoped the list would bring greater scrutiny to oil and coal companies’ deployment of their remaining reserves. “What I think could be a game changer here is the potential for clearly fingerprinting the sources of those future emissions,” he said. “It increases the accountability for fossil fuel burning. You can’t burn fossil fuels without the rest of the world knowing about it.”

Others were less optimistic that a more comprehensive accounting of the sources of greenhouse gas emissions would make it easier to achieve the emissions reductions needed to avoid catastrophic climate change.

John Ashton, who served as UK’s chief climate change negotiator for six years, suggested that the findings reaffirmed the central role of fossil fuel producing entities in the economy.

“The challenge we face is to move in the space of not much more than a generation from a carbon-intensive energy system to a carbonneutral energy system. If we don’t do that we stand no chance of keeping climate change within the 2C threshold,” Ashton said.

“By highlighting the way in which a relatively small number of large companies are at the heart of the current carbon-intensive growth model, this report highlights that fundamental challenge.”

Meanwhile, Oreskes, who has written extensively about corporate-funded climate denial, noted that several of the top companies on the list had funded the climate denial movement.

“For me one of the most interesting things to think about was the overlap of large scale producers and the funding of disinformation campaigns, and how that has delayed action,” she said.

The data represents eight years of exhaustive research into carbon emissions over time, as well as the ownership history of the major emitters.

The companies’ operations spanned the globe, with company headquarters in 43 different countries. “These entities extract resources from every oil, natural gas and coal province in the world, and process the fuels into marketable products that are sold to consumers on every nation on Earth,” Heede writes in the paper.

The largest of the investor-owned companies were responsible for an outsized share of emissions. Nearly 30% of emissions were produced just by the top 20 companies, the research found.

By Heede’s calculation, government-run oil and coal companies in the former Soviet Union produced more greenhouse gas emissions than any other entity – just under 8.9% of the total produced over time. China came a close second with its government-run entities accounting for 8.6% of total global emissions.

ChevronTexaco was the leading emitter among investor-owned companies, causing 3.5% of greenhouse gas emissions to date, with Exxon not far behind at 3.2%. In third place, BP caused 2.5% of global emissions to date.

The historic emissions record was constructed using public records and data from the US department of energy’s Carbon Dioxide Information and Analysis Centre, and took account of emissions all along the supply chain.

The centre put global industrial emissions since 1751 at 1,450 gigatonnes.

The god that failed: Nehru-Indira socialist model placed India in precipitous decline relative to the world

This article of Arvind Virmani says more than history.
Arvind Virmani | Nov 21, 2013, 12.06 AM IST

How can we judge the performance of the Nehru-Indira socialist, mixed economy that prevailed from 1950 to 1979? This approach is also characterised as the “license quota permit (LPQ) raj.” Jawaharlal Nehru was PM from 1947 till his death in May 1964, while Indira Gandhi was PM from January 1966 to March 1977. Thus father and daughter led the country for 25 of the 30 years.

Though there were other PMs in 1966-67 (Shastri) and 1977-79 (Morarji Desai, Charan Singh) they didn’t have time to change the fundamental development approach. The reason for taking 1979 as the cut-off date is that when Indira returned as PM for a second tenure in 1980, she initiated a clear reversal of her own failed policies of the socialist era.

Next we need a performance measure and a comparator. Growth and poverty reduction have often been used to compare performance across time periods. But here we use a more effective summary measure of welfare, per capita GDP at purchasing power parity, to show how the average Indian fared relative to the rest of the world. This helps us compare the effectiveness of the Nehru-Indira socialist development strategy relative to the effectiveness of development strategies prevailing in the rest of the world during the same period.

Many writers argue that socialist policies were fine as growth was faster than under colonial rule. The problem with that argument is that the whole world did better after 1950, so the fact that India also did better tells nothing about the effectiveness of our policies compared to alternatives that were not only available but were actually adopted in other countries.

Other writers take specific countries such as South Korea and argue that we performed abysmally relative to them. Though this is true it is subject to selection bias – picking the best performing countries as comparators would obviously make India look bad. Such criticism cannot be levelled when the comparator is the whole world. A development model that leaves the relative welfare of the average Indian worse off than that of the average world citizen surely needs to be ostracised and not praised, as it still often is in India!

So how did the socialist approach fare? In 1950 the welfare of the average Indian was 29% of that of the average world citizen. By 1979 it had reduced to 20%, or one-fifth, of that of the average world citizen. This means that the world on average was progressing faster than India – not just South Korea, not just east and southeast Asia, but Africa, Latin America and developed countries (all) taken together!

During Nehru’s tenure, India’s per capita GDP at PPP as a proportion of average world per capita GDP at PPP was reduced by 3 percentage points (or by 11% of its previous level). It declined further during the 1965 war and was 23% in 1966, when Indira first came to power. By 1976 welfare of the average Indian slipped further to 21% of world levels (thus declining by another 2 percentage points or by 8% of its previous level). It remained at the same relative level in 1980.

Per capita income growth data from a different source confirms that Indian economic growth was slower than that of the rest of the world. Between 1960 and 1979 India’s per capita GDP grew at an average rate of 1.1% per annum compared to an average growth of per capita world GDP of 2.7% per annum. Thus the average Indian’s per capita income was falling behind the world by 1.6% per year during this period.

The Janata government formed in 1977, with Morarji Desai as PM, did try to change the direction of economic policy. It appointed a “committee on controls and subsidies (Dagli),” and the “Alexander Committee on Import-Export Policy”, to analyse the LPQ raj and suggest a new approach. I remember that my first foray into practical policy advice was to give a memorandum to the Dagli committee, arguing that tax policy was more efficient than controls in achieving desired economic objectives and recommending industrial and import decontrol.

The Morarji government fell before Dagli or Alexander committee recommendations could be implemented. It was only after the arrival of the second Indira government in 1980 that import decontrol started in earnest, with surprisingly positive results.

The Nehru-Indira version of socialism was a failure compared to market-based models being used in other parts of the world after World War II. Nationalisation of large industry and financial institutions led to their monopolisation and the suppression of competition. Secondly, private entrepreneurship (including the non-profit sector) was suppressed through oppressive controls on every sphere of economic activity, converting businessmen into rent seekers.

Thirdly, obsession with heavy industry led to the neglect of both labour-intensive light industry – rendered uncompetitive through rigid labour laws – and agriculture. The fourth negative consequence was a gross neglect of basic education and literacy. Fifthly, a large, unspecialised, overextended and oppressive bureaucracy was created that behaved like colonial or princely rulers.

It was only with the gradual abandonment of this model that Indian growth accelerated and the welfare gap between Indians and the rest of the world started closing.

The writer is former chief economic advisor, ministry of finance. He currently heads

Nitish Kumar’s government is soft on Maoists, says damning Intelligence report

Rohit Singh | Headlines Today | Patna, November 20, 2013 | UPDATED 21:05 IST

Bihar CM Nitish KumarBihar CM Nitish Kumar

A Central Intelligence Committee report to the prime minister has exposed Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s slack approach in tackling Maoists in the state which, the report says, is the reason why there has been a 41 per cent rise in casualties in Maoist violence this year compared to 2012.

The report warns of a major attack by Maoists in the state soon. Though this report has raised many eyebrows, Nitish has rubbished the report maintaining that it was prepared by the central agencies for the media.nitish-kumar

Among other observations, the report says Bihar utilised just 67 per cent of the fund under Integrated Action Plan while Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh utilised 84 per cent and 78 per cent respectively. Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Jharkhand have been using funds aggressively between 76 and 79 per cent.

Instead of taking the report seriously, Nitish Kumar rubbished the report pointing out that it was meant only for the media. The lackadaisical approach towards this report has given an opportunity to the Opposition in the state to hit out at him. BJP has maintained that Nitish was soft on Maoists due to vote bank compulsions ahead of the 2014 General Elections.

“I am not aware of the report and all this is rubbish. Integrated Action Plan is my idea. I don’t know who has given this report. Naxal menace can’t be measured so easily, this problem is in every state. We have taken action against Naxals and have focused on development of that area. What kind of report is this which media has and I don’t? This report must have been prepared for media,” Kumar said.

BJP leader Giriraj Singh countered, “Nitish Kumar is not understanding that Naxals have links with terrorists nowadays. Bihar has become a soft zone for terrorists nowadays. Funds meant for anti-Naxal operations are not used. Bihar has become a soft zone, one person responsible for this is Nitish Kumar, the Bihar government has no Naxal policy. Nitish is soft because of vote bank politics.”

The report also says top Maoist leaders who are lodged inside various jails in Bihar are guiding their cadres from inside the jail.

38 persons killed till August 2013 including 13 securitymen while the figure was 25 in 2012.

While there has been a decline in Maoist violence in other states, Bihar has seen a spike.

Not a single Maoist killed in Bihar in anti-Maoist operations in 2013 while 5 were killed in 2012.

Only 6 encounters with Maoists have taken place till August 2013 while the figure was 12 in 2012 and 17 in 2011.

Recovery of weapons till August 2013 was only 47 while it was 171 in 2011.

Bihar utilised 67 per cent of the funds under Integrated Action Plan while Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh utilised 84 per cent and 78 per cent, respectively. Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Jharkhand utilised funds around 76-79 per cent.

Incidents of Maoist violence remain almost same in 2012 and 2013— 129 incidents in 2013 and 130 in 2012.

Read more at:

Informatory bulletin on cyclonic storm Helen over west central bay of bengal

(i) Information on The cyclonic Storm ‘ HELEN’ over west Cenral Bay of Bengal:

Yesterdays deep depression over West Central Bay of Bengal moved west wards, intensified into a cyclonic storm ‘HELEN’ at 20/0830 hours IST and lay centred at 0830 hrs IST of today, the 20th November 2013 near latitude 15.00N and longitude 84.00E, about 520 Km South of Gopalpur. The system would further intensify into a severe cyclonic storm during next 24 hrs. It would move west-north-west wards for some time, then west-south-west ward and cross south Andhra Pradesh coast between Sriharikota and Ongole, close to Kavali around night of 21st November 2013.

(ii) Forecast of next 24 hours:

RA/Ts may occur at one or two places over Odisha.

(iii) Heavy R/F Warning for next 24 hours: NIL.

(iv) Advice for hoisting Storm Warning Signals:

Distant Warning Signal Number Two (DW-II) has been hoisted at Paradeep and Gopalpur ports.

(v) Likely impacts and actions: North-easterly surface wind speed 30 to 40 KmPH gusting to 50 KmPH may prevail along and off south Odisha coast.

(vi) Fishermen Warning :- Fishermen of south Odisha coast are advised to be cautious while venturing into sea.

Too: 20/1230 EF

( A. K. Majhi)

For Director In Charge

“Forum for citizens right” demands for arrest of Bhusana Steel plant owner

Master canteenre gana Dhrana (2)

Bhubaneswar, 20/11/13 – The fourm for human right body odisha organise a protest at Master canteen, Bhubaneswar on the issue of brazen death of innocent worker at Bhushana Steel Plant at Dhenkanala District.It also said that without having the consent to operate (CTO) from the Odisha State control Board (OSPCB), it is operating the blast furnace. At least 95 person have been died so far due to industrial mishaps in the plant site till it is operated according to source. There are 65 fatal incidents official said.
That’s why “FORUM FOR CITIZENS RIGHT” a through probe into the incident and all the culprits must be booked as per the law. It also mooting to knock the door of NHRC if the process delayed here.