R. C. Majumdar

Indian historian and academic (1888–1980)

Ramesh Chandra Majumdar (4 December 188411 February 1980) was an Indian historian and professor of Indian history at the Banaras Hindu University.

Ramesh Chandra Majumdar


  • Indians of old were keenly alive to the expansion of dominions, acquisition of wealth, and the development of trade, industry and commerce. The material prosperity they gained in these various ways was reflected in the luxury and elegance that characterized the society... The adventurous spirit of the Indians carried them even as far as the North Sea, while their caravans traveled from one end of Asia to the other.
    • R. C. Majumdar, Ancient India, 1977, p. 210-216.
  • There can be no doubt that the architects who planned and built the Ananda temple were Indians. Everything in this temple from Sikhara to the basement as well as the numerous stone sculptures found in its corridors and the terra-cotta...adorning its basement and terraces, bear the indubitable stamp of Indian genius and craftsmanship...In this sense, we may take it, therefore, that the Ananda, though built in the Burmese capital, is an Indian temple."
    • ' R. C. Majumdar, Ancient India, 1977, p. 497.
  • A number of people including William Wilberforce, sought to refute these arguments by painting in black colors the horrible customs of the Hindus such as sati, infanticide, throwing the children into the Ganga, religious suicides, and above all idolatry. Vivid descriptions were given of the massacre of the innocent resulting from the car procession of Lord Jagannath at Puri, and the Baptists put down the number of annual victims at not less than 120,000. When challenged they had to admit that they did not actually count the dead bodies but arrived at the figure by an ingenious calculation.
    • R. C. Majumdar, The History and Culture of Indian People. Vol. X, 2nd ed., Bombay, 1981, p. 152-153.
  • Dr. R.C. Majumdar has summed up the situation so far in the following words: “India south of the Vindhyas was under Hindu rule in the 13th century. Even in North India during the same century, there were powerful kingdoms not yet subjected to Muslim rule, or still fighting for their independence… Even in that part of India which acknowledged the Muslim rule, there was continual defiance and heroic resistance by large or small bands of Hindus in many quarters, so that successive Muslim rulers had to send well-equipped military expeditions, again and again, against the same region… As a matter of fact, the Muslim authority in Northern India, throughout the 13th century, was tantamount to a military occupation of a large number of important centres without any effective occupation, far less a systematic administration of the country at large.” .... The situation during the 14th and the 15th centuries has been summed up by Dr. R.C. Majumdar in the following words: “The Khalji empire rose and fell during the brief period of twenty years (A.D 1300-1320). The empire of Muhammed bin Tughlaq… broke up within a decade of his accession (A.D. 1325), and before another decade was over, the Turkish empire passed away for ever… Thus barring two every short-lived empires under the Khaljis and Muhammad bin Tughlaq… there was no Turkish empire in India. This state of things continued for nearly two centuries and a half till the Mughals established a stable and durable empire in the second half of the sixteenth century A.D.”
    • Quoted from Goel, Sita Ram (2001). The story of Islamic imperialism in India. Chapter 8 ISBN 9788185990231
  • "The Bharatas, who gave their name to the whole country, are the most important of the Rigvedic tribes."
  • "The Bharatas appear prominently in the Rigveda in relationship with Sudas and the Tritsus, and are enemies of the Purus. "
    • Quoted from 'The history and culture of Indian people' Vol-1, page-249

History Of The Freedom Movement In IndiaEdit

  • It is an ominous sign of the time that Indian history is being viewed in official circles in the perspective of recent politics. The official history of the freedom movement starts with the premises that India lost indendence only in the eighteenth century and had thus an experience of subjection to a foreign power for only two centuries. Real history, on the other hand, teaches us that the major part of India lost independence about five centuries before, and merely changed masters in the eighteenth century.
    • History Of The Freedom Movement In India Vol. 1 [1] quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2014). Decolonizing the Hindu mind: Ideological development of Hindu revivalism. New Delhi: Rupa. p. 310-311
  • Generally communal riots were confined to the British territory, and the Indian States were free from them. A serious riot in 1924 in Gulburga, in the Nizam's territory, formed an exception. The Muhammadan mobs attacked all the Hindu temples in jthe city, numbering about fifteen, and broke the idols. They also raided the Sharan Vish- veshwar Temple and attempted to set fiie to the Temple car. The Police were eventually obliged to fiie, with the result that three Muhammadans, including the Police Sup- erintendent Mr. Azizullah, were killed and about a dozen persons injured. Next morning the streets were again in the hands of Muhammadan mobs and considerable dama- ge was done to Hindu houses and shops. On the arrival of Police reinforcements, order was restored. On the 14th August the Muslim mob fury was at its height and almost all the temples within the range of the mob, some fifty in number, were desecrated, their sanctum sanctorum entered into, their idols broken, and their buildings damaged.
    • also in Balakrishna, S., Lessons from Hindu History in 10 Episodes (2020)
  • The four-fold ramification of the Swadeshi movement industrial, educational, cultural and political—and its spread all over India unnerved the Government of India. It was not long before they realized that a local movement for removing a local grievance was being slowly, but steadily, developed into an all-India national movement against British rule. Lord Minto found it difficult to kill the hydra-headed monster let out of the basket of his predecessor. Lord Curzon.
  • When the Nawab was being taken in a procession through the public streets, there occurred a case of assault on Hindus, and looting of a few Hindu, particularly Hindu Swadeshi, shops. These incidents were a signal for a general outbreak of hooliganism involving assault, looting, destruction of properties and arson… On the other hand, the Government officials were full of praise for the Muhammadans…The Comilla riot was followed by various other outbreaks of a similar nature….Consider able bodies of Muhammadans, armed with lathis mustered from time to time and molested the Hindus. As a result there was wide-spread panic among the Hindu minority population in East Bengal…
  • The most serious disturbance .broke out at Jamalpur in the District of Mymensingh. In addition to the troubles in the town started by the Muslims in the course of which hundreds of Hindus—men and women—had to take shelter in a temple throughout the night, the riot spread to outside area. There were indiscriminate looting and molestation of Hindus in a large number of localities.
  • The accused, Habil Sircar had read over a notice to a crowd of Musalmans and had told them that the Government and the Nawab Bahadur of Dacca had passed orders to the effect that nobody, would be punished for plundering and oppressing the Hindus. Soon after, the image of Kali (Hindu goddess) was broken by the Musalmans and the shops of the Hindu traders were also plundered.
    • R.C. Majumdar (2002). THE PARTITION OF BENGAL. History of the Indian Freedom Movement Vol 2, p 3. [2]

Quotes about R.C. MajumdarEdit

  • No doubt, every generation will produce a host of historians, but it will take decades to produce one of Dr. Majumdar's calibre.
    • Prabha Dixit, Obituary. RC Majumdar. , quoted in Devahuti, D., & Indian History and Culture Society. (1980). Bias in Indian historiography. Delhi: D.K. Publications. p. 402
  • But then, R.C. Majumdar was made of the stuff of Bharatavarasha’s Modern Renaissance. He was undeterred in his quest to author the most authentic history of the freedom struggle of his own countrymen: to keep their hopes, pains, sacrifices, spirit, struggles and tears ever-fresh, and to preserve the vast woodland of their heroic memories watered and evergreen. For this proud son of Bengal, this noble endeavor was not merely a project: it was akin to working towards the same goal with the same spirit that fuelled our freedom struggle: Majumdar had after all, lived during that entire era. It was National Service in the truest sense of the word. And so, with meagre resources, he worked alone and completed the majestic three-volume work in just seven years. It still remains the most comprehensive, authoritative and unchallenged work on India’s freedom struggle. This point has an immense bearing on what will follow.
    • S. Balakrishna, Seventy years of secularism. 2018.
  • The only voice which was heard against this nation-wide exercise in suppressio veri suggestio falsi in the field of medieval Indian history, was that of the veteran historian, R.C. Majumdar. For him, this “national integration” based on a wilful blindness to recorded history of the havoc wrought by Islam in India, could lead only to national suicide. He tried his best to arrest the trend by presenting Islamic imperialism in medieval India as it was, and not as the politicians in league with Stalinist and Muslim historians were tailoring it to become. “Political necessities of the Indians during the last phase of British rule,” he wrote in 1960, “underlined the importance of alliance between the two communities, and this was sought to be smoothly brought about by glossing over the differences and creating an imaginary history of the past in order to depict the relations between the two in a much more favourable light than it actually was. ....But history is no respecter of persons or communities, and must always strive to tell the truth, so far as it can be deduced from reliable evidence. This great academic principle has a bearing upon actual life, for ignorance seldom proves to be a real bliss either to an individual or to a nation. In the particular case under consideration, ignorance of the actual relation between the Hindus and the Muslims throughout the course of history - an ignorance deliberately encouraged by some - may ultimately be found to have been the most important single factor which led to the partition of India. The real and effective means of solving a problem is to know and understand the facts that gave rise to it, and not to ignore them by hiding the head, ostrich-like, into sands of fiction.”
    • Sita Ram Goel, The Calcutta Quran Petition (1986)
  • But his voice remained a voice in the wilderness. Fourteen years later, he [R.C. Majumdar] had to return to the theme and give specific instances of falsification. “It is very sad,” he observed, “that the spirit of perverting history to suit political views is no longer confined to politicians, but has definitely spread even among professional historians… It is painful to mention though impossible to ignore, the fact that there is a distinct and conscious attempt to rewrite the whole chapter of the bigotry and intolerance of the Muslim rulers towards Hindu religion. This was originally prompted by the political motive of bringing together the Hindus and Musalmans in a common fight against the British but has continued ever since. A history written under the auspices of the Indian National Congress sought to repudiate the charge that the Muslim rulers broke Hindu temples, and asserted that they were the most tolerant in matters of religion. Following in its footsteps, a noted historian has sought to exonerate Mahmud of Ghazni’s bigotry and fanaticism, and several writers in India have come forward to defend Aurangzeb against Jadunath Sarkar’s charge of religious intolerance. It is interesting to note that in the revised edition of the Encyclopaedia of Islam, one of them, while re-writing the article on Aurangzeb originally written by William Irvine, has expressed the view that the charge of breaking Hindu temples brought against Aurangzeb is a disputed point. Alas for poor Jadunath Sarkar, who must have turned in his grave if he were buried. For, after reading his History of Aurangzib, one would be tempted to ask, if the temple-breaking policy of Aurangzeb is a disputed point, is there a single fact in the whole recorded history of mankind which may be taken as undisputed? A noted historian has sought to prove that the Hindu population was better off under the Muslims than under the Hindu tributaries or independent rulers.”
    • Sita Ram Goel, The Calcutta Quran Petition (1986)
  • The tale contains an institutional warning also: for this is not the first time that the project to write the history of the freedom movement has been hijacked, and eventually derailed. In the Introduction and Appendix to his three-volume History of the Freedom Movement in India, Dr R.C. Majumdar recorded what happened to the original project – how at his instance the Indian Historical Records Commission passed a resolution in February 1948 that a history of the country’s struggle for freedom ought to be prepared; how the education ministry headed by Maulana Azad sat over the matter till Dr Rajendra Prasad, the then president of the country, nudged it ahead; how an Editorial Board was set up; how Majumdar was appointed director for the project; how the first volume was prepared; how it met with the approval of the Editorial Board; how the government, having stated in one breath that the volumes were well on their way to getting ready, alleged in the next that there had been some differences in the Board about the content of the first volume which had been circulated; how suddenly the Board was dissolved; and the project handed over to a previous secretary of the education ministry; how some of the members become turncoats. The result? Mediocre volumes which no one reads, volumes which further what was then the official line… By contrast the British produced their version …. There was the Indian side to the events. This was available at the time in the recollections of those who had led the movement against the British – for many of them were still alive; it was available in their private papers. The Towards Freedom Project was to garner this record. As control over institutions passed to the Leftists, the entire project was yoked to advancing their Line and Theses.
    • Shourie, Arun (2014). Eminent historians: Their technology, their line, their fraud. Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India : HarperCollins Publishers.
  • What was Majumdar’s crime? He refused to bend history to suit the interest of the Congress.
    • ICHR: Are they ‘eminent historians’ or ordinary criminals in scholars’ robes?:Dr. N.S. Rajaram, FOLKS Mag, June 2012
  • [In 1948, R.C. Majumdar submitted a proposal to the Government to write an official history of the freedom struggle, a fact that he records in detail in the Appendix of Volume One of the History of the Freedom Movement in India. This first-ever proposal on this much-needed endeavour was accepted by the Government. What happened next is best narrated by Dr. B.N. Pandey...:] In 1952 the Ministry of Education appointed a Board of Editors for the compilation of the history. Professor Majumdar was appointed by the Board as the Director and entrusted with the work of sifting and collecting materials and preparing the draft of the history. However, the Board as consisting of politicians and scholars, was least likely to function harmoniously. Perhaps this was the reason why it was dissolved at the end of 1955. ...
    In [the first] volume the distinguished author has shown ample courage and sound scholarship in approaching some very controversial and delicate questions. On the question of Hindu- Muslim relationship in pre-British India he refutes the commonly held view that the Hindus and Muslims lived in harmony before the advent of the British and that the Hindu-Muslim tension was the outcome of the British policy to divide and rule. These two communities, the author holds, lived as "two separate communities with distinct cultures and different mental, and moral characteristics" (p. 33). He argues that the Hindu leaders, including Gandhi and Nehru, deliberately ignored the fundamental differences between the Hindus and Muslims and made no serious efforts "to tackle the real problem that faced India, namely how to make it possible for two such distinct units to live together as members of one State.
    • The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, No. 1/2: [Apr 1966]: B.N. Pandey, pp 86-87. quoted in S. Balakrishna, Seventy years of secularism. 2018.

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