In this video, Shefali Vaidya interviews acclaimed historian, author and Padmashri awardee Dr. Meenakshi Jain on several topics involving Meenakshi Jain’s research such as the history of India, it’s image to the outside world, Ayodhya and Hindu resistance to Islamic iconoclasm.
Beginning with the history of India from ancient times, Meenakshi Jain talks about the accounts of several visitors to India during the ancient period and later. She highlights India’s fame in the world for it’s wisdom, and how it was sought after for various rare commodities such as spices and ivory. Jain then talks about the various strands of culture, religious and spiritual traditions that weave India together, and also the ideals of pan-Indian political unity present in ancient works such as the Arthashastra and the Puranas.
Dr. Jain discussed about her research into the Ayodhya issue. She called attention to the various deceitful attempts by historian of leftist persuasion to tamper with and dismiss the overwhelming evidence in favor of the Hindus regarding the demolition of the ancient Ram Mandir at Ayodhya. Dr. Jain stresses the point on how compelling the Hindu case is in the matter and why the land rightfully belongs the Hindus.
Meenakshi Jain also discusses the history of Sati in India’s history, the cultural significance it held in the past and the immense rarity of it’s occurrence. She brings to light the origins of Christian missionary propaganda and how it skillfully made use of the Sati custom prevalent in 18th century Bengal to paint the image of Indian society as barbaric, to fund religious conversions in India. Jain also talks about British officials who dismiss missionary literature on Sati as exaggerations.
The final part of the discussion was on Hindu attempts to preserve the deities of temples during the period of the Sultanates and the innovative ways in which Hindus preserved and reclaimed their sacred spaces. This was followed by a Q&A session during which Meenakshi Jain had words of advice on what readers can do to preserve and document our history and culture for the future.
Dr. Meenakshi Jain is an acclaimed historian and author. Some of her best known works include ‘Rama and Ayodhya’, ‘Parallel Pathways: Essays on Hindu-Muslim Relations’, ‘Sati: Evangelicals, Baptist Missionaries, and the Changing Colonial Discourse’. Her latest book, ‘The flight of deities’ talks about the desecration of temples in India by Islamic Invaders, and the dogged resistance by Hindus to preserve the deities of the temples during adversity. She is presently working on a new book on the history of the Hindus.
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