Published on December 20th, 2015 | by Sandeep Patil19
How to bluff and look scholar – an Aakar Patel case study
Dear Mr. Patel,
I am an otherwise tolerant person (a rare commodity these days), but your opinion (!) pieces drive me to the verge of intolerance. That’s why I normally keep myself at a safe distance. But today I stumbled upon your article about Peshwa Bajirao-I (link) and couldn’t resist writing this reply. I am not the first one to write something to call out your biases/lies in open. After Mr. Anand Ranganathan wrote this exceptional masterpiece that holds mirror to the hypocritical writings of yours, I thought no further critique of yours was necessary – for if that article doesn’t help, nothing will! Nonetheless I am doing it again, since your whole piece is highly flawed and misguiding . Although in order to keep my reply brief, I will stick only to major ones.
You fancy yourself to be a historian – so I presume you knew that Bajirao was a Peshwa (Minister) of the Kingdom which was found by Chattrapati Shivaji.. and that Shivaji had coronated himself in the title of Go-brahman Pratipalak (the protector of Cows and Brahmins). Shivaji was the first Hindu King in the otherwise Islamic India ever since the fall of Vijaynagar Empire! What does that make Bajirao? Isn’t he a minister of a Hindu Kingdom, no matter how much it may hurt? When something is as obvious as that, why go all the way and do as much circus to prove otherwise? But you have persistently taken the reader through cob-webs of faulty-ambiguous-dubious accounts making it look like a scholarly piece.
“If you can’t convince them, confuse them” – Henry Truman
You have selectively picked some random incidents from history – without head or tail – to convince us mortals that Maratha’s were as ruthless, cruel and atrocious as anybody else (read Mughals). At least you should have bothered to check your timelines. Common sense demands that if you are talking about Peshwa Bajirao-I, you should give the citations from his own times. Rather you chose incidents like Invasion of Bengal (1742), attack on Jaipur (1750), Battle of Panipat (1761) … all after the death of Bajirao-I (1740)!!! It simply beats me how one can build his case on Bajirao-I on the basis of the incidents after his death?
Then, your highly mischievous and subtly misguiding paragraph – “What the Marathas did striking north from the south, the Sikhs did in the opposite direction (they called their extortion ‘rakhi’, or protection, and it was 10% for all Indians). It is undeniably true on the other hand that the Marathas were originals.”
First, you make it appear as if Sikh’s were protecting people from Maratha’s – in reality, the Sikh’s were guarding people against the atrocities of peace-loving, benevolent, cultured Mughals – Aurgangzeb’s torturous execution of Guru Tegh Bahadur is well known. Secondly line is a blattant, shameless – in short a typical Aakar Patel – lie. Perhaps you don’t know that the Maratha clan has started up on the similar principles of money for protection. In the early medival periods when the trading ships would land at the west coast of India, the cargo was loaded in ox carts and taken up by the ghat roads up to the deccan plateau. The early Maratha’s used to offer their protection to these traders in the jungles of Western Ghats and impose an octroi.
Your information about the Dussehra tradition is in principle correct but again you could not help goofing things here too. Firstly, Maratha’s were at one point of time was mainly Infantry, later they became Cavalry and towards the end they relied much in Artillery as well. Maratha’s have their own style of warfare, their own military tactics which is outlined by geniuses like Shivaji, Santaji Ghorpade, Tarabai, Bajirao-I and so on. A good book on Maratha warfare tactics and another good book on Mongols would tell you that just riding on horseback doesn’t make one ‘Mongols of South Asia’.
Then your mischief gets better of you when you say “Bajirao had ‘one’ good battlefield victory…”, does that mean the other 39 victory’s of Bajirao were decided by toss? Your skills of blending truths/half-truths with lies comes further when you bluff ‘in the interest of the reader’ (read, I cannot resist this) that Scindias had fled from Panipat. Don’t you know that the general of Scindia contingent – Janakoji Scindia (forefather of Jyotiraditya Scindia) – laid down his life in the battle of Panipat? The contemporary ballads compare his fight to that of Abhimanyu! Then who fled? Don’t you know that the roots of Panipat battle lay in the incident where another Scindia – the mighty Dattaji Scindia – was killed at Burhadi ghat war near present day Delhi by Abdali’s wazeer? And thus Scindia soldiers were most vengeful in the Panipat war – and you happily claim that they fled – without any remorse whatsoever?
“बचेंगे तो और भी लड़ेंगे” – Last words of Dattaji Scindia
And finally, more than Ala-sing jaat, the person who helped Abdali decisively to win the war was Sujah-ud-daula. A person who got his Kingdom due to help from Maratha’s, but who in the battle of Panipat allied with Abdali and Najeeb in the interest of Islam?
A non-historian, a non-intellectual, a non-sanghi