Nationhood comes from common sense of history common vision of future among people NSA

     New Delhi, Apr 9 (PTI) A nationhood is constituted by people who share a "common sense of their history" and a "common vision of their future", National Security Advisor Ajit Doval said on Tuesday as he released an 11-volume series that charts different phases of the history of ancient India and its accomplishments.
     Addressing a gathering at the launch event, the NSA also said, "People who have got a different sense of history, 'if my hero is your villain', you and I cannot make a nation."
     Describing India as a "civilisation of antiquity" and "civilisation of continuity" with its vast expanse spanning thousands of years, in his speech, he also mentioned that it was a "paradox" that the narrative that has been brought is that probably, "the first chapter about Indian history in any western, this thing... is that it starts with Alexander".
     After releasing the series 'History of Ancient India', published by Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF) and Aryan Books, he said it consists of scholarly papers contributed by a "large body of scholars".
     Vol I is titled 'Prehistoric Roots' while Vol IX is on 'Science and Technology, Medicine', the series covering a vast array of fields.
     Doval said while discussing the project in its inception phase several years ago with S Gurumurthy, VIF's current chairperson, he had shared the "new idea and thinking" to contribute to something that would be able to give a "new sense of identity and pride, not only to our countrymen, but also to our coming generations".
     "Our self-image, our identity is deeply connected to your own perception of history, and... perception of what you are," the NSA said.
     Doval described the series as not an end, but a "means to an end", and the end objective is to really, "building up a nation on the basis of sense of common heritage, of common background from which we come from, having pride in our ancestry and achievements of the past, and having a vision for the future".
     Earlier in his address, he said, nations or members of a nationhood are "those people who share a common sense of their history, common sense of our ancestors, common sense of their achievements of their past, and a common vision of their future. All those who believe in that they make one nation. People who have got a different sense of history, 'if my hero is your villain', you and I cannot make a nation".
     Doval said the research papers are of "very high quality" and "great references" have been quoted, and sources from where material been derived.
     Extolling the ancientness of India, the NSA said, there are a few aspects about Indian history that nobody questions, including "our detractors".
     "One is its antiquity, that it is one of the oldest civilisations, and probably a human life had evolved, and society had perfected to a very high (level). Now, who did it? Were they the original people or they came from outside?
     "There may be a bias about that but they will all say that this is a civilisation of antiquity. Second is its continuity. It has been continuing for thousands of years without disruption. And, the third feature, its vast expanse, where the footprint of the civilisation was very visible," he added.
     On the Alexander's connection with India, he cited William Jones, and said Jones was a big Sanskrit scholar, and he had said "nowhere in Sanskrit or Pali or Prakrit literature or local dialects, he could find any mention of Alexander". There is "no mention", the NSA added.
     It was a "non-event, it was a very small event of history" where some raiders on horse backs, probably wanted to plunder, but faced resistance and returned.
     "But, you make such a mountain of it, as if the world history has changed with Alexander the great conqueror," he said.
     So, for nationhood, not to develop a feeling of nationhood, the foreign domination was "responsible to some extent", he said.
     Then, there was a deliberate attempt to "destroy the vestiges of the proof of that. Now, it's not only the temple, the religious bigotry. But, institutions like Nalanda or Taxila universities, or the libraries, etc, they were the "prime targets", that they have to be destroyed, and any sources from where Indians could connect themselves to their glorious past, he added.
     But, there was another reason, that was Indians' own mindset, which was that "for us events and personalities were very secondary".
     "Now, this combination of these factors, deprived us of our own existence and identity. And, history is important for your identity," the NSA said.
     Doval said anything that scholars have quoted or any inference drawn in this work is based on "solid, scientific foundation".
     "When we started the project, we said, let it be totally authentic, we don't want to generate propaganda material, the foundation of such kind of intellectualism does not have a long shelf life," he said.
     The NSA said the volume is "bulky and expensive" and so its dissemination is a bit constrained.
     He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi was presented this work and told about it, and it finds "a place of prominence in his library".
     The prime minister suggested an idea, that these can be donated to libraries, and, that idea is still there, "may be we probably will accomplish" it, and sent to various western and eastern universities, the NSA said, adding the people associated with the upcoming maritime museum in Lothal have also shown interest in its material.

(This story has not been edited by THE WEEK and is auto-generated from PTI)