The Indian History Congress has, in a resolution, criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi's recent statement that an ancient plastic surgeon must have attached the head of an elephant on the body of Ganesha.
At its ongoing 75th session here, it criticised attempts in "influential quarters" to rewrite history through "ancient mythology", "speculative chronology" and "fresh myths". "Unfortunately even the Prime Minister has suggested that in the hoary past Indians had learnt, and then, forgotten, plastic surgery of a kind going far beyond what is now possible," the resolution said.
Established in 1935, the body has about 9,000 members, including many eminent historians.
"The Indian History Congress throughout its existence has been committed to the cause of the scientific method in history and its pursuit is free of any sectarian or chauvinistic approaches. There is widespread belief that soon text books will be revised or rewritten, to inculcate such a strongly misleading and divisive brand of history among pupils in our schools," the resolution said. "The Indian History Congress is confident that all genuine historians would stand by the values of their profession and resist interested distortions of our past. It also calls upon all members of the political establishment to refrain from making statements contrary to well-established historical facts."
Shiv Shakti Bakshi, executive editor of BJP mouthpiece Kamal Sandesh, questioned the body's neutrality. "(It) has been hijacked by a brand of historians known for an intolerant Marxist approach in history writing," said Bakshi, a PhD in history from JNU.
BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi said: "Correction of history is not plastic surgery but a surgery to remove a brain tumour that has degraded not only facts but disregarded reality."