Mumbai Conspiracy Theory

Various websites are carrying a bizarre email purporting to be by the Indian writer Amaresh Misra, on the Mumbai terrorist attack:

An entire city has been attacked by Mossad and probably units of mercenaries…The RSS-BJP-VHP-Bajrang Dal should be banned…Muslims and secular Hindus have been proven right…A photograph publushed in Urdu Times, Mumbai, clearly shows that Mossad and ex-Mossad men came to India and met Sadhus and other pro-Hindutva elements recently. A conspiracy was clearly hatched…We will fight a civil war if need be against the pro-Hindutva, communal forces and their Israeli backers.

Misra is the author of a book on the British in India entitled War of Civilisations: India AD 1857, which claimed that the British killed 10 million people between 1857 and 1867. A (negative) review here gives us a clue where he’s coming from:

Its Mumbai based author, Amresh Misra is a freelance journalist, a political commentator, a columnist, a script writer for films and also a historian. More than that he is a political, civil right activist and leader and an anti-communal fighter. His ideological inclination is evident in his “Acknowledgments”, wherein he honours “Akhilendra Pratap Singh, ex-president of the Allahabad University Students Union (AUSU), Politbureau member of the CPI-ML (liberation) as his friend, philosopher and guide” and admits that ‘several ideas hatched in the book were formulated along with him way back in the 1990s in rugged, reflective, dusty rooms and streets of Allahabad, Lucknow, Benares and other UP-Bihar districts.” Misra’s other friend Salim Khan Durrani happens to be the anti-communal, anti-fascist resistance hero of Mumbai.”

For Misra, history writing is not a detached academic exercise, rather it is part of ideological commitment and activism. He, frankly acknowledges that “during numerous street battles with the police and anti-Muslim, anti-Dalit-fascist lumpen hordes in the late 1980s and 1990s,” he learnt that “true data lies in the non-academic, mainstream reading of real action.”

An article from the Guardian adds:

Misra’s casualty claims have been challenged in India and Britain. “It is very difficult to assess the extent of the reprisals simply because we cannot say for sure if some of these populations did not just leave a conflict zone rather than being killed,” said Shabi Ahmad, head of the 1857 project at the Indian Council of Historical Research. “It could have been migration rather than murder that depopulated areas.”

Many view exaggeration rather than deceit in Misra’s calculations. A British historian, Saul David, author of The Indian Mutiny, said it was valid to count the death toll but reckoned that it ran into “hundreds of thousands”.

One wonders whether this benign assumption that Misra was not motivated by “deceit” will survive the apparent revelation (assuming he’s not the victim of an impersonator) that he’s anti-Jewish conspiracy-mongering crank.

Incidentally, Israel’s Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger did have a cosy meeting with BJP leader L.K. Advani in 2007, as I blogged here. Misra’s conspiracy theory is doubtless spun from links such as this.