I am an avid reader of history and have answered a few questions on this topic to the best of my ability. Recently, I wrote about why the British rule wasn’t all that good for India – I thought, a few Britishers might come and show their disagreement, but I was up for an unpleasant surprise.
While a few Britishers messaged me about their support – it was actually a few Indians who came forth to justify and defend the British Empire and explain how they were just doing what was right and how we Indians deserved it.
Every society reserves the right to interpret its history in a way that helps instill pride in the hearts of its young and impressionable.
The Greeks wrote the history of Alexander, 300 years after his death, on the basis of the thinnest of evidence, most of which consisted of indirect accounts and unreliable hearsay, and still managed to convince the world that he was great.
Americans spawned the story of George Washington and the Cherry tree, conveniently whitewashing the fact that he was a famous Slave Owner of his time. who didn’t believe in giving voting rights to the women.
While it is not a great example, even Pakistan teaches its kids that they have ruled over India for 600 years (in a way teaching the kids that they actually belong to the Turk, Persian, Arab and Afghan cultures and have nothing in common with the Subcontinent).
The Indian historians on the other hand have interpreted the History of India as the History of Delhi and have primarily focussed on how invaders came in and took our pants down.
Now I as a layman, have a question – If we were such a bunch of non-manly nincompoops and disjoint sissies, how come we are still here? – Still intact? – While all these invaders, their empires, their history and their cultures have no trace left whatsoever – except off course for a mention in our own text books?
We’ve got full chapters dedicated to smaller and insignificant dynasties of Delhi like Lodhis and Mamluks (Razia Sultana) but are not taught more than a few lines about the Ahoms, The Odiyas-Kalingans, the Nagas, the Chalukyas, The Cholas, The Cheras, the Vangas, The Khasis, Pandyas, Pallavas, Marathas, The Vijaynagar Empire, The Sikh Empire, The Karkotas of Kashmir, Kanishka, Suhaldev and many others.
Even the proven and internationally acclaimed achievements of our forefathers are looked down upon as something of a right wing propaganda which we should be ashamed about.
We are not even told properly about our ancient achievements in Medicine, Philosophy, Astronomy, Mathematics, Clothing, Metallurgy and Chemistry, just to name a few.
Shouldn’t our children deserve to know about the Ujjain and the Kerala school of Mathematics – something which often finds a mention even in the acceptance speeches of Nobel laureates?
Shouldn’t our children atleast learn about the Indian Nobel laureate Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, on who’s name, NASA launched the world only X Ray telescope, ‘Chandra’ in space?
Our children today, call Chanakya, the author of Arthashastra, as the Machiavelli of East, and Kalidasa, the author of Abhigyanam Shakuntalam, as the Shakespeare of India. Some of them say that Kashmir was never a part of India – some say, the North Eastern states have no historic connection to the rest of the country – They may as well call our former president Dr. Kalam, the Abdul Qadeer Khan of India.
And to top it over – we are also taught the British propagandas like the Aryan Invasion theory which not just has no evidence to support its claim – but is detrimental to the Idea of India itself.
The people of India are in a desperate need to rewrite our history – a history which is factual – a history which represents the whole of our country – a history that inspires pride.
We are not ashamed of our past at all – we want our future generations and the world to take pride in it.