Saturday, September 13, 2014

Through the web..

What is history? 
History from the textbooks of modern writers or history from the lips of the very people who made it and lived to see it, biased by their personal prejudices and opinions? Which of the two is valid, which of them is more attuned to the sensibilities of a modern Indian?

These questions form in every young persons mind. To believe the history written and researched through journals and countless papers and memos yellowed with time or to believe the history as told by grandparents, heard as bedtime stories. The irony being that the two contradict each other.

I am a fervent supporter of Gandhi, the same Gandhi who challenged to fast unto death if the partition was carried through, the same Mahatma who stood by the Muslims at the price of being rebuked by the people of his own religion, the same Gandhi who at the height of non violence, almost stubbornly held high is ideal of non violence. The mahatma who connected with the psychology of the masses and had to face death by a “friend “ rather than a foe.

My grandmother’s view of this man could not be more different than mine. She thought him to be a shallow, selfish man who forced the partition of India, the same man her generation blames for the partition. My sources – books written, surprisingly by foreign authors with the help of British diplomats in India during the colonization. Her source- her life.

In her 85 years my grandmother had seen things and changes which would be difficult for us to fathom, let alone live with. How then can we doubt what she or any other member of her generation has to say? 
She fought side by side with Muslims in the freedom struggle. She walked behind the same leaders as with a common vision –Indian independence. Did she or any one at that time imagine what effects the partition would have on the people – Indian or Pakistanis? No. 
She lived in an age where Shivaji was worshiped and now she lives in an age where (allegedly)“the drunken son of Shivaji with no control on his sexual urges” is exalted, while every action of Shivaji's is scrutinized and criticized. How then can you blame them for interfering with the working of a modern economy when they can see the history being altered in front of their eyes? She has lived the age where the only mean of transportation was a bicycle and she has also been overwhelmed by the working of an airplane. She lived in an age where neighbors meant not people living on either side of you but on either side of your lane too. And now she feels she is in a world where genuineness is as rare as a rainbow.

They feel it is their duty to make sure that the world knows and appreciates history as it is rather than molding it to suit the convenience of a people of a country. 
History needs to be pure, free from all elevations and deletions; just plain summary of what is was to live in that forgotten era. I wonder if we will ever know the true history – the history lost in the sands of time!

PS: This short article was written by me in 2006, when i was 20 years old and in a discussion with my grandmother, I realized how different her views of history actually were, especially the fact that she did not revere Mahatma Gandhi.
I found this article in my quest to clean my (extremely) old hard drive! 
It has been copy pasted as it is!

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