Thursday, March 09, 2006

A Historian`s dilemma


"History is written by the victor" is a popular saying. In all the civilizations which we`ve known, there have been definite historical records, and it is also well noted that all civilizations have had wars, fights and scandals, and it is always the victors, the winners, the people who come clear of all controversy who draft the history of the event or incident.

It is therefore no surprise that people, who have lost, people who have not survived, fail in leaving an imprint of their viewpoint, their outlook of the whole happening, and in this game of turns, we learn what, is our history. We learn the winner`s outlook. We learn how he did good and banished all things bad or sub-standard, or in other words, the losers.

Kings and emperors, who were not of really the highest ideals and moral values, who had power and the tenacity to build great empires, created written records of history, hailing themselves as the greatest beings ever, such that we will never ever learn about the other halves.

Speaking on these terms, I believe that democracy has in some way or the other hindered history. Looking back at the fifty nine years of Indian independence, we cannot be sure that anything we have seen in all these years is true history of the land. There have been too many diversions and conflicts, that I believe these fifty nine years, that it surely cannot be assumed, that the next generation will have a clear idea of these eventful, yet very badly documented years.

It was believed that during Indira Gandhi`s tyrannical rule, she planted scrolls very deep in the earth, which claimed to be the history of that period. These were also later believed to be dug out by the next government very promptly. Who knows ? Maybe if those scrolls hadn`t been dug out, a few hundred years down the line, there would have been people who believed that the land of India was ruled by the noble and godly kings of the royal Gandhi family. Though very false, they would also have had some proper source of history about the land and the people, the culture and our style of living.

In the tussle between groups of mankind, between justice and injustice, history remains a lone distant loser. Today, in the papers, I read an article about how Indian mythology was being modified the Hindutva way by some RSS elements in the textbooks of California State Education Board. So we are witnesses to such elements who do want the people in the future to know of a history, a history which they would prefer, a history in which only they are good and where they fight against the world.

Maybe, I should be impartial and document the history of India and the world, but then very obviously I would also include my name at the end and then hundred years down the line I would be hailed as the historian of the twenty first century.

History!, you lose and I bow down my head in guilt!...

9 comments:

Lavanya said...

Great work Srijith! Really really "sticky" blog!

Back to your post. Consider this you'll definitely find few answers:

"...Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time..."

- H.W. Longfellow, A Psalm of Life

Srijith Unni said...

Hi Lavanya,

Thanks a lot for the appreciation!

I must read this thing, "The Psalm of Life".. looks very interesting

Regards,
Srijith

Maya Cassis said...

i wish someone would write history the way i wanted to read it

Srijith Unni said...

And that`s the whole problem maya, everyone has their own outlook of history, :-))

Thanks for commenting!!

Jagan said...

But then everyone's view is biased ..so do u think tht any one can write history as it happened ?

Srijith Unni said...

Good question, Jagan,

As far as I am concerned, unbiased history can never be written, and we always have to match and compare different accounts of history to create an account for ourselves.

Like my understanding of the freedom struggle itself was greatly changed, when I came to know stories of Bhagat Singh or even Nathuram godse.

Xiaobie said...

heh...you called me a rabbit...thats ok...rabbits are cool but penguins are cooler B) That's cool how you think I'm mysterious. I'm just a kid that wants to live.

Peace,
Xiaobie

Xiaobie said...

Oh yeah, by the way. Sorry I haven't replied to your comment for a looooooong time. I haven't been online as much

Maya Cassis said...

bhagat singh..yeah i always imagine what kind of blood used to flow in his veins.i wish i had the same passion as he did....for something