Sunday, April 03, 2005

History

Last Sunday, at an old friend’s house, I picked up a book by the celebrated writer-activist-politician Arun Shourie – “Worshipping False Gods”. One would recall that in this book, Mr. Shourie has proceeded to demolish the benevolent halo around the much revered dalit leader - Baba Saheb Ambedkar by submitting certain historical facts – or fiction, as your point of view might be.
During my return journey from the office today, I was ruminating about the book, and remembering the infuriating response to this book at the time of its release, when a strange contradiction in our collective behaviour struck me. Let me elaborate.
It is an accepted fact that history of our nation, let alone the world, does not interest us as a nation. We are after all a young country, in pursuit of a happy future ahead. If I remember correctly, a recent survey by a magazine pointed out that about 60% of our young generation were completely bereft of any historical knowledge and perspective on even the most rudimentary topics and whats more, hardly had any inclination for it. Barring for the academicians and for some other exceptions, history it seems is considered best left alone in sixth standard school books. Almost all our historical monuments, museums lie in ruins and proclamation of a BA in History generally does not grant you a second glance in exalted company.
But while there is a total atmosphere of apathy towards our history as in facts, we cling to & worship history as in humans, so much so that we sacrifice even the genuine facts on the altars of our (mis) placed beliefs. We brazenly engage in hero-worship, aided by the glorious fables attributable to them over the ages. Our identification with them is so complete and total that we close our eyes to any reason and if some one dares to even so much as to propose even a slight deviation from the popularly accepted version of the personality, in stead of questioning the facts, we proceed with the “shoot the messenger” attitude.
Why this apparent contradiction? Is it because we are not mature enough to take criticism in a more forthright manner? Or is it because each one of us is afraid of losing his/her moorings in this already mad world? Or is it because as long as it is “his-story” it is none of my business?

1 comment:

maluram said...

What can I say?


Simply excellent. Regarding this and everything else we have, sometimes, different views. I realise over and again that most of the times your sentiments and opinions are the more mature ones. If all people think on tangents like yours there will be no politics(read problems) around.

Like to remind you about one of your own favourite issues - development at the grassroot levels. Ask me how they are related and I'll quote Maslow's heirarchy. Where do people have the grooming/opportunity to be mature at all? Specifically, India. Here poverty is like a religion. They have rules, leaders, issues - everything of their own. They think - poor we may be, but this, THEY won't get away with. That's simply the way they are. Maybe I have taken a lopsided view, but just like the "Kawad" thing we were discussing, issues like this, when raised are not really issues but a need to be recognised, to declare that they exist. Whichever sect is doing it just feel that they have been given doormat treatment which will definitely not be taken lying down.

Why wud the writer himself endorse a political party who are habitually turning non-issues into ego tussles, not only for the politicians themselves but for the entire nation?

EVERY thing in this country is so intertwined that I have started believing that the only real issue here is your favourite one. At least I am completely taken with it. So much that at every red light that we stop at I wonder when the real development will begin - triggers of course are those beggars.

Come to think of it, don't developed nations also have this type of an "identity crisis". I mean environment in general is OK, like but societies for dogs, n frogs, n whales, and saving sea lions, n what nots. OK no harm, maybe some minor benefit, but whenever people feel they haven't done something radical for sometime we witness some unimaginable issues springing out of the blue. They don't have many religious issues and so many people to kill and die for so they take to animals - save and not kill, their all needs are taken care of remember?

Have I deviated? Chalo, enough for now. On your 'women's lib' I have a lot to say, any one starting it is instigating me. You know I am touchy on the topic.

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