Sunday, September 6, 2009

History


What happens to a society when it starts imagining its history? What happens to a civilization when it has a blatant disregard for horrors perpetrated by it in the past? What happens when we prop up villians and imagine card board heroes? How long can we live in this decadent state where we blatantly refuse to come to terms with what actually happened in the past?

I am referring to the recent controversy about the biography of a leader of freedom struggle ( yes I would refer to him as that in spite of everything, he played an important part in the freedom struggle.) by a eminent politician of a right wing party in India. The uproar was expected. Even a bit of controversy. But what I didnot expect was the jingoism and the insolent disregard shown to the man who served his party for 30 years.

Personally I feel history is victor's story. No king was as benevolent and as peace loving as shown by history and no villain was pure evil. It was just how one side perceived the other and finally the story was narrated by those who survived. Over a period of time rumors become legends and legends become truths. Coming to the topic at hand. I refuse to believe that the person whose biography was written was a pure evil. Neither do I believe that the leaders on this part of the border did not commit any mistakes or were always on the right side of their conscious.

We have this habit of forgetting about all the mistakes a person committed after his death or well in this case all the supposidely right steps he took. But it has been 60 years. Not going into eulogizing the person I want to know what really happened. My family has been a victim of partition. One fine day because of power struggle of a few individuals my forefathers were left penniless sent to an alien land, made refugees in their own country. My grand parents perhaps would never forgive the man. They may also never even agree to hear anything less than pure evil about him. But I do not carry the baggage of history with me. Perhaps I do not understand the pain they went through. Probably never will.

But I think all that is good in some way. I want to know what circumstances led to the fateful event. I want to know who all were responsible. An account stripped of any eulogizing, any jingoism, any reverence to anybody of any kind. I want bare facts. I want to know the real history. Not Somebody's story.

Perhaps If someday we have that account, which I believe the passage of time would give us, if we are mature enough not to get caught in petty politics. One day both our countries may stop baying for each others blood and may finally realize the dream of peaceful coexistence.

Picture courtesy: http://blog.taragana.com/n/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/india-pak-flaggif.jpeg
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