History -vs- ‘His’story

Today i received a message extolling the virtues of Punjab and as a tribute to its great son, Maharaja Ranjit Singh on his birthday (13th Nov 1780). Maharaja Ranjit Singh is certainly one of the great sons of this Karma Bhoomi called Bharat. The thing that irked me in the message was a reference to how king Porus of Punjab dared to stop Sikander in his world conquest. It was mainly about the use of the words Sikander and Porus, since both are

corrupted forms. Sikander is a corrupted Persian form of the real name Alexandros. Porus is a corrupted Greek form of the real name Purushottam, the king of Purus.

Its not the semantics that iam bothered about. But my concern is about skewing of history if India start using only the accounts of Greek historians. It is more of a problem in India because its history, ancient culture and leaders are being systematically destroyed.

The future generations of India may start reading only about Porus and Sandrakottos written by Greek historians and not even realise that they are actually called Purushottam and Chandragupta respectively.

What is wrong in reading the history from the foriegn historians?

It is mainly because everyone views things from their own perspective and present them accordingly. These foriegn visitors/ historians were no different.

Just to narrate a simple account which some of you may already know. According to one Greek historian, India was civilized by the Greeks in around 500BC, taught to wear clothes and in that honour Indians call themselves Herakles. He goes onto add that Indians pray to Greek gods since he related it to Herakles from Greek mythology. He basically viewed, understood and wrote based on his perspective.

The funny thing is that the Herakles he was referring to was the corruption of the word Hari Kulas meaning the followers of Hari, as per Indian folktales. The insignia of these hari kulas contained images of Krishna and Balarama which he again misinterpreted and misreported. In reality, this was the insignia of Shoorsainis, Purus of that region and era to which the great King Purushottam belonged.

Unfortunately invaders have burnt and destroyed many ancient historical records, written by Indian historians. These included libraries, books, temples, schools, arts and architecture which were used to preserve its rich history. However in the face of many atrocities, Indians devised the concept of passing history, information and tradition through folktales and word-of-mouth stories. Using these means we could preserve a good amount of history till early 20th century.

Post-independent India is now facing even bigger problem than the history burning invadors of the past. The new problem is the India’s very own self proclaimed “progressive intellectuals”. Educated with only western concept of history , they are trying to sabotage and retell the ancient Indian history in a degraded manner at every possible opportunity. This became a big problem in the past century and more pronounced in the past few decades. Largely to their concerted efforts, we have disowned and discredited majority of our traditional folktales and word-of-mouth information that was preserved for generations.

I am afraid that soon Indians may actually be told to believe that Greeks taught them civilization and to wear clothes – on the lines of the aryan invasion theory, Vedas being of recent origin (post Buddhism), and many other nonsense and half baked research being spread in India recently.

The indian media and society now solely rely on what is being imported and which suits the needs and arguments of these new self proclaimed intellectuals. Anything that alludes to the great past of this ancient land is detremental to what they would like to hear. Unfortunately the successive governments of independent India have supported this as well under the guise of keeping peace in the country.

Please note that my intention is nothing to do with religions, groups or sects. Its about getting to know the history and how it instills the national pride in its future generations when we present the right facts and accounts of our very own rather than the selective choices from skewed attempts of some foriegn visitors and historians.

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