Monday, September 24, 2007

arbit rant against an arbit post of rajdeep

Yes we do need to feel proud of our history. But a few comments:
1) Where do we get the history from? Our education system ensures history is learned by rote and its simply a filler. I even remember talk of history et all being removed as a subject in Andhra Pradesh. We are a nation that is playing catch up in the economic sense,where is the time for history? The media can be the only external influence on providing a sense of history,but please look at the number of times you have done history pieces in your time as the editor? History does not sell, even if it does, you need pop history.
2) It is quite difficult for an average man to appreciate history in India. Our history goes back a few thousands of years, but what do you make of it? The Aryan invasion theory ( or the lack of it)? The mughal ascendancy and fall? (criticize either and you would be hindu right wing or pseudo secular)? The subjugation and repeated failure of Indian rulers to maintain a united front against the British? Partition? Communist support for china during the war?
The point being that as a nation our history is diverse as the people who populate it (just the south indian kings themselves would take an eternity to study, both rise and fall)and before independence we rarely exhibited a 'united' nationalistic spirit.
3) The nation state is dead. National pride is an abstract concept and one that would probably pave the way for other pheneomena (religion, sub-culture etc)
4) The idea of a national resurgence can be truly seen only after the 1991 reform era. This is when the world has come to know India as an entity. History can be taught to understand why the culture of the country is as it is now, but as a matter of national pride? To each his own.
5) Also, Rajdeep that even though we might not have read auto biographies we do have a sense of history. Me and almost everyone I know from Andhra knows about Potti Sriramulu (yeah, had to say that), just as the same would apply. Not encyclopedic knowledge, but then we are not historians. We understand that what we have today was achieved at a price.
6) Finally, if the author is sure that only the part of our Independence struggle constitutes history, then just make the detailed study of it a course curriculum. And include an essay on the independence struggle as a part of selection procedure into colleges at all levels. Put a tax for support of history studies. The state requires history... period.