Recently, I visited a museum. There I saw many architectural marvels ranging from 8th to 14th century, especially the stone sculptures, deities and statues. I enjoyed reading history during my school days. But yesterday a thought came to me that what if I were allowed to visit some museum at that time; it could have a multiplier effect on my liking towards History.
One mistake that I did during schooling, which I realize now, was that I always considered the accounts of Historians as true. I completely believed in their narratives. But as I grew up, I got to know that “History is always written by the victors or the rulers just to further their interests”. That is why History is replete with stories of Kings and Queens. No one talks about common people; how they lived? What they ate? What they wore? so on and so forth!
Nowadays we read in news papers and listen to the debate that there is an attempt to saffronise history (Bhagwakaran). BJP and RSS are trying to rewrite History where they wanted to portray India as a culturally rich nation and not just a land which was under the reign and subjugation of foreign invaders such as Muslims and Britishers.
I will not go in this debate. But what I can say here is that History has always been manipulated. Interpretations will be there to the same event in two different ways to suit one’s objective.
What I saw in the Museum in my visit was simply devastating for me. I saw many priceless monuments were in dilapidated condition. Most of the deities of Hindu Gods that were from 8th Century to 14th Centuries were damaged and there were a common pattern in them. The common pattern was that most of the deities were beheaded/decapitated. Initially I thought that since they were very old, there are possibilities that they could have got damaged in due course of time. But I could not fathom after seeing many of them have a similar pattern of damage.
I went to the curator of the museum to ask for the possible reasons of the damage. His narration was in similar line of my anticipation. He said that many Muslims rulers were bigot and cruel. Many of them were monotheist and against the practice of the deity worship. So they demolished the temples in thousands and ravaged the deity in tens of thousands. Kashi Vishwanath, Somnath, Dwarkadheesh, Mathura, Ayodhya temples are just some of the prominent examples. Aurangzeb, in particular, was most ruthless among them. He alone killed more than million Hindus and devastated thousands of temples and other cultural monument and belonging to Hindus.
But the thing which I realize now is that I was never taught about these atrocities in my text books. Even if it was there, it was summarized in just one line that “some Muslims rulers were cruel and Aurangzeb was one of them.”
I think it was the duty of the historians that culprits should be presented in the same light as they were. We know about Hitler and how he massacred millions of Jews but the kind of demonization which was needed for some of the fanatic Mughal Ruler, nowhere it is mentioned in History, or even if it is there then there is an covert attempt to hide their heinous acts.
So it’s important to not to hide history, as a famous adage goes “History Repeats Itself”. Knowing history and taking lessons from it essential for survival.