Random Thoughts

Tampering with History and its Consequences

In this article, I intend to present two cases of tampering with history, and the resultant consequences in culturally and geographically diverse, but democratic nations.

The United States first as a British colony and even as an independent nation persisted in the decimation of the Native American people by aggressive military expansion and by reneging on treaties and commitments, it was legally bound by. For several decades it practiced slavery, which the mother country had abolished and which was in blatant contradiction to its founding declaration, second constitution and first bill of rights. It carried out expansionary wars against Mexico and Spain without cause and interfered militarily throughout the Americas for defense of illegally acquired commercial rights of colonizing corporations, or political hegemony. Other political, financial and military propping up of oppressive regimes in Iran, Indonesia, Pakistan, Vietnam, Cambodia and the Middle East has occurred up to the present time. The massive and indiscriminate bombing in Southeast Asia, some conquests of the American Southwest and the subjugation of the Philippines were acts, which would have led to a trial as a war criminal for another nation. There is ample historical evidence of how these sickened many a patriotic American soldier. It gives the lowest percentage of GDP as foreign aid amongst all developed nations, has refused to ratify treaties in favor of banning landmines, nuclear testing, chemical weapons, to combat global warming and accepting the jurisdiction of an International Court of Justice.

It is inappropriate to judge past actions under the scrutiny of present norms of behavior. The sad truth is that the above actions were generally in contravention to the then prevalent standards of acceptable behavior. The excuse that nations are not moral agents may be applicable in some, but even that defense becomes untenable with the public and international disinformation practiced that human rights, democracy and freedom are the foundations of American policy. I repeat this is not meant to be an indictment or impeachment of America, but a necessary listing of the truths to show that in spite of these damning facts, the prevalent opinion of the majority of the US public is that we are the greatest, most generous and not imperialist power. I am specifically not disputing that we are the greatest military power, for that is the truth. The point of all this is the untrue history that is taught in American schools and broadcast by media. Most people do not take college courses in history, where diverse sources are read, evaluated and discussed. It is the tampering with historical truths, that bothers me and the resultant blindly chauvinistic jingoism, which when mixed with awesome military power can lead to massive and cruel destruction, if not an Armageddon! This is not meant to be an endless tirade of hateful condemnation, but is based on a sincere belief that America propounded some of the noblest of ideas and the least bad form of government.

And even though it was and continues to be hypocritical, its glory shines from its slow but persistent progress in living up to those hallowed ideals. Its security will be the practice and propagation of those ideas, till they are available for the rest of humanity to enjoy. It is a work in progress, no doubt destined to be a beauty. At present it is embryonic. It is critical that misguided pundits, who are connoisseurs of distorted art, do not convince the rich yahoos to buy it in a rigged auction from conniving dealers, and enshrine it in the museum of history, thereby stifling its growth, even though brainwashed ignorant have-nots without understanding, go into a frenzy of patriotic war cries at first sight of the not fully formed masterpiece to be.

The second case is that of India. It has had a series of invaders, who plundered or conquered and large parts of its history is a lie written by victors, often marginalizing the losers and making them subhuman. Nearly a thousand years of subjugation by Islam, was followed by colonizing by the Portuguese, French and British, which were the longest and most widespread. The British invented the myth of separate Hindu and Muslim nations and left behind a trifurcated territory with two antagonistic parts in keeping with their policy of divide and rule. The Leftists, who are often closet communists, invented the myth of a secular India and succumbed to the British-originated fiction that there was never a united India and the British had brought civilization and technology to India. There is undoubted truth to the statement that India had been brought into the industrial and scientific age, but the economic and psychological cost to the population was horrendous. A similar statement, but more hyperbolic would be the one commonly made about the American Indians and African Americans in America. They were dragged into an even more advanced society compared to their own, but at a horrendous price. The fact that they are more advanced than they would have been before the advent of Europeans to America or the Africans life in Africa would be an unacceptably racist argument. The Japanese on a mere threat from Commodore Perry, achieved a technology and state capable of defeating Russia in the war of 1905 and fighting USA in a hundred years, without losing their independence earlier. The leftist historians ignoring the massive plunder, rape and mass killings by Tamerlane, Ghazni, Ghori and myriad marauders, the indiscriminate destruction of Hindu and Buddhist places of worship and the imposition of discriminatory punitive Jazia tax on non-Moslems for much of the thousand years of Islamic rule, still concocted the lying history, that conquest by Islam contributed to the cultural betterment of India. Thus these neo-Marxes like their divine father figure, showed contempt for the brown-skinned in spite of being brown themselves. They swallowed the British bait hook line and sinker. They perpetuated the myth that Hindus and Moslems lived peacefully together even though there were frequent fallouts and co-operation was only present amongst the well-off and power elite when it suited their economic or political interest. This is not to in anyway imply that Moslems in India be oppressed like the Palestinians in Israel. It is only to make the point that the real problems are Pakistan and similar states. As long as such theocracies exist and fan the flames of religious fanaticism, terrorism and separatism, they will increase the radicalization of India and hurt the status of minority Moslems. The last have ill wishers in their own community, who carry out atrocities as in Godhra, which lead to unjustifiable pogroms. The Christian missionaries who buy converts are not doing their flock a favor. They set up a scenario for the Balkanization of India just as is happening in Indonesia. The upper caste Hindus by their cruel and petty terrorizing of Dalits only add more fuel to these fires, which will engulf the nation.

It is misfortune enough that the tampering with history should be done by two occupying foreign
powers. It is an even greater tragedy that this is the first perversion of truth by indigenous historians. A further tampering by the saffron brigade is their asserting without clear evidence, that there was no inward so-called Aryan migration, even nonviolent, of any peoples from Iran or West Asia. They wish to throw out the concept of Indo-European languages, the Mitanni treaties and the Sanskrit names and writings of West Asia. I wouldn't be surprised to hear some foolish religious zealot historian propound that the rule of Islam and the British was a tactical 1300 year long retreat, carried out by the Hindus following some divine Vedic strategy!

Once again the purpose of the sarcasm is not to put down, but stress another type of damage done to the psyche of the citizens of a nation. India, Indians and their policies are subservient, destructive due to inane internecine fighting and often fatally tainted by an inferiority complex. This makes most Indians apologize endlessly for their behavior, while condoning outrageous behavior by others towards them. It is as funny as Doris Day's role as Miss Timberlake in the first half of that fabulous old movie, RA Touch of Mink. She is worried about offending him by refusing his indecent proposal. The only difference is while the movie makes me collapse with laughter, the Indian follies only give me fits of anger or make me weep for the country.  


More by :  Gaurang Bhatt, MD

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