If someone was to bring up the word ‘History’, the first thought that comes to mind is ‘Boring’ or how easily I have zoned out when it was being taught in school unless of course when the professor really taught us with all the humour & passion they could muster to bring us out of our stupor. If you’ve been blessed with a brilliant history professor through-out, I must admit that I already envy you.
Reason: You would have learnt early that history is very important.
Read on as I attempt to answer, Why?
Let me make you jog down the memory lane, back to the Indian Freedom Struggle. Before Vasco da Gama touched our shores & the entire troupe of Europeans that followed his suit, we have had the Mughals, Magadhas, Mauryas, Marathas, Nizams, Cholas, Guptas.. so on & so forth. ( I haven’t followed the chronological order). It was always a long list of rulers, dynasties & their empires from faraway lands who have ruled us. They brought in with them their culture, their traditions, their style of architecture (which isn’t sadly as valued as it should be) & what not. So, our land, the Indian subcontinent has always been an amalgamation of the various rulers & their ethnicity. I don’t know if you have realized it already but as far as I am concerned it was recently brought to my notice, that we have never been aware of the concept or idea called country till the Britishers had begun to do what to do they did.
Considering, our history we have been diverse in every which way & which Britishers were very smart to spot. Hence came in divide & rule policy.
Sadly, we have always been ruled by someone or the other, so before people could even realize, the Brits & et all had firmly placed themselves on our land (still not a country). There’s an idiom that goes ‘United we stand, Divided we fall’. We have always been diverse & divided in that sense, the problem was that there was nothing that united us. Thus, came Bharat or India. The new religion of patriotism was born. It was only after that, our people were awaked after which came in the need to do something out patriotic sentiments & thus, our freedom struggle gained momentum under the national leaders and finally the historic day of 15th Aug, 1947 was marked as D.O.B of our nation.
Fast forward, to present day India aged 68.
Where, we struggled to bring in an unified nation in the past, today we are back to where we started from. Think states = princely states, though they were created to appeal to a certain set of regional language, ruler, locals, ethnic groups, & some might add for the purpose of administration. But again there are states fighting each other over water, resources, revenue sharing etc. There’s someone who wants to change a particular word in the national anthem, there are many who only want to promote their own religion & force it on others, there’s political interests, there’s business interest, there’s personal interest & I need not go on any further. All of which is only creating a greater from of divide in many diverse & inexplicable ways. It’s a cycle a vicious one at that. But with that we tend to overlook the bigger picture, I-N-D-I-A. I am sure you’ll recall SRK’s dialogue from Chak De! India from the scene ‘registration of the players. You would say Brits aren’t at the shore, but aren’t Chinese & Paks trying to do that ?
Someone rightly remarked, “Whoever wishes to foresee the future, one must consult the past” because history does repeat itself, in different forms. Eventually, invariably especially when you ignore it.
PS: It’s a product of a random conversation with a certain IAS aspirant & in a tiny attempt at correlation.
Also, now I realize why humanities if combined with economics, is our guiding light.