Friday, June 12, 2015

A subject's predicate

Of the few subjects that i really liked in my school days, history topped the chart followed by Tamil. To read about wars and battles and stories of valour courage and wealth, it was refreshing a change from the other dull subjects which were primed for competition. Be it any board, no one bothers about  your score on these two subjects. Infact, if you score less on these two as compared to maths and sciences, you are right on track to achieve your life's ambition of securing top honours in public exam. History na "hi" story ..apdinu enjoy panni padikalam. Little did i realize then how true that anagram was. With every change in government, history the subject, is under constant assault. Each ruling party wanting to project their own leaders as the ones who won freedom for India, students are forever in confusion. More than a plus b whole square formulae, more than bivalent chemical bonding involving molecular and molar mass, more than inertia,mass, momentum riddles, i felt very close with reality when studying history. With passing years, it helped in forming perspectives. It helped in strengthening point of view scenarios which showed same situation in different lights. It helped in understanding the mistakes made before.

The marketing genius of America is evident from the fact that, when i went to chimney rock, i was shocked at the level of commercialization of what they called as their history. For a country which is a little over 3 centuries old, they do cry a lot about history. It was nothing but a rock with a lift carved in, with the stars n stripes flag perched on top of it. And it had also featured in a movie or two and the rock as such was barely a century old!! They were charging about 25$ entry fee for this nothing place and guess what..they even had souvenir shop selling tshirts and goodies!! I was stumped by the creative genius behind that setup who can sell a 100 year rock with a flag on it as a tourist attraction. That Pullyaar kovil at the end of my street is 3 centuries old, probably been there before American independence and ketpaar atru is in a dilapidated shape. Somehow there is a general public hatred or negligence for anything of historic value in India is my opinion. There are so many artefacts which would be considered as treasures by westeners are lying un-protected and uncared for in our country. Till the time panjaloga idols are stolen and sold abroad, no one realizes their worth. People shamelessly steal bricks and stone from temples that are thousands of years old to build their home.

Wish the history syllabus is revamped to include marvels about our own art and architecture rather than dabbling on renaissance and crap. Not that it should not be learnt, but when we have even richer and more ancient heritage that can fill up several volumes of books, why not give preference to learn them better and in detail than about cultures which were not even formed when ours were in the decline. By the time my kid takes up studies i wish i could locate some authentic sources of history for them to learn and cherish and enjoy. I wish they take pride in being associated with a culture that is several millenia old and learn about it more in detail. If they could become archaeologists or some historians i would be all the more happy :)


Ramesh said...

You raise a number of valid issues in this post Gilsu.

Yes history is written and rewritten by successors projecting themselves in good light and every before as a scoundrel. This art has been perfected in China where every dynasty literally wiped the slate clean and restarted even their calendar from Year 1 when they started ruling ! Thankfully archaeology has ensured that wild misrepresentations cannot stand and there is some level of scientific basis for a fair bit of history.

The second, and bigger issue you raise is the disregard for history both in schools and amongst adults. You are a rare student to like history in school - the way it is usually taught makes it the most boring subject on earth. What a pity as few areas can evoke the imagination as history. We Indians do not care much about history. We are content to say that we have a glorious past without knowing much about what it is. A real pity for a culture that ignores history is condemned to repeating the same mistakes again and again.

Swaram said...

Can relate to all of it so well. Totally echo your thoughts here. :)

gils said...

Me the very passionate about history thala..esp our history. Evlo stories..tonnes and tonnes of them are there. If i become President, first task would be to hire Speilberg, Cameroon and assign them the task of making multiple movies of our history. We definitely need good publicity on who we were. To hell with the liberals who bring religious undertone to anything worth mentioning

gils said...

Hey KBom...welcome back :)