Raise a hand if you’ve heard statements like this on blogs, articles and various comment forums:
- India was the greatest power in the world for thousands of years
- Muslim invaders came and destroyed Indian culture
- Indian knowledge was far ahead of its time and was the envy of the world
- India had the greatest philosophers
- India had the wisest kings
- India had the best warriors
- The British stole India’s Kohinoor! etc etc.
You get the idea..
They are made with the utmost passion and are usually followed by a tirade of how India has fallen from greatness, has embraced “western imperialism” and needs to get back to its roots. Modern society is degenerating, homosexuals are roaming freely, and women are “losing their modesty”. Honestly, I’m astounded at how often I hear such nonsense.
Let’s assume it’s all true. Obviously there’s a good amount of idealization, glorification and whitewashing, but I’m going to ignore it for now. Pretend that India was the greatest jewel on the planet for thousands of years, that all the rulers were paragons of virtue, justice and wisdom. Give in to the belief that evil Muslims came and destroyed everything great about this paradise hundreds of years ago and imposed their barbaric rule, culture and laws upon it.
I may be asking for too much I know, but bear with me. Now that we’ve descended into self delusion and absorbed this nauseatingly glorified past, I have just one question.
Indians living today share nothing but a few bits of DNA with our long dead ancestors. We didn’t know them. They certainly didn’t know us. We have no connection to them. But still we want to somehow claim greatness based on their (supposedly) lofty stature in the past. In effect, we want to bask in undeserved glory. The reality is that the deeds of those before don’t confer superiority on us today. Those who lived and died hundreds of years ago are strangers to us.
It means nothing. We have no business to feel proud.
I’ll tell you the kind of people who look to the past to find glory and feel better about themselves. Those who have no achievements of their own. People who think themselves so worthless and without anything to brag about that they have to dig up old glories of India – imagined or not – to elevate themselves and compensate for their current failings.
The atrocities committed hundreds or thousands of years ago have no bearing today. Those responsible have long since died and crumbled to dust, beyond the reach of our laws. Even those who suffered have been extinguished. The past is past. Let bygones by bygones.
Advocates of the past justify bringing up these old non-wounds by saying we must “learn from history” and trot out that famous saying “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” This might have been valid if there was a danger today of Muslim hordes overrunning India today. If there was a risk of barbarians on horses frothing at the mouth waiting to convert every Hindu into a Muslim.
But there are no such barbarians today. There is no threat. We have far bigger problems than Islamic terrorism threatening us. Perhaps we’re afraid of tackling them and so find an easy target to blame everything on. It’s the evil Sonia Gandhi and her Christian pals in Rome! It’s the minority appeasing Congress that wants to convert every Hindu into a Muslim and impose Sharia law!
If only things were that simple and the enemy was so clearly outlined. But they’re not. Nothing is simple. We have far deeper and real systemic problems which we need to address. Finding an enemy to swing a sword at is just childish. We desperately need to grow up.