Monday, July 24, 2006

The adjective

Probably because of the sheer volume of it, all historical representations are bound to be selective. So while a high school history student reads about the Indian freedom struggle, she studies the most limited references to the revolutionary period of our struggle for freedom. She learns what Gandhi did, she does not learn what he did not do or what he could have done or if our history post M. K. Gandhi would have been any different if he did different things. She does not learn what those different things might have been & which leaders - no more consequential in our current historical spectrum - thought of these different things & could not agree to the Gandhian way.

It is an immense practical problem to be complete in one's representation of history & then completely remove any bias of any kind in the selection of what goes into 'Official History'. However, this is not stated. No historian claims that his is only a version of the truth. And students do not learn their history with this practical caveat in mind. Then comes the final shaping of opinion depending on which version of truth you're sold on. So Gandhi is both renegade & a Mahatma, a national hero & a luddite in a way.

We have to start acknowledging the inadequacies that we cannot cure our history of. And we can start by ridding history of adjectives.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Like we discussed, core nature of the subject is such biases cannot be totally removed, that’s why the controversies and differences in opinion, but I am curious to know what becomes the source of information to the historian because they’ll take forward the same information OR they might research to dig out to tell us the lesser known facts!

Also take mercy on my damaged vision and increase the font size!