For far too long, Independent India has believed that history must be partisan, sanitised, shackled
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was right in pointing out that the study and promotion of history must be without blinkers, and truths from the past, buried and whitewashed for howsoever long a period, don’t help a society or nation in the final analysis.
A nation cannot be built on lies, and erasing some truths just because they are uncomfortable for certain interest groups or power alliances or destabilise the “popular” point of view shan’t provide a good foundation for a vibrant plural democracy.
For far too long, Independent India has believed that history must be partisan, sanitised, shackled and the guild monopoly of a few with a particularly strong compliance to some pet notions and myths in order to ensure that the project of nation building was well managed.
Mr Modi’s comments, made at an event to mark Veer Bal Diwas to remember Guru Gobind Singh, his four sons and Mata Gujri Ji, were on the confrontation between the autocratic and fanatic Aurangzeb and the intrepid tenth Guru of the Sikhs but they are also very relevant today.
Those who wish to wield a sword to force people to relinquish their faith, or change the broader spirit of communal plurality of India, would fail, the PM aptly reminded the nation. It is very inspiring to learn from history, and the chapter that the Prime Minister narrated has extraordinary relevance to contemporary India.
As Mr Modi said, we must all acknowledge that the history of every region and nation features tyrants and their excesses and atrocities, but against them, rose up torchbearers of hope, sages, saints, philosophers, artists and poets, who ensured that people found courage to live through the dark phases.
Every Indian must applaud the wisdom in the remarks of Mr Modi which reminded us that in every age, adversarial forces fought each other, in the form of terrorism versus spiritualism, communalism versus liberalism and altruism versus greed; but eventually it was the right-thinking whose values have prevailed.