“Until the lions have their story-teller, history will always glorify the hunters.” - African Proverb
Even after 75 years of independence, our present history textbooks include much flattering content for kings who invaded India, while slimly speaking about the role of the Indian rulers, like Rajputs, Mauryas, Marathas, Cholas, and Pandyas, which has led to ancient Indian history being ALTERED.
One might say Indians don't care about their past. This is a strange allegation that is insulting the people and their country who are fairly said to be the oldest continual civilization on the planet. Millions of Indians begin their days by chanting prayers, and daily discussions are full of references to Iron Age epics. Even our politics are affected by anyone in the 16th century who pulled down a temple or not. If anything we Indians are preoccupied with is, History. Maybe the things in the textbooks do not matter to us.
It has mostly been documented by British and Muslim Invaders, who controlled India for hundreds of years. Since they were in power, the recent history of Indian freedom and post-independence has an evident prejudice to Congress. The government believes that this has resulted in a faded look at Indian history, in which certain worthy events and individuals were deliberately ignored while some were given more than they did. There is no question that the majority of history worldwide has been written with a strong preference for the winner and the powerful.
For example, most Indians would know practically little from the ancient dynasties of Southern India such as Satavahana, Vijayanagar, or Chola. You may never hear of the Ahom rulers, who governed Assam for six hundred years even to battle the Mughals, till you reside in the north-east. It is necessary to redress this ridiculous imbalance. In addition, history is not just a question of empires' rise and fall, but also of other historical streams. For example, Indian textbooks contain nothing about the rich maritime history of the nation beyond a mention of South-East Asia's Chola naval attacks.
Students learn relatively little about the prosperous Indo-Roman commerce or the achievements of old merchants of Odiya who pioneered maritime routes across the East Indian Ocean. South-East Asia is seldom, if any, affected by the tremendous impact of Indian civilization.
The problem is that most Indians don't know the official history of our textbooks. The level at which biases from the colonial past have been continued to this day is pretty astonishing. Post-Independence historians add a new layer rather than methodically eliminate colonial biases. Besides ‘Nehruvians and Marxists' political choices, Delhi controlled the narrative as though the rest of the country had to exist as mere provinces.
We are informed about the dark dynasties of Delhi like the Lodhis, Mughals, Tughlaqs, etc. but hardly little about the kingdom of Vijayanagar, the sultans in Decan or Ahoms in Assam. We've gained over the ages, notably in food, architecture, and language from adopting other ideas and inspirations. Try imagining India without the Portuguese chiles and tomatoes, the cricket, and the railway of British or Taj Mahal, which was constructed by the Mongolian-Turkish ruler. It is equally true, though, that the same stranger invaders killed millions by conflict and starvation. Both good and bad need to be told, not the good alone.
Explaining Indian history without mentioning our great leaders, kings, forefathers is the same as telling European history without discussing Athens, Venice, Rome, France, Germany, and England. Another significant issue with Indian history writing is a disregard for evidence. Historical facts are not static since archaeology, genetics, climate studies, and other disciplines are continually making new findings. Existing theories, like other domains of knowledge, must be evaluated against fresh data.
Indian history may be classified into five major eras: Vedic 6,500 BC to 1,000 BC, Golden 500 BC to 800 AD, Muslim 1,000 AD to 1,700 AD, British 1,700 AD to AD 1947, and lastly Independence 1947 that may be called modern India history. India can be divided into five big periods. Most of this period is about Indians and Indians in terms of growth, civilization, arts and crafts, knowledge, and civic government well ahead of the majority of the globe. The country must set the record right. It is necessary.
This would assist educate not only ourselves but the rest of the world in emphasizing and commemorating India's contribution in many sectors. Muslim and British times are rather extensively recorded and documented, as well as modern Indian history. History about the battle for liberation in India seems to be charged for Nehru and Gandhi but other people like Sardar Patel and many others have been minimized. How about others like Subhash Chander Bose, who participated in the fight but did not agree with Congress.
The history of today describes Akbar as one of the greatest Mughal rulers and is known as 'Akbar the Great.' Is history going to keep describing him as "great?" But what about Raja Man Singh, the braves and trustworthy Rajput Commander of Akbar Armies and the Chhatrapati Sivaji Maharaj, Rani Padmini, Savatribai Phule and many more to be remembered!
What has to be considered more is the addition, the rewriting, and the omission from Indian history as it currently stands. It is vital to recognize that history has nothing to do with the past. If so, then all that transpired during a period must be included logically regardless if it seems good or evil in the context of today. History is not just about stirring events or heroes from the past. It's also about understanding why something happened in that era that irritates us now. We Indians now may feel awful about why we have been ruled for hundreds by Mughals or British. What is more essential here is to understand why we have been subjugated and the evil that strangers have been able to rule over us, treat us like slaves and dirt for about 1,000 years in our Indian civilization.
It is, therefore, necessary to document history unequivocally and objectively. It cannot comply with the egoistic goals of those in power or those responsible for writing it. It would be stupid to remove events or eras for which we may be sorry or guilty now.
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