If I ask you, ‘what were you doing on the morning of July 30, 2012?’ you will hopelessly shake your head and point out the obvious stupidity of the question. But history teachers never let such things as foolishness tobother them. They keep popping questions like what was Gandhi up to on August 8,1942. Naturally, most of us reply, I quote, ‘huh’.
But you cannot ignore history. For if you did, you will be forced to learn from even more boring persons, namely historians. You cannot also brook any delay in studying history, because with every passing minute you accumulate more history to learn.
So without wasting anymore time, let’s plunge into the history of the invaders of India, the whole point being that only during Independence Day Celebrations does this nation wake up to realise that it has a history.
According to classical textbooks, Aryans are ‘members of the prehistoric people who spoke Proto-Indo European’. This definition is self-explanatory, as it makes it abundantly clear that nobody is clear as to who these Aryans were.
Anyway, there is a consensus, among historians who wear thick glasses, that Aryans were the ‘hordes’ that ‘occupied’ India during the prehistoric time when India had not even geographically taken shape. Historians, with primed logic, point out that the Aryan invasion was very cruel to the indigenous Indians, especially considering the fact that indigenous Indians were not ready, as they were not born as India itself was not born then.
Allow me to dwell further on this historical watershed: The Aryans, after arriving here and creating India, gave birth only to Aryans and not any indigenous group. This is patently unjust, and all those who would otherwise have been born as indigenous people naturally feel that this ancient wrong needs to be constantly undone. Out of this reasonableness emerged the government’s Reservation Policy, which today has ensured a calibrated social equity in which every community or tribe rightfully and equally feels that the other is getting more.
Several millennia after the Aryans’ intrusion, galloped in through the Khyber Pass the Mughals, the doughty warriors from Persia. It was another turning point in the nation’s never-ending narrative. The marauding Mughals delivered such a body blow that it would take the country several centuries to recover and eventually set up the Border Security Force. But India seems to have learnt the lessons of the past very well, as it is now utterly impossible to invade the country on horsebacks even with mighty swords and pointed axes. You need to come in boats from Karachi.
Anyway, the Mughals, as you would imagine, were inclined towards peace. But realising the historical need to provide some chapters for future school children to study, the Mughals went ahead and fought the first Battle of Panipet. But this battle business was apparently addictive. And by the time they were through and finished, the Mughals had participated in countless battles and wars running into countless pages on history tomes. But for the Mughals and their killings, our students would be ignorant and lazy with very little to learn.
The Mughal badshahs were not a decadent talent as is sought to be portrayed by those who have read history. They created mighty monuments, some of which stand even today making the onlookers marvel as to why they were built in the first place. Quitab Minar is a good example of this. The Mughal emperor who conceived it did not busy himself with simple questions like what practical purpose can a dark iron pillar on a nowhere land serve. He went ahead and got it up, and naturally it attracts hundreds and hundred of visitors every day.
Today we have a full-fledged governmental machinery and a sturdy bureaucratic apparatus, and whenever there is a crisis confronting the nation, we know whom to turn to and point accusing fingers at. But remember it’s all a legacy of the industrious Britishers, who not only painstakingly set up the brick and mortar of modern India, but also had the basic courtesy to involve the locals by blaming them whenever something went wrong.
The Brits came to India as a small ragtag group of traders and merchants, but by the time they backed out they left a rich treasure, especially for a succession of Indian moviemakers to caricature the Colonial men and women who spoke Hindi in the most funny accent possible. Britishers, by the dint of their efficiency and innate intelligence, also murdered many of the native names and terms. It is a compliment that we Indians are trying to pay them back by an even more innovative use of English in which grammar and rules have little space.