One of my favorite ways to pass time is to go over to the TED app on my iPad and watch speech after speech.Today I stumbled across this speech by this courageous woman who fled from North Korea.This post however is not on her escape neither on the problems of North Korea.The first minute of her speech got me thinking about an entirely different topic.On how where we are brought up and what we read in our books or rather what is fed to us through them determines what we think about historical events or personalities.
Somehow I started thinking about Operation Bluestar.With two sentences, the lady had made me doubt my Political Science book. I don’t think that this incident was written in a blatantly pro-government, or pro-Indira Gandhi way in my textbook, but was it tilted towards supporting Indira Gandhi’s Operation? Did my textbook gloss over the torture and killings of the Sikhs? Have I learned about the political history of my country from a very biased point of view?
I remember reading how history is always written from the point of view of the victors. I have always been aware that the history of the same place, same incident, written by two different people or two different governments, will probably be very different. I have always known that the Pakistani textbooks talk about the Partition in a different way than the Indian textbooks. But this impersonal knowledge had never struck home. I had never made the connection that the things I studied in school, what I was taught, might be biased and inaccurate. What in the history of my country has been deliberately left out of the school textbooks and what deliberately written wrong? How much of the true happenings do I really know?
We’re all so used to hearing only about the good in Gandhiji and Nehru; when have we ever heard about the bad?
Isn’t it time we stop glossing over the uncomfortable truths of our history?