Truth?Or Lies?

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?

The Dhauli Peace Pagoda

Dhauli Hills, a 30 minute journey from Bhubaneswar is supposed to be the area where the Battle of Kalinga was fought.The same battle which led Emperor Ashoka take up the cause of peace and Buddhism after he realized the extent of loss and destruction,and even more important,the death of millions of soldiers.The Daya river which flows by the hills is said to have turned red with the blood of dead soldiers.
Cut to today,the hill now has a beautiful peace pagoda built by the Japan Buddha Sangha and the Kalinga Nippon Buddha Sangha.

Here are some photos I took the other day in Dhauli!

The Peace Pagoda
The Peace Pagoda

View of River Daya from the hill.
View of River Daya from the hill.

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The statues of Buddha in the three avatars:-

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The inscriptions and murales,the meaning or interpretation of which is still not clear as each guide has his own story to tell!
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Dhauli is also famous for the excellent(and might I add cheapest)kaju badam!
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The thing that hits you about Dhauli is the utter serenity around the place.Even with so many tourists,there is a strange sense of tranquility and quietness.A trip worth remembering:)
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The South Park Street Cemetry

Ok,so this type of a post is completely new ground for me!
Here are some photos of The South Park Street Cemetry in Calcutta I took on a visit with friends,around two years ago.Opened in 1767 and closed in 1790,it had slipped into near oblivion,due to lack of care and shoddy maintainence.However,when the screen adaptation of Satyajit Ray’s story “Gorosthaney Sabdhan”(Danger At The Graveyard),a part of the hugely popular detective series Feluda,was shot at the cemetry,where a large part of the story is based,the private owners(another interesting feature) regained their senses,and the cemetry is now a treat for those interested in history and Calcutta’s heritage.It houses around 1600 graves,most notably those of Sir William Jones,founder of The Asiatic Society;Sir Henry Vivian Derozio,renowned poet; and of Job Charnock credited to be the founder of Calcutta as a city.

I have instagrammed the photos today and thought it would make a really nice post!
(The third photo was reproduced from wikipedia)

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Now for the two most interesting tombs.I read about the first one in wikipedia today,and do not have a photo.I will just reproduce the wiki lines:-
“”A virtuous mother (died 1825)”, that is all Grave 363 in the cemetery has to say. It seems as if that she chose to remain anonymous.”

And the second is the tomb of Major General Charles Hindoo Stuart whose tomb is in the form of Hindu temple,because he had changed his religion to Hinduism in practice,performing Hindu rituals and bathing regularly in the Ganges.

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Find me in Instagram as nabadip93.Cheers!

Why I Wanted To Kick Myself!

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There are times you want to kick yourself on every imaginable part of your body!I have had that urge a number of times,but never more then after the incident I am going to share today…

Happened when i was in the 9th grade.The teacher had announced the day before that there was going to be a history test that day.Now,let me clarify that I rather liked the subject.But when it came to that particular test,I was sure I was going to flunk.For one,the test itself was on a chapter I detested(exactly which,I don’t remember) and on the other hand,I was a busy young man those days-still am!You see,my love life had just made it’s debut,and at that point in time I spent more time thinking about my new chemistry with my lady love!History naturally had taken a backseat…

But,and its almost always a big but,low marks just won’t do!So,like the perfect criminal I decided to write the important points of that chapter in a small chit of paper and keep it with myself during the exam.Go ahead,call me a cheat!Not that I am in anyway trying to defend my actions,but I guess at that age you don’t have the good sense to distinguish between what’s right and what’s not.Fifteen minutes into the exam I was busy copying down the drivel when ma’am’s voice broke the silence in the class.

“What are you looking at over there?What’s in your hand?Stand up,stand up I said”

I was already a nervous wreck,and before I knew it-and before I had looked up-I said,

“Nothing ma’am,just my handkerchief.”

“What are you screaming for Nabadip?I am asking Avishek.”

Too late, I realized my blunder.Ma’am had caught another boy in the act and I had given myself away.By now I was sweating.Ma’am, sensing something amiss,came to my bench and sure enough the scratch paper stared back at her!Go ahead and call me a fool!

p.s.-Have you ever wanted to kick yourself?!