This article has been submitted by Yash Kinjalk for the CLATGyan Blog Post Writing Competition. If you think this article is a good read, ‘Like’ this article on Facebook (the button is at the bottom of this piece) or post a comment using the ‘comments’ section below.
From time immemorial, we Indians have the tendency to look snobbishly at things we don’t understand. This universal law applies to every topic of discussion that we are unable comprehend. Therefore, we don’t like history. Often, for instance, I find my friends claim that their history class was so boring that they slept while the teacher was lecturing them on the French Revolution.
But does that mean this lack of knowledge prevents us from speaking about them? Well, HELL NO! As an Indian author put it aptly… well… forget what he said, he did so in Hindi.
Well, we do have an unquenchable desire to speak. We have the right to speak, and we exploit it as much as we can. Some, like Arvind Kejriwal, exploit it more than others and then land in that heaven on earth for restless souls, jail. His is a curious case – he has decided not to furnish the bail amount of Rs. 10,000, which he picked from Mahatma Gandhi’s Champaran episode. But the fact that hundreds of millions of Indians don’t know the details of Champaran movement escapes his mind… I know some of you would be cursing me for going off topic. Sorry for that.
I was talking about our tongue. Our tongue – I’m sure has evolved and now is more advanced than its western counterparts (no denying that morons inhabit that part of the world too, of course). We indians have found ways to speak of things which we don’t quite know about. Every one of you has experienced as much in a train journey. While in a train, one finds people talking about our foreign policy, economic circumstances and history… or, as I should have put it, distorted history.
Once, when I was travelling in a train, a gentleman started bashing Nehru. We all love bashing him, don’t we? I asked him why he didn’t like Nehru, to which he shot back that he liked Gandhi very much. I did not understand; I asked him to explain. His face turned white – not like that of other men – but a tree toad white, a fish belly white! He seemed to brush my question off but I persisted. He knew he had to give an answer, so he said that he didn’t like Nehru because he did not let Mahatma Gandhi become the prime minister.
I was outraged! That was a lie! But even more than that, I was pissed at the idiot’s courage, that he stuck to what he said. After I gave him a whole lesson on history, and was about to congratulate myself on having saved the man from the hell of mental incapacity, he fired his last bullet, destroying all my plans of self-congratulation.
“How can you exactly know what happened during independence and partition?“
“Well, I have read history.”
“But you were not present there!”
He laughed at me, having won the debate. And the first thing which came to my mind was this quote from George Bernard Shaw: “I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.” This mentality is indeed a problem, and a very dangerous one at that. But as a responsible citizen of this great nation (remember that saying about the greatness of our nation which is painted behind trucks?), I must also offer a proper solution if I have dared to question the great Indian intellect. Well, the solution is that we must look at the positive side and build upon it to make us a great nation in reality. The positive side is that we love history, but we dont know about it!
As I try to write about the solution (which involves school education in its entirety) another life experience crosses my mind. But I won’t share it with you. A friend of mine asked me about Nelson Mandela when the great leader died. I told him. (I… decided to tell you the story anyway). He questioned my knowledge of Mandela and told me that his teacher had told him otherwise. He had told him that Mandela was a mathematician!
Another of Shaw’s sayings flashed before my mind, “Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.” The only solution to our problem is that we must read about things we want to learn and speak of. Don’t rely on pamphlets and newspaper articles for knowledge, read good and trusted books.
The seventeen-year-old Yash Kinjalk describes himself as a student of the world’s story, which he finds as fascinating as the Lord Krishna, Jawaharlal Nehru and Captain Jack Sparrow did.