Monday, August 1, 2011

Truth vs Myth - Real story in English

Truth vs Myth

Once upon a time our land came to be invaded by white philistines. They were so strong that neither the blade of steel nor the blast of gunpowder could destroy them. However, like Samson with long locks or like Superman who dreaded Krypton, the white philistines had one weakness – they could be destroyed by salt. So they banned salt-making in the lands they occupied. Then came a prophet – who told the enslaved people that there was salt on the golden shore of a sea on the other side of their land. A man of purity of mind and body alone could procure it. One day there came such a David, frail and semi-clad. The great knights of the land scoffed at him, but he undertook the difficult journey, procured the Holy Grail of salt and sprinkled it on the philistines. They vanished.

Couldn’t the story of Gandhi’s Dandi march be mythified thus? Not in this age of the Internet and interplanetary voyages. But if Gandhi’s salt satyagraha had happened, say, when the Buddha lived, a story like the one above would by now have been part of our great mythology.

Each culture has its own ideas of history. If every Chinese emperor believed that history began with him (so he burnt all the records of preceding reigns), we Indians mythified everything and
became the world’s greatest myth-makers.

Often it is the myth that stays in the mind of the listener more than the history. No wonder, the fictitious Anarkali is better remembered than the historical Nurjehan.

Perhaps we are bad in history because we have more myths. History to us has been an intangible collective memory of facts,myths and magic ……

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