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HindustanTimes Thu,18 Sep 2014
Inflatable histories
Manas Chakravarty
February 16, 2013
First Published: 23:31 IST(16/2/2013)
Last Updated: 23:32 IST(16/2/2013)

Alexander the Great invaded India. But King Porus defeated Alexander and chased him away. Which narrative should we teach our children? This was Karnataka education minister Vishweshwara Hegde Kageri’s poser  ... The minister said, “The first one is what we have been taught for years. This perspective breeds an inferiority complex. The second narrative helps children swell with pride.”
— TNN, February 8

Ha! Is that the best the minister can do? If we really want our children’s chests to swell with pride, this is the history we should be teaching:

True, Porus beat Alexander. But that is a minor footnote. The big story is that Alexander wasn’t Greek at all, but an Indian king.

The name Alexander is a distortion of Alakshendra, a ruler of one of our northern kingdoms. Conventional history tells us he came to India from Greece, conquering everybody along the way.

Yes, his empire did stretch from Macedon to the Indus, but the liberal historians got their direction wrong — Alakshendra actually marched in the opposite direction, from India to Greece, crushing everybody beneath his chappals.

Indeed, patriotic historians say his real name was Narendra Modi the First and that he irrevocably changed the history of Europe. That is why a synonym for change in English is ‘Modify’.

The next time we hear of Indian rulers abroad is after the death of Julius Caesar, when a triumvirate was formed in Rome.

One of the leaders was Mark Antony, an Indian affectionately called Anthony. The other two leaders were, of course, Amar and Akbar. Incidentally, Mark Antony was smitten by a very beautiful Bengali lady called Ms Patra, who was queen of Egypt.

I forget her first name. Indian women have been at the forefront of world domination, with a lady called Maya going as far as Mexico to establish the Mayan kingdom. Hear the sound of buttons popping? That’s because chests have started swelling.

The trouble with India in those days was that we didn’t have much cultural diversity. After a lot of head-scratching, Turks, Afghans and other kings from Islamic countries were persuaded to come and rule over parts of India.

It was one of the greatest triumphs of Indian diplomacy. And did you know the Mughal dynasty was started by a local holy man called Baba R?

But it was our early NRIs who did us proud. Take Jairaj, an Indian from Tirunelveli who settled in Washington and was known to posterity as George Washington. The Indian influence during the American revolution was obvious — they initially called it the American war of Hindependence, from ‘Hind’, short for Hindustan.

Two of Jairaj’s descendants, Jairaj V and Jairaj VI, aka George V and George VI, were the British monarchs during the two world wars. Did you hear the sound of shirts being ripped? Those chests are really swelling.

We also modified technology to create the Industrial Revolution in the West. It was originally known as the
Hindustrial Revolution, of course.

Unfortunately, vested pseudo-secular interests were preventing us from hindustrialising India, so the great nationalist Jagat Seth bribed Mir Jafar to betray Siraj ud-Daula and let the British win at Plassey, so that they could unite the country and build railways. Once that job was done, we kicked them out and declared Hindependence.

But those chests have swollen to alarming proportions and it’s time to stop here before they burst.
Manas Chakravarty is consulting editor, Mint
Views expressed by the author are personal


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