From the Aryans to Aurangzeb, from St Xavier to Shivaji, our historians have chosen what to hide, what to invent, and what to disclose. The singular reason for this is the craving for patronage – of an ideology, a government, an ecosystem, or a clique. And once our historians are done with their contortions, we the readers sit back and enjoy the inevitable fallout – the outing of Hypocrisy.
The Left outs the hypocrisy of the Right and the Right outs the hypocrisy of the Left and great column-yards are churned out as a result of such skirmishes. But we forget – outing of hypocrisy is a virtue so long as it doesn’t turn one into a hypocrite. Well, it does; every single time. Villains are made into heroes and heroes into villains. We like it this way. Gandhi, Nehru, Savarkar, Patel – they are to be worshipped; they are to be made into Gods, into Atlases who carry the weight of our ideologies and our biases on the nape of their necks.
History as myth; myth as History. It conforms to what we really are – unsure of our present, fearful of our future. The Right wing doesn’t want to hear anything about Savarkar or Golwalkar that might put them in bad light; the Left-wing doesn’t want to hear anything about Nehru or Namboodiripad that might put them in bad light; and the Velcro Historians don’t want to write anything about anyone that might put them in solitary confinement, away from all light.
Fear and trembling, that is what this is, and the whole nation chugs along on this dead yet simmering coal. A journey to nowhere; slow, halting, tiring; until you realise what the grand plan always is – to appropriate. And of all the great men and women we have had the honour to call our own, no one has been more appropriated than Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar.