Saturday, July 24, 2021

SAFFRON SWORDS

Saffron-SWordssManoshi Sinha’s book “Saffron Swords” tells us the story of those Indians who fought valiantly against invaders and armies, based on an immense moral courage. Earlier, these stories, written by Marxist historians, were presented to us in a language designed for deceit. A brilliant book that talks of unknown kings, queens and common people who fought the invaders, yet, never made it to our history books. A perfect gift to let our kids / grand kids know about our glorious past.

One of the defining characteristics of history writing by historians of India is that they make it bereft of ideas. As a social scientist would tell, this is one of the classic ways in which historians can hide, distort a part of history as it really happened, and present their own version for future generations; the argument being that if history textbooks generate ideas and are taken seriously by readers, they will make the study of history ‘contingent’. Events of the past will then be seen as that could have gone either way, making the reader go deeper and search for more ideas.

One of consequences of that will be to explain why right people armed with the right ideas didn’t always win. This process generates empathy for those who fought and struggled valiantly and be an inspiration.

Manoshi Sinha’s book Saffron Swords does exactly that. It tells us the story of those Indians who fought valiantly against invaders and armies, based on an immense moral courage. To me, this book will do what our textbooks haven’t been able to do for the children of India and many adults like me. It will generate ideas for us to look deeper in the history we haven’t been exposed to as part of our education.

How much do we know about the valorous saga of our ancestors from the east to west, north to south of Bharat? Unfortunately very little! Were we always defeated? It is a Big No. But we have been projected as losers. During the last 1300 years, our ancestors across the country put up a brave resistance against invaders, first against Islamic invasion and rule and later the British. Hundreds and thousands of our warriors won battles and many fought until their last breath defending the motherland.

Indian History text books have hardly glorified these real warriors of the soil. We have grown up reading more about the glories of our invaders. A nation’s citizens, who are ignorant about the brave feats of their ancestors, tend to deviate away from their roots, historicity, and their sense of belongingness for the motherland. Saffron Swords that contains 52 tales of valour, is a tribute to the unsung warriors of India, both men and women, from the last 1300 years. This book is the first in its series.

Indian history text books hardly glorify the exploits of Indian warriors who won in battles against Islamic invaders. Many freedom fighters, who played an instrumental role in freeing India from clutches of the British, have not found a place in history. Instead, it is the invaders who are glorified. From the north to the south, east to the west, there are hundreds of winning exploits of warriors, both men and women. Fifty two stories are inspirational to further bring about pride in our glorious past. I read each and every story like an episode. It is time history text books are rewritten.

This book deserves to be in our school syllabus. It reminds us of our brave ancestors who sacrificed their life but we forgot them because of adulterated history.

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