The ancient saying that “History repeats itself,” that the same situation tends to reappear with alterations of detail and form, contains an abundant element of truth.
We might list numerous questions of the day which have, in one form or another, moved the minds and inflamed the passions of our ancestors in distant lands. As memory fades, stories from the past can become realities of the present. It is for us to avoid the mistakes made by our past and learn from their experience. Today, we are the judges. Tomorrow, we await the verdict.
What was in the mind of a nine-year-old Native American boy hours before Christopher Columbus burnt his parents alive? How would you feel if you were a descendant of that kid, standing in front of a Christopher Columbus monument in Minnesota right now?
After defending his relatively peaceful Kingdom, Maharaja Jayapala was defeated by the invading Ghaznavid army near Peshawar. What was in the mind of those countless Hindus of Peshawar in the 9th Century who were executed by the invaders days after Maharaja’s defeat because they worshipped Murtis? How would a present-day woman in Peshawar react when she is told that her mother was abused a thousand years ago because she chose to defend her faith rather than convert.
How would the citizens of Kabul react when they’re told that 1500-years-ago, their forefathers were perhaps the most developed sections of the world who enjoyed numerous achievements in mathematics, astronomy, science, religion, philosophy and lived a happy, equal and safe life under the Gupta Empire? The citizens of Kabul, if they’re taught accurate history from an ordinary person’s perspective, would certainly understand the real meaning of freedom that their ancestors had enjoyed. They would know what kind of freedom they need to chase. This will present them with a direction in life, right?
We must retell history. Today we judge atrocities committed by ruthless rulers. We know the achievements of our fabulous kings. But, we must dig deep and find out more about the lives of ordinary people. History repeating itself doesn’t mean kings will come back in different forms. It means ‘certain circumstances’ will reappear. Taliban taking over Afghanistan or Boko Haram overrunning North Nigeria were scenarios that happened in the past in a different form, with another name.
However, the intent was crystal clear. The intent is similar. Only when history is rewritten from a commoner’s perspective we will learn from it and avoid conflicts in a loop. A commoner’s experience is not common. It is unique, and it is a lesson that must be fiercely narrated. Our Aatmas (Souls) are immortal; we reincarnate. Don’t you think it’s not very smart on our part to keep repeating the same blunders with very birth because we choose to ignore the very basics of life – the experience?