There is no doubt about India’s glorious past, about what we taught the world and how we did things before the others. But 2014 was the year in which our history asserted itself.
We have all heard these stories before, about how the Pushpaka Vimana was the first aircraft to take to the skies. Yeah, much before the Arabs started floating around in flying carpets. Wright Brothers, and maybe even Leonardo Da Vinci, got the idea from the Amar Chitra Katha version of the Ramayan.
We all try some of the homemade remedies passed on within the family over the generations to good effect. But if some people have their way, we would be using cow urine and dung for most of the ailments afflicting us, even diabetes. Ever wondered why the same is never prescribed in Ayurveda?
The Mahabharata details the use of a weapon of mass destruction… “an iron thunderbolt, a gigantic messenger of death which reduced to ashes the entire race of the Vrishnis and the Andhakas.” Of course, it was the first nuclear bomb. It could have been something more deadlier, a completely different technology. But it is easier to call it a nuclear bomb.
We all agree that Sushruta was one of the world’s first surgeons, adept at fixing chopped off noses and ears. But was he a plastic surgeon?
Sushruta’s accomplishments pale when we compare it to the achievements of the doctors and IVF experts in the court of Dhritarashtra. Those guys were so good at creating test tube babies that they dealt in the dozens, or should we say hundreds.
This year we also got to know of the anashva rath, or the chariot that runs without horses. We can only guess that “yantra-rath” was abondoned in favour of the bullock cart purely for reasons of mileage.
If we thought Sanjay was blessed because he could see what was happening on the battlefield and narrate it for his master, then that was because we did not know that he was just watching a live telecast on a Dvapara Yuga television.
Here is hoping we get to learn more about ourselves, and our ancestors in 2015.
POSTSCRIPT: Ours is a glorious history, where we were ahead of most other civilisations in a lot of things, notably medicine, mathematics, astronomy and urban planning. Our mythology is also rich and an integral part of our culture that we can be proud of. But downgrading history and mythology with motivated interpretations will do us no good.