Monday, June 06, 2016

Authenticating Mythology?

                                                          
 Mythological thrillers fly bookshelves as rewriting/ reviewing of history becomes a national preoccupation.  On TV, it commands TRPs, rules the box office.  It is the new gold.    
Is it not time to be super-careful, not to go astray, as happened with the instance of Jawaharlal Nehru?
It is only positive that as a people, we have become conscious of our past and want to know more about it. But some standards and authenticity must be a pre-requisite, not swept to the wayside in search of TRPs.
An old wives’ tale insists the Mahabharata should never be read at home, like the Ramayan is.   Reason:  it will only create quarrels within the family.  For what is the Mahabharat, but an unending rendering of family weaknesses, quarrels, arrogances, and greed that were allowed to fester to finally destroy the then-known world.
Remember the 1988 telecast of  TV Mahabharat  to all homes also saw the tumultuous birth of VP Singh’ Janata Dal, anti-reservation agitations and the Advani rath yatra disaster.
Now a different mood has writers delving into cryptic quotes from ancient writings to fashion thrillers, whilst others pour over the past with different, well researched prisms to uncover new meanings and dismiss old prejudices.
Some riddles require the expertise of wise scholars.  There is the ancient city of Dwarka, believed submerged off the coast of Gujarat near present day Dwarka.  Is that so?  Why then were the excavations into those ruins abruptly called off, after a brilliant start?
A well known scholar Dr. Daftuar has, after deep study, proposed the possibility that perhaps Krishna’s Dwarika  may be Atlantis,  submerged Greek city of Hercules. He finds amazing similarities in the two legends, Krishna, his brother Balrama and the Greek Hercules, as well as the circumstances of the destruction of the two cities, tied to the upsurge of information on the geographical development of the earth thousands of years ago. 
At that time, the whole of Africa, Eurasia and Australia were part of one land mass that slowly drifted apart to form separate continents of Africa, Europe, Asia and Australia.   Makes the proposition pretty sound, doesn’t it?
That reminds me of another proposition by an earlier scholar, Canada based Dr. Bhagwandas Gidwani.   Based on his research of archival material in France and elsewhere, he set aside the whole British propounded “Aryan Invasion” theory they had used to decimate ancient Indian culture.  His “Return of the Aryans” follows the migrations from Ancient India in all directions – to South Asia and beyond, through present day Afghanistan, Persia, Eygpt and beyond, Europe right upto Germany’s Black Forest. 

The return journey, centuries later, of those who sought to rediscover the motherland is what the British preached as the Aryan Invasion in their textbooks.  Gidwani’s stand has, over time, won much acceptance and approbation. It not only affirms the pre-historic antiquity of civilization in India, but also offers answers to many questions left unanswered by the classic interpretation of history that we were taught in school.