There is an interesting anecdote, maybe apocryphal, which goes as follows:-
There was a boy who told another boy, from another city, that his father dug and dug and dug the soil and they discovered cables running which belonged to times anterior to Graham Bell and that upon verification they found out that the telephone system was in use in their town prior to the claim by Graham Bell.
Upon hearing this, the other replied, ” How interesting! U know, that my father told me just a few days back, that his town’s-folk dug and dug and dug the ground and after many months of digging they found nothing and upon verification came to the conclusion, that their town was using the WIRELESS system prior to the time of the claim of invention of wireless by Marconi!”
Jokes apart, the anecdote reveals that our claims on science, history, statistics and such subjects shud have cold facts to sustain our premises, especially so when claims are being made. Otherwise it becomes just a claim to temporarily outwit other claims. We shud submit ourselves to the scrutiny of others, instead of telling others to have BELIEF or Faith in our presentations.
In INDIA, according to ALBERUNI (a historian who came with Mohd. of Ghazini), there were no historians in INDIA and consequently there were only Philosophies and MYTHS and no HISTORY.
There have been Fahien, Hieun Tsang, Kautilya and others of their ilk, who had left copious writings on the facts as seen by them, which in my view was sufficient to constitute history. Further, we as Indians (unlike the pompous Jews who had an exalted notion of their own importance in the world history!) have been modest in perception of our own importance and consequently led our day to day lives, without embarking on presentation of perceptions and calling them as HISTORY. So Alberuni’s statement may not be all that right.
WHAT is History?- is in itself a polemic. If i were to be asked, if the books written under the patronage of a Ruler were to constitute History (however impartial it may seem), i’d say an emphatic NO. In this 21st century, when information and knowledge have exploded beyond the imagination of man, there are many untold reasons for which people write. In those olden days why a Fahien or Hieun Tsang had to write and to what extent they benefited from such writings cannot be fathomed now. Consequently, where all they adjusted the facts to suit their paymasters, cannot be known.
THE WINNER WRITES HISTORY.
History also conceals the most disturbing areas. For example, the BOOK OF ESTHER in THE BIBLE, is the story about a woman called ESTHER saving the JEWS from utter destruction from the mischief planned by Haman, who was the chief minister to the emperor Xerxes (Ahaseurus(?sp.) in the KJV). The more important issue that shud be of concern is that how a Jewish woman cud be encouraged by another Jewish guy, called Mordecai, to become a co-wife of an INFIDEL called Xerxes? The Mosaic commandment proscribes the Jewry from wiving or giving in marriage to persons outside their community. Here she is “BEAUTY TREATED” by Heggai, and is sent to be the fodder for the lust of Xerxes and comes out triumphant as the Queen.
NOW how do we include this book in the holy BIBLE? After all the book of JUDITH was excluded on similar grounds(in the protestant Bible), but for the fact that the man, Holofernes, therein was merely a general and not an Emperor!! So, we romanticize the hole issue, oops- whole issue, and skim over the commandments and present a great history for the festival of PURIM.
Therefore HISTORY is not an impartial account of facts, but presentation of FACTS to ultimately lead the reader to an OBJECTIVE. AKBAR NAMA and BABUR NAMA are not meant to be impartial accounts of facts for the reader to arrive at his own conclusions, it is an effort to display the greatness of their subjects.
Even Boswell, was blinded by his admiration for Dr. Johnson. How else could we explain the taunts heaped on the Scottish by Dr.Johnson? If in a Biography, a person can’t be impartial, how much worse wud it get, in the so called historical writings.
Alberuni, if i get my facts right, was in the entourage of Mohd. of Ghazini. The Mohd. we are talking of, had to have someone to narrate the exploits and obviously Alberuni was living off the munificence of the RAIDER. To pass off his writings as HISTORY, wud be a misnomer. Paens or Panegyric wud be a better classification of his works.
IT IS WORSE STILL, WHEN SUCH A PANEGYRIST as ALBERUNI , LOOKS AROUND FOR PAENS AND PANEGYRICS AND WHEN HE FINDS NONE, MAKES A BLATANT STATEMENT THAT INDIANS HAVE NO HISTORIANS OR SENSE OF HISTORY!!