We must begin by looking at our history as Indic history, rather than Indian history. And rather than arguing about rewriting history, we must be fighting to reclaim our history.
By Ashok N.R.
One of the most intense topics of discussion we see today, outside of politics, is a raging debate around the alleged rewriting of Indian history. There is entire machinery – both national and international, that is gearing up to resist anything that depicts our history factually. Not those written by the Dutch, the British, and the Mughals or by international media, but those that are written by Indians themselves – from Delhi and the leftist movements to the left-liberal media in India.
For those insisting that rewriting history as we study and know it today is a rightist ideology is like insisting that the features of the moon seen through a pair of sunglasses, rather than a telescope, is the right one.
We must begin by looking at our history as Indic history, rather than Indian history. And rather than arguing about rewriting history, we must be fighting to reclaim our history. This implies that our history is larger than India as we know today. This also translates into Indian history contributingmuch more to the progress of the world than most of us are being deliberately kept in the dark about. Much of what I write here and in the further set of this 10-part series is based on globally documented references.
The geographic spread of ancient Indic region itself led to some innovative solutions that made ruling and administration easy. For example, the Mauryan Empire stretched from 322 to 185 BCE stretched from Baluchistan that included a part of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Baluchistan and parts of Iran at its peak, one of the largest empires of its times. The single greatest achievement of this dynasty was the creation of an efficient and centralized system to manage the kingdom efficiently.
A single currency, coupled with a single taxation system covered the largest swathes of geography known in that day. A working reality of a large-scale One Nation One Currency One Tax, a dream almost unseen in those times. The only known single currency around that time, which failed in a very short run, was Electrum in ancient Lydia, a part of today’s Turkey. The next known currency was only the Chinese Bronze Whuzu in 118 BCE and the Roman Empire in 27 CE. While Europe did have durations of single nation single currency, nothing matched the twin of the geographic spread and durability of the Mauryan currency.
This entire centralized system of a ruling by the Mauryan dynasty was based singularly on the principles of Arthashastra, written by Kautilya around 350 BCE. Arthashastra dealt with a wide scope of branches that dealt with governance and diplomacy, screening officials and ministers, finance with economics, markets and trade, law and ethics, combined with the nature or peace, security and theories of war, and most importantly, the duties and obligations of a king. Well over millennia and a half before NiccolòMachiavelli’s `The Prince’ with a similar scope and tone was published in 1513. Rules from Arthashastra was applied uniformly to all citizens across the empire very effectively. So much so, that there were only two known revolts, both because of maladministration. We are talking about something around the vestiges of a constitution and citizen rights.
Of course, one may argue about TsunTsu’sphenomenal treatise in the Art of War the first of which was thought to be published around 500 BCE. But one has to remember that The Art of War focused mostly on military tactics.
Why is it important to know this? And why the comparisons? So we do not fall into the trap of trying to glorify one culture or history at the cost of putting down another.