Whether it is the history of our country or the history of any other country, history remains a constant teacher and while reading history it is the lessons learnt from it that we need to concentrate upon and get enlightened with.
Let us take first the history of India. Why was it that such a vast country as ours got subjugated and enslaved first by the Mongols and the Mughals and then by the British.
We never were a nation; we were bifurcated into groups, into States and had our own personal interests to fulfill. We had mutual rivalries and personal prejudices that brought us the doom. Divided we ever were — united the country never was.
Even to go back to ancient history, Alexander, the Great conqueror, found the local rulers at loggers head and it became easy for him to launch his attacks. Had it not been for the restiveness in his own army which had kept fighting on and on, away from their hearths and homes, which compelled him to beat a retreat, otherwise Puru, the great warrior King was taken prisoner by him.
Mahmud Gaznavi launched as many as sixteen attacks and was allowed to plunder our wealth and desecrate our temples only because he was never met with a combined resistance of all the rulers of different States jointly.
Ashoka launched his bloody war against Kalinga only to be disillusioned with the mass massacre of mankind and turned to Buddhism for mental and moral solace. Harshvardhan used to give away all his worldly possessions for the welfare of his subjects. Who then is remembered with greater regard and veneration in the pages of history — not Alexander, not Gaznavi but Ashoka and Harshvardhan.
You are given the power of a giant but use it like gods and that ensures your place in history. Benevolence and not violence has ever been eulogized and praised. Unity alone gives us strength — united we sand divided we fall. These are simple lessons that flow from the pages of history.
The Gupta period of Indian history is called the ‘Golden Age’ only because during this period peace prevailed and where there is peace, where the political struggles are set at rest and social welfare becomes the watchword of the rulers, art, literature and all the fine traits of life thrive and prosper.
That was why Chandra Gupta of the Gupta dynasty had the ‘nine jewels’ in his court who distinguished in all fields of art, literature, philosophy and religion.
Akbar kept fighting battles with the Rajputs, but once peace prevailed, there was all round progress and prosperity in his Kingdom and during his period too art, literature, music, philosophy and higher thinking was encouraged and prospered.
The Elizabethan age in England was the most peaceful period in Tudor history; Religious fanaticism which raged prior to her reign was brought under control by her own personal sacrifice of avoiding marrying either a Roman Catholic or a Protestant and thus keeping both religious groups guessing and quiet. The peace that prevailed in her times gave to the world the best of literature of the English language. This could only be because she brought peace and happiness to prevail under her rule.
Napoleon, Bismarck, Czar—all were great warriors and conquerors but what was the ultimate end of their lives — deprivation, dejection and death. The same was the case with Hitler — once considered ‘invincible’ and Germany under him the ‘super most power’. But then his ultimate end was suicide.
The English rule over India for long 200 years was the result of the ever in-fighting among the local rulers the one helping the British against the other. Clive could take over the entire Bengal only with 200 horsemen as his army. Mir Kasim and Mir Jafar — their personal rivalry helped the British to gain power and control and gradually the vast country as India is, fell into their hands from North to South and from the East to the West.
The 1857 war of independence failed due to lack of organization and unity and India could gain independence only when there was a mass upsurge in the form of the 1942 movement.
All these are events that keep us lending lessons it is with this aim and object that we need to study history and learn lessons from it. But as human nature has ever been, it has failed to learn inspire of all the intelligence bestowed upon human mind. It is only the present which presses for attention, the past gets easily forgotten. Hence it is that History keeps repeating itself.
If we can grow with the lessons of history much of our maladies — social and political — would stand cured. Let wisdom dawn on us from the lessons learnt from history and if that can happen it would be a great day for humanity at large.