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Eyeshadow and evidence - This historian debunks myths with makeup and facts


Dr. Ruchika Sharma is an Assistant Professor of History at Delhi University and is also the passionate creator of her channel ‘Eyeshadow and Etihaas’, where she displays her superpower of busting myths, along with her weapon, eyeshadow. Through her work she aims to spread factual academic history to the masses at large.


Inclination for History

Dr. Ruchika had always had a keen interest in the subject of history, which was sparked by one of her history teachers as a child. Growing up, her parents didn’t believe she could make much out of a profession in history and coaxed her into getting a Bachelors in Business Studies. Despite scoring 70% in her undergraduate and even working a job for three months, she still couldn’t ignite the feeling to pursue business studies further. She had other plans for herself. It took a lot of persuading her parents before she could finally get back to history. This is one reason why she calls herself rebellious. “Rebellion is not something someone chooses, it is a factor of curiosity”, claims Dr. Ruchika. She states that curiosity is standing up for yourself and is the most important aspect of life because it can lead you to your passions and finding what you actually love. For Dr. Ruchika, history is a way in which she can relate to the world around her better. Slowly, she started gaining interest in not only Mughal architecture and painting, but Indian Medieval History, and even Gender Studies. 


Myth-busting

Dr. Ruchika uses her powerful voice in her channel to counter fake historical news while applying shimmering hues of eyeshadow. How she adopted this concept was actually from a wild suggestion from one of her students. During COVID, she was going through a tough phase and found applying eyeshadow healing and comforting. After mastering the finesse of eyeshadow art, she integrated two of her passions and started creating content on ‘Eyeshadow and Ethihaas’. She includes clips and GIFs of Bollywood clips for comical effect while busting myths. “There are so many false myths about history, therefore I think it’s my duty to bust those myths,” says Dr. Ruchika, commenting on her motivation to keep the channel running. 


Fake news can further stereotypes about people and affect their perspectives on a wide variety of topics, starting with something as harmless as food, all the way to even womens’ rights etc. Dr. Ruchika felt that this was misleading and could create a rift in our country, so busting these myths using correct research and evidence would help eliminate such stereotypes among people. Some of her most favourite episodes that she has created are the ones about busting the three myths of Nalanda, and the ten Mughal myths. She also talks about Mughal architecture like the Qutb Minar, which is very close to her heart. She is currently working on a book on Sultan Razia’, which explores not only Razia’s devastating story, but also how her image has changed over the years, and has been manipulated to portray women in an inferior manner. 


History’s Relevance

History, as we all know, is not a favourite subject of most students in school. Dr. Ruchika is also aware of this fact, and there are several techniques she incorporates in her teaching to make the student fall in love with the subject too. One of them is something which most of us don’t quite comprehend. Dr. Ruchika shares that understanding the relevance of history at present is highly crucial. “The first thing that I do is to tell students that history is still relevant today. It’s very important to make students understand that whatever they are today is a factor of their history.” 


This is the base of her channel. Her content is mostly intended for a younger audience, and aims to inspire them and help them acknowledge the significance of this subject. As a professor, she aims at blooming love for learning history in her students, because once someone gains this they could equally inspire others and stand up for the truth. 


Hate is something which will always appear to any ambitious content creator. Despite receiving an ample amount of aversion and even occasional death threats, Dr. Ruchika never hesitates to amplify her voice and speak what's true. She says that she has become somewhat immune to it now. “A lot of the trolling that I get is gendered, where men think if that they can shame me for my body, for my clothes etc, then they can silence me. So I think sometimes it is important to clap back, to let those men know that this is no longer a masculine space- women can speak, and they will speak if they want to,” shares Dr. Ruchika. She knows what she is doing is right and could benefit the future of the country.


Written by Eknoor Sidhu

Eknoor wrote this article as a participant of the Media-Makers Fellowship's April'24 cohort.


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