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How History Loves to Make Indians Feel "Inferior" and Glorify the British

Indians need to break free from the shackles of a biased history that glorifies British rule and overlooks our own rich heritage. With a growing determination to reclaim our stories, it’s time to challenge the narratives of British supremacy and demand equal recognition for their own contributions. It's time to rewrite the history books and give voice to the silenced.

In a land where history is as rich and diverse as its spices, Indians find themselves in a perplexing conundrum. History, that grand storyteller, seems to have a peculiar fondness for making us feel rather "inferior" while lavishly glorifying the Britishers. Oh, how delightful it is to be reminded time and again of our supposed inadequacies!

The British Raj, that enchanting era when our ancestors were kind enough to roll out the red carpet for our colonial masters, still manages to capture the collective imagination of history books. With every turn of the page, we are inundated with tales of their magnificence and benevolence, while our own stories are casually swept under the rug.

General Lord Cornwallis receiving Tipu Sultan's sons as hostages, by Robert Home, c. 1793

It's truly awe-inspiring how authors of history textbooks skillfully shift focus away from our glorious past. We had vast empires, scientific advancements, and profound philosophical traditions that were the envy of the world. For example, overlooking contribution made by the Cholas, Ahoms, Vijayanagara, Gupta Empires and their contribution in the cultural architectural sector. But why waste time talking about that when we can reminisce about the Britishers' unmatched ability to conquer, divide, and exploit?

Delhi Durbar of !911 to commemorate the coronation of King George V and Queen Mary of Teck

Let's not forget how the history we are taught shamelessly brushes aside the countless contributions made by Indians. Did you know that the concept of zero, the very foundation of mathematics, was gifted to the world by an Indian mathematician? But who needs that when we can marvel at the architectural wonders left behind, or rather the ones they didn’t wreck, by our beloved British rulers.

Oh, and let's not miss out on the spicy details of the sepoy mutiny or the unsung naval mutiny, where valiant Indian soldiers dared to challenge the British authority. Sure, they fought tooth and nail for their dignity and freedom, but we all know how that story ended. Silly Indians, thinking they could stand up to the mighty British Empire!

It is absolutely true that because of the Britishers, abolition of sati was possible and widow remarriage could be legal; they also introduced the railway to India. But let us remember something , if you throw too much spaghetti on the wall some of it will stick. They brought trains so that they could loot us with ease. And let us not justify their deeds by using education as an example, the British needed a sect of Indians who were loyal to them—who followed their ideologies—not scholars who were educated. How can we forget that their engineered famines exploited us to the fullest, destroyed our entire economy, and then had the audacity to label it as “white man’s burden‘.

But fear not, dear reader, for beneath the layers of sarcasm and angst lies a glimmer of hope. Indians are in the process of awakening to the narrative that has long plagued us , but the time has come for us to question, to challenge, and to demand that our stories be told with the same reverence as those of our colonial masters. So, the next time you find yourself face-to-face with a glorified tale of British supremacy, embrace your wit and ask those uncomfortable questions. Let us reclaim our history, free ourselves from the chains of inferiority, and create a future where our past is no longer overshadowed by a colonised, people-pleasing narrative.

After all, history should be a celebration of human achievements and failures. Let us celebrate the unknown and ignored heroes and heroines who shaped our destiny, and let us not be afraid to hold a mirror to the selective biases of history. Let us rewrite the narrative and embark on a journey where our voices, our triumphs, and our struggles are finally given the recognition they truly deserve.

Dear history, we are ready to challenge you. Are you ready to listen?

Written by Vedika Lohiya

This article was written as part of a 3-part series in collaboration with Project Educating the Educators. ProjectETE is a community dedicated to ensuring that curriculum textbooks are fair, accurate, and unbiased. They believe that every student deserves access to high-quality, inclusive education that reflects the diversity of their experiences and the world around them.

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