Pretty interesting editorial…

NY Times editorial (served in my Gmail by the RSS reader!!) was interesting. It talks a lot about Japanese not able to acknowledge their past misdeeds. Ok, Japense foreign minister’s words. Guess when many other western countries will learn from the same editorial. Guess, it is fair to conclude that even the most developed countries are not honest! Of course, I am also not totally proud of India’s history – I do wish I were proud of every bit of Indian history – but sorry I cant be. In fact the present scenario is even more painful – age old systems like the caste system are so badly engrained in the society’s memory that it is plain shameful.

But back to the editorial. Which country or society is brutal upon itself to accept its own misdeeds? Sure some are making amends. But again who said history is not dependant on the society which reads and interprets it? Now was dropping an atomic bomb a necessary evil or just a plain evil act? Was killing a bunch of people because they rebelled a wrong act or is that also justifiable?

I have a friend who is a historian. And she told me once that there are established ways of understanding the facts (scientific – like carbon dating, etc) and interpreting them. But then I guess this fails with recent history (less than a century ago types). Because these are events still fresh in people’s minds and hence totally opinionated. It would be interesting to go a couple of centuries ahead in time and see what the society then has to say about – the Japanese or the Americans or the British or the Germans or the Indians. But surely in the past 100 years, a lot of dynasties collapsed and a lot of democracies took birth. And this is just the political history. Scientific history and its gains probably will occupy the bulk of the history of this era!

One Comment to “Pretty interesting editorial…”

  1. Scientific methods like Carbon dating / tree ring counts/ palynology-using pollen from mud samples are useful only for answering basic questions.They have their place, yes.

    The rest of history is defined by the winners unfortunately. For instance, if the British had subdued the American ‘rebellion’, George Washington would have been branded the Osama of their time. Books can be re-written. Art destroyed. You get the point. I believe that ‘interpreting history’ can be a very painstaking and cerebral job

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