India is known around the world for innumerable things and India’s cultural and historic richness has its imprints all over. But is every history equally true, or every culture equally authentic or every fact not a myth?
Here are 3 well-established facts we need to rethink.
Hockey is not India’s National Game:
It is said that and unquestioningly believed that Hockey is India’s national game. A national game that does not have any funding, a national game that more than 90% of Indians have never played, a game which has rarely any mention in school history books. The only game we play, enjoy, invest in, think about, talk about is cricket and yet we call Hockey our national game. Even if we ignore this less popular nature of Hockey, there is no government document that says Hockey is our national game. It was proved in 2012, when a 10-year-old girl Aishwarya Parashar asked the Prime Minister’s Office about it through an RTI. Ironically, the official website of Govt. of India notifies Hockey as our national game.
Gandhi is not the father of the nation:
Same is with Mohandas Karmchand Gandhi, he is respectfully called Mahatma Gandhi or Father of the Nation. He has made place for himself in terms of huge print space all over the world. Most of our independence history talks about his work but if he is so great as he is called, why do we not discuss his personal life and his autobiography My Experiments with Truth. In all the freedom movements we talk about, ranging from Civil Disobedience to small peasant revolts, it was not Gandhi who started the movements, they were all mass movements by the populous, he was only one of the leaders who supported it. Today in 2017, the museum in Red Fort, New Delhi talks about teens who gave up their life for independence but Gandhi is not. Gandhi was undoubtedly an important part of the movement but it was the population who fought the actual struggle and won us the freedom we today have. This too was uncovered by Aishwarya in 2012 through her RTI at the PMO. The office notified that Gandhi has not been officially honoured as the ‘Father of the Nation’.
Hindi is not India’s National language:
Coming to Hindi, which is perceived all over the world as ‘India’s National language’, but this is only a myth. Hindi is only one of the 22 official languages of the country. This fact dates back to the well-known language debate at the time of writing the constitution. At the time of independence, there was a huge controversy about deciding the national language as under the British Raj, English was used for official purposes. Now although, Hindi is the most common language for spoken purposes, all official work can be done in these 22 languages which include Bangla, Gujarati, Tamil, Telugu amongst others.
These are three common errors that all Indians make while talking about India. Be it Gandhi or a sport, a clear understanding is always important.
Image Courtesy: Hiba Azeem (Indiansnews staff designer)