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Satire | Who can stop me from rewriting my history?

| Photo Credit: Getty Images

You’ve been reading this column for how long? Three-four-five years now? And what do you know about me? Apart from the fact that I’m an ultra-patriot who will sacrifice anything for his country, very little. It’s high time you got to know me better. Also, this is the season of rewriting history. Spokesbosses of the government have already said India’s past will be rewritten from our own point of view, instead of the Martian perspective that we find in our school books. This has inspired me also to rewrite my own personal and family history from my personal point of view and share it with you all — not the whole story, just the highlights. What follows is nothing but the purest truth backed by thorough historical research and rigorous documentation.

Prithviraj’s arrow

For starters, did you know that my family lineage goes back 5,000 years? Yes! As per archaeological evidence that I dug up with my own two hands during my last visit to Harappa, it was one of my ancestors who founded the Indus Valley Civilisation. I’m sure you’ve seen his photo in history books. Remember that sculpture of a bearded bald guy from Mohenjo-Daro? That’s him! I’m his 87-times-great-grandson, according to the calculation of a mathematician cousin of mine who, incidentally, is a direct descendant of Aryabhata.

Everyone is talking about this new documentary on Prithviraj Chauhan, cleverly titled Samrat Prithviraj. If you’ve seen it, you would have been struck by the fact that even though Muhammad Ghori died 14 years after Prithviraj died, Prithviraj still managed to kill him with an arrow to the neck. In fact, it was my ancestor — a renowned arms dealer back in the day — who gave Prithviraj that state-of-the-art arrow, a tiny fragment of which I used to carry around in my wallet before donating to the National Museum of Artificial History, New Delhi.

Also, when the great Tamil emperor Rajaraja Chola defeated Alexander the Great in the Second Battle of Choolaimedu, it was possible only because of the sacrifices of my great-(47 times)-grandmother who, as a Chola spy in Alexander’s army, passed on vital intelligence to Rajaraja by honey-trapping Alexander’s chief of staff. When Alexander found out, he shot her in the head with a Beretta 92. Legend has it that even today if you visit Choolaimedu on a full moon night, you might hear Rajaraja’s desolate cries of grief at the untimely death of his paramour-cum-indigenous Mata Hari.

| Photo Credit: Getty Images

Back in your school days, you may have read about a certain ‘Aurangzeb’. I bet not a single Indian text book has ever mentioned an important piece of information about Aurangzeb: the name given to him by his parents was ‘Doctor A.P.J. Abdul Kalam’. Till date no one knows who changed his name to Aurangzeb. Perhaps if his name had remained Doctor A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, he would have become a missile scientist, or even a President. But he became a dictator instead. Anyway, in case you are wondering how I know this, it was my great-(13 times)-grand-uncle who discovered Aurangzeb’s Aadhaar card, where his name is clearly stated as ‘Shri Doctor A.P.J. Abdul Kalam only’.

Coming closer to the present, my great-grandfather commanded five battalions in India’s first war of Independence in 1857. He even defeated the British in the famous Battle of Greater Noida-Sector 127, before one of his own lieutenants, who was on the payroll of the British, killed him by secretly mixing rat poison in his chutney. (My great-grandfather was allergic to rat poison).

Backward catching

My father’s generation, for the most part, kept its head down and led a quiet life. But even they couldn’t manage to stay out of history books entirely. It was one of my maternal uncles who would give catching practice to Kapil Dev when he was a teenager, especially focusing on catching while running forward in the backward direction. As you can imagine, it was this solid foundation in backward catching that enabled Kapil to take that famous catch to dismiss Viv Richards, without which India would not have won the 1983 World Cup final. My family thus had a modest but huge role to play in the biggest triumph of India’s sporting history.

This column is a satirical take on life and society

Then I arrived on the stage of world history. After topping my class all the way from pre-nursery to Class XII, I got a degree in Entire Journalism from (Vathal) Kulambu School of Journalism in New York. While working as an intern with the New York bureau of  Gummidipoondi Times, I broke the Watergate story, and then the Iran-Contra scandal. On the strength of these triumphs, I was picked to cover the Vietnam War, which I successfully did from 1981-92. Last year I won the Polyester Prize for Lifetime Achievement in journalism, which I dedicated to 21st century India’s glorious tradition of independent media and press freedom.

As you can see, my history is spectacular, one I’m rightly proud of. Is yours embarrassingly dull? Just rewrite it.

G. Sampath, author of this satire, is Social Affairs Editor, The Hindu.

sampath.g@thehindu.co.in


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Printable version | Jun 18, 2022 2:52:17 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/columns/satire-who-can-stop-me-from-rewriting-my-history/article65523022.ece