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History – An issue of perspective

May 13, 2009

Education can open a lot of doors, sometimes these doors are the ones that are within our minds. Growing up through years of history classes I had always had the impression that it was only the era of the Guptas and tales about the 9 gems in Chandragupta Vikramaditya’s court that Sanskritic learning was at its peak. And when it came to the history of the Mughals a lot of us held the notion that it was only the persian arts that they encouraged.  Sometimes, within the ramparts of our own definitions of what constitutes culture we often forget that history presented in a school textbook is only a small snapshot and that other snapshots exist. I would go on to say that text book designers have a great responsibility on their hands and in a lot of cases they fail to satiate the young minds that are in need of wider basis.

In the course of reading a history of Sanskrit literature, I stumbled upon a very interesting text in an area where very little work has been done or an area where there is more prejudices and notions than introspection and a discerning analysis of history. To me, this shows that history is not at all what it seems or what you are taught to believe in.

The fact that many moslem rulers of India liberally patronised Sanskritic culture and learning is not generally known. Their courts were adorned with Sanskritic scholars and writers of high repute who got every encouragement monetary and otherwise from their royal patrons. Of the Sanskritic poets who adorned the courts of the Moslem rulers, three of the greatest are BhAnukara, AkbarIya kALidasa and Jagannatha Panditaraja. Of the Mohammedan rulers who liberally patronised Sanskrit poets and scholars the foremost are Shahabuddin, Nizam Shah, Sher shah, Akbar, Shah Jahan, Muddalar Shah, Burhan Khan and others. Some of the other poets patronised by them are AmrtaDatta, Pundarika Vitthala (the same person who has written musicological treatises such as Ragamala, SadrgaCandrodaya), Harinarayana Misra, Vamshidhara, Lakshmipati and so on. When this is the case with history within a nation divided across religious lines, I am sure there are so many such blurring borders between nations if only we care to look

Read the full downloadable text here..

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