This week’s economist talks about how China is trying to open up a thousand museums all across its country to promote & educate Chinese about their rich culture, heritage and history. I went to the majestic Shanghai Museum and could not stop at the painstaking methodological collection and display of the history of China. What is more that they truly understand how there cannot be one version of the history. Unlike an island, the boundaries of all big counties have shifted over time. Some regions like tibet and the north west became part of the mainstream only recently and have a different culture, history and heritage.
A few years ago I interacted with a Canadian born girl of Chinese origin. She was saddened by the fact that Chinese today are completely ignorant of their culture and history. Even residents of Beijing did not knew about the Tiananmen Square Massacre 1989. The European occupation, Japanese invasion (WW-2) and the communist revolution led to burning down and looting of all the major museums. The propaganda that followed resulting in rewriting the history to glorify (even creating fictitious accounts) of the parts that suiting the current ruling regime. I guess things are now changing and the museums is the right way to correct the history. After all its our culture, heritage that separates us from the barbarians.
On a sad note, it saddens me that India’s role in the current world and history is diminishing and there is nothing that we are doing to correct it. Russia imposed the history of Moscow as USSR history to its far flung regions (even Asia). Delhi is trying to do the same. The history of Buddhism & south Indian kings esp Cholas are being increasingly marginalized.
There is a saying that history repeats itself. Rather than being ignorant fools, we should spend time in learning from our past mistakes.