Rantings on the History of Landscape

Dec 2007

this article was the first part of a long exercise. here we were asked to take a 

position on the topic mentioned above in eight to twelve simple statements, 

and fit them on one A4 sized paper 

“… on the other hand, our old ways were once new ….” – Reb Tevye in ‘The Fiddler on the Roof‘

1. Ultimately, history is paralyzing. A glance at the young men and women in this country shows you, people who are breaking at the seams in the name of upholding values they are forced to revere. Torn between binding commitments that have no name, and sense of release that they all long for.

2. The flaw in our attitude towards history (and our traditions) is our unquestioned sense of obligation. This ethos that preaches that history is sacrosanct, leading to a present, that is completely devoid of any guts. The anti-thesis to this, however, stemming as an opposition to this reverence, is a lifestyle that may look like Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, even worse.

3. “Traditions live on when young people come along and capture the romance in it and carry it forward”. True history understands that new ideas will become history too, someday.

4. There are places in this country that have not even been documented in travel guides, let alone given a place in the annals of national identity.

5. It is odd to note that Gangetic plains Hinduism and Saracen influences are treated as the mainstream of Indian history where as Indo-Tibetan cultures or the far eastern India are considered exotic rather than the actual body of Indian history.

6. An accurate analogy of India would be that with the European continent that is made of more or less homogeneously built up countries.

7. Our attitude to Indian history has to be more local than national, and more indigenous than passively accepting of a global or national agenda.

8. One of the real questions that we boil down to then is to wonder, when is the right time to break away from history and create your own? This then leads to a very serious sense of self doubt. “Is this new idea good enough?”

9. Generic answers are dangerous (generically speaking). In the end though, the answer may be – “If history doesn’t answer the question of this place and at this time, get rid of it! — If the new answer is actually not a good idea – History will learn from it.”