THE predicament of man is that he doesn’t remember his predicament in time. Which is why we were duped by priests of all kind, including Marxists.
The syllogism goes like this: Gandhi is a good man. So his disciples must be good. Why? Because Gandhi is a good man.
This is how millions of us were duped to believe that the men with a four-anna topi on his head must be a good man. It was a fatal error. We paid a heavy price for it. Russia, too, paid a heavy price for being Marxist, for the Marxists made Russia into an animal farm-because the Russians put their faith in one man-Lenin.
Today the Roman Church is in the confessional. It is ready to confess its past mistakes and crimes. So too the Hindu upper castes. They are beating their breasts for what they did to the lower orders of Hindus society.
But the mosque is in deathly silence. It has no confession to make. Nor is the Maulvi willing to discuss the Quran. And Muslims are equally unwilling to discuss their history. Why rake up the past? This is the argument, as if there is no need for the study of history.
But history is important. It is humanity’s only guide to the past. We must know our past to mend our present ways.
Which is why we mark the anniversary of the 2nd World War. It recalls the horrors of the war, of the 50 million who perished and the three million Jews who walked into gas chambers and death.
Was there any gain from the war? None, except that we learnt how to kill more men.
Behind these atrocities were 20th century monsters-animals which were yet to evolve. But, do you know there were worse monsters in the ancient past. It is dangerous to forget history. We must be able to make out the type when we see them. To wit, the terrorists of today.
Here is what a Roman writer wrote about a man confined to a dungeon, turning the wheel of an iron-smithy from dawn to dusk. “God,” he cries, “what a shrunk man, with his white skin striped with blows of the whip…his body deformed by the heat of the fire, the eye-lashes eaten away by the fumes, his whole body covered by dust.”
And here is another story. More bizarre than the first. It involves the Pope, head of the church. None else. The Pope set up an Inquisition to go into the fidelity of faith of the folk. And the Cardinals perfected the torture instruments to control the apostasy. “What strikes us most in considering medieval torture is not so much their diabolical barbarities” says historian WEH Lecky, “as the extraordinary variety and artistic skills they displayed… in which men had pondered long on all the forms of suffering and compared and combined the different forms of tortures till they had become the most consummate masters of their art… In every prison, the Crucifix and the rack (an instrument to stretch the body) stood side by side. “was this the “mercy” of Jesus?
Perhaps the most macabre story comes from the history of the Ottomans. Not much is known of the Ottoman empire we know something of the Spanish and Mughal empires of the Muslims. But the Ottoman is unique for its cruelty.
The Ottomans kept a harem of 400-500 slave women supervised by 200 black African eunuchs. Do you know how eunuchs are made? It is perhaps the most poignant story.
The Ottomans are notorious for mass massacres. Thus they wiped out the Greek island of Cluis.
When Sultan Murad died in 1595 his son Muhammad had his ten brothers murdered to prevent them from usurping the throne. Muhammad did not kill his nephews, but hung them up in cages along the ramparts.
In the last century of Ottoman rule, the Christians were totally dispersed. After the Muslims conquered Constantinople in 1413, the Christians began to leave the region. And two of the worst mass murders had been of 200,000 Armenians and the burning of 300,000 of Smyrna-all Christians.
Dear Reader, such atrocities are far too many to list here. But will they ever repeat again? Yes. Why? Because we are not familiar with human history. It will not be strange if the terrorists of our day repeat these atrocities!