The futility of rewriting history

Would a lawmaker grant an accused the right to wipe away or destroy his past, undo his crime and walk away free? Would any of us be able to change our pasts even if we wanted to? The answer, is definitely, no.

Then why have rulers, historically, tried to demolish history in the hope that they can re-write it?

A Hindu report on April 12, 2013, called attention to the Chinese government’s plan that will destroy a 1,300-year-old Xingjiao Temple in Xian, known to harbor remains of famous 13th-century traveller Xuan Zang. Their excuse is environmental sustainability. 

A number of Islamic shrines in Mali were under threat in 2012, and destroyed by terrorist groups, according to a UNESCO report

In 2001, the Taliban government in Afghanistan blew down 1,700-year-old Bamiyan Buddha statues, disregarding heritage preservers world-wide, citing a violation of Islam as their chief reason. 

In 1992, Hindu fanatics destroyed a mosque in Ayodhya, India, claiming it to be the birth site of a Hindu god. 

Dating back to the eighteenth century, Islamic ruler Aurangzeb destroyed thousands of Hindu sites in an attempt to erase religious and historical importance of Hinduism in India, a glaring example of which can be seen in Varanasi, where the Gyanvapi mosque shares a wall with the Kashi Vishwanath temple. 

Re-writing history is an impossible feat. Rulers fail to understand the significance of heritage and in a desperate attempt to assert their power, strip their civilization of important knowledge of the past. 

The past helps us move forward. Understanding history and traditions are an important part of a civilization, an important relic of communications and philosophy of yester-years. 

Fanatics — be it religious or followers of an ideology — are this world’s biggest threat. 

Fanatics tend to place their beliefs before being human and fail to understand — being human is not a choice. It is our responsibility to those before and after us. It is our duty as a world citizen. It is our responsibility to the life that breaths within. 

History will remember totalitarians and egotists as those who crippled the world civilization. More importantly, obliterating relics don’t obliterate memories. They help us resonate with the lost worlds better, and totalitarians need to see that in preserving history, they are preserving themselves. 

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