Each successive government rewrites history, the way an author revises his books. "Look at this," says a minister in my imagination, thumbing through a book of history, "it says the English built the railways in India!"

"Nonsense!" says another minister, "Change that to the Late Vajpayee!"

And so history is rewritten!

And as our beloved ministers and politicians use their terms in office to rewrite history and school books, others question the patriotism of some of our freedom fighters, while some others over venerate our former warriors and chieftains.

At Khartoum, capital of Sudan, on the banks of the Nile is Gordon College, named for the famous British General Charles Gordon (1833-1885), who was killed there in 1885 while resisting a siege. In the college garden stands a magnificent statue of Gordon mounted on a camel.

Gordon is pictured in full military dress and the camel is wearing rugs and tassels.   

A British civil servant who was stationed at Khartoum for many years used to take his son from time to time to see and admire the general. They would always stand together in silence for a moment looking at the imposing statue.

Finally the time came when the civil servant was to be transferred. Before they left, he took his son for a final visit to Gordon. As they turned away, the father's eyes moist with tears, his son looked up at him and said, "Tell me father, I've always wondered; who that funny man sitting on Gordon is?"

And here's another: A fifth grade class were practicing for the school's annual Thanksgiving pageant. The teacher wanted to make sure the meaning of it all was clear, so she asked them, "Now boys and girls, who can tell us why the Pilgrims came to America?"

A boy raised his hand, when called upon, confidently declared, "So they could worship in their own way and make other people do the same..!"

And as children go on getting brain washed with history they tend to go a little numb, as this teacher found out: "What did the pilgrims find in America?" she asked and a child either dull or very clever penned this reply:

"The Pilgrims found the land was hilly and stony. Some places it was stony and hilly. The stones were useful for making millstones and milestones. The Indians sharpened them. They used the stones for scalping and other social purposes!"

"The hills were useful to watch Indians from. The Indians sometimes got there first, then the hills were useless!"

"The winters in New England were long. The summers were short. In keeping with the seasons, long underwear was worn in the winter. They wore short underwear in the summer..!"

Well, well, well! As our leaders tamper with history, I'm sure we'll see the day when children confused and bored, pen silly answers such as these or look up at equestrian statue of rider and horse, admire steed but wonder who sits astride..!

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