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Debunking myths about history

Author: CK Raju
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: October 4, 2017
URL:   http://www.dailypioneer.com/columnists/oped/debunking-myths-about-history.html

Western history was written exclusively by Christian priests, who wanted to convert the entire world to Christianity. A sustained debate is needed to expose the lack of evidence for churchified history

 One often hears about the saffronisataion of history but never about its churchification. However, for some 1,500 years, Western history was written exclusively by Christian priests. Their stated goal was to convert the whole world to Christianity. Did they speak about the unbiased truth of history? Hardly.

 The first church historian, Eusebius, extravagantly glorified the Roman emperor, Constantine the Great, who enabled the church to marry the state —  a marriage which swelled the coffers of the church. To enforce a profitable monopoly, the Christians waged a war against the surviving ‘pagans’; they burnt down the Great Library of Alexandria.  The next church historian, Orosius, wrote during this religious war. The very title of his book, History Against the Pagans, shows it was a war propaganda. He constantly belittled and denigrated ‘pagans’.

 This became the model of future church history, glorifying itself and denigrating all ‘others’. With the rise of the Abbasid Caliphate, Constantinople (Istanbul) became a tributary of Baghdad, which invested heavily in knowledge, gathering it from all parts of the world, especially India and China. The Baghdad Bayt-al-Hikma seeded a culture of books, and huge libraries sprouted across the Islamic world from Timbuctoo to Tashkent.

 Many of these Arabic books were translated into Byzantine Greek, in Istanbul. The translators (all priests of the Greek church) injected their chauvinism into the translated texts, planting stray remarks, attributing authorship to Greek names, real or imaginary. Few people are aware that unlike the Rhind papyrus, or Iraqi clay tablets, there are no original Greek sources for the purported achievements of Euclid, Archimedes, Claudius Ptolemy, etc.

 Unlike also the Indian case, there is no continuous chain of intermediate commentaries which reproduce the original in full. The ‘evidence’ for claims of Greek scientific achievements comes from stray remarks in discontinuous and late Byzantine Greek texts from over a thousand years after the purported event. In fact, we do not actually have even those ‘early’ Byzantine Greek sources (which are only a thousand years late) but only purported copies and translations of them from several centuries later.

 This method of falsifying history by attributing all early knowledge to Greeks turned virulent during the Crusades. Militarily the Crusades (after the first) were failures. A key reason for this failure, as reported by Christian spies like Adelard of Bath, was that the Christians were deficient in knowledge compared to Muslims. Hence, the church now sought knowledge from Muslims. An opportunity arose when Toledo fell, and its huge library of Arabic books came under Christian control. But the church dithered. Why?

 The earlier church policy was to burn non-Christian books as heretical. But now it wanted to learn from the books of the religious enemy. That too during a religious war! Therefore, an excuse had to be invented to make the translations of Arabic books seem theologically correct.

 It was claimed that all secular knowledge in Arabic books was an exact replica of what the early Greeks did. Since there were no early Greek sources, this claim was faith-based. It is contrary to commonsense that a scientific text would stay unchanged for a thousand years. But evidence or commonsense did not matter to the church, what mattered was that Eusebius had declared the early Greeks as the (sole) “friends of Christians”.  Hence, attributing the source of knowledge to early Greeks made it a Christian inheritance! This flimsy excuse of Greek origins enabled the mass translations of books in the Toledo library, though many of these books were nevertheless initially placed on the index.

 Such acts of faith are not history. As David Fowler, a leading expert on Greek mathematics, explained, the earliest source for Archimedes is a Byzantine Greek text supposedly from the ninth century. Alas, even that was lost! What we actually have is a 16th century Latin text asserted to be a translation of it, whereas it probably reflects 16th century. knowledge.  That is, all the evidence for Archimedes comes from a 16th century text in another language from another place, 1,800 years after the purported date of Archimedes!

 To call this ‘evidence’ is as fanciful as claiming that a modern text on aerodynamics in English, from London, is an exact replica of an unknown Sanskrit source from the third century CE! The fanciful ‘Archimedes palimpsest’ is hardly worth discussing.

 The Greeks could not have done science because they lacked sophistication in mathematics.  Thus, the Greek/Roman system of numeration was so primitive they had no systematic way to represent fractions. Hence, there was no way Archimedes could have done anything on the sphere and cylinder (as Egyptians did). This inability to work with precise fractions is seen also in the calendar. Though the Romans laughed at the Greek calends, and Julius Caesar reformed the calendar with great fanfare, the Julian calendar remained defective just because the Romans had no way to write the precise fraction (not 365 ¼ days) for the duration of the (tropical) year.

 This churchified history of Greek origins was later systematically promoted by racist historians who portrayed the Greeks (even from Alexandria in Africa) as white. Colonial historians further advanced it, linking the  ‘Hellenic’ civilisation to the West. This claim facilitated colonial education: The filtered history written by losers in an earlier war, helped to consolidate colonial power. Those who wrote a biased version of history became victors.

 We received this slanted history through colonial education, failing to see it was church education. It was intended to create a sense of inferiority among the colonised, whether Indians or blacks in Africa. Nevertheless, even 70 years after independence, we continue to glorify those mythical Greeks and their imagined achievements in our present-day school math texts from NCERT and various States. This false history is harmful in other subtle ways: Our entire teaching of math is premised on the false history of ‘Euclid’, and masks the demand to imitate church practices related to its theology of reason.

 The colonised mind is comfortable with churchified history, even without evidence, but objects vociferously to any modification.  Our school texts must be changed, but enforcing a change is counter-productive. This results in a flip-flop in the school texts every time the Government changes. A sustained public debate is needed to expose the complete lack of evidence for churchified history.

- (The writer is an author)
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PMO India @PMOIndia
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PMO India @PMOIndia
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PMO India @PMOIndia
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PMO India @PMOIndia
ये सरकार के अथक परिश्रम का ही परिणाम है कि आज देश की अर्थव्यवस्था कम Cash के साथ चल रही है। Demonetisation के बाद Cash to GDP Ratio अब 9 प्रतिशत पर आ गया है। 8 नवंबर 2016 से पहले ये 12 प्रतिशत से ज्यादा हुआ करता था: PM @narendramodi
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PMO India @PMOIndia
There are some people who sleep well only after they spread a feeling of pessimism all around. We need to recognise such people: PM @narendramodi
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PMO India @PMOIndia
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PMO India @PMOIndia
ऐसी गिरावट अर्थव्यवस्था के लिए और ज्यादा खतरनाक थी, क्योंकि इन वर्षों में भारत Higher Inflation, Higher Current Account Deficit और Higher Fiscal Deficit से जूझ रहा था: PM @narendramodi
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PMO India @PMOIndia
GDP growth rate over the years.
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PMO India @PMOIndia
भाइयों और बहनों, मैं ना कोई अर्थशास्त्री हूं और ना ही कभी मैंने ऐसा claim किया है, लेकिन आज जब अर्थव्यवस्था पर इतनी चर्चा हो रही है, तो मैं आपको flashback में भी लेकर जाना जाता हूं: PM @narendramodi
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PMO India @PMOIndia
एक दौर वो था जब अंतरराष्ट्रीय अर्थव्यवस्था के संदर्भ में भारत को एक नए ग्रुप का हिस्सा बनाया गया था। ये ग्रुप जी-7, जी-8, जी-20 जैसा ग्रुप नहीं था। इस ग्रुप का नाम था- Fragile Five: PM @narendramodi
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PMO India @PMOIndia
इसे ऐसा Dangerous ग्रुप माना गया था जिसकी खुद की अर्थव्यवस्था तो एक समस्या थी ही, बल्कि ये वैश्विक अर्थव्यवस्था की Recovery में भी बाधा बन रहे थे: PM @narendramodi
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PMO India @PMOIndia
मेरे जैसे अर्थशास्त्र के कम जानकार को अब भी ये समझ नहीं आता कि उस समय बड़े-बड़े अर्थशास्त्रियों के रहते ऐसा कैसे हो गया था: PM @narendramodi
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PMO India @PMOIndia
Inflation over the years.
6:47 PM - Oct 4, 2017
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PMO India @PMOIndia
Fiscal deficit over the years.
6:49 PM - Oct 4, 2017
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PMO India @PMOIndia
Foreign exchange reserves over the years.
6:50 PM - Oct 4, 2017
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PMO India @PMOIndia
ये बात सही है कि पिछले तीन वर्षों में 7.5 प्रतिशत की औसत ग्रोथ हासिल करने के बाद इस वर्ष अप्रैल-जून की तिमाही में GDP ग्रोथ में कमी दर्ज की गई। लेकिन ये बात भी उतनी ही सही है कि सरकार इस ट्रेंड को रिवर्स करने के लिए पूरी तरह से प्रतिबद्ध हैं: PM
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PMO India @PMOIndia
हमने reform से जुड़े कई महत्वपूर्ण फैसले लिए हैं और ये प्रक्रिया लगातार जारी रहेगी। देश की financial stability को भी maintain रखा जाएगा। निवेश बढ़ाने और आर्थिक विकास को गति देने के लिए हम हर आवश्यक कदम उठाते रहेंगे: PM @narendramodi
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PMO India @PMOIndia
मैं आश्वस्त करना चाहता हूं कि सरकार द्वारा लिए गए कदम देश को आने वाले वर्षों में विकास की एक नई league में रखने वाले हैं: PM @narendramodi
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PMO India @PMOIndia
बदलती हुई देश की इस अर्थव्यवस्था में अब ईमानदारी को प्रीमियम मिलेगा, ईमानदारों के हितों की सुरक्षा की जाएगी: PM @narendramodi
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PMO India @PMOIndia
A trend of increased consumption after June 2017.
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PMO India @PMOIndia
Increase in sale of tractors.
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PMO India @PMOIndia
Some facts on the roads sector.
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PMO India @PMOIndia
Here are some numbers from the railways sector.
7:05 PM - Oct 4, 2017
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PMO India @PMOIndia
पिछली सरकार ने अपने आखिरी के तीन सालों में Renewable Energy पर 4 हजार करोड़ रुपए खर्च किए थे। हमारी सरकार ने अपने तीन साल में इस सेक्टर पर 10 हजार 600 करोड़ रुपए से भी अधिक खर्च किए हैं: PM @narendramodi
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PMO India @PMOIndia
हमने affordable Housing के क्षेत्र में ऐसे-ऐसे नीतिगत निर्णय लिए हैं, वित्तीय सुधार किए हैं, जो इस क्षेत्र के लिए अभूतपूर्व हैं: PM @narendramodi
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PMO India @PMOIndia
Big boost to the housing sector.
7:07 PM - Oct 4, 2017
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PMO India @PMOIndia
पिछले तीन वर्षों में 21 सेक्टरों से जुड़े 87 छोटे-बड़े Reform किए गए हैं। Defence सेक्टर, Construction सेक्टर, Financial Services, Food Processing, जैसे कितने ही सेक्टरों में निवेश के नियमों में बड़े बदलाव हुए हैं: PM @narendramodi
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PMO India @PMOIndia
देश के आर्थिक क्षेत्र को खोलने के बाद से लेकर अब तक जितना विदेशी निवेश भारत में हुआ है, उसकी तुलना अगर पिछले तीन वर्षों में हुए निवेश से करें, तो आपको पता चलेगा कि हमारी सरकार जो Reform कर रही है, उसका नतीजा क्या मिल रहा है: PM @narendramodi
7:10 PM - Oct 4, 2017
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PMO India @PMOIndia
मेहनत से कमाए गए आपके एक एक पैसे की कीमत ये सरकार समझती है। इसलिए सरकार की नीतियों और योजनाओं में इस बात का भी ध्यान रखा जा रहा है कि वो गरीबों और मध्यम वर्ग की जिंदगी तो आसान बनाएं हीं, उनके पैसों की भी बचत कराएं: PM
7:14 PM - Oct 4, 2017
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PMO India @PMOIndia
Fall in price of LED bulbs.
7:16 PM - Oct 4, 2017
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PMO India @PMOIndia
मैं जानता हूं कि रेवड़ी बांटने के बजाय, लोगों और देश को Empower करने के काम में, कई बार मुझे आलोचना का भी सामना करना पड़ेगा, लेकिन मैं अपने वर्तमान की चिंता में, देश के भविष्य को दांव पर नहीं लगा सकता: PM @narendramodi
7:21 PM - Oct 4, 2017
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PMO India @PMOIndia
Mudra Yojana transforming lives.
10:04 PM - Oct 4, 2017
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