Thursday 11th August 2005

 
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Distorting history

For more than 200 years, European Christian colonialists conquered, subdued and dominated most of the world. The pope helped them divide and share power in South and Central America, while Africa, Asia and other areas were settled among the Europeans through conflict.

After achieving absolute control, the white colonials’ first task was to rewrite the history of the conquered territories. By denying the conquered people their history, which often stretched way back into the past, you manipulate their minds and established a cadre of European-thinking locals.

But every one of the colonies, on being freed, attacked the colonial powers and their attempts at brain-washing via the school system.

Dr Eric Williams in his book Inward Hunger wrote about his early education and Englishman JO Cutteridge who was appointed principal of Tranquillity. Williams wrote:

“Nothing reveals more clearly Britain’s control of Trinidad life in all its forms, its domination of the civil service, than the appointment by the Secretary of State for the Colonies of an Englishman as principal of an elementary school. Cutteridge was not a university graduate. His policy at Tranquillity was openly designed to make the school more English in its outlook.”

Elsewhere in Inward Hunger, Williams on Cutteridge wrote:

“He published textbooks called West Indian Readers and West Indian Geographies. The idea was pedagogically irreproachable. But West Indian public opinion, and not only in Trinidad, considered the books presented West Indian life in a disparaging light.”

The people of India, like our own Dr Williams, have over the independence years reexamined and often rewrote textbooks in India. But our local self-acclaimed Catholic spokesman, in an article in the July 11 Newsday, condemned groups in India for placing “the history textbooks used in Indian schools under heavy fire.”

In T&T, the Ministry of Education has a standing textbook evaluation committee whose role is to review and approve material and texts to be taught in our schools (see Guardian ad on page 36, July 19).

But Marion O’Callaghan and her Christian cohorts in India will wish to deny people of the largest democracy in the world the right to evaluate, recognise and incorporate new information.

Marion attacks Hindus in T&T and in India for our involvement in matters like history, which she considers secular. She writes:

“Hindu communalism here should be no surprise. The Median Maha Sabha was one of the organisations which the RSS incited Hindus against secular Gandhi and Congress.”

Sonia Gandhi, leader of the Congress Party in India, is Italian by birth and Catholic by background and we are not surprised that she finds “communal” support from Marion.

Seven hundred years ago, Pope Boniface VII had asserted his authority with these words:

“Both swords, the spiritual and the material (secular), are in the power of the church. The spiritual is wielded by the other by the hands of the kings.”

Like Pope Boniface, Hindus have always held the view that the sacred and secular are inseparable.

Pope Honorius IV (1286-1287) encouraged the study of oriental languages as an aid to missionary work. Soon after the Ecumenical Council of Vienna (1311-1312) decided “that the holy church should have an abundant number of Catholics well versed in the languages, especially those of the infidels.” Even today we see the effect of this effort in places like India.

In the early days of Christianity, those who refused to believe in Jesus were first branded as heretics and witches and then killed or burnt at the stake. In the name of the holy wars, military missions were sent which resulted in millions of people being massacred in South America.

To perpetuate the forces of imperialism in Asia and Africa, the western powers fit like a hand in glove with the Christians, dictators and mafia people. Christian churches used their money and military might to convert the natives into Christianity.

Apart from distorting history as a weapon of conquest, Mohan Gupta writes that the churches “had to devise new means to convert Asians and Africans into Christianity after the demise of the western imperialism.

“Along with this came a breed of Christian evangelists guided and financed by Christian churches and the western powers to carry on the crusade by using the label of ‘poverty and disease’ as their weapons.”

SATNARAYAN MAHARAJ is the Secretary General of the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha

 

 

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