A Tradition That Was…

Before times when clicking a button was all one needed to pocket the world and communicate with people millions of miles away, a lot many linguistic arts and traditions existed. These crafted, not only the way people communicated, but also the way they expressed themselves and included activities they took up for leisure. Here’s a journey down memory lane.Image

  1. Letters: Long long ago, people used to rely only on letters as modes of communication. Military orders, love letters, invitations, just howdy…all types of communication used to depend just on this undependable means. Letters would be delivered across lands and seven seas by pigeons, trains and men on foot.
  2.  Diary Writing: For many of us young people today, diary writing is just an academic exercise. However, not before some time back, it used to be a beautiful means of expressing oneself and a very common habit among people, especially young ones, like you and I. A lot of good literature and history comes down from these priceless pieces of record.
  3. Slam Book Writing: Around the time when I was ten, Slam booking used to be the teenage buzz. For those of you who do not know what a slam book was, it was a little scrap book people owned which contained identical personality questions and were circulated by them among friends and acquaintances to fill. No it did not sprout free food coupons in exchange, but it used to be quite in trend.
  4. Telegrams: Until recently, telegrams, a one line message with each word costing money, used to be widely relied on as a source of communication. Relied on by the Indian army until now, telegrams would reach the recipient in a day and were written very concisely to save expenses as if written while hurrying to board a train. For instance:  “Need Money” “Father ill Come Soon”
  5. Podcasts: By definition, a podcast is an episodic series of audio or video files. It was a pretty new fashion, however, it boomeranged as soon as it was introduced and with Softwares like Movie Maker and alike, anyone hardly uses it as a means of recitation-narration anymore.
  6. Using a Thesaurus: Since this piece also covers linguistic activities, this is something I would love to put in a word for. I have never really used an actual thesaurus. Ever since I started feeling the need to know more words I used the kinky synonym list that hangs in Office Word and more often, the internet. Even though I actually possess one, I recall it as a habit of the past. A rich one indeed.
  7. Play Writing: Writing plays (and not drama or theater shows) for real, happened maximum in the Shakespearean Era, and even though there is still extensive play writing, the art has changed considerably. There are still a pretty few people, time and again breathing new life into the art, but it has evolved like all art forms do.
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A Letter to Historians Dead

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Technically, no one likes history. Simple and cut straight, we don’t see the point in memorising dates and learning about what has passed. We are constantly envisaging the future, we want pace, and also, we abhor big dull chronological textbooks which smell like old paper. But then, that is something we must think over, when I say, HISTORY IS NOT ABOUT DATES BUT BEYOND! My pedagogy is like a clean sharp diamond, clear and transparent, the history they teach us in school is WRONG. Big and bold- WRONG & GIBBERISH.

Something my friends and I, often ponder upon in school, what is the answer to the utopic question-“why exactly do they teach us history?” How does it matter when Akbar was born, and that he ruled our nation? Of what worth are the French Revolution and the boredom of Hitler’s biography;  and the monotony of names, dates, months, years and more dates? Why not teach instead about the civilian uprising in Egypt, and the on-going Palestine- Israel conflict, and the recent Godhra incident?

Why reiterate like toads what has already transpired, and mimic bookish knowledge like parrots, for all it counts, this is not what will help us in life, or add to our aptitude, for such history enters our ear right, and exits left, over and out, and is hardly the kind of information we remember.

So one day while writing tedious and incredibly long answers in my register, I complained to my mother, and shrieked as to why I hate history, and how it is absolutely useless. And for once in my life, I found the answer to my conundrum- ‘history is inevitable’ she told me in her calm way. What does your doctor ask you when you tell him you have an ailment? – Exactly! An account of history before so happened!

She told me as to how understanding the history of something is indispensable to understand why the present is what it is.  And now that I think of it, she has a point.

It is nearly fatal for me to accept history is important, but I am upright when I say the history in our textbook is wrong.

Winston Churchill had once said “Study history, study history. In history lie all the secrets of statecraft.” Unfortunately what we study in school is the poorest custom of history. Drooping of prejudice, sonorous with dates, lacking all spice, and bland. It is almost like saying Twinkle-Twinkle Little Star, is what English is.

Remember that today’s events  will be taught as History, some decades from today. But if taught through dates again, it would be meaningless altogether. I enjoy these concepts and wish to learn them in class because, they are of concern to me when I visualize them.

Schools that teach such history, are practically, torture camps which produce mugged muggers and not intellect students.

I mean, God! There is better history in a Dan Brown novel than in my school textbook.

History deals with all the mind carving Dexter-ly little information which can grasp you- Kilkenny fighting,  Hitler’s reason behind his acts against Jews, Greek legends, symbolism, creepy stuff you read in encyclopaedias!

Imagine if you had a chapter in you textbook, called Chapter 7- History’s Most Thick Brained Queens. Do you know there was this one imperious royal lady-  Sunandha Kumariratana and her daughter who drowned after a terrible boat incident, despite the presence of many people, as they were forbidden to touch the queen; also in certain empires Queens used to bathe in milk which was later distributed among the civilians!

Now see, you don’t get that in a textbook, and that’s the kind of knowledge that amuses you and inculcates you with some gen too!

What if they taught you  Chapter 14- History’s Most Obnoxious Ideologies, which talked about different schools of thoughts which existed back in time in relation to political freedom and contained niches as of what opinion are present time scholars of the same?

History is supposed to be like poetry. It is a beautiful subject indeed, which is precisely why historians are considered so knowledgeable, and brainy. History is too vast to fit in a stack of 200 pages, it is not something they can feed into us through even the most effective of pedagogy. For the cereal itself is sublime, forget the thickness of the spoon.

To zip it up, a final word. History as we modern time students condemn, is not bad essentially, it is what history they manifest in pedagogy is what is prattle. History that is being taught, simply, is not the utopic history we should be learning. Students today, in most parts of the world, are having the imposter breadsticks around a cake, the cream and cherries and all the sugary sweet, has not even been touched. Our textbooks, are just the first alphabet of history, and that as they are portraying it is mind-numbing. It’s all just meek make up on a naturally pretty complicated dummy.

Alas, rich history has died with the men in it.