Thursday, September 15, 2005

Distorting history : Impossible?

One of my readers, after reading my Trilogy on India (I, II, III), argued that it cannot be true.
He was arguing based on a fact, everything that happened few hundred years before 800 A.D. was well documented. It’s so recent in history was his point.

Well…this is the fact.

When something is documented, it means, something is written down or printed somewhere.

The world’s first printing press was invented in 1454, by Johannes Gutenberg. Of course 1454 A.D.

Going back in history, we find that the Chinese actually experimented with printing technology in 1040, but only to discard it later.

Going further back in history, before the movable type printers were invented, we learn that the Chinese used wooden blocks to print Buddhist writings by hand, on scrolls, in the 9th Century. While there are no surviving examples of the Chinese printing presses of the 11th Century, the oldest surviving printed book on record is the Buddhist Diamond-Sutra of 868 AD.

So, before that period, it’s very clear that the only way to document was writing down by hand.

When scriptures were written down by hand, it is highly likely that only 1 or 2 copies were written down. Only several years later, copies would have been made, or rather written down by hand again, until the invention of printing press or rather until the introduction of printing press in ancient India.

Taking the above into consideration, I believe that one cannot rule out the fact that while making the copies, writing them by hand, one can easily interpolate.

So arguing based on the fact that anything happened before 800 A.D. is well documented is really not a strong point to rebut.

Also, in my opinion, history can be easily distorted; even today, in a world which is connected by telephone, television, radio, media, Internet etc.

Considering how our ancestors communicated 1200 years ago, hey, you must be kidding if you think it’s impossible to distort history.

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