I studied humanities in my 11th and 12th with history as my major subject. The first page of our textbook says that studying history helps us not make the same mistakes that our ancestors made. To be honest, I never understood the point. How would studying about the world wars help me win the wars I fought inside my head? It was considered a pointless subject for almost everyone in my class and the child in you would probably agree with me too.
The focus was always on the facts and figures because we had to crack the one markers right. We never understood the pattern of events or connected them with our present or learned our lessons as we ought too. History was always boring, always a burden. But now, after all these years, I wish my teacher had opted for a different method, I wish they had focused on the lessons that the world learned after Hitler died, I wish they had not sugar-coated Nehru and Congress so much and I wish they had helped us understand how partition was more than just the number of people died. Maybe that way we would not be making the same mistakes we are making right now. Maybe we would have the courage to rise up again and stop our democracy from shattering bit by bit.
Hitler was an incendiary, causing mass genocide of Jews in around 1938. The killing was obviously not done by Hitler alone. We also know that it was not just the work of trained soldiers. Before 1938, the Jews were segregated and made to feel aloof by the Germans. The police would arrest anyone who spoke in favor of the Jews, insurance companies were ordered to not compensate Jews for damage to their house or property. Basically, Jews were slowly treated like the way untouchables were treated in the history of India or maybe even worse. The violence after all those years of segregation was arranged in such a manner that it would seem like natural, spontaneous anger of the German people. But it was soon understood as pure propaganda by the world. The small part inside the Germans which had issues with Jews was aroused continuously by the speeches given by Hitler or his men. The press was silent; it never asked questions to Hitler about the violence unleashed on the Jews. Hitler had become enamored by the German mob, for the mob had been tailored to his needs. It was a psychological play done strategically on Germans, by Hitler.
The success of the Nazi regime was mainly because of propaganda, in simple words a marketing or advertisement strategy to play with the mind of citizens, same as how the companies play with our consumer needs. People were steadily molded by propaganda not realizing that they were actually being transformed into a weapon. The government, the leaders appear blameless because no one questions the role of propaganda in bringing a mob together.
A mob has its own constitution. It has its own country; it drafts its own orders and identifies its own prey. History is repeating itself. To become a mob, at any place, at any time, is to become Hitler’s Germany. Our country does not need a marketing person with his face on every poster around us. We must not encourage the IT cells which spread fake news. We are a democracy. We must never blindly trust our leader and submerge in him completely. Be a film star’s fan, a cricketer’s, but never a politician’s fan. Don’t get hypnotized by his work that you forget to evaluate what he does. You did not elect them for stunning speeches, remember that.
Our conduct as a citizen should be of demanding answers, of being unbiased. After you have given a vote, you NEED to sit back and become impartial again because the history can repeat itself. Being a ‘bhakt’ and conforming into the propaganda can lead to intolerance and remember that humans are animals in the end. We can be turned primitive and angry very soon. We can be turned into Hitler’s Germany very soon.
Learn from your history and this time, remember them by heart.
Inspired by the book of RAVISH KUMAR, called ‘THE FREE VOICE’