Friday, February 8, 2008

Churchill is a myth!

Yes! At least that's what 25% of the 3,000 Britons polled by UKTV Gold TV think. To add insult to the injury, majority of those surveyed think that Sherlock Holmes actually existed! Churchill is apparently not the only historic figure relegated to catogorised as myth; Richard the Lionheart, Florence Nightingale and Charles Dickens share the same fate.

Well, Dickens and Nightingale may belong to the 19th and early 20th century respectively. But Churchill passed on only in 1965 and that's really recent compared to the history of England. I mean, that's really upsetting isn't it? A towering figure who has participated in the Great War and was the face of British stubbornness in the face of Hitler's onslaught in the Second World War now thought to be a fake.

Teaching of patriotism is another issue that cropped up in the news of late. The debate seemed to focus on the 'ambiguous moral' of Britain throughout its history thus patriotism should not be actively promoted. But it seems that patriotism is misinterpreted as nationalism (though the former must exist before the latter). There's really nothing wrong in feeling for the country that you're borned in or live in for that matter. In fact, humans have an innate need to feel for a cause and the worst injustice that teachers can do is to let students walk out of the classroom feeling nothing but disgust for the country that bred them.

Instead of just merely presenting the historical facts during classroom lessons, perhaps teachers should look into channelling the patriotism into constructive purposes. Patriotism should be promoted but do so recognizing the warts and all.

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4 comments:

kyh said...

HAHAAAAA. That's so amusing! Americans suck at geography, and I cudn't believe Brits suck at history! Erm... I wouldn't be surprised if decades later one will say Queen Elizabeth II to be a myth too. Heh.

C K said...

I would choose to think that Britons' emphasis is not in passing on their rich history to the next generation. In fact, I think as a nation, they're trying to make amendments to what they view as immoral decisions made by previous administrations. As a result, overseas humanitarian missions are very popular with Britons.

Alok said...

It is not at all funny for the population to understand their history in a distorted way. Rather the fact goes that most of the history we know today may be distorted. The famous last words of Mahatama Gandhi "Hey Ram" (Oh my beloved God Rama) was never spoken at all. He never spoke anything before dying to the bullets of Nathuram. It was put in his mouth by someone who wanted to portray his secular image to public as the reason for his death was being highly favourable to different communities than Hindus during partition and forcing teh entire administration to follow what he wanted.

C K said...

Thanks for pointing that out. I wasn't aware of that.