Wednesday, October 15, 2008

History, Politics and Logic

Since I am quite ignorant when it comes to worldly affairs, I often find myself applying logic to the news I read, trying to make some sense out of them. Some news cycles I read over the last year are a proof positive that human brain can still function after logic attacks.

Here’s what happened:

Sometime last year, Government of India submitted an affidavit to Supreme Court which said that they could not find any proof that Ram existed, ergo, Ram didn’t really exist. After many protests and a huge outcry, they realized that Ram did, indeed, exist.

Conclusion: In a democracy, vox populi = proof of existence

But then, that proof did come in the way of the Ramsetu project, which was really the reason for all the controversy. So, after a lot of research, GoI found out a mention that Ram destroyed the setu himself, based on the Kamba Ramayan written by Tamil poet Kamban. So the structure popularly known as Ramsetu cannot be the real Ramsetu. (Since Ram returned to Ayodhya by Pushpak, this may well be one of the first records of aerial bombardment.)

Conclusion: A mention in any of the records available = proof

This year, after 15 years of Dadoji Konddev Puraskar, Maharashtra Government scrapped the award since the committee assembled did not find any proof (sorry, the link is in Marathi) that he was the teacher of Chhatrapati Shivaji.

Conclusion: vox committee = proof of absence (?)

After notable historians removed themselves from the committee, it was noted that the 17th century records at the time of Shivaji did not mention Dadoji Konddev’s role as his teacher, and the first record is the Sabhasadachi Bakhar, written during 18th century.

Conclusion: Contemporary records = proof (?)

My brain, trained by Sherlock Holmes, detected a logical fallacy here somewhere. And since such fallacies tend to keep me awake at night, I decided to solve this conundrum.

After a lot of research, I have come to the conclusion that one of the following is the missing assumption for all of the above statements to be true (I always did well on those “Find the missing assumption” questions in competitive exams):

  1. Kamban was a contemporary of Ram, thus possibly predating Valmiki.

  2. Our school board was not looking for just convenient curricular structure when they combined History and Civics (with detailed descriptions of Indian political scenario) together in one subject.

Got any other explanation?

- The Great Eagle Has Spoken


bollyviewer said...

I am confused... You were expecting logic from politicians - WHY?!!!! The only thing to be expected from that quarter is expediency!

Amey said...

@Bollyviewer: What can I say? I am quite naive that way. Or maybe, I have been an engineer for too long, trying to make sense of everything I see ;)