I watched a documentary on Rajyasabha TV on the history of Indian markets and other aspects of it. This documentary was one of the examples of how narrative is built to advance only one dimension of history while erase others from people’s consciousness.
1. The documentary begins with telling usual cliched stuffs about markets. It mentions about the Silk Route and maritime trade of Indians in couple of lines. The next event talked about in documentary was directly from 14th century.
If someone has to infer from the documentary, he will infer that ancient India didn’t have markets which deserve mention. Nothing from the times of Gupta era or any other era before 14th century. Tulsidas and Vidyapati are quoted once to inform about the concept of market from literatures.
2. The documentary tells us about the existing slave trade in Delhi in 14th century. Information about the markets of Chandni Chowk, Meena Baazar, Fatehpur Sikri Baajar etc take the central importance. Every visual is shown from the Mughal era only with special emphasis on Islamic culture explicitly. One Urdu poet named ‘Najib’ is praised in detail for his poetry on markets.
3. There is no information about the markets of South India or other parts of India where Hindus were ruling. One will be compelled to believe that India had Islamic culture in past while Hindus didn’t exist.
4. It progresses towards the modern era in which experts from JNU provide explanation of social dynamics and markets pay lower wages to women.
That’s how history is shown by picking selective raw facts, weaving them in a narrative driven by ideology and presenting it as history. The layman will never bother to look for the events which didn’t fit in historian’s narrative and ends up with learning about his manufactured past.