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COTY -From the Cutting Floor #1 The difference between mythology and history

 This is the 1st in a series of posts written originally as part of 'Curse of the Yaksha' but that were dropped from the final version. This piece was written after reading an article about including certain myths as part of the Indian history syllabus.

WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MYTHOLOGY AND HISTORY?

This was a question I felt I would like to pen down some thoughts on 

 At the time of writing this, The NCERT (National Council of Educational Research and Training) in India has recommended that the Ramayana and Mahabharata be included in History. It is unclear if this is ignorance or simple stupidity, but the point stands – there are enough and more examples of people being unable to distinguish between the two.

History is written by the victors but based on objective fact. The propaganda that creeps into a historical narrative when written by the victors rarely becomes fantastical.

Mythology, on the other hand, is an oral tradition that evolved. It isn't meant to remain static and unchanging because it would change based on cultural nuance. . It would include tantalising tales, dastardly deeds and usually battles with more impressive CGI. Mythology, more often than not, also contains moral and ethical lessons that it seeks to impart and educate through characters experiences and dilemmas. The Mahabharat is an obvious example of this approach, particularly the conversation between Arjun and Krishna just before battle begins.

My opinion is that events in the Mahabharata and Ramayana would have a kernel of truth. The tree that has sprouted from them, however, is a bundle of contradictions when you think of all the magical stories within. The sixteen thousand wives of Krishna that he slept with by splitting himself into sixteen thousand separate parts is a good example of this. Believing this happened is a matter of faith. Considering it history is absurd.

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