Is there a difference between myth, mythology & history? Can mythology be seen as trusted history of a region? Was Krishna a living deity or just a mere politician with excellent leadership qualities?
The first session at the ONGC Lawns began with a talk on the much debated and controversial topic of history and mythology. The speaker panel consisted of Aditya Iyenger, Radha Vishwanath and Y Shanker Murti in conversation with Divya Saksena and the session was chaired by Madhukar Gupta. The one-hour talk took the audience through the histories of Cholas, the stories of Krishna and his eight wives, and the science of astrology. Audience mainly comprised school students, who could not hide their excitement for the session to begin.
Y Shanker Murti, the translator of the Telugu book on Astrology Navagraha Purana, began his talk with explaining how he cam upon the Book of the Nine Planets. The book that was available only to the Telugu speaking audience and it was read only by the ones who were really interested in learning about the development and making of horoscopes. He also added that the history of India has been tagged to be mythology, calling most of the facts bogus. However, he was happy to know that the mythology and history of India is being reconstructed by the modern Indian historians.
Talking about history on the Cholas, Aditya Iyenger , the writer of The Conquerer: Rajendra Chola, spoke on the naval prowess of medieval India during the time of the great king, Rajendra Chola. Indian history hugely talks about the infantry might, while there is a rare mention of the trade and wars fought across seas. Ancient India was a globalised culture and had trade relations with many sea-faring cultures, unlike other regions which followed a more monolithic way of lifestyle. Indian culture is found in other South Asian coutries, basically having a cultural exchanging process. It was the naval exploits by the Indian kings which enabled this exchange of culture. His book covers the story of a Chola princess, giving the reader a powerful female character. His focus on the feminist protagonist gives a more diverse approach to the story, where the women had bear with a lot more than death in the battlefield.
Radha Vishwanath, the writer of Ashtamahishi, gave a deep insight on Krishna and how we perceive him today. In the recent years there has been a large debate on whether Krishna was a real person who could have performed the extraordinary feats as mentioned His Leelas. Radha, who also shares her name with Krishna’s beloved one, did an extensive study on the domestic side of the deity and his marital role. Her main focus was on the stories of the eight wives of Krishna.
— Abhay Majhi, St. Stephen’s college