History should ideally be nothing but facts. We all got the usual input of history as taught in standard school textbooks. But, often what gets echoed as history is whatever the media decide to inject into popular culture or the collective consciousness of people who get misinformed about quite a number of established facts of history. Rampant misinformation and misrepresentation of facts abound in the Information Age. These misuses of the information age have gotten unwieldy and continue to grow unchecked lately through the Internet. Unfortunately, unwittingly or not, people sometimes use these existing misrepresentations themselves as resources for their statements about history as well.
Although history still touts Charles Lindbergh as the first man to fly solo across the Atlantic, true history shows three other similar successful missions before Lindberg, and millions of people around the world still remain misinformed.
Millions of people around the world have been made to believe the history that Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone. But, even the U.S. Congress got involved in 2002 to declare that the real original inventor was an Italian by the name Antonio Meucci. And telephone as we know it today, is largely based on improvements made by Thomas Edison to that original design.
Many people are told that the Angkor Wat and the series of other ancient temple sites in Cambodia were discovered by the European explorer Henri Mouhot in 1860. But although Mouhot was the first one to write extensively about the ruins, the existence of the Angkor remains was long known to and recorded by the Khmers of Cambodia and had been visited by several westerners since the 16th century.
These are just a few examples. Similar irregularities and distortions of facts can be found in the popular accounts of political and social histories of many countries and institutions. The stories about Patitha Veedu (a.k.a. Pazhaya Seminary) and The College, Kottayam (a.k.a. CMS College) are two other examples. There are diverse historic claims about the true descendants of the Church established in India by apostle St. Thomas. The cliché that history is whatever the winners decide to write may hold true in many of these cases. Readers need to be aware of this, check and research facts carefully on their own.
Alex Mathew, Tampa, Florida