Sunday, June 23, 2024

From Gandhi to Churchill: Uncovering the Dark Truths Behind Five Popular Historical Icons

Robin Bhuyan (Editor-in-Chief) 

Whether it is through history textbooks, or whether through mass media, there are certain individuals whose “heroics” and “contributions” we relentlessly keep hearing about. However, with the rise of social media, many truths have been revealed and the narratives around several historical figures seem to be changing. Here, we shall take a look at five such historical figures, who might have been revered in many history books, movies or in the media, but are either outright villains, or have a completely dark side to them.

5. Thomas Alva Edison:

Widely regarded as one of not just America’s but the world’s greatest inventors, Edison is famous for having pioneered the electric light bulb. At the same time, he has a very dark side which you might not have known about. Edison was also known for his unethical business practices and his treatment of other inventors, particularly Nikola Tesla. Tesla, one of the brightest minds in history, was a brilliant inventor and engineer, who had made significant contributions towards developing the alternating current (AC) electrical systems. Tesla worked for Edison for a brief period of time, and Edison tried all possible ways, to stop Tesla from promoting his method of AC current. He even went on to electrocute animals at public places using AC current in order to discredit Tesla’s work. Tesla also stated that Edison didn’t compensate him for the little time that he worked for him. Over the years, it has been alleged by many that most of Edison’s inventions are not his, but actually invented by the people who worked under him.

4. MK Gandhi:

MK Gandhi, who is also known as Mahatma Gandhi, has been one of India’s most revered leaders of the Indian independence movement. He is also known as India’s “Father of the Nation”. However, in the past two decades, many have criticised his philosophy of non-violence and have questioned whether it was actually Gandhi’s non-violent tactics that got us freedom, or was it the Azad Hind Fauz, and the thousands of martyrs who laid their lives for the country? Gandhi has also received criticism for his favouritism towards Jawaharlal Nehru, which indirectly caused a lot of damage to India. Many have also criticized him for his views on race, and derogatory remarks towards black South Africans, during his time in South Africa.

3. Mother Teresa:

Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu, who is known as one of the most renowned saints of the Catholic Church, is known for having done a lot of selfless service towards the poor and the marginalized. Her Missionaries of Charity, which was founded in the slums of Kolkata, is known to have provided care and comfort to sick and needy individuals. However, over past two decades, many have criticised the conditions in their facilities, stating that they were quite substandard, lacking proper medical care and sanitation. Teresa also used to believe that suffering was a virtue, and brought people “closer to Jesus”, which is why she refused to provide pain relief to many of the people in her care. There are a lot of allegations regarding financial mismanagement in her organization as well. One of her most well-known critics was journalist and author Christopher Hitchens, who had hosted the documentary ‘Hell’s Angel’, and had also written the essay ‘The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice”, where he had vehemently criticized Teresa, and claimed that she was not a friend of the poor but rather a friend of poverty.

2. Christopher Columbus:

Christopher Columbus is widely hailed as the first European to have “discovered the Americas”. Once highly celebrated, over the years, he has drawn immense criticism due to his treatment of the Native American population. Not only he exploited them, but he is known to have massacred hundreds and thousands of the indigenous people, driven by a desire to achieve control over them. In addition, Columbus was not just a slave trader, but it was his contributions that led to European colonizers arriving in the Americas, which led to the destruction of the indigenous cultures. Today, the Native Indian communities in the Americas are still struggling for recognition and justice, despite America being labelled as a “superpower”.

1. Winston Churchill:

An on top of our list, we have Winston Churchill, who is often regarded as a “hero”, in the West, due to his contributions during the World War II. However, many people ignore the massive crimes he had committed in the name of War. The most notable of his crimes were his policies which led to The Bengal Famine of 1943, in which millions of people lost their lives due to hunger, malnutrition and disease. “I hate Indians. They are beastly people with a beastly religion.”- This was Churchill’s response to the suffering of millions, which was caused by him diverting food supplies from India to the British troops due to the World War. Moreover, it is not just against Indians, but Churchill is known for having racist attitudes towards all other races and believed in superiority of the British empire.

Do you agree with our list? Do let us know. Make sure to follow Enigmatic Horizon on Facebook ,  Instagram,  and Youtube.


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