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Archive for November 24th, 2008

Continuing from the previous post in order to make history one must have a correct sense of timing. Man follows certain trends  and would know how to exploit them. Man makes history by his understanding of his world and to his time and place in particular. The latter is crucial. Mao Tse Tung in China fashioned a strategy ‘as fishes in the sea’ which adapted IRA commander Michael Collin’s idea of ‘safe houses.’ Mao  took urban guerrilla warfare  to fit the Chinese context. Thus man hitches his fortunes to events already unfolding by adapting strategies already tried before. Man is thus only a bridge for changes of very short duration. Beyond which how his vision and mission undergoes changes no one can foretell. Mao’s polices were replaced by Deng Xioping. Having survived the Cultural Revolution and other mass political movements of the Mao era he was instrumental in introducing a new brand of socialist thinking, socialist market economy and partially opened China to the global market.
3.
Man’s control over history is partial.
A man who makes history is relevant only for a narrow period of time for the simple reason his active period is too short. His span of life may be four score or more. But by the time he comes to take the center stage about half of it is over. Thus a world leader struts and throws his weight around for a certain period while  events that have had their origin long before would have entered into several other areas in order to change the social and cultural landscape. Like the mythical Hydra, upon cutting off each of its heads Herakles found that two grew back. No man quite control each development before it moves into other areas as well. The Cluster principle gives no man a complete hold over all the events that cannon into any one of the chain of events. These collision will create new issues that need to be addressed.
In the case of Tien Wang who led the Taiping rebellion, he succeeded partly because of  the Ming regime that had entrenched itself into the national life. He could convert those who had benefited under their rule but the Ming dynasty itself came to power by supplanting another dynasty. How these  cross currents work out no one can tell. For example we need to rely once again turn to Taiping Revolt.  Tien Wang began the revolt in concert with the Triads who were for bringing back the Ming regime. Tien Wang’s aim was more of a theocratic rule himself as a brother of Jesus Christ. (In his concept of Trinity god, the Father, Christ the son, and himself was the other brother.) The man who would ultimately bring him down Tseng Kuo-fan had no Tartar blood as the Manchu masters. He was not a supporter of the Manchu regime. But he was believer in Confucianism and had no use for Christian Taipings. In a welter of cause and effect man who makes history has a walk on part in terms of posterity.
benny

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History is the march of events in a perspective.
1.
History is made in context of something else.
History is made by man on whom other life forms as well as  inanimate objects  can also work. Socrates ended his life drinking hemlock and Cleopatra by a bite of asp are but a few examples. A man like Caesar afflicted with falling sickness might in time lose his judgment and that might hasten his end in an unexpected manner. In short man who makes history can never be seen isolated from his world.
2.
History is made in time and space.
Since history is made by man certain primary impulses in man would always take the steering wheel. Championing the cause of the weak for example. In ancient Rome around 113 BC the Grachii brothers stood for land reforms that would have given land to the veterans who served the republic in wars. Then as now. The vested interests of those who had plenty of land saw to that the brothers were done away with. (ref:note below)
These two brothers were concerned with the underlying injustice of the political system but in a space of decade had to appeal to two different sets of people viz., plebians and publicans. Our basic impulses have to lock in with time and place in order to be relevant.
History is correct timing.
( to be continued)
benny
Note: Historical background
The Gracchi brothers were a pair of tribunes in 2nd century BC who attempted to pass land reform legislation in Ancient Rome that would redistribute the major patrician landholdings among the plebeians.
In 133 BC, two brothers, Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus, became agents of reform. They were both well connected with the ruling elite and descendants of Scipio Africanus. The political issue was land reform. The small peasant farmer was being pushed off the land by rich landowners.
When Tiberius Gracchus’s proposal came to a vote, masses of rural people, seeing opportunity for economic advancement, entered Rome to support the proposal. In addition, as head of this movement, Tiberius found himself necessarily replacing an opposing tribune already in office. The proposal passed and the situation returned to almost normal, except that Tiberius was going to need re-election to stay in office.

When the day of election arrived Tiberius’s supporters were lacking and, worse, his opponents caused a fight in the assembly and killed Tiberius Gracchus.

Ten years later, Tiberius’s brother, Gaius, took the same office as his brother, as a tribune for the plebeians. Gaius however, appealed to a different set of supporters, the publicans. They were in charge of tax-collecting in Asia and of contracting for construction projects. The equestrian class would get to control a court that tried senators for misconduct in provincial administration. In effect, the equestrians replaced senators already serving at the court. Thus, Gaius became an opponent of senatorial influence.(ack:wikipedia)
b.

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