Hi, I'm Abhishek Sainani (@abhisainani)
Three names come to mind when I think of my favorite historical figures: Vishnugupt (Chanakya), Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. Each one was an adept politician who contributed to uniting and protecting the people of the land that was India or Bharat during their time.
My favorite amongst them is Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. He fought the might of the Mughal Empire when the empire had become cruel under Emperor Aurangzeb. Despite odds stacked against him in manpower or weaponry, he used support of the locals and the knowledge of the territory to win many battles. He revived Hindu culture and knowledge systems. It is because of the Maratha empire he built that Hindu culture survives today, a polytheistic culture that gave the world Yoga, Meditation, Ayurveda, Upanishads, and much more. Such invaluable contributions would have been lost without him, the way we lost much of our knowledge due to destruction of our universities like the Takshshila University.
We can judge the past with today's lens but we need to adjust the lens accordingly, else we might get a blurry image and misunderstand what we see. For instance, every culture practiced some superstition at sometime in their history, such as sacrifice of a living being to please a god or the God. Today we know better and feel disgusted at the thought. But we must also understand why they did it. Do we suffer from similar fears today? What do we do to cope with such fears? Do some people still practice such superstitions to cope with their fears?
It is only by understanding the reasons and sentiments that we can practice better solutions and leave behind such outdated and sometimes harmful practices of the past. Also, we must learn from the past and not prescribe or practice such harmful practices when we have better options available today.