Of steel – both actual and resolve…

Have you heard of Wootz steel? Chances are that you haven’t.

Have you heard of the swords of Tipu Sultan? AHA. Well, they were made of the stuff.

Wootz steel was a pioneering steel alloy developed in India in the mid-1st millennium BC and exported globally. It originated in Wootz steel originated in the mid-1st millennium BC in South India, in present-day Tiruchirappalli, Kodumanal, Erode, Tamil Nadu. Wootz steel was also made in Golconda and Karnataka.

The Chinese and locals in Sri Lanka adopted the production methods of creating wootz steel from the Chera Tamils by the 5th century BC! Trade between South India and Sri Lanka through the Arabian Sea introduced wootz steel to Arabia. The term muhannad or hendeyy in pre-Islamic and early Islamic Arabic refers to sword blades made from Indian steel, which were highly prized, and are attested in Arabic poetry. 

So much to be proud of, and yet, most of us haven’t even heard of it.

Reading about this got me thinking on a different tangent. Ancestral houses and hand-me-downs from generations. Those pieces of antique gold jewellery, those vintage artifacts, even the houses that many of us inherited.

What transpired in those times? How much pain and suffering did our fathers and grandfathers endure so as to make those houses, buy those artifacts? So many tales of aspiration, hard work and excitement at the realization of those dreams…how many of us know these stories?

This is why it pains me to see ancestral homes withering away – the current generation settled in far away countries, no one seems interested in taking care of these mini monuments that stand testimony to decades of someone’s hard work. Will my son and grandchildren know of what I went through to create what they will eventually enjoy? Will they care, or even think of it?

Or is it that none matters – we seem to create our own stories of triumph to celebrate our successes, thinking that these will stand the test of time…but maybe they don’t have to. The moment is ours to savor, anyone else, even your own progeny, cannot appreciate it the way you do. Because you worked for it, you fought for it. And so you celebrate it.

Two ways of seeing the same thing – which one do you subscribe to?

See you tomorrow!