Stressing the need to be conscious about past, former President Pranab Mukherjee Monday cautioned against any attempt to distort or misinterpret history as it can "destroy" a culture, race and bring disaster.
Mukherjee said history or course of civilisation has never been determined by brute forces like Hitler or Mussolini but by personalities like Mahatma Gandhi.
Addressing an event here, the former president said there is an absence of "historical consciousness" among Indians.
"It is one thing, not to be conscious of our own history, but perhaps it is more dangerous if an attempt is made to distort or interpret the history from a particular angularity and to interpret the event.
"That can destroy a culture, that can destroy a race, that can bring disaster for which we need no go much beyond the middle of the last century," he said. "Therefore, we should be fully aware of it, we must be conscious about our history."
The former president was speaking at the launch of former Union minister Natwar Singh's book 'Teasured Epistles'. Minister of State in the External Affairs Ministry M J Akbar and JD(U) leader and former diplomat Pavan Varma were also present at the event.
Mukherjee said history has never been determined by brute forces. "No Nadir Shah or Tamerlane has determined course of civilisation," he said, stressing that person like Emperor Ashoka and Gautam Buddha have tremendously influenced the course of history.
"Neither the brown shirts of Hitler, nor the black shorts of Mussolini nor even the red shirts of Stalin are going to determine the course of civilisation. Perhaps, it may be influenced by a person who has no shirt -- he is Mahatma Gandhi," Mukherjee said.