Thousand years the new hundred years?

A thousand years, even by good old soviet/socialist-style planning, is a pre-t-t-y long time. But the beauty in the term ‘1,000 years’ – what Germans called (and call ever so quietly over the last odd-100 years) ‘Tausendjahriges‘ – is that it turns a quantitative description qualitative, while retaining its quantitative skin. Tagore, in his 1896 poem, ‘1400 Shal’ (Year 1400), which according to the Bengali calendar refers to the Gregorian 1993-94 AD, was brave enough to look poetically a century into the future: ‘One hundred years from today/ Who are you sitting down and reading my poems/ Out of curiosity/ One hundred years from today?’ Thousand, even by Rabindrik standards, would smack of too much self-importance.

But it may not be a stretch to believe that thousand years is the new hundred, considering millennials seem to have taken over the world. On the face of it, Muhammad Ghazni may have done things differently, if he could have seen a thousand years ahead in time when he sacked Somnath Temple for the first time in 1024. The last Pratihara king, Yasahpala, may also have acted differently when he came to the throne in 1024 had he known his dynasty would not last the next 1,000 years but go kaput in 12. A millennium is too deep a well to gaze into. But, then, who’ll be around in 3024 from the here and now to check?


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