Why We Should Study History?
What does passion mean to most of us? Is there something that rouses your soul and take your emotions to another, a deeper level? I have realised that there is something that I am passionate about.
Deep down I contemplate myself as a little scholar because I find myself watching, reading, and browsing about "history". I am passionate about History; be it Greek, Roman, Indian or any other. I see myself constantly exploring channels or books in shops or the library to take away. This fascination leads to such an extent that whenever a program is on TV about history I particularly get ecstatic and put my feet up to view it.
When ever one talks about history it is usually referred to as something that was either read in a book or taught at school. But history is more than that; History is the model of our past, a tale of mankind. People of most cultures went to great strengths to record their history either by writing it down on what ever they could or even by word of mouth. It is believed that the natives of Australia managed to cling to their history using this oral tradition for centuries. Today history of course requires resources from a number of interdisciplinary orders ranging from mathematicians, chemists, sociologists, geologists to representative of nearly all life science disciplines.
The reason why history is essential and why we should all be passionate about is that history is the account of mankind and not a mere date, dead people, a storyline or a plot of events and places. It is importance to our society as history facilitates our understanding of people and societies. As the past created the present, history ameliorates our understanding of that change and how the civilisation and the world we live in came to exist. History is important so that we do not repeat the mistakes of the past.
The old civilisation of India was a concrete unity of many-sided developments in art, architecture, literature, religion, morals, and science so far as it was understood in those days. But the most important achievement of Indian thought was philosophy. It was regarded as the goal of all the highest practical and theoretical activities, and it indicated the point of unity amidst all the apparent diversities which the complex growth of culture over a vast area inhabited by different peoples produced. It is not in the history of foreign invasions, in the rise of independent kingdoms at different times, in the empires of this or that great monarch that the unity of India is to be sought. It is essentially one of spiritual aspirations and obedience to the law of the spirit, which were regarded as superior to everything else, and it has outlived all the political changes through which India passed.
The Greeks, the Huns, the Scythians, the Pathans and the Moguls who occupied the land and controlled the political machinery never ruled the minds of the people, for these political events were like hurricanes or the changes of season, mere phenomena of a natural or physical order which never affected the spiritual integrity of Hindu culture.
If after a passivity of some centuries India is again going to become creative it is mainly on account of this fundamental unity of her progress and civilisation and not for anything that she may borrow from other countries. It is therefore indispensably necessary for all those who wish to appreciate the significance and potentialities of Indian culture that they should properly understand the history of Indian philosophical thought which is the nucleus round which all that is best and highest in India has grown.
Much harm has already been done by the circulation of opinions that the culture and philosophy of India was dreamy and abstract. It is therefore very necessary that Indians as well as other peoples should become more and more acquainted with the true characteristics of the past history of Indian thought and form a correct estimate of its special features. But it is not only for the sake of the right understanding of India that Indian philosophy should be read, or only as a record of the past thoughts of India.
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