“History is a bundle of lies” says a cynic. There is a grain of truth in it because history cannot be written objectively. Personal prejudices of the historian do influence his recording of the historical events. For instance, Muhammad Bin Qasim who is a great hero of Muslims, Hindu historians have a long list of criminal charges against him.
Thomas Carlyle also tried to lower the importance of history when he remarked:
“History is the biography of great men”.
But, in spite of this history has been written and studied by every nation of the world because it is a record of human achievements and nation of the world because it is a record of the human achievements and failures seen from different angles. Hence the study of history is very important.
In every age there have been men who have risen head and shoulders above there fellows, and who, by there strong character, dominant personality and intellectual genius have been able to attain what the masses desired. The stories of brave generals, great kings and explorers are more pleasant and interesting than any book of fiction. If we read the accounts of the French Revolution of 1789 or the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, they are more horrible than any story written by Alfred Hitchcock.
The study of history is important because it broadens our minds enlarges the sympathies with defeated nations and quickens our imagination. It provides us food for thinking. We learn about the causes of one’s success and failure.” History repeats itself” is a very common saying. A careful study of history can save us from many disasters. It can put us on a road to success. The examples of the success of Ameer Taimur, Robert Bruce, and many other great men can serve as a light house to us. As we read of the great deeds of our forefathers, and stories of the achievement of the other nations, we feel deeper interest not only in our own people, but in all mankind. We understand the noble words of the Roman poet – “I am a man, and nothing human is foreign to me”
History is “race memory”. How could we live individuals without memory? There have been strange cases of complete loss of memory, when people have forgotten who they were, and their past life has become an absolute blank to them. In such a case a man has to begin life alt over again. We cannot cut over our links with past. That is why we celebrate certain days and festivals otherwise we may lose our identity. In the same way, if a nation knows nothing of its history, it has lost its “national-memory”, and so its identity. That is why national history is taught all over the world.
If we know nothing of the history of our country, we cannot have the true feeling of nationhood. Pakistan studies have been included as a compulsory subject at all levels of learning for the same reason.
The present has been grown out of the past. We cannot understand our present customs, thoughts and ideals, and our present institutions, if we do not know how all these things have come to be. The history of past explains the present. We can learn about our mistakes committed in the past and can correct ourselves. In the same way future will spring out of present. What we shall be depends upon what we do now.
In short, the study of history is important because it pleases, teaches us lessons for living a successful life, keeps us attached to our past, it is our identity, it must be taught as a compulsory subject and for this purpose history must be rewritten from a national view-point.
Written By: Syed Faiz Mujtaba