By Kritika Mandiya:
While I met my cousin sister after an entire year and took some time to expound her on how college felt, the most painstaking task was the moment when I had to reply to her question, “Are you really going to study history for three consecutive years?!”
The fact that I told her I was pursuing History from University of Delhi came as a shock to her.
Left without much of an option, I said, “Well, yes.”
Naturally, what followed next was just an expression of astonishment and awkward silence. Since the only activities which were taking place were those of feeling startled, I exchanged my state of surprise with myself too.
The only thought which was stuck with my surprise was the whole idea of incoherence attached to my major subject. What is the deal with studying History anyway, right?
Well, the deal is that we do not just plan on becoming professors after graduation nor do we only think of getting into the civil services.
Studying the subject of History carries with itself a sense of responsibility. Moreover, studying History literally makes you travel back into time. Hundreds, thousands and millions of years back in time. Tell me about any other subject which has ever made you feel that way?
Talking about travelling back in time, let me also mention the most exasperating stigma attached to my favourite subject. Studying History is not strictly about memorising the dates on which the major battles were fought, and the names of all the rulers the world has ever witnessed. Studying past experiences and incidents, helps us to establish a better understanding of our future.
Talking about the pros of studying and learning this vast subject, we certainly cannot avoid the fact that reading through this subject makes one much more aware culturally. A history student reads and learns about the various cultures, practices and thinking of several countries, dynasties and generations of all times.
Reading through the popular and the brutal and the countless number of historical events that took place all over the world during all these years of our world’s history makes us feel like we have lived and survived through those times. From the innumerable Mughal battles that were ever fought, to the cruel dictatorship of Hitler. From the epic French revolution to the Satyagraha which brought India it’s much needed independence.
History, as a subject is for sure, influential. It is a subject which develops and shapes an individual student’s thinking and understanding about his or her own nation as well as the world’s strategies which brought their nation to the position where it stands today. It enhances our opinion about the future and also encourages us to be more opinionated about the ongoing changes and developments near us.
The subject of History is not about ‘mugging up’ the whole textbook in two days as it’s famous dogmatic explanation defines it.
This subject is in fact about analysing all the years that formed the history that we study today. It begins from the very first moment of human evolution and continues to develop and grow till this very day.
Also, when it comes to attending college lectures of History, it is not a mere use of a pen and a notebook. It is more like a conversation between several people discussing their own as well as the point of views of various other historians. It is an enhanced form of a conversation which dwells upon many ideas of people all over the world talking about a single event which held importance in its time and the way it still impacts our present.
That is the beauty of History. It influences our present so much, that it never really feels like history. They are not kidding when they say that historical knowledge is a ‘powerful currency’ for the 21st century.