EP 216 (153/365) Starting to Understand History

I have often wondered if the real intention of learning history was met in my case… Well what is the real intention..? I have learned history as a subject throughout my school…. I did not hate it in anyway.. but the way it was taught and what was expected of us was to write exams and get marks… so even if I did not hate it… the process just made it just another subject.. Can that change now..?

You might have seen that lately people are fascinated with history… I should say fascinated with their own version of history. or interpretation of history.. especially on Social Media… There are these echo chambers of history where the same kind of narrative is told and people want exactly that…

We all could fall into one of these traps.. I often wonder if we use history to establish our positions of the present.. our social.. political and ideological positions… All my efforts to learn history was just for exams…. Yet I had a thought pursuing history after my 10th…. but since I had not shown any special prowess in the field no one bothered… if you have not shown any real interest in anything.. you go do engineering was the rule and there I was…

But lately I have seen people who have written fantastic work of history without coming from the Academic circles… what differentiates them from many other careerist historians is that they are amazing story tellers… So I can also attempt to learn now….

I for one never had history books in my reading list…. May be beyond the exams I did not see it add any value back then.. Also I did not have a reason to use history to support my positions in the present….

A few months back I decided to focus on reading more memoirs… I was mostly reading the memoirs that was published recently… but then a few weeks back I decided to read the History of Post Independence India…. The book I chose was Ramchandra Guha’s ‘India after Gandhi’….

I have been reading that everyday for 1 hour… I am not a fast reader so it is taking time and has over 700 pages… I have crossed 500.. but I think this 500 pages have been one of the best reading experiences of mine in recent times….

It is not just about learning what happened in the past.. it is about exploring many perspectives and how things shaped… the conflicts, compromises and contradictions that make up our world… Just like Memoirs and Biographies make you understand the world better from different people… History also will.. The only catch is that we should not fall into these echo chambers.. swim in it if you want freely.. without an agenda.. just pure joy.. Try to be an explorer as you read history…

For me this book will be followed by more history.. I used to do daily one hour reading…. Now it will be daily one hour of History Reading…. Well other bonus reads continue….

Categories: On Learning

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