Essay on The Importance of History

The study of history is informative as well as instructive. It is a mirror in which passing cultures and civilizations are reflected clearly with comments of historians. Culture means “the customs, beliefs, art, music, and all the other products of human thought.” It indicates attitudes to life. Civilization means an advanced stage of human development marked by a high level of art, religion, science, and social and political organization. It indicates the developed political organizations like government communications, industry, commerce, roads, buildings, etc]. The world has two periods of history—the prehistoric time (before six thousand years) when writing was not possible to record events and the historic time during which recorded events were available.

Firstly, by reading world histories like “The outline of History” by H.G Wells and “Peoples and Nations” by Mazour we gain a bird’s eye view of the rise and fall of all great civilizations and empires from the ancient Egyptian, Persian, Chinese, Greek, and Roman to the end of the British Empire in the 20th century.

Secondly, history is a study of great and unusual individuals. It is a fact of history that great and able leaders take a country to the greatest heights of progress. Who can’t understand the fact that the Quaid-e-Azam and Liaquat Ali Khan, by force of their personalities and ability, won Pakistan for us. The history of the world is but (only) the biography of great men.

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Thirdly, the history of the world or for that matter of different countries is also the history of ideas.

According to H.G Wells in “The Outline of History” the history of the world is, in essence (in actual reality), a history of ideas. If we look at religious history, or at the progress of religions through the ages, it is ideas of prophets (like those of Jesus Christ and Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH), of saints (like Gautama Buddha and Hazrat Data Ganj Baksh) and of religious scholars (like Maulana Maudoodi and Imam Khomeini) that have determined the courses of events and social movements.

History, in fact, gives us to understand the growth in consciousness of man in society through the ages. Our ancestors (forefathers) were conscious of scientific, philosophical, social and other truths relevant to their age just as we are conscious of these in ours. History, in this sense, is a study of the changing rainbow of consciousness from period to period.

Fourthly, the true history of a country helps us to understand the condition (state) of a society from bottom to top (vertically as far as the different classes are concerned) and from one place to another; geographically, politically and socially (horizontally as far as different institutions, cities, towns, factories, offices, etc. are concerned).

A successful historian is, in fact, one who writes history without any prejudice. He should be a man of knowledge, but at the same time, able to write history without favoring any country, class or individual and without opposing any-he should be impartial.

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