”A country without history is a tree without roots.”
Is the history of a country that important?
History works to bring nationalist feeling in the citizens of a country. But, what is Nationalism?
Nationalism is a pretty modern concept evolved in Europe in the 19th century. It was about giving them a single identity and uniting them on the basis of a common language, a common religion, and a common enemy. Ironically, present day Pakistan can be an exact example of such a European nation. Basically, a nation-state will need history to move ahead. Minorities maybe persecuted, regional languages may be suppressed in this process. History creates faith, divisions, premonitions. Faith and reason cannot be compatible. But doesn’t mean one is above the other. Future gets a lot into trouble there.
Take the case of United States of America, compared to the rest of the world, the country hardly had a history to speak about. Didn’t that do good? They are now trying to find a history and be great again. 😛 Now where is Greece, Egypt, Syria, Ethiopia with rich historical background. Are they even in the picture? History was the reason for many battles. Countries Israel and China are quite keeping up, with complex methods of oppression and management. Some nations are quite successful too but certainly in less diverse ones.
Do we actually need such a history?
Can’t not having a history be a trump card then.
Case of India.
Let us take case the case of India. During the British colonial period, whenever the leaders were imprisoned for quite a long duration, soon a book on consolidating Indian history was published. Be it Discovery of India by Nehru or Maratha by Bal Gangadhar Tilak. But Gandhi was against this model of nationalism. He believed this would make it difficult for India to move ahead with all its diversity. Singularising the attributes would take away or weaken the whole inclusive identity of being Indian. He even discouraged the idea of hating the common enemy, that was British. India wanted the British rule out of India, and to achieve it he said, you could hate the imperialistic nature of colonial rule and fight against it non-violently. Even when they leave Indian shores, absorb the good aspects that they left, like the rule of law, or the English language. He advocated swaraj, or self-rule as the common initiative to fight, which some locals enthusiastically went to call as ‘Gandhiraj’ or the rule of Gandhi.
History helps us to learn from the mistakes of our ancestors.
There is a common proverb, as, A hard worker learns from his failures, while a smart worker learns from other’s failures. Why is it so necessary then?
What is history actually?
Does it talk anything more than men and power.
In lighter yet serious note, isn’t history sexist. With all history being written by the victors, isn’t it biased. When is the history written by the common class?
To conclude, I would say having a history is fine, but that doesn’t mean not having a history is any bad. In fact it is good to forgive and forget some. But do not get always trapped in history, look at the future too.