Why History Needs You

We have always felt the need for objective history. But history needs us too, so that it stays the way it is- intact and uncontaminated from erratic influences.

Drawing by Oldřich Kulhánek

We always make sure that a record of our acts are maintained, either through a diary entry or narrate anecdotes or happenings to our fellow beings. We reinforce this idea through  a mere click from our cell phone cameras, to updating a tweet or feeling on Facebook not just for the world to know, but also for our reminiscence.

On a more formal note, lawyers, journalists, academicians find themselves perpetually cross verifying their record of sources, especially from the far-off past. In short, we make history every day, every minute. What might seem as a momentary remembrance actually turns in to a sustained effort of documentation and archiving. These very intricacies make up our memory and this is where history becomes important.

Some might want to get rid of their painful past, some might want to cherish their proud lineage while some might act indifferent to it. But that does not mean that we remain unaware of it. Just like how Daisaku Ikeda writes,

“We are not merely passive paws of historical forces; nor are we victims of the past. We can shape and direct our history.”

We can make history but not always own history. What we could definitely do is keep it away from someone redirecting it to another direction which might even change its own existence and question our own identity. It is a tool to unite and at the same time divide. So let us revisit it to appreciate where we come from. Not what makes ‘us’ different from ‘them’. Let us say ‘NO’ to barriers and ‘YES’ to a common history.

We might come across innumerable contested theories but the idea is to put forth different perspectives and initiate various possibilities than merely homogenise ourselves into a distinct culture, geography and identity that makes barriers. After all, we are what we are because of our neighbours, the people around us and not just ourselves!

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