History the greatest teacher for mankind
Mohammad Hussain Khan
Our thoughts, yearnings and aspirations, our actions and plans about life- all have references to the future. Hence, there is a strong desire in the human mind to shape one’s future and if possible to anticipate it as well.
The sky above us has seen the lives of millions of human beings on this planet through the ever observing eyes of the star. These people saw happiness and sorrow, brightness and darkness, love and hatred. They indulged in war and peace.
In short, they saw thousands of aspects of human life. Though prior to us, many people went to their graves taking the secrets of their success with them without revealing them to others and they have been forgotten, yet different parts of the earth and apparently the silent deserted lands and the ruined structures have preserved note worthy aspects of their lives for us and writers have noted them down for our benefit. Thus this world has become a great training school for us.
We obtain several lessons by studying the pages of history, by researching the lives of men and by pondering over ancient remnants and can thus became wiser like our elders. The best way of knowing the future and making one’s life complete is by scientific reading of the past. It is in the womb of the past that their lie concealed events and experiences. The study of history alone makes our life complete because the scientific study of the past shapes our present and guarantees the future with a fair amount of certainty. In the Holy Quran, we find this ordinance of studying the life of past communities. We have been asked to take lessons from the special aspects of their lives.
There is such a thing as the uniformity of nature. The laws of nature will repeat themselves under similar circumstances. The laws governing human actions also follow some such rule. In spite of far reaching changes, human nature at the core remains the same in so far as fundamental things are concerned. It is, therefore, very likely that under similar circumstances man will behave in the future in the same way as he behaved in the past. Hence the necessity of reading the past is to determine and shape our course of life with a great deal of probability and certainty.
A point which is minuter than a hair is that everyone who does not shave off his hair cannot be considered as sage. We must take efforts to understand the secrets and truth of history. Otherwise it is no use just reading it or only memorizing it. Secrets and truths of history are those bitter medicines which man can obtain with much difficulty. Man can cure both individual and collective ailments by using those medicines.
It is not merely inquisitiveness or curiosity about the past that goads us to the study of history, not is it mere pastime, but it is with a view to complete our vision of life, to broaden our outlook and to enlarge our minds that we study history. It reveals to us workings of the human mind in a variety of circumstances, thus enabling us to control our life in a better and wiser way.
The great volumes of history are unrolled for our instructions if we make the best of the warnings given by history it would help us to lead an assured glorious future. History teaches us lessons that tyranny must meet its doom and stands as a warning to all over ambitious dictators who dream of world domination.
One of the greatest boon of history is that it reminds us how quickly the human pomp and glory pass away. Great empires disintegrate just as great personalities die. The lesson is written large in the pages of history that “Righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a reproach to any people”.
But more than anything else history gives us inspiration to enrich and brighten our life. When we read about the heroic ideals of our ancestors we feel inspired. Great deeds done by the heroes of the past enkindle in us a desire to do or die for noble cause. Nothing is more foolish than to ignore or break away from the past because past is not past but lives in us and guides us. Study of history is a boon for life. The more it is studied, the more enriched, enlightened and enlivened we feel.
(The author is a regular contributor to Kashmir Vision. He can be reached at Khanhussain.firstname.lastname@example.org)