Why do we need to study the history?
By learning and understanding history, we get to understand the basic principles on which a society functions. History can give us information about many things such as:- what people ate, what kind of clothes people wore and what kind of houses they lived. By knowing these three basic questions, we can easily find out about the lives of hunters, herders, farmers, rulers, merchants, priests, crafts persons, artists, musicians, and scientists. This clearly tells us that we do not have one past. Past was different for different people. Some may have lived a life of a farmer or herder which is different from those who were kings or queens. Similarly, people who lived a life of a merchant were different from those who were craftsmen.
It is all true even today, people follow different practices and customs in different parts of the county. In some places, people get their own food by hunting, fishing and collecting from forest. Whereas, people living in cities get their food and other supplies by being dependent on others. This kind of a difference existed in past as well. Hence, this tells us that there is a clear connection between past and present.
History also unravels another kind of difference. In the past kings were known for their victories and battles they fought and we know about them through inscriptions, scriptures, poems, stories and other forms of records. But we do not see any record that tells anything about ordinary people’s interests and accolades. It is simply because they did not keep records for what they did. We can see it today as well. Eminent people like scientists, authors, researchers, leaders write books, papers, patents etc as a form of record that showcases their work, ideas and thoughts. But rarely ordinary people keep any record of what they do.
There are many other things that were made and used in the past such as – buildings, sculptures, paintings. These all tells us about the architecture, town planning, interests, hobbies about people and society. Historians, who study the past they often make a direct and parallel relation between past and present. But there is much that remains unknown. However, by drawing a direct and parallel relation between past and present we can reconstruct the past bit by bit. That’s why the job of historians and archaeologists are like detectives, who use all these sources like clues to find out about our pasts.
As cliché as it may sound, sometimes the solution of a present problem can very much exist in the past. Only a careful interpretation and linkage of past and present can unravel the mystery behind many present societal issues.