Began a history book after a looong time…

During school days, I was an avid admirer of social studies classes, specifically history. Quite predictably, I used to score better in social studies papers, than math or science – sometimes :-). The dreams about future used to revolve around studying history, writing civils – oh, what not. Summarizing everything as a wannabe comp sci researcher now- I can say, all that was blah. (May, be all the present rant is blah too).

I began losing interest in history day by day, perhaps ever since I enrolled myself for an Engineering degree, or may be the day I decided (like thousands of others in my age), to take an Engineering entrance. Priorities changed…and studying history first took a backseat, then was gradually forgotten.

Later attempts at knowing some history, made me extremely suspicious of various interpretations and ultimately lead to the loss of a “sense of history”. The “What is history, but a fable agreed upon?” feeling sunk in. For the years that followed, I learnt history only through – period fiction, biographies/auto biographies and news paper articles (old and new). Sometime back, there was something that Saurav Ganguly said – something like – “Whats the use of history…?” (I tried googling for the quote, in vain! This was around 2005.).

Yeah, I became indifferent to history over a period of time. If reading Arun Shourie’s :“Eminent Historians: Their Technology, Their Line, Their Fraud” – in march 2009 made me more cynical, Regular opinions from various quarters that a lot of historians, of various nationalities are biased in some sense ended in a disillusionment about “knowing” real history.

Over the past 2.5 years, there was one book, which I felt like reading, almost instantly…and backed off instantly too. It was Ramachandra Guha’s “India after Gandhi“. I was afraid of the size of this book… 🙂

Finally, began with it yesterday. Since the book is a post-1947 story, I think I can manage to read and understand it better.  Any strong feelings of love or hate to some ideology in a history book impulsively repels me from trusting the author’s “balance” in narrating history. So far as I have read, the book is devoid of them.

Despite this eternal cynicism of history writing, I prefer to trust the historian this time. Let us see how it goes.

Published in: on April 13, 2010 at 11:24 am  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. It took me 8 travels to finish this book. One of the best books I read.

  2. 😀 My problem is not the size of the book, (cause I read Atlas Shrugged a dozen times, a thousand page saga) But the price. 😀

    Some of your opinions expressed are mine too. I too was called an SS specialist in my school days. But now lost interest in history books. Recently read an alternate history book given by Mahesh garu, by some Sharma. That was the last.

  3. Terrific book. Gives a good sense of events that happened after 1947 and actually keeps the current events in perspective.

    From a fellow history buff

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