(His)story was the way Miss Ghidiyal, our Class 7 teacher described what History was about. And isn't it so, History is essentially the story of Man. 'His story'. Of the rise and fall of civilizations. While most people shudder at the very thought of submerging themselves in this 'useless' subject, I find it a treat.. To read about the trials and tribulations of man. To read about conquests, narcissistic rulers and their wily advisers, backstabbings, assassinations and murder plots.. And to connect these with monuments and structures the ruins of which you can actually see!! It's very hard for me to really understand why anyone would hate such a dramatic subject..
Anyway, the reason I reminisce about my love affair with this wonderful subject is because of one of the course modules I am currently studying for my Masters. It is vaguely titled 'Government and Politics of Modern South Asia'.. The reason I chose this particular module from the options offered was the hope that it would deal with some of the topics covered in the Political Science option of the Civil Service exams.
From what I had heard, many who attended the first class immediately ran up to the faculty office and changed their courses to more manageable ones. And they have valid reasons to. This module is intense, jam packed with theories and historical writings... and the lecturer is very generous with articles to read for each chapter..
Ignore this, and what you have is a treat for a History fanatic like me.. except, you know how when you are in school, History is a straight line of dates with events associated with it? Well this module faintly covers these events but addresses the macro questions, and actually questions the data used in those text books (which came from the writings of scholars).. It's obviously a very different trajectory to the one I am used to- where I just learn up dates and read up on what happened on those dates.. Now I am having to question whether the stance of Indian history is this or that, whether the Cambridge school or the Subaltern school has intepreted Nationalism in the right way and so on...
Fear not though, for my bonds with History are too strong to be weighed down and broken by all the readings I am having to do and all the new angles I am having to look at historical events from.. And what doesn't break us only makes us stronger right? :)