OLD NCERT HISTORY BOOK FOR IAS CIVIL SERVICES EXAM                                                                                                    

The various aspects that we study form the part of an overall personality of the society and the people.Therefore we can say that the study of history is the study of the entire human past ,which goes back to millions of year.
KNOWING about one's past is natural to all of us. We are always curious to know as to who were our ancestors i.e. grandfather, great-grandfather and so on; from where did they come, how they lived etc. This is known as the quest for knowing the history of an individual family, which can differ vastly within a single society. But when the study is extended beyond the individual families, to the society, it takes a completely different shape. Then we talk about the entire society and the whole nation. This quest about knowing the past is known as history.
Through the study of history of a society or nation we have come to know about the past of that society or nation. We came to know how that society or the nation has developed over a long period of time.
Some of these aspects are: how they started agriculture, when they began the use of metal and how spinning, weaving, metalworking developed. With all these economic aspects, also came a whole lot of other things like the development of political and administrative systems, evolution of urban life, development of science and literature and architecture etc. The study of all this is known as history. As you can see, the study of history does not mean just the study of dates and events connected with some kings or dynasties.


ANCIENT INDIA Textbook for Class 11 ALL CHAPTERS(1-23)

The various aspects that we study form the part of an overall personality of the society and the people. Therefore, we can say that the study of history is the study of the entire human past, which goes back to millions of years. It must be emphasised that all societies have developed over a long  period of time but they differ in terms of courses they followed and the processes they underwent. Though they all were stone-age hunter-gatherers, they all practised agriculture, they all began to use metal at one time or other, still they differ in their cultural, social, political and religious identity. It is because beyond the economic realm lie people's ideas regarding their social system, religious practices, 'political system, art and architecture, language and literature and so on. These things are very individual to each society and nation.
Therefore, the study of history also helps in understanding the people, societies and nations and finally the whole humanity gets a sense of identity and belonging. Many people, including some leading scientists and statesmen, ask, why study history? It does not contribute anything economically. It cannot solve the'problem of poverty and unemployment. There is also ~ perception that it only creates problems and increases animosity among the people. It may be said here that this is a . very superficial view. It helps us in knowing people, their culture, their religion, and their social systems, and respecting them. The study of history makes us learn lessons from the past for the present and future. It helps us in not repeating the mistakes which led to various man made calamities and disasters like wars in the ,past. History also tells us how to ignore the bad things that created problems in society and follow' the things which promote harmony, peace and prosperity. For example, more .than two thousand years back Ashoka, in his Rock Edict XII, insisted on the following measures and practices to maintain harmony, peace and prosperity in society:
"(i) promotion of what constitutes the essence of all religions as their common ground or root (mula);
(ii) cultivation of this sense of unity of all religions by the practice of vachaguti or restraint of criticism of other religions and sects;
(iii) the' samavaya of exponents of different religions in religious assemblies; and
(iv) learning the texts of other religions so as to become bahusruta or proficient in the scriptures of
different religions".
History gives people their identity. The study of past does not mean that one lives in the past but one learns to live with the past. History is not something that we can disown.
As mentioned earlier, history gives a society or a nation an identity. On the basis of this study of history, British historian A.L. Basham (1914-1986), in his book, The Wonder That was India, writes:
"At most periods of her history, India, though a cultural unit, has been torn by internecine war.In statecraft her rulers were cunning and unscrupulous. Famine, flood and plague visited her from time to time, and killed millions of her people. Inequality of birth was given religious sanction, and the lot of the humble was generally hard. Yet, our overall impression is that in no other part of the ancient world were the relations of man and man, and of man and the state, so fair and humane. In no other early civilization were slaves so few in number, and in no other ancient law-book are their rights so well protected as in the Arthashastra. No other ancient lawgiver proclaimed such noble ideals of fair play in battle as did Manu. In all her history of warfare Hindu India has few tales to tell of cities put to the sword or of the massacre of noncombatants. The ghastly sadism of the kings. Of Assyria, who flayed their captives alive, is completely without parallel in ancient India. There was sporadic cruelty and oppression no doubt, but, in comparison with conditions in other early cultures, it was mild. To us the most striking feature of ancient Indian civilization is its humanity" .
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