I spent most of my reading time in the last few months reading up on history. It was not a conscious choice; an improbable turn of chance caused four books on the subject to fall on my lap one after the other. The selection was eclectic and covered diverse periods and perspective.
History is much more than a series of dates and bloody conquests. It is a continuum. Regardless of perspective, it is a record of humanity’s aspirations, struggle, achievements and failures. More importantly, the fortunes and destinies of different peoples and cultures are interlinked. This point has been completely missed in our textbooks and teaching methods.
Arts and humanities do not get equal treatment with science in the education space. Simply put, they are treated as an unavoidable distraction in a teacher or parent’s drive to make his or her child a successful doctor, engineer, techie or whatever it is that our regards as success. As a consequence, the study of history is a desultory exercise in remembering a few dates, people and events without really appreciating the bigger picture.