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- On History writing and the disciplinary crisis in historiography here is an interesting book review.(The link here has at least a bit of humor to it, doesn't it? )ரச/RSOn Fri, Jan 23, 2015 at 10:01 PM, indigenous1985@... [TheHeathenInHisBlindness] <TheHeathenInHisBlindness@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
I understand very well that history writing is riddled with problems. The article posted by Ravishankar highlights the issues rather well. Also a cursory reading of the article on the Philosophy of History on the SEP site, points out the same problems. I have taken the trouble to acquaint myself with the problems. None of this leads me to the conclusion that “Indians do not need history” and that “Ramayana and Mahabharata are sufficient”. This is the question at stake. The question is not whether history writing is a perfect science.
You say that “the questions that history sets itself are not questions for comparative science of cultures. Why did Basava as a minister encourage Sharanas is not question for comparative science of cultures. What kind of inquiry Vacanas embody could be.”
From the above quote, you cannot justify a leap from “these are not our questions” to “Indians don’t need history”. In the example above, our questions have nothing to do with history. In any case, what if in some other context our problems did need to rely on history? Delving into Greek and Roman history was enormously useful in developing theories in the comparative science of cultures.
The difference between us boils down to this: I’m trying to show that there’s a baby in the bathwater while you’re willing to throw the baby out with the bathwater. I strongly feel that there is some understanding missing from the “Indians do not need history” argument.
By the way, this is not the same problem as learning for the first time that India does not have any indigenous religions. Because the idea that Hinduism is not a religion already resonates with most people and the problem was rather to see that there is no such thing as Hinduism. The history debate is completely different. People have recorded the past and future generations are interested in knowing about the past. Does this really warrant a discussion about what the “past” is? Maybe. But this would have to be a whole other subject of inquiry like physics or philosophy. It is not the burden of history to figure this out. Historians can go with an intuitive understanding of what the past means.