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This thread is the co-winner of a special prize in the TOW contest for the week 04th to 10th July '21.
  • Category: Miscellaneous

    From the perspective of a future historian

    In history, we try to find what happened in the past by using sources, either written ones or archaeological sources. It is quite unfortunate that throughout human history, the written sources, whether it is books or inscriptions or anything else that you pick up, have mostly been composed by a small minority of literate elites. Often, therefore, the biases of the elites are reflected. Therefore, a historian studying, say, the Gupta period will easily come to know the territories that Samudragupta conquered using sources like the Prayag Prashasti, but to find out what the ordinary people thought of Samudragupta, or what living standards they enjoyed back then, would be quite a formidable challenge. This is of course not to say that such questions are unanswerable. For example, folktales and folk songs give us a gateway into the attitudes of the common people, as well as certain Jataka stories. But on the whole, there is a dearth of material composed by the common people themselves.

    Now think from the perspective of a historian belonging to a future period, say, 2500 CE (I hope humanity survives till then) who is trying to study the first half of the twenty-first century. Due to mass literacy and platforms like social media websites, there will be an ample amount of material for him to depend upon. The actual experiences of the people, their way of living, their opinions about the government, their food habits, etc will all be available for the historian who will have an enormous amount of data at his disposal (Hopefully, technology will have made major leaps by then and he won't have to manually sift through all of our posts).

    That is the power of social media, one which is so often neglected. As messy as it might be, it has allowed the common people to voice their opinions and to leave their records for posterity, a power which they didn't have in the millenniums gone by.
  • #736410
    It is the fact when we want to know about the history we normally refer the previous happenings through narrations on the books and sources of big libraries which stores the information through different ways. For example the literature on Urdu language and its devleopment over the past many years has been recorded and saved with Dairatul ma Arafil in Osmania University campus and this Institute of national importance has many miniature writings of the past era. Like that history has been recorded in many places and they are treasured in the famous libraries across the country.
    K Mohan @ Moga
    'Idhuvum Kadandhu Pogum "
    Even this challenging situation would ease

  • #736429
    If such old data is made available by social networking platforms then it would be good for historians in the future. We can hope the present technological advancements in terms of storage and processing capabilities will give people seamless access to various forms of data which will help them to carry out further exploration of any subject. Now one thing cannot be assured and that is how biased is the person who is documenting the research or writing a book. Technologies cannot reduce the biased attitude of humans though there are a lot of ways to minimize errors and verify the information. It may also depend on who is the custodian of such information. If it is in the public domain then it may not be that biased but if in the government domain, the government will decide what to keep and what to delete or modify.
    Sankalan

    "Life is easier when you enjoy what you do"

  • #736440
    That is why we are not able to believe the history that is written in the textbooks. The authors instead of giving the facts might have added their thoughts and imaginations also. That is why we never really know what happened at the ground level.
    There may be some social references of those days through some novels and folk songs that are written by the people at the ground level. If we hear the songs of Gaddar of Telangana, we will get an idea of the lifestyle of the then middle class and poor people. But they are no printed versions available and once those people who witnessed the situation dies, we have no reference for those happenings.
    Some facts are coming out these days due to social media. These days we are seeing a lot of conflicting news from various sources and we fail to understand what is the correct information.

    drrao
    always confident

  • #736448
    Seeing the facilities today and enormous data about the habits and ways of lives of present day people, we can hope that history writing would be an easier task in future. But seeing the conflicts between tbe countries and extra ambitions of some countries for increasing their boundaries, a question comes in our mind that the humanity should survive till that time when someone thinks to write the history. The human race has progressed well but they have also made weapons of mass destruction which can be used by any eccentric ruler ending the human progress on this planet and those who would remain alive in disfigured forms might not be able to write history.
    Knowledge is power.


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