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Essay on “History needs to be Rewritten” Complete Essay for Class 10, Class 12 and Graduation and other classes.

History needs to be Rewritten



  1. Pre-selected events are taught as history, and these relate only to the dominant groups in different periods of time.
  2. Bias integral to most historical texts.
  3. illustration of such prejudice in historical texts by the British.
  4. Today, there are attempts to glorify India’s ancient period whether historically true or not.
  5. Need to change our approach to history-move from the study of individuals and dynasties to study of Society as a whole.
  6. Genuine approach to communal issues in history needed.
  7. Archaeology should be studied more than literary sources.

History has been taught, and is still being taught, as a continuous narrative of our pre-selected events

To this is added the fact that recent and contemporary research is almost never incorporated in textbooks and other works on history. Thus, the history of a particular ruler or a ruling class or dynasty qualifies as a history of that time and society. Similarly, the personal religion of the ruler or the ruling class often emerges as a determining factor when it comes to interpreting history.

Most literary material which has survived the ravages of time and which serves as the basis on which to construct the history of that period relates to elite or dominant groups. This is based on the fact that only the elite groups have a right and access to education. They, therefore, recorded their lifestyles and portrayed the elite sections of the society in these written records. In other cases, people who have recorded history, if not belonging to tae elite group themselves, have invariably been people associated with the court. Mostly, it is this literature which has survived and made its way to us as historical records. But to suppose on the basis of these records that conditions in the whole society at that time were such as have been portrayed would be wrong. To suppose that every section of the society indulged in luxuries and maintained a rich life style because the ‘palace’ was splendid, would result in a historically inaccurate picture. These portrayals tend to be one-sided pictures of particular and specific sections of the society at that time.

The writing of history is not free of all prejudice. In fact, every historian writes with specific interest, even at times with a bias in mind. Histories might have been written to please rulers and gain a position at the court.

That prejudices and self-interest are involved in writing history is illustrated well by the Indian example. The British, as part of their colonisation process of India, thought it necessary to rewrite Indian history to portray Indians as unable to govern themselves, and thus justified their imperial cause. The freedom struggle was therefore portrayed as a mutiny. After India won independence, Indian historians have constantly been trying to portray the real situations during that time. Some of them though have been misappropriating this need to satisfy vested political interests by portraying a history which can be interpreted to satisfy nationalist sentiments. History invariably is prejudiced to serve certain ends.

Similarly, one can see in our present day the inclusion of a glorification of the past in the political agenda of various parties. Even large and responsible political parties in India are resorting to a glorified portrayal of India’s past. The subjective element thus plays a very important role in writing and interpreting history. Often historical portrayals do not depict the reality, but what a particular historian, due to one or the other reason, wishes to portray as having occurred.

There is an imminent need to change our whole approach to history. The need calls for moving from a study of individual rulers or dynasties or events relating to the elite to a more complete study of society as a whole. Dynastic history constitutes only a part of history and shows the distribution of power. What needs to be studied along with this part of history includes the development of the whole society from one point of time to another and changes in social systems and social organisations. Political history should necessarily also include analyses and developments of various regional, religious and racial groups.

This is particularly necessary in the Indian context to promote a genuinely secular approach. It would help us to understand why and how communal disharmony and intolerance surface and how best to avoid them. In contrast, the nationalists and communalists have tended to highlight only particular aspects of history, while suppressing others.

The communal view and interpretation of history can virtually be done away with if history is written and studied in a wider sense with a broader mind. To illustrate this point economic history, for example, would reveal class interests and antagonisms which would cut across religious frontiers. Similarly, social history would reveal that Hindu or Muslim rulers were not partial in their treatment of Hindu or Muslim masses. The common people, whether Hindu or Muslim, were equally poor and oppressed. Po-. litical history, when viewed carefully, would reveal that the politics of Indian states were based on economic and political interests and not on religious considerations. Similarly, socio-cultural history would reveal harmonious Hindu-Muslim relations at the base level.

One of the most important tools for reviewing and revising history is archaeology. While literary records pertain to the lives of certain people belonging to elite groups, archaeological evidence is more complete and incorporates evidences of the lives of common people. Site excavations of ancient cities, for example, reveal lifestyles of all sections of the society at that time. Archaeological proof fills in gaps while at the same time providing clues to trade and commerce, and migration of people.

It is thus essential to review and rewrite history and prevent its abuse for political purposes.


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