What is History? By Muhammad Ahmad Irfan

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What is history? Is history the significance that occurred from the creation of the universe to the splitting of the atom; or, is history simply the meaningless words that took place in the past, be it as irrelevant as the first pizza? History can also, only be the actions that shaped the future. The diversity of this topic sees no limits in filling hundreds of books by the year. In the below paragraphs we will discuss whether history is made by the sweat and toil of brave heroes or not.

People in favour of the topic believe that history is everything done in the past by influential personalities. To back this hypothesis up, a famous American historian named Owen Rinehart, who graduated from Harvard stated that, “As a matter of fact 80% of history is structured on the impact of actions of well known personnel, like George Washington.” He went on to further explain that these people who shaped the future made “History, History.” However, opponents of the topic maintain their stance that “History is what we want it to be.” This quote said by the British explorer John Raymond, clearly stated that history is a relative term, and no single personality should be given the allowance to steal this huge show. So far, there is a huge population who agrees with Raymond’s stance, due to their belief that this is a less biased path as compared to the proposed.

On the other hand, the proposition still preaches their message that history is meant to be dominated by the actions of individuals like Pablo Picasso. One of the everyday tourists in the museum, Louvre in France was interviewed while standing next to Leonardo Da Vinci’s, Mono Lisa. He went on to say that these prominent people have shaped our future “whether we like it or not”. He then says that their contributions are so widespread and known that they cannot be ignored. More practical viewers at the other end of the spectrum, see the topic through a narrow keyhole. As in saying that, “History is a volume of the past, it is not centred around one person.” 

As the other side struggles with their argument, advocators of the topic claim that , “What makes history great is the contribution of the people who made it great.” The above quote said by Dr Clinton Anderson, an Australian historian. He went on to say that history would never have had any significance to it without the actions of people who made it significant. Thus the question is brought up: is it fair for to undermine the work of those very few personalities we call heroes, when their work is what made our today possible? Yet, as much as the validity of this argument is proven, critics of the topic such as Justin Dallas – a widely known American historian – maintain their biased views. “History is a relative term, judged by the actions and views of the society ”,said Dallas at an interview in Harvard’s History Research centre. “The human race advances a step forward by the year, which means, theories in Physics and Maths would have been discovered, without Einstein’s efforts anyways!”

I disagree with the above statement made by Justin Dallas, for, in my opinion, Einstein did make ground-breaking advancements in this world and instead of shoving that under the rug, the human race should be open minded enough, to accept, honour and build on these achievements rather than move a step down. Evidence states that if Harriet Tubman did not fight for the rights of coloured slaves, the mater would still be a long drawing issue up till this very day; and if Louis Pasteur did not invent antibiotics, the plague would never have been overcome. That is why I believe that history is made with the sweat and blood of brave heroes.                                                                       

About froebelianwriters

I am an English Language teacher teaching O'Levels Edexcel and CIE A Levels at Froebel's International School, Islamabad. I am also working as a Subject Specialist Literacy consultant for the same school. Writing and reading has always been a passion and I try my utmost to instill these habits and hobbies in my students as well. I can be reached/contacted at fabbas227@hotmail.com or 03365287335 Happy reading!

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