Historical Science â€“ Indispensable for Progress
Perhaps historical science is the most neglected subject in academic circles and universities. There are people who consider study of history is a waste of time. Some people consider study of history as quite a boring one. Historical science is taught in the school syllabi as a part of a paper called Social Science in which history is studied along with geography. Once the students leave the school, they forget every thing about whatever little they have learnt in the school.
Study of history at the university level is not very attractive for bright minds. The reason is very simple. It is not lucrative. If you are a medical practitioner you can earn handsome money. With knowledge of historical science one can at best get a placement in a university. Most people end up as poorly paid school teachers. And there are not many chairs in universities for this poor subject. Experts in historical science are not valued very much in society. As a result of all this, generations of people without a sense of history come into being. Bond between peoples becomes weaker and weaker. Common characteristics of a people begin to disappear. Fraternal strife and social tensions begin to grow. A disunited people are doubtlessly weak people. No matter how clever they are!
It is not enough if a nation is having a powerful military with most powerful weapons of mass destruction. That is not the sign of strength of a nation. Because no war in history was won by armies, still less by weapons. Wars are won ultimately by peoples. A people with a deep sense of history and good knowledge of historical science are a proud people. They will never be cowed down by the might of armies and weapons. The real strength of a nation is its people. The thinking of a people makes all the difference. After all, no other power can match the power of thinking. Anton Chekhov was a great writer of the Czarist Russia. The learned and the rich in the society considered him to be a great man and acquaintance with him was something to be proud of. Some wealthy society ladies came to meet Chekhov. Knowing that Chekhov was interested political questions of his times, they wanted to impress him. At that time Russia was at war with its neighbour. They asked who would win. Chekhov replied that that side which was more powerful would win. And which side was more powerful? Chekhov replied that that country which was having a people more educated and healthy would be a stronger country.
One may be a great scientist studying complex questions of astrophysics and cosmology. If he is ignorant of the history of his own people, if he does not have a minimum understanding of historical science, he will become a misfit in the society and society will gain nothing from him.
But historical science is a very broad and deep subject. In fact no subject or science can be really grasped in its entirety without a sense of history of the development of human knowledge in that particular branch of knowledge or science. Academicians and historiographers would do well to go deeply into the question and expand the breadth, depth and branches of historical science and give due importance to the study of the historical science.