‘History never repeats itself’ Webinar on discourse of history

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Staff Reporter

“History either constructs or reconstructs but neither repeats itself nor does it recycle the events”, observed the renowned historian Prof Dr Aslam Syed on Sunday.

“Otherwise, if so, history only repeats itself for those who do not learn from it. We need to set our facts straight and then interpret them.

History as a social science should not manifest destiny and one should be very clear that humans were behind various events,” he said while responding to a question during a Webinar on Weekend of Discourse on History.

In his lecture before taking questions of the participants, Dr Syed asserted that it was the duty of historians to bring forth unbiased facts and do social engineering, which is required to deradicalise the Pakistani society.

Reiterating the need to live in the present, he said, “those who do not have a satisfactory present find escape in the past.” Prof Dr. Aslam Syed has been currently serving Center for Religious Studies, Ruhr Universität, Bochum, Germany.

He remained Chairman, Department of History, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad and served the NIHCR as its Director.

The Webinar was arranged by the National Institute of Historical and Cultural Research, Centre of Excellence, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad which was online attended by over 500 participants ranging from students, teachers and researchers to have greater insights into the valuable views of the guest speaker.

Replying a question on evolution of history, he opined that an idealist approach to history construes what historians do in terms of coherence, unity and individuality. “The object of historical thought is not dead actions but living thoughts.

The limits of historical thought reflect the boundaries of our mental faculties, and the identity of subject and object in historical reenactment becomes the model for all genuine knowledge,” he said.

Responding to yet another question of a Webinar participant, Dr Syed remarked that history was a particular understanding of objects left-over from the past, governed by organising postulates, and logically distinct from other “modes” of understanding.

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