Ayesha Jalal on what you gain from knowing history

Knowing one’s history is to clarify one’s
sense of identity and one’s location in the world. If you don’t know your history, you’re bound
to be confused and it’s not unusual to meet Pakistanis who talk about identity crisis. I think if one is better attuned with one’s
own history, has studied it, then some of the questions that one asks that become regarded
as a crisis of identity are in fact answered. Historical amnesia can be very damaging to
any nation, not just Pakistan largely because when you suffer from historical amnesia you
create an imaginary world which is devoid of reality. And what is more if you don’t learn from your
own history, you’re condemned to go on repeating those mistakes. So I would say that historical amnesia needs
to be avoided and that can only be done by a better sense of history. It’s been very unfortunate in Pakistan that
history as a discipline over several decades has been marginalised or eliminated altogether,
but I think that it’s good to see that in more recent times, many institutions are recognising
the importance of history, and indeed of the social sciences.


  1. Abdul Sattar

    December 3, 2017 at 4:33 am

    madam.you are role model for me in history,i want to be like u.

  2. Moazam Jahangir

    June 23, 2018 at 9:54 am

    Ayesha Jalal is the EDHI of a true history of Pakistan. πŸ™Œ

  3. ilk d

    July 15, 2018 at 8:56 am

    True.I find all pakistanis confused.
    They talk as if they are arabs or turks.Its laughable. Bangladeshi are more clear in mind and vision.

  4. Abdul Hussain

    October 4, 2019 at 3:34 pm

    lots of love for great historian.

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