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History & Law

                                            (Photo: University of Chicago Law School)

"History and law are two sides of a polished mirror". As we read it, that is there any relation of history with the law, then suddenly it strikes our mind that these two are different subjects because in India students mostly take topics in relation with the subjects they are studying. But when we think beyond, the subject we get to know that history and law are interrelated. Laws are influenced by events in history. The events which have happened before and what their outcomes were and what things can be changed for the better. In taking all these points in mind, laws are made. We take a lesson from our history to make laws.

 History is also related to law. As we read the incidents in our history, they are somehow related to the laws which existed at those times. The British laws which are still followed now from our history are Indian penal code,1860; the transfer of property act, 1882; the foreigner's act, 1946; Income tax act, 1961; Indian evidence act,1872; Indian police act,1861; etc.

 The goods and the bads all somehow share a relationship with the laws and rules. The movements which changed the life of many countries also took place because of the heinous laws in countries like the French revolution, the American civil war, the National movements in India, and many more. All are related to laws that became unbearable torture on the victims. One can study the connection between law and history in comparative law. Comparison of laws of different time scales can be done. Law is a process that makes the public civilized, abides by norms that are set by society from time to time. Hence, the law is continuity in search of humanity and civility.

 Now the question that arises is: "Which part of history is relevant in today's time"? According to my, contemporary history is most important in the present time. Contemporary history includes the span of historical events starting from 1945. These events are most relevant to the present time scenario. Many historians describe the early modern period as the time frame between 1500 and 1800.  This period mainly follows the late middle-age period. Further, it is marked by the initial European colonies, the beginning of recognizable nation-states as well as the rise of strong centralized government.

 Contemporary history helps in strengthening the cultural identity of a nation. This is because when we learn about the cultural heritage of our race or religion, we engulf ourselves in an abundance of information, which often depicts the decisions our ancestors made or the traditions that have been carried down the generations. These define who we are and why we exist in our society.

 History well told is beautiful. Many of the historians who most appeal to the general reading public, know the importance of dramatic and skillful writing as well as of accuracy. History is very important because it helps us to understand the present. If we will listen to what history has to say, we can come to a sound understanding of the past that will tell us much about the problems we now face. If we refuse to listen to history, we will find ourselves fabricating a past that reinforces our understanding of current problems.

 To conclude, George Mosse once said, "What man is, the only history tells." History is interlinked with law. With truly reading, one can have a holistic view of the idea of the concept. In my view, contemporary history is more relevant in today's time. The study of it is still relevant albeit the uncertainty of today's world. As the saying goes, "With age comes wisdom", is a true reminder of the experience one gains with the passage of times (which is history).




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