Back in college, I was doing a project on freedom fighters and refugees of India’s Independence movement of the early 20th century. At the time of writing the conclusion, as my little grown intellect of nineteen allowed me (not that I claim it has grown much since), I wrote that one needs to study history to learn about the past mistakes and try not to repeat them. But as it seems, though man does not make those very mistakes, he makes new ones.
In that way history is not helpful. But today, when again I’m dwelling into the history (India, early 14th century AD) , I think past is the key to understand the present. It holds answers to many whys, whats and whens. Why are people fighting? Why are they being intolerant ;-)? What is the reason behind this custom? What is the inspiration behind this poem? Who built this building? Why? When? And so on and so on. When you dwell into these Ws, there unfold facts and fictions. Both at different times more surprising and interesting then the other. That gives you a lens to understand the present. And that, I think helps you to become tolerant towards the people around you, because you know what they have suffered.