February 22, 2008

Historicism of World History was favoured by Dr. H. D. Mathur

Dr. H. D. Mathur is more popular as Lala Hardyal. Lala Hardyal was an Indian revolutionary. He was General Secretary of Ghadar Party which organised an armed revolt in 1914. The Ghadar was response of the Indian youth against the oppression of colonial rule of Britain. It had followed the Indian national response to the colonial rule which had been variably called as Moderate period of Indian freedom struggle and peaked in form of Wang Bang Movement of 1905. It is other thing that many historians had termed it as a regional affair. After the Ghadarist were arrested, the world war had started. During this period, the revolutionary movement passed a period of hiatus. Even the Indian nationalist gave full support to the war efforts. Thereafter, the Indian struggle was again taken over by leaders like Bal Gangadhar Tilak which reached its zenith in form of Lucknow Pact. It was followed by Gandhian form of struggle of freedom. In between, especially after 1922, a chapter of communal politics was added to Indian struggle for freedom. It was during this period that the revolutionaries had again organized themselves.

Dr. H. Mathur had written his book, “Hint of Self Culture” during this period which was finally published in 1934 or to adopt his idea of historicism, then in 6934 A. H. (The idea of Anno Historia or A.H., as propounded by Dr. H. Mathur, will be taken up in other post.). In the preface of the book he had written thus.

“In this little book, I have tried to indicate and explain some aspects of message of rationalism for the young men and women of all countries.”

It was with that motive and spirit, he had studied the Historiography in the chapter titled Intellectual Culture. While giving his views about the role of history in formation and development of the personality of an individual, he studies his idea of History. He is not in favour of Nationalist History. He believes that mere political history is no history. He does not reject the concept of Political history but believes that the subject of history covers many more important aspects of the achievements and evolution of man. He has studies the idea of intellectual culture from the perspective of space, time and matter which happens to be the vital functions in the study and writing of history. During the course of elaboration, he has given his idea of history for which he gives a list of topics which should be covered under the subject History. The syllabus, if it is permitted to put it like that, is rather a definition of the idea of World History. The list is reproduced below. The comments on the list as well the thought which has gone into making of this list will be taken up in other post. The list follows.


You should first read several good treaties on World-history in general, and then concentrate especially on the following periods, movements and personalities

(1) Early Egypt, Sculpture and Architecture.
(2) Akhanaton: his Life and Work.
(3) War between Persia and Hellas.
(4) Greek Democracy and Socialism.
(5) Greek Philosophy from Thales to Plotinus.
(6) Greek Art (Sculpture and Architecture).
(7) Homer's “Odyssey.''
(8) Greek Tragedy, (AEschylus, Sophocles, Euripides).
(9) The Scientists and Scholars of Alexandria in the third century B.C.
(10) The Hebrew Prophets.
(11) Origin and Growth of the Christian Church: its Martyrs and Apostles.
(12) Zoroaster and the Rise of Zoroastrianism.
(13) Buddha and Buddhism in India. Asoka. Jainism.
(14) Nagarjuna and the Mahayana. Gandhara Sculpture.
(15) Kung-fu-tzu (Confucius); Mencius, and their movements. Lao-tse and Taoism.
(16) Early History of Rome. Democracy and Republicanism.
(17) Class struggles in Rome.
(18) The Reign of Justinian. Roman Law. Byzantine Art.
(19) The Rise of Monasticism in Egypt. The Orders of St. Basil and St. Benedict.
(20) Spread of Christianity in Europe. Irish Saints and Scholars.
(21) St. Francis and his Order. The Spiritual Friars.
(22) Muhammad and early Islam.
(23) The Islamia Renaissance; Moslem Philosophy and Science. (Ninth to twelfth century)
(24) Sufism and its Saints.
(25) The Dervish Orders.
(26) Persian Didactic Poetry.
(27) The Tang Dynasty in China. Progress of Buddhism and Chinese Painting.
(28)The Gupta Empire in India. Indian Literature and Art. The Ramayana.
(29) The Sassanian Period in Persia.
(30) The Renaissance in the Byzantine (ninth A.D.). Photius and Arethas.
(31) Early Renaissance in Europe (second and third century) (Here in I have corrected the dates.)
(32) The war between the Communes of Lombardy and the Emperor.
(33) The Great Renaissance in Italy and Europe (fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. (Here again I have changed the terms)). The New Schools and Colleges. Democracy at Florence. Italian Painting. Sculpture, and Architecture.
(34) The Vaishnava Saints of N. India. Reformers. Modern Hindu Sects, Tamil Saints.
(35) The Buddhist Religious Leaders of China and Japan: their Sects and Schools. Japanese Sculpture.
(36) The Sung Philosophers in China.
(31) Discovery of the Cape route and of America, Columbia.
(38) The Protestant Reformation, Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Anabaptists, Puritans, Socinians, Non-conformists in England and America. Gustavus Adolphus. The Dutch War of Independence.
(39) India's War of Independence against the Moguls. Mogul and Rajput Painting. Mogul Architecture in N. India. Hindu Architecture in S. India.
(40) Progress of Science since 1400 in Europe and America.
(41) German music from Bach to Wagner.
(42) Modern English Poetry. French Tragedy and Comedy. German Drama, Lyrics, and Short Stories. Russian Novels and Ballet. French and English Landscape-Painters.
(43) Modern Democracy. English, American and French Revolutions. European and South American National Movements. Parliaments. Abolition of Slavery.
(44) Socialism in Europe. The Russian Revolution. The Jesuits in Paraguay. The Communist Colonies of N. America.
(45) Modern Philosophy and Religion. Positivism. Spinoza. Spencer. Free thought and Ethical Movements in Europe and America. Theosophy. The Brahmo samaj. Bahaism. Oomoto in Japan.
(46) The Peace Movement. Esperanto. The League of Nations.

These are the really important and instructive periods and movements in history. If you wish to extract the very cream of History for your personal development, you may go further and concentrate only on the following abbreviated list.
(1) The "Odyssey," Greek Tragedy. Greek Philosophy. Greek Art (Sculpture and Architecture).
(2) Lives of Rama, Krishna, Zoroaster, Confucius, Mencius, Laotse, Mahavira, Buddha, Mani, Muhammad, Yuan Chwang, Rabia, Nanak, Bodhidharma, Chi-Kai, Luther, Calvin, Fox, Bab, Baha-ullah, Honen, Shinran, Nishiren, Wesley.
(3) History of Early Christianity.
(4) The Order of St. Benedict and its work.
(5) The lives of Petrarch, Erasmus and the other Scholars of the Renaissance. Vittorino and other Educationists.
(6) Chinese and Italian Painting. Japanese, Gandhara and Italian Sculpture. Goethic Cathedrals. Islamic Architecture in Spain and India.
(7) German Music.
(8) English Poetry. Shakespeare. French Comedy. German Lyrics. Goethe. Russian Novels. Tolstoy and Dostoevsky.
(9) Modern Democracy.
(10) History of Modern Science and Education.
(11) Modern Socialism and Communism.
(12) Modern Philosophy. Rationalism. Positivism and free thought.
(13) Modern Internationalism and the-League of Nations.

Hints of Self Culture by Har Dayal M. A. Ph.D. London, 1934.


  1. Anonymous11:47 AM

    I have read this book some time in early seventies and till date i am greatly influenced by yhe book. Perheps one of the masterpiece of literature and the self dicipline. This is eye opener to all those who are still boged down to the narrow speheres of life and hipocrate indians of mythes and beliefs.
    kamal Kumar

  2. Dear Kamal Kumar ji,

    Thanks for joining in.

    You are quite right that it is a masterpiece in self discipline. When I came across this book, I felt so proud because I was highly attracted to self improvement books during college days and most of them were by English writers.

    However, I will like to question on of your observation. Why do Indians criticise themselves so much? Why do they say that they are prisoners of their myths and beliefs? Have they ever tried to evaluate the hidden import of the myths and beliefs? Why do not they treat everything scientifically?

    It is a fashion to reject every thing by slight of hand without having the right knowledge only because Indians themselves believe in underrating themseleves. Air INdia is bad. BSNL is bad. Indians are corrupt. But there is Ganga ji which wash away all your sins. There are goods who will give you boon even if you are worst sinner on this earth.

    Any how, I am also one of the person who is influenced by the book but today I do not accept many of the views of Lala Hardayal as given in his book.



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