History as Memory. Modern trends in the writing of history are a reaction to the dry as dust history writing of the 19th Century when a conglomeration of facts without judgement or coherence were exhibited. Although the result off good scholarship and laborious research no clues were given to help the comprehension of the ethos of a civilisation or a generation. The 19th Century did have outstanding historians who were not of the dry as dust school and they were criticised for giving a shape and form to history writing which was on the borderline of history and literature. The scope has been enlarged in our own times of what we call history with a cross cutting of genres – drawing from the disciples of anthropology, myth, poetry, music, religion, geopolitics, biography and literature.
In Goa we have had traumas and we have had problems of discovering and establishing an identity, perhaps more than one identity; and perhaps a summation of many identities of East and West and of pluralism of cultures that has been the strength and idea of Indian democracy. How does one unravel these complexities in the context of Goa? The various strands and complexities can only be understood and even brought into some form that is comprehensible and communicable by a sense of experience and emotion. This is, by its very nature, individual and private. While rooted in one’s own family experience and in the experience of other families that have lived through the times recaptured in individual and family memories. Can one work through this labyrinth by picking up the threads of family memories and then develop them through research into a sense of experiential history?
The talk explored history as memory as espoused through the author’s work, Goa: A Daughter’s Story.