My humanities moment is about a brilliant encyclopedia which covered the vastness of world history from the prehistoric times to the present day in a concise and engrossing manner. I remember seeing the encyclopedia as a 5th grader in my neighbourhood bookstore. I was entranced by the picture on the book jacket. I think it was a medieval Norman-English stained glass painting. The book was imported into India and was very expensive, so my parents did not agree to get it immediately. I remember stopping by the bookstore many times on my way back from school and checking if the book was still on sale. I finally persuaded my parents to buy it for me.

One of the more interesting parts was that for every historical era there were timelines which showed significant events in every continent of the world. It made me appreciate how different civilizations and cultures went through ups and downs through the centuries, and how some went extinct while others adapted to changing circumstances and persisted through the tough times. It also makes you understand that the present world order is just a slice in the long arc of history and is not permanent.

The book really created in me a lifelong curiosity for history. I think learning about history also enlightens you about what makes communities and cultures strong and successful. Things like a healthy scepticism against dogma, a robust justice system and a conducive climate for innovation are all things which enable great societies. And I think we should all be cognizant of it so that we can improve our communities.

– Milind Kulkarni (Engineer)