Is the message of Ľudovít Štúr actual also on the present?

30. 09. 2015

prof. PhDr. Dušan Škvarna, PhD.Another meeting of the general public with the scientist was taken place in the Science café in the Slovak Centre of Scientific and Technical Information of SR (SCSTI SR) in Bratislava on 24th September 2015, which the National Centre for Popularisation of Science and Technology in Society a department of SCSTI SR organizes under the title Science in the CENTRE.

The guest in the Science in the CENTRE was a historiographer prof. PhDr. Dušan Škvarna, PhD. from the Department of History at the Faculty of Arts of Matej Bel University in Banská Bystrica. He mentioned at the beginning of his speech with the title Is the message of Ľudovít Štúr actual also on the present?, that the answer of this question could be the same such as the variety of human thinking is, thus for someone yes and for someone no. It depends on the amount of facts.

According to prof. Škvarna, in the communication about Ľudovít Štúr appear four interpretative approaches. The first - pathetic and phrasal substantiation of his importance, without contexts and stronger arguments. In this interpretation, Štúr looks like an idealized and sanctified hero, many times lonely and misunderstood. The second, opposite view - irony of his person and downplayed of his actions. Both approaches are based on emotions (idealization and contempt), fortunately both approaches are rather marginal. The third approach - especially images of his concrete and partial activities: Štúr as a journalist, Štúr as a linguist, Štúr as a politician, educationalist, his biographical features and so on. These are aspects of his life that are most interesting for public and also researchers are devoted to them the most. this atomized view does not allow to capture and to understand the full meaning of Štúr. This allows the fourth approach - synthesizing and contextual, that reflects contemporary development trends, its challenges and limits. through this perspective, prof. Škvarna tried to answer the question, why Štúr is actual also on the present.

Veda v CENTRE 24-09-2015

Europe has undergone the major transformation of civilisation. From the half of 18th century, the modernization began to accelerate. The concept of fair and ideal politics, society and freedom of man changed radically. The principles of equality of rights should represent the modern society. Social, political, civil, human and national modernization created not only interrelated processes but also different forms of one and universal uprating process. It also acquired the specific features in Hungary. The transformation of Slovaks from traditional ethnic into modern nation sped up in the 30s and the 40s of the 19th century. That time, thanks mainly to Štúr, the concept of modern Slovak nation had been created and it corresponded to contemporary opportunities and limits.

In the 40s of the 19th century the life in various European countries had been politicized. Some national policies had been putting into finishing touches, for example Hungarian; some of them have just been created. Also the Slovak National Movement acquired a political dimension during these years. The formation of Slovak policy and its program, which required the elimination of professional society in Hungary and an acknowledgement of speech rights of Slovaks, had happened also thanks to Štúr. This policy had an entreating form at the beginning (petitions of monarchs from 1840 to 1844), later on the appellation form (Štúr at the Congress at the turn of 1847/48) and at the end, in 1848/49, the fight form.

prof. PhDr. Dušan Škvarna, PhD.Štúr became the first member of the Hungarian Parliament in its long history, who put forth the demand of using Slovak language in local offices as well as in folk and high schools in the premises of this supreme self-governing institution in Hungary. More seriously and bravely as an armed man, he was interested in the revolution during 1848/49. These days, together with Hurban, he was a leading person of the movement requesting the promotion of Slovakia to an autonomous body with its own institutions, borders and own representation. Thanks to Štúr the Slovak National Council in Myjava began to create the basics of Slovak statehood on 19th September 1848.

Štúr was a minded personality, he gained the modern European thinking while studying, he excelled with many interests. Except for the many time mentioned aspects of life, he was also interested in study of economic issues, biological issues, higher mathematics, he had several highly educated natural historians in his family (especially Dionýz Štúr). He had a talent of scientist and educator, thinker and organizer. He grouped around himself active, the European minded intellectual people, enthusiastic for the ideals of freedom and justice. This fellowship around Štúr stand up to lead in the Slovak National Movement, culture and politics in the critical movement in history of Central Europe, when the old structures became extinct and the new ones were just born. This generation turned some ideals into reality, they took their par in cultural and political uplift of Slovakia as no one before them and no one long time afterwards. They became an example of next generations of patriots who took an inspiration from them, imitated them and were referred to as their heirs.

Veda v CENTRE 24-09-2015

Ľudovít Štúr and people around him caught on the solving of problems, contradictions and challenges of their time and they managed them successfully in spite of some failures. Their importance in that time is the first ground why Štúr spontaneously entered into historical memory, like Svätopluk, St. Štefan, Matej Bel, Mária Terézia and many others. All known Štúr activities and activities of his fellowship, that we remember these days and admire (language, newspaper, school, literature, education, politics, etc.) were not his aim, but "only" a medium. The aim was to lay the foundations on modern and free Slovakia, which would not be able to destroy in the coming decades.

At the end, prof. Škvarna also expressed his opinion that modernization of Slovakia, at which was Štúr at the beginning, is fascinating and unique but still unconvincing captured yet. Although the current time is very different from the conditions of the times of Štúr, it is tied to them. Humanist and civilization reference of Štúr is in many ways still actual. He figures reasonably in our minds as a social reformer, significant person in Central Europe and unique person to Slovakia.

Science in the CENTRE was hosted by PhDr. Zuzana Hajdu. Some participants of the event were involved in the discussion, among them PhDr. Eva Kowalská, DrSc. from the Historical Institute of the Slovak Academy of Sciences.

PhDr. Marta Bartošovičová

Photo: Ing. Alena Oravcová

Translated by: LŠ

SCSTI, Historical Sciences and Archaeology, colleges, Popularization of Science and Technology , personalities of science