History is the study of past social life in all of its aspects in relation to current events and future hopes. It's the story of man through time, an inquiry into the past based on evidence. Evidence is, after all, the foundation of history teaching and learning. It is a study into what occurred in the past, when it occurred, and how it occurred. It is an investigation into the inevitability of change in human affairs in the past, as well as the ways in which these changes affected, influenced, or determined the patterns of life in society.
History is, or should be, a rethinking of the past. This concept of history is of special significance to Collingwood (1945). From this article, you can get a better understanding on the construction of history of India and more importantly about its associated topics.
Importance of Dates
Let us understand how the importance of dates will significantly impact the decisions of the kings.
History was all about battles and major events until a few decades ago; kings and their decisions. As a result, historians recorded important dates in the king's life or dates when major events in the kingdom occurred, such as the date of crowning, marriage, the birth of an heir, combat dates, and so on. However, as the number of kings and kingdoms decreased over the world, other events began to earn historical significance.
Have you ever wondered when people first started drinking tea? Or, in the absence of transportation, how did people travel great distances? When did people start eating chocolates, for example?
If you look into any of these questions, you'll discover that it's impossible to pinpoint a specific date when people began drinking tea or eating chocolate. It took place over a long length of time. Such events do not have a specific date, but rather a time frame.
Selection of Dates
How do historians choose dates when writing about historical events? The solution is simple: they concentrate on a specific event or set of events and choose dates and times accordingly.
If a historian were to write about Aurangzeb, for example, he would choose dates that were significant in Aurangzeb's life and rule. He won't tell you about the country's other political or economic influences.
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He'll tell you about the Mughal-Maratha war, with an emphasis on Aurangzeb. Another Shivaji historian would tell the story about the same time period, but with a concentration on Shivaji and the Maratha Empire. It's also worth noting that history is always written in chapters. Have you ever wondered why this is the case? Again, the explanation is simple: chapters make things easier to understand. It would be impossible to follow the entire story and learn from it if this were not the case.
Selection of Periods
You may have heard of different periods or the selection of periods of history such as the British or Colonial period, the Mughal period, and so on. Historians have attempted to periodize history in order to capture a period's traits and essential features. The manner in which we periodize, on the other hand, is critical since it decides the qualities we choose to focus.
James Mill’s Peof Riodization
A History British India was written in 1817 by James Mill, a Scottish economist and political philosopher. He divided Indian history into 3 parts in this book: Hindu, Muslim, and British. For a long time, this was an acceptable periodization. There was, however, a problem in it.
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India, like with other Asian countries, did not seem to Mill to be as civilised as Europe. He further claims that before the British arrived in India, the country was ruled by Hindu and Muslim despots. The British introduced European manners, arts, institutions, and laws to India after their control, which helped to civilise the country. He also suggested that the British should conquer all of India's provinces because the country could not prosper without them.
For a variety of reasons, this periodization was not acceptable. One, religious intolerance, caste taboos, and superstitious rituals characterised the period before the arrival of the British. Second, no time of Indian history can be classified as Hindu or Muslim. Because other faiths existed at the same time during these periods, it's simple. We are denying the lives and practises of all other faiths by accepting this classification.
Aside from Mill's classification, historians have labelled India's history as "ancient," "mediaeval," and "modern." Modernism is associated with the progress of science, democracy, liberty, and equality in the West, hence this periodization is borrowed from there as well.
None of the previous studies existed in our civilization during the mediaeval period. People did not have liberty, equality, or freedom under British control. It was also not a time of economic growth or progress. Many historians refer to this time in British history as "colonial."
Colonization occurs when one country subjugates another, resulting in significant political, economic, social, and cultural changes. When the British invaded India and subjugated the local Nawabs and Rajas, they:
To cover their expenses, they collected revenue.
They were able to get the things they wanted at a minimal cost.
They grew the crops they needed for export.
Changed people's values, tastes, customs, and practises.
Construction of History of India
The official records of the British Administration are one of the most important sources that led to the development of Indian history. Every command, strategy, policy decision, agreement, and investigation was recorded and documented by the British. The local tahsildar's office, the collectorate, the commissioner's office, the provincial secretariats, and the law courts, to name a few, all constructed record rooms.
They also created specialised institutions to preserve the most essential documents. Calligraphists carefully copied these records in the early nineteenth century. Multiple copies of these records were eventually created after printing was invented.
This is the clear information on the construction of history of India.
Surveys During the Colonial Period
The British also believed that in order to effectively administer the people, they needed to have a thorough understanding of the country. As a result, they conducted extensive surveys in order to map the entire country. The following details were collected:
These surveys' records were very important in the creation of India's history.
Did You Know?
From the other sources, these official records tell us what the officials felt and what they desired to preserve for posterity, just like any other record. What about a different point of view?
Accounts of pilgrims/travelers
Diaries of people
Autobiographies of important personalities
Newspapers and other dailies
Popular booklets sold in local bazaars
The literate few, of course, created these. A large portion of our country was still illiterate, making it impossible to understand their existence.
This is clear information on the necessity for construction of history.