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The History of History of India

by Vikas Kamat
First Online: August 15 1!!" #ast u$dated: A$ril 1% &'11

History of India Pictures

Sources of Indian History
(rofessor ).*. +a,umdar -$ortrait . inter/ie01 a noted Indian historian has said that 2... although it is diffi3ult to a33e$t the Indians totally la3ked the histori3al sense2. The an3ient Indians made great inroads into astronomy $hysi3s mathemati3s all kinds of literature and arts but ne/er seriously took to do3umenting their history and their indifferen3e has 3ost their $osterity /ery dearly.

• • • • • • • • • •

4ones and 5ilkins are 3onsidered the fathers of Indology 67asham8. 9ir 5illiam 4ones -1"%:.!%1 3ame to India as a ,udge of the 9u$reme *ourt under the go/ernor.generalshi$ of 5arren Hastings. 4ones 0as a linguisti3 genius -see: The Father of Indology1 and 0ith the hel$ of *harles 5ilkins an offi3er 0ith the ;ast India *om$any 0ho had learnt 9anskrit from elite 7engali

Timelines Freedom 9truggle An3ient +edie/al )oyalty <andhi =atabase of Indians *ongress Ar3hi/e 7iogra$hies 9o3ialist +o/ements

The first real ste$s in re/ealing India?s $ast 0ere then taken through the $ubli3ation of the . +u3h of the foreign sour3es on .ournal Asiatic Researches. (rimary resour3es a/ailable to students of Indology and Indian history 3ome from three sour3es: #iterature Ar3heology and Foreigner?s A33ounts.7rahmins in 1">% the Asiati3 9o3iety of 7engal 0as formed. Ho0 0e kno0 0hat 0e kno0 about this an3ient land. The s3ul$tures and the ins3ri$tions that are $assed on to us tend to glorify the kings or the donors and it is hard to 3ross 3he3k the /alidity of some of the 3laims found in them. )udiments of an3ient Indian history ha/e indeed been a/ailable to Indians for thousands of years but it is im$ossible to arrange them in a 3hronologi3al order or to differentiate history from mythology and traditions from imaginations.

m$eror of India Vikramankeva-Charita by 7illana . 7ardai Kumarapala-Charita by 4ayasimha In Tamil • Nandik-Kalambakam by a . Ho0e/er glorifying is the language they do $ro/ide dee$ insights into the great histori3al $ersons they illustrate.ali for hidden histori3al referen3es and e/ents. 9ome biogra$hies are a/ailable.India namely the tra/elogues of e@$lorers ha/e been assembled through se3ond hand information and it is diffi3ult to differentiate realities from hearsay. 7iogra$hy of king Vikramaditya -see an amusing ane3dote about 7ilhana1 Prithviraja-Charita by *hand. 7iogra$hy of Harsha/ardhana the . The follo0ing is a list of biogra$hies a/ailable: In Sanskrit • • • • Harsha-Charita by 7anabhatta . 5e ha/e to e/en 3onsider unlikely resour3es of grammar books of (anini and (atan. How we know what we know #iterature )eferen3es to histori3al e/ents and traditions are s3attered in many an3ient Indian te@ts e/en in the mythologi3al )amayan and +ahabharat the Hindu e$i3s belie/ed to be of di/ine origin.

They also gi/e us an illustrated /ie0 of the $eriod 3ultures than it is $ossible to 3ull from 0orks of . %th 3entury 7. semi.a of by Ottakkuttan The oldest Indian linguisti3 te@t Baska?s Nirukta -a$$r@. $i3tures1.1 gi/es a detailed a33ount of $oliti3al system of administration during the +auryan em$ire and is a /aluable resour3e to the resear3hers. Archaeology The ar3haeologi3al resour3es for study of Indian history 3onsist of 3oins ins3ri$tions -$i3tures1 s3ul$tures -to$i3s .• • 3ourt $oet .*. The ins3ri$tions ha/e hel$ed the mostD they ha/e $ro/ided dates names of kings and ha/e re3orded im$ortant e/ents.ara. histori3al narration of life of Kulottunga I 7iogra$hies of Vikrama *hola Kulottunga II and )a. The monuments s$read all o/er India are undying 0itnesses of the artisti3 skill of an3ient Indians and testify to their 0ealth and grandeur at /arious e$o3hs of history. 7ut (anini?s master$ie3e Ashtadhyayi -a$$r@. 7iogra$hy of (alla/a King Aandi/arman II Kalingattupparani .1 0hile a /aluable resour3e does not 3ontain histori3al information 67asham8. 5th *entury 7. It tells us 0hen 9anskrit -meaning ref rmed1 3ame in to /ogue re$la3ing (rakrit the language of the Vedas the holy te@ts of Hindus.*. The Arthashastra of *hanakya -C'' 7. $i3tures1 and other artifa3ts -to$i3s .*1 $rofusely illustrates the stability and maturity attained by 9anskrit among s3holars of the time.

1 Chinese Accounts After the s$read of 7uddhism *hinese tra/elers 3ame to India in big numbers to 3olle3t religious books and to /isit the holy $la3es of 7uddhism. 9$e3ial referen3e is to be made of the !ndica by +egasthenes 0ho li/ed in the 3ourt of *handragu$ta +aurya of (eri$lus of the .Tsing -"th 3entury A.=.1 and I.Hien -5th 3entury A.@3a/ations at Takshashila Ham$i 9indhu -Indus1 Valley 9aras0ati Valley ha/e re/ealed e@tremely 0orthy information for Indologists.te@t. Although mu3h of these 0orks are no0 lost the details ha/e $er3olated into subseEuent <reek literature. . stones tem$les and memorials1 . 5orks of Fa.rythrean 9ea by an unkno0n businessman -se3ond half of 1st 3entury A.1 are im$ortant histori3al a33ounts. -see 4ain monuments hero.Tsang -"th 3entury A.=.=.=.=1 and The <eogra$hy of India by (tolemy -about 1C' A. Foreigner's Accounts 9ome of the most stunning a33ounts of an3ient India are $ro/ided by the /isiting foreigners -see also: India though the eyes of foreign tra/elers1: Greek Accounts The <reeks 0ho a33om$anied Ale@ander the <reat in his Indian 3am$aign re3orded their en3ounters of this mysti3al magi3al land. see *rossing of Indus1 Huen.

+ar3o.*. 9till many areas of Indian history es$e3ially 3ultural history ha/e enormous /oids in them.1 and has left a /ery interesting narration of so3ial manners and 3ustoms of 9outh India.*. (olo $assed through some $arts of southern India on his 0ay from *hina to (ersia -1&!& A. E ilogue 7y utiliFing all these e/iden3e it has been $ossible to thro0 some light on the 3i/iliFation and 3ulture that flourished in India and to 3onstru3t a $oliti3al history from "th 3entury 7.=.=.uro$ean substantially enhan3ed it. !eferences • • • 67asham8 A. #.umdar8 ).#ife 7ooks 1!!% . on0ards. +a. Our kno0ledge about India?s glorious $ast 0as /ery little till the 1!th 3entury 0hen the genius and $atient industry of a number of s3holars mostly .1 made a 3areful study of the so3ial institutions of India and his memoirs -see: Alberuni?s India1 are a treasure of histori3al e/iden3e. 7asham The 0onder that 0as India 1!:" 6+a.Islamic Accounts Islami3 tra/eler Alberuni 0ho a33om$anied 9ultan +ahmud -1'1" A. As 0e make ne0 dis3o/eries some established fa3ts may need a se3ond look as 0ell.umdar An3ient India Varanasi 1!5& An3ient India #and of +ystery Time.

. 9tandard dis3laimers a$$ly +er3handise and #ink 9uggestions • • Amma?s *olumn . to$i3s on An3ient India 9ear3h our #ho's#ho $ata%ase for an3ient 0riters Stories the Stones Tell .line of India . =o not re$rodu3e 0ithout $rior $ermission.ditor Tra/els of +ar3o (olo 1!>& Alberuni?s India 1!>> See Also" • • • • A Time. the 0hole 5''' years Indian History (ot$ourri .• • • .$igra$hi3a Indi3a )onald #etham . All rights reser/ed.&'11 Kamat?s (ot$ourri. Timeless Theater Indian History • &amat's Pot ourri G 1!!:. e@am$les of tra3ing history through ar3heologi3al sour3es. The History +ystery and =i/ersity of India no0 as a blog E' lore (ore" history indianhistory history of india indian history To$ of (age .. to$i3s on the history of India An3ient India the land of mystery ....

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