TRADITIONS OF HISTORY WRITING IN INDIA
BHIE 144 Solved Free Assignment 2023
BHIE 144 Solved Free Assignment January 2023
Assignment – I
Q 1. What is a historical tradition? Discuss socio-political and economic context of Indian historical traditions.
Ans. A historical tradition refers to the set of beliefs, customs, and practices that have been passed down from one generation to another in a particular society or community.
Historical traditions are based on the events, people, and ideas that have shaped the past of a society or culture.
These traditions can be expressed in various forms, including oral narratives, written texts, art, music, and rituals.
Historical traditions play a significant role in shaping the identity of a society and in providing a sense of continuity and connection to the past.
They can also serve as a source of inspiration and guidance for individuals and communities in dealing with present-day challenges and opportunities.
At the same time, historical traditions can also be a source of conflict and division, especially when different groups within a society have different interpretations of their shared history. BHIE 144 Solved Free Assignment 2023
Socio-political and economic context of Indian historical traditions
Indian historical traditions are rooted in the socio-political and economic context of the Indian subcontinent, which has a rich and diverse history spanning thousands of years.
India has been home to many civilizations, empires, and kingdoms, each leaving its mark on the culture and society of the region.
The socio-political context of Indian historical traditions is characterized by a complex system of caste and class hierarchies, religious diversity, and political fragmentation.
India has been a multicultural and multilingual society since ancient times, with different regions and communities having their own distinct cultural practices and traditions.
The caste system, which is a hierarchical social structure based on birth, has been a defining feature of Indian society for centuries, and has played a significant role in shaping the historical traditions of the region.
Religion has also played a central role in the socio-political context of Indian historical traditions. BHIE 144 Solved Free Assignment 2023
Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism all have their roots in the Indian subcontinent, and have contributed to the rich tapestry of Indian culture and history.
The interactions between different religious communities in India have been marked by both conflict and cooperation, and have shaped the historical traditions of the region.
The economic context of Indian historical traditions is also important in understanding their development and evolution.
India has been a hub of trade and commerce since ancient times, with the Indus Valley Civilization being one of the earliest known centers of trade in the world.
The country’s strategic location on the ancient Silk Road and its abundant natural resources have made it an attractive destination for traders and merchants from around the world.
Throughout its history, India has also been subject to colonization and exploitation by foreign powers, including the British Empire, which ruled the country for almost 200 years. BHIE 144 Solved Free Assignment 2023
The impact of colonialism on Indian society and culture has been profound, and has shaped the historical traditions of the region in many ways.
Q 2. Briefly discuss main features of Marxist historiography with special reference to some important Marxist historians of India.
Ans. Marxist historiography is a school of thought within the discipline of history that is influenced by Marxist ideology.
Marxist historians believe that social and economic relations are the driving force behind historical development, and that history should be studied as a process of class struggle.
Main Features of Marxist Historiography
Historical Materialism: Marxist historians view history as a process of material production and exchange, where the mode of production determines the social relations and the economic structure of society.
This is known as historical materialism. Marxist historians argue that the economic base of society shapes the superstructure of cultural, political, and social institutions.
Class Struggle: Marxist historians view history as a process of class struggle, where different classes in society compete for power and resources.
Marxist historians argue that class struggle is the driving force behind historical change, and that the struggle between the ruling class and the oppressed class is the primary contradiction in society.BHIE 144 Solved Free Assignment 2023
Critique of Capitalism: Marxist historians are critical of capitalism, which they view as an exploitative economic system that perpetuates class inequality.
They argue that the capitalist mode of production leads to the alienation of workers, and that the profits generated by capitalist enterprises are unfairly distributed.
Emphasis on the Working Class: Marxist historians emphasize the importance of the working class in historical development.
They view the working class as the most oppressed and exploited class in capitalist society, and argue that the struggles of the working class have played a key role in historical change.BHIE 144 Solved Free Assignment 2023
Importance of Revolution: Marxist historians believe that revolution is necessary to overthrow the capitalist system and establish a socialist society.
They argue that only through revolution can the working class gain control of the means of production and create a society that is based on equality and cooperation.
Marxist Historians in India
D. D. Kosambi: D. D. Kosambi was a prominent Marxist historian who made significant contributions to the study of ancient Indian history.
He applied the Marxist approach to Indian history and argued that class struggle played a crucial role in shaping the political and economic structures of ancient India.
Irfan Habib: Irfan Habib is a renowned Marxist historian who has made significant contributions to the study of medieval Indian history.
He has written extensively on the economic and social history of medieval India, and has emphasized the importance of class struggle and economic structures in shaping historical development.BHIE 144 Solved Free Assignment 2023
Romila Thapar: Romila Thapar is a well-known Marxist historian who has written extensively on ancient Indian history.
She has argued that the caste system in ancient India was a form of class exploitation, and has emphasized the importance of material conditions and economic relations in shaping historical development.
Bipan Chandra: Bipan Chandra was a prominent Marxist historian who made significant contributions to the study of modern Indian history.
He was critical of the colonial legacy in India and argued that the Indian independence movement was a result of class struggle against colonialism.
Aijaz Ahmad: Aijaz Ahmad is a Marxist literary critic and historian who has written extensively on the relationship between literature and politics in India.
He has emphasized the importance of class struggle in the formation of Indian literature, and has argued that literature can be a powerful tool for social and political change.BHIE 144 Solved Free Assignment 2023
Assignment – II
Q 3. Describe charita form of writing. In your opinion how can these textual compositions be treated as historical treatises?
Ans. Charita is a form of writing in Indian literature that focuses on the lives and deeds of historical figures, particularly kings and rulers.
These texts are often biographical in nature and present a narrative of the achievements, virtues, and challenges faced by the protagonist.
Charitas are important sources of historical information as they provide insights into the political, social, and cultural contexts of the time period in which the historical figures lived.
The word “charita” comes from the Sanskrit word “charitra”, which means conduct, behavior or character. The genre of charita emerged in the early centuries CE and was popular in medieval India. BHIE 144 Solved Free Assignment 2023
The subjects of charitas are often kings, queens, saints, and other important figures in society. The charita form of writing is typically poetic in nature and often includes elements of mythology and folklore.
Charitas provide valuable insights into the social and political conditions of the time period in which they were written.
These texts can be treated as historical treatises because they often contain information about the political, social, and cultural practices of the time.
For example, the “Harshacharita” is a 7th-century Sanskrit charita that describes the reign of King Harsha of the Vardhana dynasty.
The text provides insights into the administration, social customs, and cultural practices of the time period.
Charitas also provide insights into the lives of historical figures and their achievements. BHIE 144 Solved Free Assignment 2023
These texts often present a narrative of the life of the protagonist, including their birth, education, achievements, and challenges faced.
This information can be used to understand the personality and character of the historical figure and their impact on the society.
However, it is important to note that charitas are not necessarily objective historical treatises.
These texts often present a glorified version of the protagonist’s life and achievements, and may overlook or downplay negative aspects of their character or reign.
For example, the “Prithviraj Raso” is a medieval Hindi charita that describes the life and achievements of Prithviraj Chauhan, a Rajput king.
The text presents a heroic narrative of his life and achievements, but overlooks his shortcomings as a ruler and the challenges faced by his kingdom.
In conclusion, the charita form of writing provides valuable insights into the political, social, and cultural conditions of the time period in which they were written, as well as the lives and achievements of historical figures.
These texts can be treated as historical treatises, but it is important to consider the biases and perspectives of the authors and to cross-check information with other historical sources.BHIE 144 Solved Free Assignment 2023
Q 4. Give a brief account of Sangam literature. Can it be justified to call Sangam literature, a history in the making?
Ans. Sangam literature is a collection of Tamil-language poems and epics that were composed between 300 BCE and 300 CE.
The term “Sangam” refers to a gathering or assembly of Tamil poets and scholars who met to compose and share their works.
Sangam literature is divided into two main categories: the Eight Anthologies (Ettuthokai) and the Ten Idylls (Pattuppattu).
These works include love poetry, moral fables, and descriptions of Tamil society, culture, and politics. They also provide insights into the religious and philosophical beliefs of the time period.BHIE 144 Solved Free Assignment 2023
One of the most notable aspects of Sangam literature is its portrayal of Tamil society and culture.
The poems describe the daily life of Tamil people, their social customs, and their religious practices.
They also provide insights into the political organization of Tamil kingdoms, including the roles of kings and the functioning of administrative systems.
In addition to their literary value, Sangam texts can be considered historical in nature.
They provide valuable information about the political and social conditions of Tamil Nadu during the time period in which they were composed.
The texts include descriptions of wars, battles, and political alliances between Tamil kingdoms, as well as the economic conditions of the time period.
However, it is important to note that Sangam literature should not be considered a comprehensive history of Tamil Nadu.
The works were composed by poets and scholars who often had their own biases and perspectives, and may not have provided a complete and objective view of the events and conditions of the time period.
Additionally, the texts were often composed long after the events they describe, which may have led to errors or inaccuracies.
In conclusion, Sangam literature is a valuable collection of Tamil-language poems and epics that provide insights into the society, culture, and politics of Tamil Nadu during the time period in which they were composed.
While they cannot be considered a comprehensive history of the region, they do provide valuable historical information and can be considered a part of the process of history-making.BHIE 144 Solved Free Assignment 2023
Q 5. Write a note on genealogical traditions of western India.
Ans. Genealogical traditions are an important aspect of Indian culture and history. These traditions involve the recording of family lineages, including the names of ancestors, their professions, and their achievements.
In western India, particularly in the state of Maharashtra, genealogical traditions have been an important means of preserving historical information.
In Maharashtra, genealogical traditions are known as “Vanshavalis” or “Vamshas”. These texts record the family lineages of various communities, including the Brahmins, Marathas, and other castes.
The Vanshavalis were usually written in Sanskrit, Marathi or other local languages, and were often kept by families as precious heirlooms.
The Vanshavalis provide valuable information about the social, cultural, and political history of Maharashtra. BHIE 144 Solved Free Assignment 2023
They describe the origins of various castes and communities, their migration patterns, and the political and social conditions of the time period.
They also provide information about the genealogy of prominent families and their contributions to society.
The Vanshavalis were often compiled by Brahmin scholars or “Bardes”, who were trained in the art of genealogy.
The Bardes would travel from village to village, collecting information about families and communities, and compiling the information into a written document.
The process of compiling the Vanshavalis was often collaborative, with families contributing their own genealogical information to the text.
In addition to the Vanshavalis, western India also has a tradition of recording royal genealogies in the form of “Rajavali” or “Rajavritta”.
These texts provide information about the genealogy of royal families, including their relationships with other kingdoms and their achievements.
However, it is important to note that genealogical traditions can be subject to biases and inaccuracies. BHIE 144 Solved Free Assignment 2023
The information recorded in the Vanshavalis and Rajavali may be based on oral histories or family legends, which may not always be accurate.
Additionally, the caste system and other social hierarchies may have influenced the recording of genealogical information.
Assignment – III
Q 6. Dana-stuti Hymns
Ans. Dana-stuti hymns are a type of Vedic hymn found in the Rigveda, one of the oldest sacred texts of Hinduism.
The term “dana” refers to the act of giving, while “stuti” means praise or adoration. Thus, dana-stuti hymns are hymns of praise and adoration for those who give gifts or perform acts of charity.
The dana-stuti hymns are believed to have been composed during the early Vedic period, which lasted from around 1500 BCE to 1000 BCE.
They were recited during the performance of yajnas (sacrificial rites) as a way of praising and thanking those who had made offerings to the gods.
The hymns typically begin with an invocation to the gods and a request for blessings. They then go on to praise the giver and describe the gifts that have been given.
The gifts mentioned in the hymns include cows, horses, chariots, gold, and other valuable items. BHIE 144 Solved Free Assignment 2023
The hymns often describe the gifts as being offered with devotion and sincerity, and they emphasize the importance of giving to those in need.
The dana-stuti hymns are significant for several reasons. First, they provide insight into the social and economic conditions of the early Vedic period.
They suggest that gift-giving was an important part of Vedic society and that it was valued as a means of gaining blessings and good fortune.
The hymns also suggest that there was a system of reciprocity in which gifts were given in exchange for blessings.
Second, the dana-stuti hymns are significant because they provide a spiritual perspective on the act of giving.
The hymns emphasize the importance of giving with sincerity and devotion, and they suggest that the act of giving can lead to spiritual growth and enlightenment.
They also suggest that giving can be a means of connecting with the divine and of achieving a state of inner peace and contentment.
In conclusion, the dana-stuti hymns are a significant part of Vedic literature and provide valuable insights into the social, economic, and spiritual aspects of early Vedic society. BHIE 144 Solved Free Assignment 2023
They emphasize the importance of giving as a means of gaining blessings and achieving spiritual growth, and they suggest that the act of giving can be a path to inner peace and enlightenment.
Q 7. Buranjis
Ans. Buranjis are a type of historical chronicle that were written in the Assamese language in the northeastern region of India.
The term “buranji” is derived from the Assamese word “buranjee”, which means a written account or chronicle.
Buranjis were typically written by scholars and historians who recorded the history, traditions, and culture of the Assamese people.
Buranjis were written over a period of several centuries, beginning in the 13th century. They were initially written on palm leaves, but later on paper, and were often illustrated with drawings and diagrams.
Buranjis covered a wide range of topics, including political history, genealogy, literature, religion, and social customs.
They also included information about important events, such as wars, famines, and natural disasters.BHIE 144 Solved Free Assignment 2023
One of the most famous buranjis is the “Assam Buranji”, which was written by a scholar named Sankaradeva in the 16th century.
The Assam Buranji provides a detailed account of the political history of Assam from the 13th century to the 16th century.
It describes the rule of various dynasties and the social and economic conditions of the time period.
Other famous buranjis include the “Koch Rajbanshi Buranji”, which describes the history of the Koch dynasty, and the “Ahom Buranji”, which provides a detailed account of the Ahom dynasty.
Buranjis are significant because they provide valuable insights into the history and culture of Assam and the surrounding regions.
They are also important because they were written in the Assamese language, which was relatively unknown at the time.
Buranjis helped to establish Assamese as a literary language and played an important role in the development of Assamese literature.
However, it is important to note that buranjis can be subject to biases and inaccuracies.BHIE 144 Solved Free Assignment 2023
They were often written by scholars who had their own political and cultural perspectives, and the information they recorded may not always be completely accurate.
Additionally, many buranjis were written long after the events they describe, and the accuracy of the information may have been influenced by the passage of time and the loss of original sources.
In conclusion, buranjis are an important part of the historical and cultural heritage of Assam and the surrounding regions.
They provide valuable insights into the political, social, and cultural history of the area and played an important role in the development of Assamese literature.
However, like all historical sources, buranjis should be approached with a critical eye and their accuracy should be carefully evaluated.
Q 8 Ashokan Edicts
Ans. Ashokan edicts are a series of inscriptions that were made by Emperor Ashoka, who ruled over the Mauryan Empire in India from 269 BCE to 232 BCE.
These edicts were written in various languages and scripts, including Prakrit, Greek, Aramaic, and Brahmi, and were inscribed on rocks, pillars, and caves throughout the empire.BHIE 144 Solved Free Assignment 2023
The Ashokan edicts are significant because they provide valuable insights into the political, social, and religious history of ancient India.
They offer a glimpse into the policies and beliefs of one of the most important rulers of ancient India and provide evidence of the empire’s administrative structure and legal system.
The edicts cover a wide range of topics, including Ashoka’s conversion to Buddhism, his promotion of non-violence and tolerance, and his efforts to improve the lives of his subjects.
They also provide information about Ashoka’s governance, including his establishment of a network of officials and administrators to oversee the empire, and his efforts to promote trade and commerce.
The most famous of the Ashokan edicts are the pillars, which were erected throughout the empire and inscribed with Ashoka’s teachings and policies.
The pillars were often topped with a capital, which was carved with the image of a lion, a horse, or an elephant.
The most famous of these pillars is the Ashoka Pillar at Sarnath, which is topped with four lions and has become a symbol of modern India.
In addition to the pillars, the Ashokan edicts were also inscribed on rocks and caves.
Some of the most famous of these inscriptions include the Rock Edicts at Dhauli, which describe Ashoka’s efforts to promote peace and non-violence, and the Cave Edicts at Ajanta, which provide information about Ashoka’s support for Buddhism and his promotion of social welfare.
The Ashokan edicts are important because they represent one of the earliest examples of written records in India.
They provide a valuable source of information about ancient Indian history and culture, and offer insight into the beliefs and practices of one of the most important rulers of ancient India. BHIE 144 Solved Free Assignment 2023
They have also had a lasting impact on Indian culture, with the image of the lion capital appearing on the national emblem of modern India.
Q 9. Muhammad Qasim Firishta
Ans. Muhammad Qasim Firishta was a prominent historian and writer who lived in India during the 16th century.
He is known for his important contributions to the field of Indian historiography, particularly his work on the history of the Deccan region of India.
Firishta was born in a noble family in the city of Bidar in the Deccan region of India in 1560 CE. He received his education from prominent scholars of his time and became proficient in Arabic, Persian, and Turkish languages.
He was particularly interested in the history of his region and began to collect information and write about it.
Firishta’s most significant work is his Tarikh-i Firishta, which is a comprehensive history of the Muslim rulers of the Deccan region of India from the 14th century to the early 17th century. BHIE 144 Solved Free Assignment 2023
The work is written in Persian language and is divided into four volumes, each covering a specific time period.
The Tarikh-i Firishta is known for its detailed and comprehensive account of the history of the Deccan region.
Firishta used a variety of sources, including official records, court chronicles, and personal accounts, to compile his work.
He also interviewed many of the contemporary rulers and officials to gather information about their reigns.
In addition to the Tarikh-i Firishta, he also wrote several other works on history, including the Gulshan-i Ibrahim, which is a history of the Muslim rulers of the northern India, and the Tareekh-i Islam, which is a general history of Islam.
Firishta’s works were widely acclaimed for their accuracy, objectivity, and literary style. They were translated into several languages and had a significant influence on the development of Indian historiography.
Firishta’s contribution to Indian historiography lies in his use of primary sources and his detailed account of the history of the Deccan region.
His works provide valuable information about the political, social, and cultural history of India during the medieval period.
They also serve as an important source for the study of the rise of the Muslim rule in India.BHIE 144 Solved Free Assignment 2023
Overall, Muhammad Qasim Firishta was a significant figure in the field of Indian historiography, and his works continue to be studied and appreciated by scholars today.
Q 10. Some important nationalist historians
Ans. Nationalist historians were a group of Indian historians who emerged during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
They played a significant role in shaping the Indian national identity and were instrumental in promoting a sense of pride and awareness of India’s rich cultural and historical heritage. Some of the important nationalist historians are:
R.C. Majumdar: R.C. Majumdar was a prominent historian who made significant contributions to the study of Indian history.
He is known for his works on ancient Indian history, including the History of Ancient India and The Vedic Age.BHIE 144 Solved Free Assignment 2023
D.D. Kosambi: D.D. Kosambi was a Marxist historian who made significant contributions to the study of Indian history.
He is known for his works on Indian social and economic history, including An Introduction to the Study of Indian History and The Culture and Civilisation of Ancient India in Historical Outline.
Jawaharlal Nehru: Jawaharlal Nehru was a prominent political leader and historian who played a key role in India’s struggle for independence.
He is known for his book The Discovery of India, which provides a comprehensive account of India’s history and culture.
Tara Chand: Tara Chand was a historian who made significant contributions to the study of modern Indian history.
He is known for his works on the Indian national movement, including The Freedom Struggle and Indian Nationalism.
R.S. Sharma: R.S. Sharma was a Marxist historian who made significant contributions to the study of ancient Indian history.
He is known for his works on the social and economic history of ancient India, including Indian Feudalism and Urban Decay in India.
K.M. Munshi: K.M. Munshi was a prominent nationalist historian who made significant contributions to the study of Indian history.
He is known for his works on the history and culture of Gujarat, including Gujarat and Its Literature and The Glory that was Gurjaradesa.
These nationalist historians played a significant role in promoting a sense of pride and awareness of India’s rich cultural and historical heritage.
They were instrumental in shaping the Indian national identity and inspiring the Indian independence movement. Their works continue to be studied and appreciated by scholars today.BHIE 144 Solved Free Assignment 2023