Tuesday, November 24, 2009

SOURCES FOR MODERN INDIA

SOURCES FOR MODERN INDIA

There is no shortage of source-material for constructing the history of modem India. There is plenty of information available on the political, socio-economic and cultural developments in the country.

LITERARY SOURCES Top priority among literary sources should be given to official records, Le., the papers of government agencies at different levels. The records put down by the East India Company give a detailed account of trading conditions during this period. The official records cover all levels of administration, from the district to the supreme government, apart from those relating to the Court of Directors and the Board of Control. The British Crown, when it took over the reins of administration, also kept a large variety and volume of official records. By reading this material, one can trace every important development stage­by-stage and follow the processes of decision-making.

Records of European Companies The records of the Portuguese, Dutch and French companies are useful for constructing the history of the seventeenth and eighteenthcenturies. They are important primarily from the' point of view of economic history, but much can also be gathered about the political set-up.

Indigenous Literary Sources Persian chronicles con­tinue to prove useful for this period. Special mention may be made of Siyar-ul-mutakherin by Ghulam Hussain Tabatabai. Marathi newsletters are also important in this regard. The most important source-book written in the Tamil language is the diary of Ananda Ranga Pillai, who records the vicissitudes of south Indian politics during a crucial period relating to Dupleix.

Miscellaneous Works There are many contemporary or semi-contemporary works such as memoirs, biographies, travel accounts which give us interesting and useful glimpses into the history of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, news­papers had made their appearance and these provide valuable information.

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