When and Where
Q28. Why we continue to associate history with a string of
What was the reason behind the use of dates in history?
Ans. This association has a reason. There was a time
when history was an account of battles and big events. It was about rulers and
their policies. Historians wrote about the year a king was crowned, the year he
married, the year he had a child, the year he fought a particular war, the year
he died, and the year the next ruler succeeded to the throne. For events such as
these, specific dates can be determined, and in histories such as these,
debates about dates continue to be important.
Q29. How did James Mill view India?
Ans. James Mill’s view about India
Mill thought that all Asian societies were
at a lower level of civilisation than Europe.
According to his telling of history, before
the British came to India, Hindu and Muslim despots ruled the country.
Religious intolerance, caste taboos and superstitious practices dominated
British rule, Mill felt, could civilise
in fact, suggested that the British should conquer all the territories in India
to ensure the enlightenment and happiness of the Indian people. For India was
not capable of progress without British help.
Q30. What is the problem with the periodisation of Indian history
that James Mill offers?
The Periodisation of Indian History made by James Mill during
1817 was unjustified. Why?
James Mill divided Indian history into three periods—Hindu, Muslim and British.
This periodisation has its own problem.
It is not correct to refer to any period of
history as ‘Hindu’ or ‘Muslim’ because a variety of faiths existed
simultaneously in these periods.
It is also not justified to characterise an
age through the religion of the rulers of the time. To do so is to suggest that
the lives and practices of the others do not really matter.
It is worth-mentioning that even rulers in
ancient India did not all share the same faith.
Q31. Historians divide Indian history into ancient, medieval and
modem. But this division too has its problems. What are these problems?
Historians divided history into ancient, medieval and modern
period. What is the problem with this periodisation?
'Dividing Indian history into ancient, medieval and modern
periods by historians too has its problem' Explain.
Historians have divided Indian history into 'ancient', 'medieval'
and 'modern'. What problems does this division have?
Ans. Moving away from British classification,
historians have usually divided Indian history into ‘ancient’, ‘medieval’ and ‘modern’.
This division too has its problems.
It is a periodisation that is borrowed from
the West where the modern period was associated with the growth of all the
forces of modernity – science, reason, democracy, liberty and equality. Medieval
was a term used to describe a society where these features of modern society
did not exist.
It is difficult to accept this
characterisation of the modern period because under British rule people did not
have equality, freedom or liberty. Nor it was the period one of economic growth
and progress. Many historians therefore refer to this period as ‘colonial’.
Q32. How important are dates?
“History is boring because it is all about memorizing dates.” Is
such a conception true?
In the common-sense notion, history was synonymous with dates.
is certainly about changes that occur over time. It is about finding out how
things were in the past and how things have changed. As soon as we compare the
past with the present we refer to time, we talk of “before” and “after”.
time does not have to be always precisely dated in terms of a particular year
or a month. Sometimes it is actually incorrect to fix precise dates to
processes that happen over a period of time. Similarly, we cannot
fix one single date on which British rule was established, or the national
movement started, or changes took place within the economy and society. All these
things happened over a stretch of time. We can only refer to a span of time, an
approximate period over which particular changes became visible.
Q33. How did surveys become important under the colonial
Explain the importance of survey under the colonial
Why did surveys become a common practice under the colonial administration?
Ans. The practice of surveying also became common
under the colonial administration. The British believed that a country had to
be properly known before it could be effectively administered. By the early
nineteenth century detailed surveys were being carried out to map the entire
country. In the villages, revenue surveys were conducted. The effort was to
know the topography, the soil quality, the flora, the fauna, the local
histories, and the cropping pattern – all the facts seen as necessary to know about
to administer the region. From the end of the nineteenth century, Census operations
were held every ten years. These prepared detailed records of the number of
people in all the provinces of India, noting information on castes, religions
and occupation. There were many other surveys – botanical surveys, zoological
surveys, archaeological surveys, anthropological surveys, forest surveys.