Literary and Non-Literary Sources of Ancient Indian History Part 3


  • Archaeology aids us to research the material remains of the past times. Archaeology is really vital to examine prehistory i.e. the time frame prior to the development of writing.
  • Unearthings have revealed the devices of very early people in India dating as back as 7 lakh years.
  • The unearthed locations concerning the Harappan civilization reveal the format of the communities as well as the kind of the homes in which individuals lived, the kind of ceramic, equipments and also tools they utilized and also the type of grains they ate.
  • In southern India, some individuals were laid to rest together with their equipments, weaponries, ceramic and also various other personal belongings under large and hefty rocks. These tombs are called megaliths.
  • By excavating them we find out about the life of individuals that resided in the Deccan as well as southern India prior to the 3rd century BC.
  • Radiocarbon or Carbon 14 (C14) dating approach is one of the most essential techniques made use of for establishing the days of residues uncovered in the course of excavations.

Chronicles of Overseas Travellers

  • India was witness to Greek, Roman as well as Chinese travellers, either as ambassadors or visitors or to look for spiritual expertise periodically. Aboriginal literary works have actually been improved by the version of these international tourists.
  • To the court of Chandragupta Maurya came a Greek Ambassador called Megasthenes that created Indika. It gives beneficial details not just the government yet likewise social categories and also financial tasks of the Mauryan phase.
  • Greek, as well as Roman accounts of the very first as well as 2nd centuries, state several Indian ports as well as assets of exchange in between India and also the Roman Empire.
  • The Periplus of the Erythrean Sea as well as Ptolemy’s Geography, both composed in Greek, supply beneficial information hereof.
  • Fa-hsien and also Hsuan Tsang were Chinese Buddhist scholars that took a trip to India to research Buddhism.
  • Fa-hsien that visited India in the 5th century AD explains the problems in India in the age of Guptas whereas Hsuan Tsang provides a comparable account of India in the 7th century during the reign of king Harshavardhan.
  • Hsuan Tsang likewise explains carefully the magnificence of Nalanda University (in existing day Bihar) during his visit.

Manuscript of the Ancient Texts

  • Although the engravings of the Indus valley society remained in written type and also go back to 2500 B.C, its manuscript has not until now been decoded.
  • The initial manuscript to be figured out was Brahmi which was made use of in the Ashokan engravings and also it comes from the 3rd century BC.
  • The Brahmi manuscript was initially analyzed in 1837 by James Princep who was a public servant during the British reign. Brahmi was created from left to right like Hindi while Kharosthi from right to left.

Significant Writings of Modern Historians

  • Modern research study in early India history started in 1765 when East India Company seized Bengal and also Bihar. The Asiatic Society of Bengal was developed by the British administrators in 1784.
  • The notable work of modern historians in understanding the ancient history of India is summarised below.
Sr. NoHistorianContribution/Notable Work
1.Max MuellerProvided great impetus to Indological studies (study of ancient religious texts)
2.Vincent SmithWrote the Early History of India. It was the first systematic history of ancient India.
3.R.G. Bhandarkar and V.K. RajwadeReconstructed social and political history with the help of various sources
4.P.V KaneHe wrote a monumental work entitled History of Dharmasastra. It highlights the chief elements of ancient Indian society.
5.R.C. MajumdarEdited a multi-volume History and Culture of Indian People.
6.K.P. JayaswalHe wrote about the existence of Indian republics and self-government in ancient India
7.A.L BashamThe Wonder that was India. Non-political history with focus on society and economy.
8.D.D KosambiAn Introduction to the Study of Indian History. His treatment follows a socio-economic aspect of ancient Indian history.

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