Class 8 : How When and Where Notes Class 8 Notes | EduRev
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Literary sources of history
Literary sources are of two kinds:
i) Native literature: Literature produced by Indians is called native literature.
ii) Foreign literature: Literature produced by foreign visitors, explorers and scholars is called foreign literature.
Native literary sources of history
Literature produced by Indians is called native literature, and the sources comprising such literature are called native literary sources. Ashwagosha's 'Buddha Charita' , Kautilya's 'Arthashastra' , the 'Tripitikas' etc. are examples of this literature.
Foreign literary sources of history
The writings of foreign visitors, explorers and scholars comprise foreign literature and such writings are called foreign literary sources. Megasthenes' Indica, Fa-hien's 'Fu-kho-ki', the writings of Barbosa and Nicoli Conti are some examples of this kind of source.
Study of inscriptions
Inscriptions are the living fact-bearers of a particular period which provide us information about religion, culture, economy, administration and other aspects of that period. The earliest inscription has been the inscription by the Mauryan emperor Ashoka. Most inscriptions are in Brahmi script and Prakrit language.
Study of coins as an archaeological source
They are valuable sources of information regarding the religion, culture, administration, social and economic aspects of the periods to which they belong. Coins have been minted by using a variety of metals.
Monuments and ruins as an archaeological source
Stupas, basadis (Jain temples), temples, palaces, forts and ruins are the kinds of monuments which exist today. These monuments enable us to know about the civilization, technology, social and economic conditions of that period. They reflect the achievements of kings and administrators.
Introduction to Mehrgarh
Mehrgarh is a prehistoric site. It is located in a fertile plain, near the Bolan Pass, which is one of the most important routes into Iran. Remains of houses, potteries, animal bones and burial sites have been found from this site. Mehrgarh was probably one of the places where women and men learned to grow barley and wheat, and rear sheep and goats for the first time in this area.
Burial Site at Mehrgarh
Several burial sites have been found at Mehrgarh. Remains of burial sites indicate that people practiced the last rites of a dead person. Much interesting information has come from burial sites. In one of the burial sites; archaeologists have found skeletons of goats, along with the skeleton of a man. This shows that people believed in life after death. People believed that a person would need some comforts even in the afterlife.
Archaeological Findings of Mehrgarh
- Archaeologists who excavated the site found evidence of many kinds of animal bones from the earliest levels. These included bones of wild animals such as the deer and pig. In later levels, they found more bones of sheep and goat, and instill later levels, cattle bones are most common, suggesting that this was the animal that was generally kept by the people.
- Other finds at Mehrgarh include remains of square or rectangular houses. Each house had four or more compartments, some of which may have been used for storage.
Source of History
The arrival of British in India profoundly affected the writing of history. The historian starting giving a philosophical touch to every event he described. This was termed History. After the Indian independence, the events, descriptions and writings of Indians paved way for a new history. It is widely accepted today that without documentary evidence and proofs, history cannot be blindly accepted.
Meaning of Oral History
Many historians resort to oral descriptions to narrate the lives of ordinary people. The history created by such oral descriptions is called Oral History.
Significance of Oral History
In the recent decades, historians have started debating about the ways to write the history of the common people which does not have documentary evidence. Since more than 70% of the Indians were illiterate, they had no written history. Their history was equally important and as such, writing about those who were uneducated and stayed away from knowledge centres posed a serious challenge. Hence, in the recent ages, study of history of common people has gained a lot of importance.
Oral sources of history and legends
Today many oral sources are being used to understand the diverse Indian heritage. From time immemorial, human society has preserved its experiences and memories in the form of lyrics, poems and songs and passed them from generation to generation. The Vedas survived as an oral tradition for many years.
There are many legends relating to individuals, events and customs in many parts of India. Legends are also referred to as Stala-Puranas. They reflect social beliefs. They highlight the glory of certain individuals or the significance of a particular place.
Creation Of Oral History
Many emotional, humane, creative oral narratives have proved to be a boon to historians. Through them, histories of the village and different regions, and history of the ordinary people are being created. Many a time, the oral narratives depending on the situation change, expand or some of the characters may defy time. Although in the accepted history, they might have met their end, in the oral tradition, they may be immortal. The modern historian describes events keeping these sensitive points in mind. Thus, all oral narratives help creating a history.