Ques 1: Name the events for which specific dates can be determined.
Ans: The year a king was crowned, the year he married, the year he had a child, the year he fought a particular battle, the year he died, etc.
Ques 2: What was an important aspect of the histories written by the British historians in India?
Ans: The rule of each Governor-General was an important aspect.
Ques 3: Who was James Mill?
Ans: He was a Scottish economist and political philosopher and is known for his book A History of British India.
Fig: James MillQues 4: What was Mill’s opinion about the Asian societies?
Ans: In Mill’s opinion all Asian societies were at a lower level of civilisation than Europe.
Ques 5: What evil practices, according to James Mill, dominated the Indian social life before the British came to India?
Ans: According to James Mill, the evil practices that dominated to the Indian social life were religious intolerance, caste taboos and superstitious practices.
Ques 6: How did paintings project Governor- General?
Ans: Paintings projected Governor-Generals as powerful figures.
Ques 7: Why do many historians refer to modem period as colonial?
Ans: It is because, under British rule people did not have equality, freedom or liberty—the symbols of modernity.
Ques 8: Mention one important source used by historians in writing about the last 230 years of Indian history.
Ans: The official records of the British administration.
Ques 9: What is done under census?
Ans: It records the number of people living all the provinces of India and gathers information on castes, religions and occupation.
Ques 10: What do official records not tell?
Ans:Official records do not tell what other people in the country felt, and what lay behind their actions.
Ques 11: Why do we try and divide history into different periods?
Ans: We do so in order to capture the characteristics of a time, its central features as they appear to us.
SHORT ANSWER TYPE QUESTIONS
Ques 1: How did James Mill view India?
Ans: James Mill did not cherish any positive idea about India. He was of the opinion 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, the Hindu and the Muslim despots ruled the country. Religious intolerance, caste taboos and superstitious practices dominated social life. He felt that only British rule could civilise India. He suggested
that the British should conquer all the territories of India to ensure the enlightenment and happiness of the Indian people. For India was not capable of progress without the help of the British.
Ques 2: Historians divide Indian history into ancient, medieval and modem. But this division too has its problems. What are these problems?
Ans: This periodisation has been borrowed from the West where the modem period was associated with the growth of all the forces of modernity such as science, reason, democracy, liberty and equality. Medieval was a term used to describe a society where these features of modem society did not exist.
It is difficult for us to accept this characterisation of the modem period. Here, it is worth-mentioning that Indians did not have equality, freedom or liberty under the British rule. The country also lacked economic growth and progress in that period. It is therefore many historians refer to modem period as colonial period.
Ques 3: What did the British do to preserve important official documents and letters?
Fig: British official documentThe British felt the need to preserve all the important official documents and letters. For this, they set up record rooms attached to all administrative institutions. The village tahsildar’s office, the collectorate, the commissioner’s office, the provincial secretariats, the lawcourts—all had their record rooms. The British also established specialised institutions such as archives and museums to preserve important records.
Ques 4: What do official records not tell? How do we come to know about them?
Ans: Official records do not always help us understand what other people in the country felt, and what lay behind their actions. For that we have diaries of people, accounts of pilgrims and travellers, autobiographies of important personalities, and popular books, etc. that were sold in the local bazaars. With the spread of printing press, newspapers came to be published and issues began to be debated in public. Leaders and reformers wrote.to spread their ideas, poets and novelists wrote to express their feelings.
Ques 5: How did the British conquer India and establish their rule?
Ans:The British conquered India in the following ways:
(a) They subjugated local nawabs and rajas.
(b) They established control over the economy and society collected revenue to meet all their expenses, bought goods they wanted at lower prices and produced crops they needed for export.
(c) They brought changes in rulers and tastes, customs and practices.
(d) Thus, they moulded everything in their favour and subjugated the country very soon.
LONG ANSWER TYPE QUESTIONS
Ques 1: How do the official records of the British administration help historians to write about the last 250 years of Indian history?
Ans: The British believed that the act of writing was important. Hence, they got written up every instruction, plan, policy decision, agreement, investigation, etc. They thought that once this was done, things could be properly studied and debated. This conviction produced an administrative culture of mtemos, notings and reports.
The British were very interested in preserving all important documents and letters.
For this, they established record rooms attached to all administrative institutions such as the village tahsildar’s office, the collectorate, law courts etc. They also set up archives and museums to preserve important records.
Letters and memos that moved from one branch of the administration to smother in the early years of the 19th century can still be read in the archives.
Historians can also take help from the notes and reports that district officials prepared or the instructions and directives that were sent by officials at the top to the provincial administrators.
Ques 2: How did surveys become important under the colonial administration?
Ans: The British gave much importance to the practice of surveying because they believed that a country had to be properly known before it could be effectively administred. Therefore, they carried out detailed surveys by the early 19 th century in order to map the entire country:
•They conducted revenue surveys in villages.
• They made efforts to know the topography, the soil quality, the flora, the fauna, the local histories and the cropping pattern.
• They also introduced census operations, held at the interval of every ten years from the end of the 19th century. They prepared detailed records of the number of people in all the provinces of India, noting information on castes, religions and occupation separately.
• The British also carried on several other surveys such as botanical surveys, zoological surveys, archeolo¬gical surveys, forest surveys, etc. In this way, they gathered all the facts that were essential for administering a country.