પ્રાચીન ભારતનો આધુનિક ઇતિહાસ || Modern History of Ancient India
Modern History of Ancient India Modern historians of ancient India Colonial thought and their contribution Although educated Indians retained their traditional history in the form of handwritten epics, Puranas and semi-biographical works, modern research into the history of ancient India began only in the second half of the eighteenth century. To meet the needs of the British colonial administration. When Bengal and Bihar came under the rule of the East India Company in 1765, they found it difficult to enforce the Hindu law of inheritance. Hence, in 1776, the Manu Smriti, (law-book of Manu), which was considered authoritative, was translated into English as A Code of Gentoo Law.
Pandits were associated with British judges to administer Hindu civil law and clerics to administer Muslims. Early efforts to decipher ancient laws and customs, which continued largely into the eighteenth century, culminated in the establishment of the Asiatic Society of Bengal in Calcutta in 1784. It was founded by Sir William Jones (174), a civil servant of the East India Company.
He was the first to suggest that Sanskrit, Latin and Greek belong to the same family of languages. He also translated a play named Abhijnanashakuntalam into English in 1789; The Bhagavad Gita, the most popular Hindu religious text, was translated into English by Wilkins in 1785. The Bombay Asiatic Society was founded in 1804, and the Asiatic Society of Great Britain was founded in London in 1823. William Jones emphasized that the original European languages were very similar to Sanskrit and Iranian languages.
This encouraged European countries like Germany, France and Russia to promote Indological studies. Chairs in Sanskrit were established in Britain and many other European countries during the first half of the nineteenth century. in
Modern Historians of Ancient India 7 Indological studies were most encouraged by the German-born scholar F.
It was given by Max Mueller (1823-1902), who lived mainly in England. The Rebellion of 1857 made Britain realize that she desperately needed an intimate knowledge of the ways and social systems of a foreign people whom she ruled.
Similarly, Christian missionaries sought to expose weaknesses in Hinduism in order to win converts and strengthen the British Empire. To meet these needs, the ancient texts were extensively translated under the editorship of Max Müller. A total of fifty volumes, some in multiples, were published under the Sacred Books of the East series.
Although some Chinese and Iranian texts were included, ancient Indian texts predominated. In the introductions to these volumes and books based on them, Max Mueller and other Western scholars made certain generalizations about the nature of ancient Indian history and society. He said that ancient Indians lacked understanding of history, especially the elements of time and chronology. He further said that the Indians were accustomed to autocratic rule, and the natives were also so engrossed in spiritualism or the problems of the next world that they had no concern for the problems of this world. Western scholars asserted that Indians neither experienced a sense of nationhood nor any form of self-government.
Many of these generalizations were made in the early history of India by Vincent Arthur Smith (1843–1920), who wrote the first systematic history of ancient India in 1904. His book, which was based on a thorough study of the available sources, gave primacy to political history.
It served as a textbook for nearly fifty years and is still used by scholars. Smith’s approach to history was pro-imperialist. As a loyal member of the Indian Civil Service, he emphasized the role of foreigners in ancient India.
Alexander’s invasion takes up about a third of his book. India was presented as a land of despotism that did not experience political unity until the establishment of British rule. He observes: Autocracy is the only form of government with which the historian of India is concerned ‘Overall, British interpretations of Indian history served to discredit Indian character and achievements and to justify colonial rule. Some of these comments seem to have some validity.
Thus, compared to the Chinese, Indians did not show a strong sense of chronology, although in the first phase, important events were dated in terms of Gautama Buddha’s death. However, the generalizations made by colonial historians were generally either false or grossly exaggerated, but good ones.
System Propaganda material to maintain absolutist British rule. His emphasis on the Indian tradition of one-man rule could justify vesting all power in the hands of the Viceroy. Similarly, if Indians were suffering from the problems of the next world, the British colonial masters had no choice but to take care of their lives in this world. Without any experience of self-government in the past, how could the natives manage their affairs in the present? Central to all such generalizations was the need to demonstrate that Indians were incapable of governing themselves.