State whether true or false:
(a) James Mill divided Indian history into three periods , Hindu, Muslim, Christian.
(b) Official documents help us understand what the people of the country think.
(c) The British thought surveys were important for effective administration.
(a) True- The 3rd period was actually 'British'; but it can be taken as 'Christian', as the other 2 periods are based on religion.
(b) False - Official documents only contain details of what the British thought was right and what they wanted to preserve for the future.
(c) True - The British believed that a country had to be properly known before it could be effectively administered.
What is the problem with the periodisation of Indian history that James Mill offers?
James Mill divided his book on Indian history into 3 periods; namely the Hindu, Muslim and British; to establish his view that the period before British rule was one of darkness and British rule represented all the forces of progress and civilisation.
This view has problems and is not acceptable. The reasons are ..
When we talk about 'Hindu Period', we have to accept that Muslims were also present during that time- frame.
When we talk about 'Muslim Period' we have to accept that Hindus were also present during that time-frame.
Rulers in ancient India belonged to many faiths so it is wrong to divide history as Hindu period and Muslim period.
A period in history cannot be characterized only through the religion of the rulers.
The lives and practices of all the people during a time ,frame has to be considered while history is being recorded.
Why did the British preserve official documents?
The British preserved official documents so that they could be properly studied and debated. They felt that this was important to run the country effectively. These official records contain details of what the British thought was right and what they wanted to preserve for the future.
How will the information historians get from old newspapers be different from that found in police reports?
The information historians get from old newspapers will have a broader perspective as it will be the views of the people, while the records found in police reports will project only the viewpoint of those who created the reports.
The reports and pictures published by the British about the 1857 rebellion showed the rebels as greedy, vicious and brutal. This was not the correct perspective.
Newspaper reports help us understand what other people in the country felt, and what lay behind their actions.