Bharateeya Itihasa Sankalana Samiti,
14/3 RT, LIGH, Barkatpura, Hyderabad-500027.
Request to the Readers
This monograph is published with an object in mind. Shri Sriram Sathe, Organiser, Bharateeya Itihasa Sankalana Yojana, south and west India, gave lectures in a number of universities and colleges regarding the assessment of chronology of ancient Indian history and historiography. There was much appreciation of his views. The experience prompted us to take up this project. The Samiti asked Shri Sathe to prepare a monograph of the subject of his lectures. We are thankful to him that he gladly accepted our request and gave us the manuscript.
By publishing this monograph, we want to open a discussion among a wider circle. There will be additions to, and differences of opinion about this monograph. We want to compile the various viewpoints regarding the historiography that this ancient culture should follow and publish those views under the names of the writers. The Samiti requests the readers to help this project by sending their viewpoints to our address and oblige.
The Ramayana, the Mahabharata and the Puranas are, according to the tradition, the history books of ancient Indian history. The tradition was unanimously in vogue till the end of the 18th century, when Sir William Jones, a pioneer among the British scholars, started to study ancient Indian history from the Bhagavata Purana. Prior to that, it was ordained for the kings and the administrators to devote some time everyday to study this history. Even the rishis used to read it. Inference can be drawn from this, that in those days, the science of historiography must have advanced to such an extent that it had created confidence among the scholars about its effectivity to develop ordinary men into those with capital M. Personalities like Shivaji were the products of the developed historiography. History used to be studied along with the Vedic literature. It had a place in the educational curriculum,
What place do these history books have in the present Indian social set up ? These books are not included in the history curriculum since a hundred years or more, Even after independence many scholars do not accept these as history books. But there are some institutions and individuals who, out of conviction about their utility, are voluntarily educating the public through these books. And in spite of their disappearance for more than a hundred years, from the educational field, these books are commanding respect in the hearts of millions of Indians.
In the present curriculum, the ancient Indian history written on the lines of Western historiography, starts from the destroyed Harappan civilization of 2500 BC, It is undecided to whom that civilization belonged. Then come the Aryan invasion over India in 1500 BC, the Vedas in 1200 BC and the Nirvana of Buddha in 483 BC. This chronology and the Western historiography had, then, impressed the scholars many of whom, in great enthusiasm of the new faith, might have discarded the Indian historiography. But now the times have changed. Historians are required to write the history of still ancient millenniums. Hence the Western historiography itself is undergoing a change. They are taking resort, not only to mythologies but also to the oral achieves like folk-tales, etc. Moreover, the recent researches have proved the Aryan invasion as fake, the date of the Vedas incorrect and the date of Buddha undecided.
In such circumstances, and specially when Indians have become independent and are to mold their own future, it is necessary to pause and consider the course we should adopt for our historiography. This monograph is a small effort in that direction.
Author : Sriram Sathe