Importance of Indigenous Literature & Foreign Accounts in Reconstruction of History

  • Since ancient times, writing has reflected the Culture, lifestyle, socio-political conditions of contemporary society.
  • India has also been a land of travellers, and accounts left by them are instrumental in understanding society and politics when they visited India.

Relevance of Indigenous Literature In Reconstruction of the History

  • Rig Veda gives us a good deal of information regarding early Indo-Aryan.
  • Ramayana and the Mahabharata are the two greatest epics of India. These two epics describe the social and political lifestyle of the later Vedic Aryans.
  • The stories of Jataka provide varied information regarding the different aspects of contemporary society.
  • Famous Buddhist literature, like Dipavamsha and Mahavamsa, gives us details about the history of Buddhism.
  • Among the old Jain literature, mention may be made of Bhagwati Sutra, Kalpa Sutra, Parishistha Parvana, etc.
  • In the Bhagwati Sutra, we find the names of the sixteen great states (sodasa mahajanapada) of the 6th century B.C. The Parishistha Parvana of Hema Chandra gives us different information regarding the Mauryan age.
  • Kautilya’s Arthasastra gives a glimpse of Mauryan Empire.
  • Panini’s Astadhyayi, Patanjali’s Mahabhashya, Sudraka’s Mricchakatikam, Kalidasa’s Raghuvamsa, Kumarasamvawam gives a glimpse of Guptas Empire. Malavikagnimitram is based on events of the reign of Pushyamitra Sunga.
  • We have immense historical information by thoroughly scrutinizing biographical literature by court Harshacharita of Banabhatta.
  • Local histories written on different regions of our country. Among these local histories, the most authentic work is undoubtedly the history of Kashmir known as Rajatarangini by Kalhana. Sangam Literature furnishes us with vast information regarding the social, economic, religious & political condition of South India.
  • Sangam Literature furnishes us with vast information regarding the social, economic, religious, and political conditions of South India. It also talks of military exploits in detail. Literary works like Manimekalai, Kurala, Silappadikaram, etc. are a few examples

Foreign Accounts

  • Megasthenes’ Indica: In this book, Pataliputra’s municipal administration is explained in-depth with the six committees of five people each, made up to look after foreign citizens, births & deaths, industry, etc.
  • Fa Xian visited during Chandragupta II and penned down his impressions about India.
  • Xuan Zang: wrote about the conditions during the age of Harshavardhana.
  • Al-Biruni’s Observations in his book Kitab-ul-Hind range from philosophy, religion, Culture, society to science, literature, art, and medicine.
  • Ibn Battuta’s” Rihla” gave a comprehensive account of cities like Delhi & Daulatabad.
  • Abdur Razzaq Samarqandi, who visited south India, has given a vivid account of the Vijayanagar empire.
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