Review ancient Indian historiography based on the following points.
- Oral tradition
- Carved articles
- Written literature
i. Oral tradition
- In the ancient period in India memories of the great deeds of ancestars and mythological lore.
- Also memories of social transitions were preserved with the help of oral recitals.
ii. Carved articles
- The earliest known written historical documents found in India are available in the form of inscriptions.
- They date back to emperor Ashok Maurya’s reign in the 3rd century B.C.E. His edicts are found inscribed on natural rocks and stone pillars
- Later, from the 1st century C.E., inscriptions begin to occur on metal images, coins, sculptures and on copper plates.
- These inscriptions provide information about various kings, dynastic genealogies, territorial extent and administration of various empires and kingdoms, important social organisations, political events, climate, famines, etc. of those times.
iii. Written literature
- Some of the important sources of history of ancient India include the literature of that time which includes the epics like Ramayana and Mahabharat, Jain and Buddhist texts, Puranas, historical accounts by Indian authors as also travelogues by foreign travellers.
- Also the biographies of kings and dynastic histories written in ancient times mark an important step in the Indian historiography.
- ‘Harshacharit’, the biography of King Harsha written by Banabhatta portrays a realistic picture of the social, political, economic, cultural and religious life during the king’s time.
Concept: Tradition of Indian Historiography
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