Sources Of Ancient Indian History
Sources Of Ancient Indian History

Sources Of Ancient Indian History for OPSC Exam

Last updated on December 7, 2023

Sources Of Ancient Indian History

Indian History important For Odisha Competitive Exam Sources Of Ancient Indian History help for your OPSC ASO, OSSC, OSSSC Exam. 

1. Literary Sources: Vedic, Sanskrit, Pali, Prakrit, and other literature and foreign accounts.
2. Archaeological: epigraphic, numismatic, and architectural remains, archaeological explorations and excavations
❖ study of the development of scripts: paleography.
❖ study of inscriptions: epigraphy.
❖ study of coins: numismatics
❖ study of monuments, the material remains Archeology.

LITERARY SOURCES
Indian Tradition of History Writing

Puranic Literature
➮ The Puranic literature is very vast. 18 main Puranas, 18 subsidiaries Puranas, and a large number of other books. According to the Puranas, the following are the subject matters of history :
➮ The two great epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata may also be used as a source. It is generally held that there have been constant interpolations in these works.
Vedic Literature
➮ The Four Vedas: We cannot find much trace of political history in the Vedas, but can have reliable glimpses of the culture and civilization of the Vedic period.
Sutra
➮ Each Vedanga has developed credible literature around it which is in the sutra form i.e., precepts.
➮ This is a very precise and exact form of expression in prose that was developed by the ancient Indians.

Later Vedic Literature

Brahmanas elaborate on Vedic rituals Aranyakas give discourses on different spiritual and philosophical problems.
Upanishads — Sulvasutra prescribes measurements for sacrificial altars. Mark the beginning of the study of geometry and maths.
Srautasutra account of royal coronation ceremonies Grihyasutra domestic rituals with birth, naming, marriage, funeral, etc.
Jain and Buddhist Literature
literature written in notes Jain Prakrit was a form of Sanskrit language Buddhist Pali as the form of Prakrit language which was in vogue in Magadha/South Bihar. Ashokan edicts are also in this language.

Kautilya’s Arthashastra
➮ A book on statecraft was written in the Maurya period.
➮ The text is divided into 15 chapters known as books.
➮ Different books deal with different subject matters concerning polity, economy, and society.
➮ Mudrarakshusha, a play written by Vishakhadatta, also gives a glimpse of society and culture.

Notable writers
Kalidasa: Malavikagnimitram is based on some events of the reign of Pusyamitra Sunga, a dynasty that followed the Mauryas. Abhgyanshakuntalam: a glimpse of Gupta’s.
Bhasa and Sudraka: written plays based on historical events.
Banabhatta: Harshacharita throws light on many historical facts
Makati: wrote Gaudauaho, based on the exploits of Yasovarman of Kanauj
Bilhana: Vikramankadevachnrita describes the victories of the later Chalukya king Vikramaditya.
Kalhana: His book Rajatarangini.

FOREIGN ACCOUNTS

Greek Ambassadors :
➮ Ambassadors were sent to Pataliputra by Greek kings.
➮ Notable: Megasthenese, Deimachus and Dionysios.

Megasthenese :
➮ The Greek ambassador (in the court of Chandragupta Maurya c. 324- 300 B.C.)
➮ Megasthenese wrote extensively in a book called Indika which is no longer available to us.
➮ These fragments of Indika, provide valuable information on Maurya Administration, social classes, and economic activities.

Chinese Travelers
➮ visited India from time to time- as Buddhist pilgrims and therefore their accounts are somewhat tilted towards Buddhism. Three important pilgrims were
Notable Chinese writers
Fa-Hien visited India in the fifth century A.D. Describes the social-religious and economic conditions of India in the time of Guptas.
Hiuen-Tsang 7th Century In the age of Harshavardhana and some other contemporary kings of Northern India.

I-tsing 7th Century
Arab Historian: Al-Beruni
➮ Abu Rihan is better known as Al-Beruni.
➮ Born in central Asia in A.D. 973 and died in Ghazni (present-day Afghanistan) in A.D.1048
➮ Contemporary of Mahmud of Ghazni.
➮ When Mahmud conquered part of central Asia, he took Al-Beruni with him.

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