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1.What is the problem with the periodisation of Indian

history that James Mill offers?
In his massive three volume work,A History of British
India James Mill divides Indian history into three periodsHindu , Muslim and British .According to his prejudiced
version of Indian history, the british rule represents all the
forces of progress of civilization. while the period before
british rule represents darkness ,ignorance, despotism,
religious intelorence, caste taboos, superstition practices
etc. However ,the periodosation of Indian history on the
basis of religion is problematic for several reasons.A
variety of faiths apart from Hinduism and Islam exited in
the periods categorized as Hindu and Muslim by Mill.Also
it is not right to classify an age according to the religion
of the rulers of that time.To do so would suggest that the
lives and the practices of the others do not really
matter.Another point to keepin mind is all rulers in
ancient India did not share the same faith.

Q3.Why did the British preserve official documents?

For the British ,the act of writing was important. Every

official document had to be clearly written up and
preserved. Once this was done, things could be properly
studied and debated. The preserved document could be
used as a point of reference whenever required.

Q4.How will the information historians get from old

newspapers be different from that in police report?
For writing about any period in History a Historian needs
to gather information from various sources so that he/
she can get a clearer picture of the life and times of the
period concerned.The archived official documents provide
the picture from the point of view of the people in
power.A police report is one such official documents.
Archived police reports help the historians attain a better
understanding about the police, its functions and its
relation with the people who were police there by
providing the historians with invaluable data regarding an
important administrative unit.However this advantage is
also a disadvantage. The very nature of police records
restricts the amount or the kind of information one can
possibly get from them. They are official documents
relating to a particular official function hence they are
limited in this sense.Another problem with official
recordings is that often they only present what persons in
authority want to be presented.
Therefore ,for getting a wider and balanced view of a
period in history, a historian also goes through the

unofficial records relating to yhat period, like the diaries

of people ,accounts of pilgrims and travelers
autographies of impotant personalities,popular booklets ,
newspaper etc.Unlike the restricted nature of official
documents like police records,recordings such as
newspapers etc. Unlike the restricted nature of official
documents like police records,recordings such as
newspapers have the advantage of providing varied
information to the histiorian.However ,it would not be
right to say that such information represents the
complete truth.Even a newspaper report maybe
influenced by the biases and interests of the person
writing the report.






1. James Mill divided Indian History into three periodsTrue

2. Officials documents help us understand what the
people of the country think- False
3. The British thought surveys were important for
effective administration-True