History’s Coin

In my opinion, this would undoubtedly be the most impressive project ever undertaken in the realm of History. Especially because the project does not attempt to create a singular view of history, rather, it just places them alongside each other for you, the student, to evaluate the two views.

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History as a concept as well as a subject has been subject to much maligning. This project and similar such projects (if they come up in the future) will help history reclaim its deserving position, not just in academia, but also for the curious mind.

“In school, we learn that History isn’t like Maths. It isn’t a ‘scoring subject’. A two plus two will yield the same result all over the world, but history is subjective. It’s written by people, after all. People are subjective too; people find it difficult to not pick sides, a fact borne out by those history textbooks of India and Pakistan.

In a way, this conflict led to a book that illuminates the biases and subjectivity inherent in history. The History Project — launched on April 30 — was born at the Seeds of Peace, an annual camp for teenagers from countries in conflict, held at Maine, in the U.S. Feruzan Mehta, then director of Seeds of Peace-India, came up with the idea in 2005. Six years later, The History Project was founded by three young Pakistanis: Qasim Aslam, Ayyaz Ahmad and Zoya Siddiqui. They brought together a team of editors and volunteers from both countries to produce the Project’s first history textbook.”

(Via One story, two sides – The Hindu.)

The project page is here and the “textbook” can be downloaded here. [18MB PDF]. If you are willing to appreciate history without embellishment, opinion or colour, this is a definite read.

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10 must-read books on Indian History | The Better India

Since the list does not talk about the books in any specific order, my recommendation would be #9 and #10. John Keay’s book is the perfect concise history of India, that I have come across. For a broad-based introduction to Indian History, this one is very good.

“In our quest to know what books to read to get a better understanding of India’s history, we turned to you, our readers. A few days ago we asked everyone on our Facebook and Twitter pages to recommend a book on Indian history. Many of you responded with some wonderful suggestions. We also received many e-mails suggesting books we had never heard of. Here then, is the list of 10 books (in no particular order) on Indian history that we have compiled based on your responses.”

(Via 10 must-read books on Indian History | The Better India.)

 

Powada & Lavni

Side by side with Bhakti movement of the traditional narrative poets dedicated to ‘spiritual democracy’, the Shāhīrs or the composers of historical ballads (Powāḍās) and lyrics of love (Lāvņīs) inspired the people with national spirit, as well as romantic love, the natural instinct in human life. […] The Powāḍās or ballads are much older than the Lāvņīs.

“Apart from their (ballads) value as a national poetry,” says H. A. Acworth. “their phraseology is well worthy of study as an example of the flexibility, the force, the richness, and capacity of the vernacular language of the Marāthā ryot.”

If the Powāḍā is masculine in its robust vigour, the Lāvņī is feminine in its tone and tenor. […] Although some of the Lāvņīs are pornographic, a great majority of them are undoubtedly poetic. Honājī’s Ghanashyām Sundarā Shridharā (an invocation to Lord Krishna at dawn) is a case in point.

~ from “Language and Literature in the Eighteenth Century – Marathi”, by R.V. Herwadkar; in “The History and Culture of the Indian People – Volume Eight, The Maratha Supremacy”, Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan, Mumbai.

Saranjam

Saranjam (सरंजाम), literally, material, furniture. Ideal English spelling would be saranjaam.

In the context of the Maratha period, a system of grants and land assignments.

Another definition from the “A Compendium of Molesworth’s Marathi and English Dictionary By James Thomas Molesworth, Baba Padmanji

“Villages and lands granted in inaam to persons from whom the maintaining of forts or troops for the public service is required, or upon whom a horse, a paalkhi, or other honorable yet expense-involving gift has been conferred.”

Pargana

Pargana (परगाणा) is a political sub-division equivalent of a district.

In my opinion, this should ideally be spelled as pargaaNaa or parganaa because of its pronunciation.

Sanad

Sanad (सनद) was an official commission or a warrant or a grant. This was usually a sealed paper that authorised the ‘sanad-holder’ to certain rights. A sanad was granted by an imperial authority, usually to collect taxes and mantain and develop allocated land.

More information:

Wikipedia | Zamindar | History

The Royal Ark | India | Glossary

The Illustrated History Of South India

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The Illustrated History of South India, an adapted and illustrated version of the original book (A History of South India, first published in 1955), aims to sensitise young readers to the country’s historic past and rich cultural heritage, and the need to preserve it.

Key chapters discuss the coming of the Aryans, the Mauryan Empire, the rise of Vijayanagar, social and economic conditions, literature, religion and philosophy, and the art and architecture of South India. The volume includes an Introduction by renowned historian R. Champakalakshmi, written especially for this edition, and a Prologue by eminent historian P.M. Rajan Gurukkal.

Interspersed with photographs and line drawings, including maps and genealogical charts, this illustrated edition will be invaluable for students and teachers of history, in particular, history of South India, as well as general readers. India, which over the years has achieved a near-classic status, this illustrated edition provides a comprehensive account of the history of South India from the prehistoric times to the fall of the kingdom of Vijayanagar in 1565 AD. This volume includes a new Introduction by renowned historian R. Champakalakshmi, and a Prologue by eminent historian P.M. Rajan Gurukkal.

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