Clues and evidence on the basis of which we write history, are known as the sources of history. When we talk about Modern History Sources then it will be more unique. Historians study different types of sources to learn about the past. The sources that they choose depend upon the period of their study and the nature of their investigation.
Modern History Sources
Like the Ancient and Medieval Periods, the sources of History of Modern India are also divided into the following categories:
- Official Records
- Other Sources
The official records of the British administration are an important source for the study of Modern Period. The British laid great emphasis on documenting. They got every instruction, plan policy, treaty, agreement, decision and investigation, etc. penned down. It became easier to study, ponder and discuss matters this way. As a result, official letters, memos, votings and reports were written frequently.
In the early years of the 19th century, these documents were copied out and beautifully written by Later the spread of printing press in India by the middle of the 19th century, these documents were multiple copies. The British also focused on the preservation of all these written records and documents. Therefore, they set up record rooms in every department of their administration.
To preserve the important documents and records, the British established archives and museums.
The British also conducted surveys for a better understanding of our country and its effective administration. Revenue surveys, botanical surveys, zoological surveys, archaeological surveys, forest surveys, etc. were carried out under the British. Revenue surveys were conducted in the villages to know about the topography, quality of soil, the flora, the fauna, local histories, cropping patterns, etc.
From the end of the 19th century, census operations were held every 10 years. The census gave a detailed account of the total number of people living in all the provinces of India including their religions, castes, occupations and economic conditions.
In earlier times, very few people knew how to write. But in the Modern Period, many men and women began to write and express their anger, frustration, joy, sorrow and other experiences. Many women also began to write during this period Rassundari Dasiwas the first woman to write an autobiography in Bengali in 1876 named ‘Amar Jiban’. Other Modern History sources include:
- Personal diaries
- Accounts of pilgrims and travellers
- Autobiographies of important personalities
- Popular booklets
- Stories, poems and novels
- Books or newspapers covering ideas and feelings of political leaders and social reformers
- Reviews, editorials and articles in newspapers and magzines.
The above-mentioned Modern History Sources is most common. With the invention of the printing press, newspapers and booklets were published in large numbers which served as the voice of the common man.