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BHIE-144: Financial Economics

BHIE-144: Financial Economics

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2022-23

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Assignment Code: BHIE-144/ASST/TMA/2022-23

Course Code: BHIE-144

Assignment Name: Traditions of History Writing in India

Year: 2022-2023

Verification Status: Verified by Professor


There are three Sections in the Assignment. You have to answer all questions in the Sections.




Answer the following in about 500 words each. 20x2


Q1) What is a historical tradition? Discuss socio-political and economic context of Indian historical traditions.

Ans) Historical traditions develop in communities that have a sense of the past. It is composed of three parts:

  1. Historical awareness of past events, those that society considers relevant or important.

  2. These incidents have a chronological order and include causal components.

  3. These occurrences are documented in a way that complies with societal expectations.


The historical tradition may be a record of real events that may or may not have taken place, but which still represent held beliefs about the past. Tradition from the past serves a social purpose. Historical tradition, therefore, refers to those aspects of the past, recorded orally or in texts, which are consciously transmitted from generation to generation carrying the sanctity of antiquity and a believed historicity. The historical tradition legitimises the present. A comprehension of these aspects would help us understand the societies of that time.


Socio-Political and Economic Context of Indian Historical Traditions

The conditions of historical contexts influence traditions. Numerous processes of change across time had an impact on how changes were justified in the institutionalisation of power and wealth. Understanding the changes that have taken place in the historical contexts can help you grasp the historical traditions. Understanding the backdrop is crucial in our efforts to comprehend historical contexts and recent changes. There is proof that early Indian societies were organised in one of two ways. In the early time, clan societies first developed, then kingdoms. Both occasionally coexisted together. Genealogies served as both current and historical records of identification. The processes of fission and fusion in clan communities are discovered to be tracked through genealogies and clan myths. Fission is the division of a large clan into smaller clans, some of which may migrate to new areas. When a few clans combine to form a sizable lineage group, this is called fusion.


The priest praised the chief as a hero and acknowledged his authority. The relevance of ballads and hero lauds is understood in this perspective. These poems, which were only a few lines long, were written to elevate the chief's status. The poetry, which reaffirmed the tribe's identity, were recited during clan reunions. The leader and the clan both valued the hero-lauds. The middle Ganga Plain saw the emergence of kingship around the middle of the first millennium BCE. The chief gained influence through the amassing of money, which at this point was not given as gifts or used for sacrifices. Agriculture and iron technology were widely used, which resulted in surplus and the start of urbanisation. The sudras and untouchables were relegated to the working class and caste came to govern social hierarchy. The social structure grew increasingly complicated and needed to be governed by a central figure.


Kingship first appeared and then gradually spread. The King has now arrived to represent the state. The clan society was marginalised when royalty emerged. When they first appeared, kingdoms were hostile to gana-sanghas. The mighty kingdom of Magadha engaged in war with the confederacy of gana-sangha tribes known as Vrijjis in eastern India around the fifth century BCE. The Arthashastra also makes reference to enmity. Ideology played a big part in these processes. The most common method of coercion was hegemonic ideology, which was typically held by a religious sect. This is clear in several historical constructs and representations that sought to legitimise a power that either already existed or was about to do so. The building of the past took place over time. Long into the second millennium CE, clan-based communities were still being transformed into kingdoms. By this time, clan groups had developed in the more remote regions and kingdoms had established themselves as the norm.


Q2) Briefly discuss main features of Marxist historiography with special reference to some important Marxist historians of India.

Ans) Marxist historians have had a major contribution in the majority of areas of Indian history. The Marxist historians have made significant contributions regardless of how we see the various eras of India's past, such as the ancient, mediaeval, or modern periods, or how we consider certain issues, such as economic history, nationalism, political history, or social history.


There are a few shared aspects among Marxist historians notwithstanding their numerous disputes, including the following:

  1. The Marxist historians analyse and portray their sources using a wider perspective, even if they work with empirical data and concrete sources.

  2. Modes of production and conflicts between different classes are often taken into account in this broader perspective.

  3. Therefore, research was done on more complex socioeconomic systems including capitalism, colonialism, and feudalism.

  4. Marxist historiography analyses political, economic, and social changes in terms of socio-economic systems and class battles rather than in terms of people.

  5. The history of social and economic systems as well as the history of the ordinary people have taken the place of the history of kings and dynasties.

  6. Marxist historians use an interdisciplinary approach that blends archival research with archaeology, linguistics, anthropology, numismatics, statistics, etc. at the level of methodology.

  7. Marxist history places more weight on analysis, justification, causality, and interpretation than on straightforward narrating or description.

Given that Marxist historiography has been the most significant trend in Indian history writing, its membership has also been extremely large.


R.P. Dutt

One may argue that R. P. Dutt founded Marxist historiography in India. He regarded his 1940 book, India Today, as a "Marxist examination of the record of British rule in India and of the evolution of the Indian people's fight, both the national movement and the working-class movement, up to the eve of independence, as observed at that time." It provides comprehensive coverage of the economy, politics, and social landscape of colonial-era India. It applies Marxist analysis to the issues facing the peasantry, communalism, nationalist movements, and changes in the colonial economy.


D.D. Kosambi

Particularly when it comes to early Indian history, D.D. Kosambi is regarded as a leading Marxist historian. According to Romila Thapar, Kosambi actually sparked a "paradigm shift" in the study of Indian history. Vincent Smith focused mostly on dynastic history along chronological lines, in contrast to Mill who separated Indian history into three parts that he thought to be civilisational divides, the Hindu, the Muslim, and the British. While Mill harshly criticised Indian civilization, notably Hinduism, Smith tended to refrain from making value judgments and stayed with chronological dynastic stories.


Bipan Chandra

Major historian of contemporary India and the Indian nationalist struggle, Bipan Chandra. He launched a significant attack on R.P. Dutt's ideas since he doesn't agree with them on Indian nationalism. Bipan Chandra stated that concepts shouldn't be seen as a direct reflection of the economic base in his very first book, The Rise, and Growth of Economic Nationalism in India. He believed that ideas could drive action and change and had some agency.


Irfan Habib

Irfan Habib is one of the most well-known Indian historians. He specialises on mediaeval history, but he has written skillfully on all eras of Indian history, including prehistory. Marxist historians have been drawn to mediaeval India much like they have to other areas of Indian history. Among them are Nurul Hasan, Satish Chandra, Irfan Habib, Athar Ali, and Harbans Mukhia. They have done extensive research on the society, governance, and economy of mediaeval India. Irfan Habib is regarded as one of these historians who is particularly significant. The Agrarian System of Mughal India, his examination of the Mughal economic system, is recognised as one of the best works on the time.




Answer the following questions in about 250 words each. 10x3


Q1) Describe charita form of writing. In your opinion how can these textual compositions be treated as historical treatises?

Ans) The charita is a type of narrative that can be found in several pre-modern Indian languages and is still used as a text name in several of the modern languages that were derived from them. The charita is a storey about a character's life and/or achievements. However, the meaning of the word "charita" varies on the subject of the storey, as in some languages it refers to the historical record of a king's reign rather than the exploits of a fictional or semi-fictional character. Whether the main character is entirely fictional, partially fictional, or historical, charita texts typically describe his or her life.



The Harshacharita is a vivid prose biography of the greatest Pushyabhuti king Harshavardhana that is attributed to the wise scholar Banabhatta. It is regarded as a ruler's first formal biography. It served as a model for prose biographical writing in Sanskrit. It launched the charita literature literary form, which was also a prashasti at the time. In the years that followed, charitas were both prevalent and fashionable in royal courts.



Buddhacharita, a lengthy poem on the life of the Buddha, was written by Ashvaghosha. It gained notoriety and is credited as being fundamental to the development of historical biographies. Rudradaman's Junagarh Rock Inscription is an early example of prashasti, a style that characterised royal biographies by using Sanskrit and adhering to standards for describing a traditional kshatriya ruler. You will read more about it in the following unit. These eulogistic epigraphs also acted as a deciding factor and were essential for later royal histories written as a part of courtly culture.



The biographical essay describes how he put down the Kaivarta uprising, which was a menace and sought to stop Pala expansion, by managing his samantas and those with subordinate ruling powers gently and tactfully, as well as by quick and timely military action.


Q2) Give a brief account of Sangam literature. Can it be justified to call Sangam literature, a history in the making?

Ans) The term "Sangam literature" refers to a body of early Tamil literary works that date to the first centuries of the Common Era and were passed down orally. The term "Sangam" was initially used in mediaeval texts to refer to Tamil works that were assembled in academies. It seems unlikely that there existed an academy of poets for more than nine thousand years as described in the later sources. Although the tradition around the three Sangams may be a more recent development, giving the literature a storied past helps to increase the textual tradition's significance in the modern political-social environment.


Historical Consciousness and Historical Tradition in Sangam Literature

Tamil society is not an exception to Indian society's reputation for its historical legacy. For many decades, the Tamil people have kept legends about their culture and history alive. Giving ancient events a shady past based solely on literary evidence is still a common practise. The historical and archaeological research conducted is used to demonstrate the extended antiquity of Tamil culture. The diverse topics in the Sangam literature provide compelling proof of historical communal memory.


Poems that directly or indirectly reflect historical tradition for a modern audience have a place in the collective memory of the past. The memory is selective, and tales of modern society do not necessarily reflect the entirety of the past. Only those events are assigned prominence that society will remember or those it wants future generations to remember. Despite the fact that the Sangam works are thought of as the bards' expressions of adulation for the worldly actions of rulers or love affairs, they have unintentionally or purposely chronicled actual events that have occurred in the past or occurrences from their own times. The poems reveal historical occurrences as well as modern cultural narratives.


The accounts of the present day take precedence over those of the past:

  1. Description of the historical past, including discussion of the monarchs' mythical ancestry and references to historical occurrences such invasions and sacrifices made to gods.

  2. Historical accounts that describe the developments and events as observed by poets, minstrels, and bards.


In the case of Puram songs, these storylines are typically intertwined in the poetry directly, while in the case of Akam songs, indirectly.


Q3) Write a note on genealogical traditions of western India.

Ans) To study the medieval period of Rajasthan genealogies play an important role. There were special communities of professional genealogists in the region which were known as Charans/Bhats. In central and north Gujarat, a special class of genealogists emerged from the community of Bhats, known as Vahivanca barots. Vahivanca barots kept records in written forms., literally a Vahîvancâ is one who reads bahi/vahi. The oldest book consulted by Shah and Shroff is dated 1740 CE. But they also found a genealogy that records events of 1234 CE. The Charan specialists were the bards and poets of Rajput society, having a hereditary relationship with the Rajput patron clans. Charans recited poems and ballads at the specific occasions when summoned by the patron family. Theses narrative poems were called bat or vaat or vatam.


While majority of the charans were doing this work of bardic poet as a hereditary pastime subordinate to their other primary work, there were some who excelled themselves in the bardic and poetic art as a full-time professionals. Other form of genealogies was vanshavalis, these were kept by and were the property of families themselves. They were traditionally maintained by genealogists who came to the home to make new entries. Such vanshavalis as have been preserved are generally found only for particular prominent families, such as local rulers or important landholders. In comparison to pidhiavalis, vanshavalis are generally more elaborate, including, in conjunction with the names of ancestors reaching back to calm founders or to the immediate founders of a particular line and descriptions of important events which occurred during the time of members of the family.





Answer the following questions in about 100 words each. 6x5


Q1) Dana-stuti Hymns

Ans) The dana-stuti hymns are scattered through the various books of the Rig Veda. The eighth mandala of the Rig Veda consists of the largest number of these hymns. They are associated with the family of Kanvas brahmanas. The Kanvas were linked in later texts to Angirasas who together with the Bhrgus were keepers of the narratives relating to past events. We find such royal eulogies about the extravagant munificence of chiefs being inserted within the ritual and religious hymns of the Rig Veda. Subsequently gathas and narasamsis and akhyanas make their appearance. According to Romila Thapar, the eulogising of the acts of gift-giving can be understood as the record of what was assumed to have happened. The priest recited the past and current exploits of the chief together with the gifts which he received. The heroic exploits were victories over rival clans and chiefs or conflicts between those described as aryas and dasas. The hymns composed by the priests in praise of the king’s generosity legitimised the latter’s status.


Q2) Buranjis

Ans) Buranjis are a class of historical chronicles and manuscripts associated with the Ahom kingdom written initially in Ahom Language and later in Assamese language too. The Buranjis are an example of historical literature which is rare in India. There were two types of Buranjis: the official Buranjis, which were compiled from the time of the first Ahom king Sukaphaa; and family Buranjis, which were compiled from the 16th century. The official Buranjis contained such information as description of important events as reported by reliable witnesses, correspondence from allied rulers, tax records, announcements, annual reports of various kinds, etc.

Q3) Ashokan Edicts

Ans) Ashoka was not a well-known ruler till 1837 when James Prinsep a civil servant in Bengal employed by East India Company came across a Brahmi inscription mentioning a king called ‘Devanampiya Piyadassi’. This was compared with Ceylonese chronicle Mahavamsha and it was deduced that kingly figure of the inscription was indeed Ashoka. They were composed in three languages Prakrit, Greek and Aramaic and four scripts Brahmi, Kharoshti, Greek and Aramaic. He used Aramaic and Greek scripts in parts of his empire in present-day Afghanistan. It is a matter of fact that this was the region that was ceded by Seleucus Nicator to the Mauryas. Kharoshthi script was used in Gandharan3 region. Most of them were lettered in Prakrit language throughout his expansive empire that are located all over Indian subcontinent from beyond Indus river westwards till Mysore plateau in south.

Q4) Muhammad Qasim Firishta

Ans) A Persian history of Muslim power in India called Firishta's Gulshan-i Ibrahimi or Tarikh-i Firishta was written in the early years of the 17th century during the Deccani sultanate of Bijapur. It provides a traditional account of events and dynasties from the early 11th-century reign of the Ghaznavid king Mahmud through the reign of Firishta's patron, the Sultan of Bijapur Ibrahim Adil Shah II, based on established traditions of the time. It never attained the kind of reputation that, for instance, Abu l-Fazl Allami's historical writings Akbarnama and An in-i Akbari have today since it was not published during the reign of the then-dominant Mughal dynasty in northern India. After it was completed, the Tarikh-i Firishta evolved into a sort of prototype chronicle for Persian historiography on the Indian subcontinent, as evidenced by the vast number of manuscripts that have survived and are housed in libraries in India and Europe, as by the numerous abbreviations and derivative works.


Q5) Some Important Nationalist Historians

Ans) Nationalist historians were those who wrote on colonial-era Indian history with a nationalist leaning. Their method and outlook contributed to the strengthening of national identity and nationalist sentiment. It is easiest to comprehend their significance and contribution within the backdrop of colonial dominance. They were successful in influencing the Indian intelligentsia to see the essential unity of India that transcends geographical boundaries through their works that invoked the great old civilization of India. Rajendra Lal Mitra is regarded as the father of nationalist historians in India. He wrote books on the history of Bengal, Odisha, some Vedic texts, and Indo-Aryans. Although Mitra adopted a logical and scientific approach to understanding ancient Indian society, he was still affected by the cultural traditions of ancient India and by Orientalist scholars like Jones and Colebrooke who believed in exalting the past of the Orient.

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