Sources of History Class 9 History Notes Maharashtra State Board
Till now we have studied the history of ancient, medieval, and modern India. This year we have to study the history of India in the post-independence era. Sources of modern history are different from those of ancient and medieval history. We can study history with the help of various sources like written sources, material sources, oral sources, and sources in the audio-visual medium. In the modern period, we have to take note of various sources at the regional, state, national as well and international levels. We can write history with the help of these sources.
The following sources are included in the written sources. The place where historical documents are preserved is called ‘Archives’. The main office of the National Archives of India is at New Delhi. It is the largest among the Archives in Asia.
Just as newspapers are considered the fourth pillar of democracy in the modern period, they are also a major medium of information. If we consider the period from 1961 to 2000, we see that in the beginning, there was no alternative to the print media, especially newspapers. With liberalization and widespread use of the Internet in India, an alternative to print media became available. Yet, the print media continues to be powerful.
Through newspapers, we can get information about national and international affairs, politics, art, sports, literature, and social and cultural affairs. Newspapers contain matters related to human life. Most national newspapers have started their regional editions. They publish supplements that give information about various topics. Newsletters of various movements, the dailies or weeklies of political parties, and monthly and annual magazines are important among the print media. Some newspapers produce special supplements towards the end of the year that take an overview of the important events of the year. Such supplements help us understand the important events of the year.
Press Trust of India (PTI):
Since 1953, the Press Trust of India has been an important source of primary details of all important events and articles on important subjects. Press Trust of India has provided reports, photographs, and articles on financial and scientific issues to newspapers. PTI has now started its online service. During the 1990s, PTI started using the ‘satellite broadcast’ technology instead of tele-printers to send news all over the country. This material is important for writing the history of modern India. Among the print media, the information contained in the annual issues of the Publications Division of the Government of India is authentic and trustworthy. For example, the Information and Broadcasting Department published INDIA 2000, an annual reference book. This reference book is created under the ‘Research, Reference, and Training Department’. It contains useful information about the land, its people, national emblems, political system, defense, education, cultural events, and an account of the developments in the fields of science and technology, environment, health and family welfare, social welfare, media of mass communications along with basic data, related to economics, finance, planning, agriculture, water conservation, rural development, food and civil supplies, energy, industries, trade and commerce, transport, communication, labor, housing, laws and statutes, youth and sports departments, etc. We can write history with the help of such information.
The postage stamps don’t reveal anything on their own. Yet a historian makes them speak. There have been several changes in postage stamps since India became independent. Postage stamps reveal a lot to us about changing times due to the variety in the sizes of the stamps, the novelty in their subjects and colour schemes. The Postal Department issues postage stamps on a wide variety of themes like political leaders, flowers, animals, birds, an event, or the silver, golden, diamond jubilees or centenary, bicentenary, and tercentenary of different events. It is therefore a valuable repository of history.
The Indian government issued the ‘Jal Cooper’ stamp in 1977. Jal Cooper was an internationally acclaimed philatelist, i.e. an expert on the subject of ‘postage stamps’. Born in a Parsi household in Mumbai, Cooper edited ‘India’s Stamp Journal’. He was the founder of the first Philatelic Bureau in India, an office that collected stamps. He founded the ‘Empire of India Philatelic Society’. He went on to write many books on this subject. He gave a scientific bent to his hobby. He played a pivotal role in taking the study of Indian postage stamps to the international level. Having started his career as a postage stamp collector, Cooper achieved the expertise of a philatelist at the international level. The postage stamp on Jal Cooper is an important source to understand his significant contribution to this field.
The following sources are included among the physical sources.
We can also understand history with the help of coins and the changes in the printing of currency notes. Reserve Bank of India prints the notes. It has its headquarters in Mumbai.
The coins from 1950 to those used at present, the metals used for making them, their different shapes, and the diversity of subjects on them together help us to understand the important contemporary issues in India eg., coins to convey the message of population control and coins communicating the importance of agriculture and farmers.
All States of India have museums that depict the characteristics and display the cultural and social heritage of the State. They enable us to understand history (eg., the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Museum in Mumbai, and the Reserve Bank Museum in Pune city). Apart from the Government Museums, some private collectors also set up their museums. They are based on distinctive subjects. eg., coins, notes, lamps, and nutcrackers in different shapes, cricket equipment, etc.
These sources include folktales, folksongs, proverbs, ballads, and owis (Marathi verses in the oral tradition). Activists were inspired by the powadas of Lokshahir Anna Bhau Sathe and Shahir Amar Sheikh during the Sanyukta Maharashtra Movement.
Television, films, internet are called ‘Audio-visual media’. Many domestic and foreign television channels also come under this head, eg., History Channel, Discovery channel, etc.
Film and Television Institute of India (FTII):
The Government of India started the Film and Television Institute of India at Pune in 1960 to provide public education. An institute called Indian News Review has produced various newsreels on important events in politics, social issues, art, sports, and culture. This Department has also produced various documentaries on prominent social leaders, on people who have made major contributions to the country, and about important locations in India. These news releases and documentaries are useful for studying the history of modern India.
Till now we have seen some important sources for writing the history of modern India. The times in the 21st century are changing so rapidly, that even these sources will prove to be inadequate. However, new sources are coming forth. For example, during the transformation from landline telephones to cellphones, a gadget called ‘pager’ came up for contacting people. But it died out as quickly as it had come up. The huge amount of information available on the Internet is used for studying history, but the truth and authenticity of this information need to be verified. Now it has become comparatively easy to study history with all these sources. As these sources are from the contemporary period, they are easily available. Since a subject like history touches all aspects of our lives, efforts for the preservation of such sources are made at all levels. We should also contribute to this effort.
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