FAQ on Major Approaches to Modern Indian History

This series of ours is made with answers to FAQ questions on history for guide. Here are FAQ Short Question Answers on History of Modern India. The content of this post is: Major Approaches to Modern Indian History

 1. Why has there been an increase in the production of histories of India in recent years, according to Percival Spear?

   - Answer: The increase is due to changes in the Indian scene and shifts in historians' attitudes towards Indian history.


2. What are the four main approaches to understanding modern Indian history?

   - Answer: The four main approaches are Colonial (Imperialist), Nationalist, Marxist, and Subaltern.


3. Apart from the four main approaches, what are some other approaches that have influenced the writing of modern Indian history?

   - Answer: Other approaches include Communalist, Cambridge, Liberal, Neo-liberal, and Feminist interpretations.


4. How did the Colonial Approach to historiography relate to colonialism in India?

   - Answer: The Colonial Approach was influenced by colonial ideology and aimed to justify colonial rule, often criticizing indigenous society while praising Western culture and values.


5. Can you provide examples of historians who wrote about India from a colonial perspective?

   - Answer: Historians like James Mill, Mountstuart Elphinstone, Vincent Smith, and others wrote about India from a colonial perspective.


6. What are some common characteristics of historiographical trends in colonial historiography?

   - Answer: Common characteristics include Orientalist representation of India, the belief that the British brought unity to India, Social Darwinism with the English considering themselves superior, the idea of India as a stagnant society requiring British guidance (White Man's burden), and the establishment of Pax Britannica for law and order.


7. How does the nationalist approach to Indian history differ from colonial historiography?

   - Answer: The nationalist approach aimed to foster nationalist sentiments and unify people despite religious, caste, linguistic, or class differences. It emerged in response to and in opposition to colonial historiography.


8. Did nationalist historians of modern India exist before 1947?

   - Answer: No, nationalist historians of modern India did not exist before 1947. Before that, nationalist historiography mainly focused on ancient and medieval Indian history.


9. Who were some notable nationalist economists who critiqued colonialism in the late 19th century?

   - Answer: Notable nationalist economists critiquing colonialism included Dadabhai Naoroji, M.G. Ranade, G.V. Joshi, R.C. Dutt, K.T. Telang, G.K. Gokhale, and D.E. Wacha.


10. Can you mention some nationalist leaders who wrote about the national movement in India?

   - Answer: Nationalist leaders who wrote about the national movement included R.G. Pradhan, A.C. Mazumdar, J.L. Nehru, and Pattabhi Sitaramayya.


11. Who are some noted nationalist historians of modern India?

   - Answer: R.C. Majumdar and Tara Chand are noted nationalist historians of modern India.


12. What were the pioneering books that marked the beginning of the Marxist approach to Indian history?

   - Answer: The Marxist approach in India was heralded by two classic books: Rajni Palme Dutt's "India Today" and A.R. Desai's "Social Background of Indian Nationalism," originally written for the famous Left Book Club in England.


13. When was "India Today" first published, and where?

   - Answer: "India Today" was first published in 1940 in England.


14. When was "India Today" later published in India?

   - Answer: "India Today" was later published in India in 1947.


15. How does the Marxist approach to Indian history differ from the imperialist/colonial approach?

   - Answer: The Marxist approach focuses on the primary contradiction between colonial masters and subject people, as well as internal contradictions within Indian society. It contrasts with the imperialist/colonial approach that doesn't emphasize these aspects.


16. Who were some noted Marxist historians mentioned in the text?

   - Answer: Noted Marxist historians mentioned include Rajni Palme Dutt and Sumit Sarkar.


17. What does A.R. Desai's work "Social Background of Indian Nationalism" focus on?

   - Answer: A.R. Desai's work traces the growth of the national movement in India in five phases, each based on specific social classes that supported and sustained it.


18. Who initiated the new trend of subaltern historiography, and what does it claim to replace?

   - Answer: A few historians initiated the subaltern trend, and it claims to replace previous historical writing, including Marxist perspectives, as elite historiography.


19. How does the subaltern approach view the Indian national movement?

   - Answer: The subaltern approach rejects the idea of a united Indian national movement and asserts the existence of two distinct movements: the genuine anti-imperialist stream of subalterns and the elite-driven national movement.


20. What does the communalist approach rely on for its historical perspective?

   - Answer: The communalist approach relies on colonial historiography of medieval India and colonial-era textbooks.


21. How did historians following the communalist approach view the relationship between Hindus and Muslims in India?

   - Answer: Historians following the communalist approach viewed Hindus and Muslims as permanent hostile groups with mutually different and antagonistic interests.


22. According to the communalist approach, what were the consequences of this view on India's history?

   - Answer: According to the communalist approach, this view of perpetual Hindu-Muslim conflict contributed to mutual hatred, communal riots, and ultimately, the partition of India.


23. What is the fundamental contradiction according to the Cambridge School's perspective on colonial rule?

   - Answer: The Cambridge School believes the fundamental contradiction was not between imperialism and the Indian people but among the Indians themselves.


24. How does the Cambridge School view the origin of Indian nationalism?

   - Answer: According to the Cambridge School, Indian nationalism did not arise from a struggle against colonial exploitation but from conflicts among Indians for the benefits provided by British rulers.


25. Who are some proponents of the Liberal and Neo-Liberal Interpretations?

   - Answer: Proponents of the Liberal and Neo-Liberal Interpretations include Patrick O'Brian, Hopkins, and Cain.


26. What does the Liberal and Neo-Liberal Interpretation suggest about the economic exploitation of colonies?

   - Answer: This interpretation suggests that economic exploitation of colonies might not have been beneficial to the British people as a whole and may have discouraged domestic investment in Britain.


27. What was the context that led to the emergence of women's studies and feminist historiography in India?

   - Answer: The emergence of women's studies and feminist historiography in India was influenced by the women's movement of the 1970s, providing the context and impetus for these developments.

Disclaimer: All the FAQ questions answers presented here have been collected from the Internet and various textbooks. Itihaschetona.com is not responsible if any information is incorrect. All information is presented for educational purposes only.


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