Asked by Shriti | 26th May, 2014, 02:49: PM

Expert Answer:

How historians interpret historical events is reflected in their ideas about the past and how they demarcate their differences. Imperialists historians and political philosophers like James Mill divide Indian history into arbitrary categories of ‘Hindu’, ‘Muslim’ and ‘British’. According to this idea of history, before the arrival of British, Hindu and Muslim despots ruled India and religious intolerance, casteism and superstitions dominated Indian social life.

However, such characterization of a nation's history is highly subjective and historical epochs cannot be characterised through the religion of the rulers of the time. Moving away from the British classification, historians have divided history into ‘ancient’, ‘medieval’ and ‘modern’ period. This classification is borrowed from the West where the modern period was associated with the growth of all forces of modernity. Medieval was a term used to describe the society where these features of modern society did not exist.

Also, how historians view individual historical events is also of significance in understanding the concept of interpretation. An event like the Civil Disobedience Movement was seen as a genuine expression of nationalist sentiment by the nationalist historians. Whereas according to the imperialist school, the same event was a movement of reactionary forces within Indian society.

Answered by Soumil Shukla | 26th May, 2014, 07:20: PM

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