Historiography: Nationalist Approach


  • In the late 19th century, there were some of the eminent Indian scholars who studied and researched Indian History with Indian point of view.

Nationalist Intellectuals

  • Some of the nationalist scholars who understood and interpreted Indian History with Indian perspective are like −

    • Rajendra Lal Mitra,

    • R.G. Bhandarkar,

    • R. C. Majumdar,

    • V. K. Rajwade etc.

  • Bhandarkar and Rajwade worked on the history of Maharashtra region and reconstructed the social, political, and economic history of the area.

  • D. R. Bhandarkar, H. C. Raychaudhary, R. C. Majumdar, P. V. Kane, A. S. Altekar, K. P. Jayaswal, K. A. Nilakant Sastri, T. V. Mahalingam, H. C. Ray, and R. K. Mookerji were some other Indian historians who attempted to describe Indian History (according to Indian point of view).

  • D. R. Bhandarkar (1875-1950), in his books, on Ashoka and on Ancient Indian Polity helped in clearing many myths created by the imperialist historians.

  • K. P. Jayaswal (1881- 1937), in his book, Hindu Polity published in 1924, effectively knocked down the myth that Indians had no political ideas and institutions.

  • Jayaswal revealed (on the basis of his study of literary and epigraphical sources) that India was not a despotic country as propagated by the imperialist historians, but rather India had the tradition of republics right from Rig Vedic times.

  • K. P. Jayaswal’s book Hindu Polity is considered as one of the most important books ever written on ancient Indian history.

  • H. C. Raychaudhury (1892-1957) reconstructed the history of ancient India from the time of Mahabharata War to the time of Gupta Empire and practically cleared the clouds created by V. A. Smith. The title of his book is ‘Political History of Ancient India’.

  • R. C. Majumdar wrote a number of books covering the time period from ancient India to the freedom struggle.

  • Majumdar is considered as a leader among Indian historians. The most outstanding achievement under his editorship is the publication of ‘History and Culture of the Indian People in eleven volumes.’

  • K. A. Nilakant Sastri (1892-1975) in his books ‘A History of Ancient India’ and ‘A History of South India’ contributed immensely towards the understanding of South Indian history.

  • R. K. Mookerji (1886-1964) in his books including Hindu Civilization, Chandragupta Maurya, Ashoka, and Fundamental Unity of India, expressed the cultural, economic, and political history of India in simple terms and made it accessible even to a lay reader.

  • P. V. Kane’s (a great Sanskritist, 1880-1972) work i.e. the ‘History of Dharmasastra’ in five volumes is considered as an encyclopedia of social, religious, and political laws and customs.