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The sources of medieval Indian history and modern history

Updated on September 24, 2015

Mughal Emperor Pictures


the last ruler of slave dynasty


Mughal emperor Jahangir


A careful reader can trace every important development stage by stage

Sources of medieval Indian history

Sources of medieval Indian history are more abundant than those of ancient Indian history. There are numerous contemporary chronicles dealing with different Muslim dynasties which give us reliable. Official and private documents relating to the pre – Mughal period are not available, but the Mughals had a very efficient record department. Some of those records, especially those of the later Mughal period have survived in their original form to this day.

There are histories pertaining to the Slave Sultans of delhi, Muhammad – bin – Tughlaq and Firoz Shah Tughlaq. There are is no contemporary chronicles for the Afghan dynasties. Babur's deservedly famous Memories, the Memoirs of Jahangir and Gulbadan Begum's Humayun – nama give us insight into the history of the kings and their times. Abul Fazl's Ain – i – Akbari and Akbarnama deal with the reign of Akbar. Chronicles are available covering the reigns of Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb. These chronicles suffer from two main defects.

As the authors were generally connected with the court, they could not give an objective version of historical development; secondly, they were mostly concerned with the king and his court. They took little interest in the condition of the people and in the socio – economic development.

The coins of the provincial rulers with their dates and mint – marks are especially valuable in respect of the medieval period. Monuments testify to the growth of material prosperity and the development of culture. Sometimes, contemporary Persian literature contain useful information regarding social political history. We find, for example – valuable historical material in the writings of the famous Indo – Persian poet, Amir Khusro.

Sources of modern Indian history

For the modern period there are overwhelming sources – materials throwing light on political, socio – economic and cultural developments in the country. Top priority must be given to officials records. A careful reader can trace every important development stage by stage.

There are many contemporary or semi – contemporary works – memories, biographies, travel accounts, etc – written by Englishmen, which gives interesting and useful glimpses into the history of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, newspapers managed by Indians and Europeans reflected different shades of political opinion in the country. The proceedings of the Legislatures and the political organizations like British Indian Association, the Indian Association, the Indian National Congress and the Muslim League have acquired increasing importance to supplement the historical details of the time.


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