There is a range of historical material available for understanding India from the mid-nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century. The following are crucial in reconstructing Modern Indian history.
List of main sources for the History of modern India
- Archive Materials
- Biographies, Memoirs, and travel accounts
- Newspapers and Journals
- Oral evidence
- Creative literature
A compilation of historical records and documents, typically primary source documents, is referred to as an archive. The Official records are classified into the following types:
- Archives of Central government
- State government Archives
- Archives of Presidencies– Bengal, Bombay, and Madras Presidency are some of the examples.
- Archives of Other European Powers
- Published Archives
- Reports of various royal commissions and parliamentary select committees.
- Parliamentary debates on the Indian empire.
- Weekly gazettes
- Collection of laws and regulations.
- Judicial Archives
- The Maharashtra Secretariat Record Office houses the records of the Mayor’s Court in Bombay, which was founded in 1728.
Fact: James Rennell was the first Surveyor-General of Bengal in 1767.
Biographies, Memoirs, and travel accounts
The following are some prominent British travellers who wrote travel accounts:
- Narrative of a Visit to the Court of Sinde by James Burnes
- Diary of the Travels and Adventures in Upper India by J.C. Davidson
- Travels Into Bokhara by Alexander Burnes
- Travels and Adventures in the Province of Assam by John Butler
The following are some prominent non-British travellers who wrote about India:
- Letters from India describing a journey in the British Dominions of India, Tibet, Lahore and Cashmere during the years 1828-1829—1831 by Victor Jacquemont.
- Travels in Kashmir and Punjab by Baron Charles.
Newspapers and Journals
- James Augustus Hickey in 1780 released The Bengal Gazette or Calcutta General Advertiser, India’s first newspaper.
- The Hindu and Swadesamitran was the publication of G. Subramaniya Iyer.
- Kesari and Mahratta was published by Bal Gangadhar Tilak.
- Anand Math by Bankim Chandra Chatterji (1838-94)
- Lyric of “Vandemtaram“
- Depiction of Sanyasi Revolt (1760)
- Rajasimha by Bankim Chandra Chatterji.
- Icharam Suryaram Desai’s (1853-1912) first novel was Hind ane Britanica.
- Mohanra Rajani (1931) was written by Girija Devi.
- Dasikalin Mosa Valai (1936) was written by Ramatirtha Thammal.
- Tottiyude Makan (Son of a Scavenger, 1948) and Chemmin (Shrimps, 1956) were the major work of Thakazhi Siva Sankara.
- Kilubommalu (The Puppets, 1956) of G.V. Krishna Rao related to rural people.
- Company Paintings, also known as ‘Patna Kalam’ appeared under the leadership of the East India Company. These works depicted festivals, dances, commerce, and people’s clothing.
- Thomas Jones Barker’s Relief of Lucknow, painted in 1859, commemorates British heroes.
- Joseph Noel Paton’s ‘In Memorian‘ painting narrated the two years of the 1857 rebellion.
- E.B. Havell and Ananda K. Coomaraswamy were instrumental in the growth of the Bengal School of Painting, led by Abanindranath Tagore.