The sources of history and all the history books that are available today are the results of the diligent work of several historians. Institutes like libraries, museums and archives conserve and preserve this precious historical heritage. They choose important specimens from the heritage collection and exhibit them. They also publish research journals, informative pamphlets, leaflets, posters, etc.
The documents and artefacts which are not exhibited but historically very important, are stored in the museums and archives after completing necessary treatments for their conservation and preservation. Those documents and artefacts are made available to researchers, as and whenever necessary. Libraries conserve, preserve and manage the books.
9.1 Sources of History, their Conservation and Preservation
Each step like collecting the sources of history, creating their records and indexes, exhibiting manuscripts, old books and artefacts after completing necessary treatments requires very careful handling and management. It needs people with specific skills. Only trained persons, who are duly qualified can take up these tasks.
Oral sources of history
- Collecting and compiling of folk songs and folk tales, etc.
- Classifying, analysing and interpreting the compiled material.
- Publishing the results of respective research.
Necessary Training : (1) Sociology and Anthropology (2) Social Psychology (3) Mythology and Linguistics (4) Library Science and Information Technology (5) History and Historical Research Method (6) Writing of Research Reports and Articles.
- Written Sources of History
- Collecting coins and copper plates with inscription on them, documents like official records, personal correspondence and diaries, historical books, old books, manuscripts, pictures, photographs, etc.
- Completing necessary mechanical and chemical processes of cleaning for the conservation and preservation of collected documents.
- Ascertaining the historical value of collected documents.
- Exhibiting selected documents.
- Publishing edited documents and research reports.
Necessary Training :
(1) Knowledge of scripts like Brahmi, Modi, Persian and their development.
(2) Basic knowledge of social organisation and traditions, literature and culture, dynasties, administrative systems, etc. of past societies.
(3) Knowledge of various schools and styles of painting and sculptural art and history of their development.
(4) Knowledge of types of paper, ink and colours.
(5) Knowledge of properties of various stones and metals used for inscriptions
(6) Knowledge of the equipment and chemicals used in various processes of cleaning, conservation and preservation.
(7) Knowledge of various approaches of managing exhibitions in museums galleries and information technology.
(8) Writing research reports and articles.
- Material Sources of History
- Collecting artefacts, classifying them according to their historical date and type and preparing indexes.
- Completing necessary mechanical and chemical processes of cleaning for the conservation and preservation of collected documents.
- Arranging exhibitions of selected artefacts or their replicas.
- Writing and publishing research articles about collected artefacts.
- Classifying fossils of plants and animals and preparing indexes.
- Exhibiting selected fossils or their replicas.
Necessary Training :
(1) Basic knowledge of archaeological method and theory, history of ancient civilisations.
(2) Knowledge of the regional sources of materials like stones, minerals, metals and clay used in the production of artefacts and their chemical properties.
(3) Knowledge of equipment and chemicals necessary for the cleaning of artefacts and other chemical processes.
(4) Knowledge of various schools and styles of arts and their development.
(5) Knowledge and skills of making replicas (models) of artefacts and fossils.
(6) Knowledge of various approaches of managing exhibitions in museums galleries and information technology.
(7) Writing research reports and articles.
9.2 Some Famous Museums
Museums were created to organise and manage the antiquities collected by members of royal and elite families of medieval Europe.
Louvre Museum, France : The Louvre Museum in Paris was established in the 18th century C.E. Antiquities collected by members of the royal family were exhibited in the Louvre museum. It included the much acclaimed painting of ‘Monalisa’ by Leonardo da Vinci, the world renowned artist. He worked under the patronage of Francis I, the king of France in the 16th century. The collection in the Louvre museum increased to a great extent because of the antiquities brought back by Napoleon Bonaparte from his conquests. Presently, the museum contains more than 3 lakhs and 80 thousand artefacts.
British Museum, England : The British Museum in London was established in the 18th century C.E. Sir Hans Sloan a natural scientist handed over about 71 thousand objects in his collection to the king of England, George II. It included several books, pictures, specimens of preserved plants (herbarium), etc. Later the collection was expanded by addition of various art objects and ancient artefacts collected by the British people from British colonies. Presently the museum collection comprises about 80 lakh objects.
National Museum of natural History, United States of America : This museum of natural history managed by the Smithsonian Institution was established in 1846 C.E. It houses more than 12 crore (120 millions) specimens of fossils and remains of plants and animals, minerals, rocks, human fossils and artefacts.
Museums in India : The first museum in India, ‘Indian Museum’, was established by ‘Asiatic Society of Bengal’ in Kolkata, in 1814 C.E. The second museum in India, ‘Government Museum’ was established in Chennai, in 1851 C.E. The ‘National Museum’ was established in Delhi, in 1949. Presently, there are several museums in various states of India. Usually the big museums have their own archives and libraries. Some museums are affiliated to universities. Such museums also offer courses in Museology.
Following are some of the wellknown institutes and universities, which offer degree and diploma courses in museology :
- National Museum, Delhi
- Maharaj Sayajirao University, Vadodara
- Kolkata University, Kolkata
- Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi
- Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh
Chhatrapti Shivaji Maharaj Vastusangrahalay : In 1904 C.E. some influential residents of Mumbai decided to establish a museum to commemorate the visit of Prince of Wales to India. In the month of November of 1905 C.E. the foundation was laid of the museum building. It was decided that the name of the museum would be ‘Prince of Wales Museum of Western India’. It was renamed as ‘Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastusangrahalay’, in 1998 C.E.6. Jivaji University, Gwalior.
The building of the museum is built in Indo-Gothic style. It has been given the status of Grade I Heritage Building in Mumbai. The museum houses about 50 thousand antiquities divided into three categories, Arts, Archaeology and Natural History.
9.3 Libraries and Archives
Libraries are the storehouses of knowledge and information. Library Science is very closely related to Management Science, Information Technology and the field of Education. Libraries perform various tasks like collecting books, arranging them systematically, conservation and preservation of those books, dissemination of information sources, etc. Many of these tasks are completed with the help of computerised systems. To make a book available to a reader as per his requirement is the most important aspect of library management.
The Royal Library of Ashurbanipal (7th century B.C.E.), the Assyrian Emperor in Mesopotamia; the library at Takshashila University (5th century B.C.E.- 5th century C.E.) and the library in Alexandria, Egypt (4th century B.C.E.) are supposed to be the earliest libraries in the world.
The ‘Saraswati Mahal Granthalay’ in Thanjavur, Tamilnadu was built in 16th-17th century, during the times of Nayak dynasty. In 1675 C.E. Vyankojiraje Bhosale conquered Thanjavur and established his independent rule. Vyankojiraje Bhosale and his successors kept expanding ‘Saraswati Mahal Granthalay’. Sarfojiraje Bhosale contributed the most in this expansion. In 1918 the library was renamed as ‘The Thanjavur Maharaja Sarfoji’s Saraswati Mahal Library’ in his honour.
There are several noteworthy libraries in India, for instance, National Library, Kolkata; Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, Delhi; State Central Library, Hyderabad; Library of Asiatic Society and David Sassoon Library, Mumbai, etc.
From the technical point of view the management of archives is akin to library management. Preserving documents with important content in their original condition, preparing indexes and creating accurate systems of retrieval of documents are the important tasks in the management of archives. Documents from the archives are supposed to be very reliable. Because of the heavy dependency on computerised systems information technology has become an inevitable part of the management of libraries and archives.
The first official archives of India, the ‘Imperial Record Department’, was established in 1891 C.E. in Kolkata. It was shifted to Delhi in 1911 C.E.
In 1998 C.E. the then President of India, Honourable K.R. Narayanan opened the archives for public. It is a department under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Culture of the Indian Government. The documents have been preserved here in a chronological order from 1748. It includes records in English, Arabic, Hindi, Persian, Sanskrit and Urdu languages. It also includes records in Modi script. These records are classified in four categories : Public records, Oriental Studies, Manuscripts and Private Records.
Governments of every State in India maintain independent archives. The Archives of Maharashtra State Government has branches in Mumbai, Pune, Kolhapur, Aurangabad and Nagpur. There are about 5 crore modi documents related to Maratha history in the Pune branch. These documents are referred to as ‘Peshwa Daftar’.
Encyclopaedia is a systematic compilation of information or knowledge of various topics. The information or knowledge in encyclopaedia is arranged with a specified method. Organising available knowledge and making it accessible is the main objective of encyclopaedias.
Benefits of Encyclopaedia : Encyclopaedias make vast volume of knowledge accessible to readers. It can help in satisfying their curiosity. Encyclopaedias provide fundamental information on any topic, in order to understand it properly. Thus, the reader gets motivated to read extensively. Encyclopaedias make the existing knowledge easily accessible to scholars and researchers and also highlight the research areas, which have not yet received enough attention. Encyclopaedias are indicators of the state of cultural ripeness of a society. The intellectual and cultural needs of a society determine what kind of encyclopaedic literature would be created.
Accuracy, meticulousness, objectivity, standardised format of presentation and updated information are the criteria for designing a structure of an encyclopaedia. In order to incorporate the latest available information revised editions of encyclopaedias or supplements to original editions need to be published.
Encyclopaedias are arranged either in alphabetical order or according to the order of topics. The type of order is decided by keeping the convenience of readers in mind and the ease of accessibility to the information. An index at the end of the encyclopaedia is very convenient in this regard.
The encyclopaedia can be created either by a single editor or an editorial committee. The articles in the encyclopaedia are written by subject experts.
Types of Encyclopaedia : Encyclopaedias can be approximately divided into four types. (1) Dictionaries (2) Comprehensive Encyclopaedia (Vishwakosh) (3) Encyclopaedic (Koshsadrush) literature (4) Indexes
- Dictionaries : Dictionaries arrange the words in a language in certain order (alphabetical order is more common). It gives meanings of words, synonyms and etymology. There are various types of dictionaries : comprehensive dictionaries, dictionaries which include only certain type of words, dictionaries of terminology (deals with terms peculiar to a branch of knowledge), etymological dictionaries, thesaurus, dictionaries of idioms and proverbs, etc.
- Comprehensive Encyclopaedia (Vishwakosh) : There are two types of Vishwakosh. (a) It includes all subjects under the sun (for example, ‘Encyclopaedia Britannica’, ‘Maharashtriya Dnyankosh’, ‘Marathi Vishvakosh’, etc.) (b) It includes comprehensive information on one chosen subject. For example, ‘Bharatiya Samskruti Kosh’, ‘Vyayam Dnyankosh’, etc.
- Encyclopaedic (Koshsadrush) Literature : It is similar to an encyclopaedia which comprises scholarly articles providing information on all possible aspects of one or more predetermined subjects. For example, ‘Maharashtra Jeevan’, Vol. I and II; ‘Shahar Pune’, Vol. I and II; ‘Yearbook’ (Manorama, Times of India), etc.
- Indexes : An Index usually occurs at the end of a book. Indexes are the alphabetical lists of individuals, subjects, places, key words, reference books, etc. For example, the index of Marathi periodicals prepared by S.G.Date. Indexes are helpful in finding required information and it makes the information in a book easily accessible.
Encyclopaedia and History : Encyclopaedia and history as academic exercises, put stress on objectivity. Encyclopaedias published in various countries and in various languages may differ in their approach because of different priorities. Their structure is influenced by national policies, ethical values and ideals. Encyclopaedias can be a medium of strengthening national identity. For example ‘Bharatiya Samskruti Kosh’ edited by Mahadevshastri Joshi. Making knowledge in all spheres of life accessible to everybody, can be one of the major drives behind the creation of encyclopaedias. An inspiration to gain and spread knowledge motivates either individuals or a group of people to create encyclopaedias. Hence encyclopaedias are looked upon as outstanding achievements of a society. It is the manifestation of the collective intellect and creativity of a society.
Encyclopaedias on History-related Subjects : There is a rich tradition of creating encyclopaedias on history-related subjects. ‘Bharatvarshiya Prachin Aitihasik Kosh’ by Raghunath Bhaskar Godbole (1876) is the earliest encyclopaedia of this kind. It includes information about various individuals and places in Ancient India. According to the editor, ‘Those individuals who lived in Bharatvarsha, earned a name for themselves and were part of us along with their women, their sons, their religions, their lands and capitals, also the rivers and mountains in their lands….whatever their history’ is given in this encyclopaedia.
Twenty three volumes of ‘Maharashtriya Dnyankosh’, edited by Shridhar Vyankatesh Ketkar are available. The major drive for Ketkar in creating it, was to facilitate wider access to knowledge, and to expand the intellectual sphere of Marathi speaking people. His was far-reaching view of history, which is reflected in these volumes.
‘Bharatvarshiya Charitrakosh’ is another important encyclopaedia. Siddheshwarshastri Chitrav established a committee, known as ‘Bharatiya Charitrakosh Mandal’ for publishing this encyclopaedia. Three volumes were published, namely, ‘Bharatvarshiya Prachin Charitrakosh’ (1932), ‘Bharatvarshiya Madhyayugin Charitrakosh’ (1937) and ‘Bharatvarshiya Arvachin Charitrakosh’ (1946). The first volume includes information on the lives of individuals mentioned in the Vedic literature including Shruti, Smruti, Sutras, Vedangas, Upanishads also Puranas, Jain and Buddhist literature. Similarly other two volumes contain biographies of individuals in the respective periods.
Sthalakosh : Geographic information is essential for historical studies. Encyclopaedias giving information about Historical places are available.
(1) ‘Sthanapothi’ (14th century C.E.) is an encyclopaedic text, which is composed by Muni Vyas of Mahanubhav sect. It describes all those places visited by Chakradhar Swami, the founder of Mahanubhav sect. It gives us an inkling about Maharashtra in those days. It also gives details about the time, place and background of the events described in ‘Leelacharitra’. Hence, it is a very good source for writing about the life of Chakradhar Swami.
(2) ‘Prachin Bharatiya Sthalakosh’ (1969) : Siddheshwarshstri Chitrav compiled this encyclopaedic book. It provides information about various places mentioned in Vedic literature, Kautiliya Arthashastra, Panini’s Grammar, Valmiki Ramayana, Mahabharata, Puranas, mediaeval Sanskrit literature and Shabdkosh, also, in Jain and Buddhist literature, in Greek, Chinese, Persian literature.
Vishwakosh : The first Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Honourable Shri. Yahswantrao Chavhan initiated the compilation of Marathi ‘Vishwakosh’ through Maharashtra Rajya Sahitya Samskruti Mandal, with a view to enhance the sphere of Marathi language and literature. The work was started under the guidance of Tarkteerth Lakshmanshastri Joshi. It contains knowledge about all possible subjects in the world. It also contains very important entries about history.
Bharatiya Samskruti Kosh : Ten volumes of ‘Bharatiya Samsksruti Kosh’ were edited and published by Mahadevshastri Joshi. These volumes contain information about Indian history, geography, various ethnic and lingual groups, local history of those groups, their festivals and other cultural aspects.
Samdnya Kosh : There are encyclopaedic texts explaining the terminology (for instance, colonialism, globalisation, etc.) of history. Such texts are very useful for the teachers of history.School, college and university teachers of history can find ample opportunities in the field of publication of encyclopaedias. Encyclopaedias of all types require experts in history. Every subject has a developmental history. Scholars of history can contribute significantly to encyclopaedias of various types.
After studying this text book, you must have noted that with specialisation in history one can get access to several career opportunities in various fields. You can choose your future career with the help of the information in this text-book.