What are the sources of History?

There are various sources of history from which a researcher developes his narratives but broadly speaking sources are divided into two categories viz., primary & secondary sources. Primary sources may include diaries, letters, interviews, oral history, news paper articles government document, Folk literature, songs etc. The collection and analysis of primary sources is central to historic research

Secondary sources are books, published articles, magazines, journals, bibliographies for the further research or articulations

Historical traces are all around us, we inhabit a world full of signs of the past survivals. We have been born into world which previously we lived in. we grow up with degrees of awareness of different aspects of the past. Every human society inhabits landscapes of memory for example a person born and brought up in the city like Mumbai will always come across the gothic structures like Victoria Terminus (C.S.T) Railway station, Fort area Buildings which simply indicate the colonial rule. Similarly medieval architecture in Delhi like Ref=d Fort etc. gives idea of Mogul rule therefore, the physical representation of the past activities are surrounded how ever , jumbled and lacking in organisation.

The primary sources in history are many a times eye witness account created by a participant an event in history. Letters, diaries, speeches, publications, some important newspaper (supporting the research work) therefore, it is a task of a researcher to pick up the important element which supports his preposition how much the source material is valuable to him and how it will be utilized must be clear to a researcher.

For centuries a primary purpose of public historic reconstruction has been emotive, to elicit a sense of sympathy with high ideals, former heros, glorious past a common set of goals for the writers. Creation of various stories, statues of heros and cultural icons paintings of great battles, war memorials showing the past in a particular way. Practically in many countries of the world war memorials, squares, town halls dedicated to soldiers have been created. Many a times historical representation designed almost entirely for the purpose of exhibition and entertainment like quasi historical films Benhur, Ten Commandments, Gandhi & films on world wars. Holocaust representation in Spielberg’s Schindler’s list having extraordinary capacity to evoke the past there are many different national and sub – structural modes of representing selected aspect of the past, which are constantly contesting and changing.

While having a glance of museums, buildings memorials, forts etc. we can draw some inferences of the past but to understand in a better way minute details are to be added in order to make the history in proper context. the academic historians think hard about the ways in which they present their work as they do the research evaluation of the evidence, the relationship of their findings and relevant literature.

The history writers who go through the process of authentic and rational writings uses the sources extensively to prove their research work a valuable one. Let us take a simple fact as historian often deals with it in the year 49 BC Julius Ceaser crossed the Rubicon river near southern gaul (near modern city of Italy) a familiar fact known to all obviously of some importance. But is this fact a simple as it sounds? When we say Julius Ceaser crossed the river we do not mean that he crossed it alone, but with his army, which involved many acts, thoughts and actions, that is to say a thousand lesser facts went to make up the one simple fact that Ceaser crossed the Rubicon river . If a history writer gathers all the facts to this small event a book of 500 pages will come to shape. Therefore minute observations of any event in history gives outstanding results.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.