Sources of Ancient Indian History
Inscriptions either on stone or on metal plates are old records of Ancient India. The study of inscriptions is called epigraphy.
Coins: The study of coins is called numismatics.
- The Punch Mark Coins (silver &copper) are the earliest coins of India.
Monuments: Monuments relect the material prosperity and development of culture e.g. Taxshila monuments about Kushans and Stupas, Chaityas and Vihars about Maurya.
Vedas: Vedas point out features and development of different dynasties, e.g. Rigveda deals about Archery and known as “The first testament of mankind.”
- Samveda says about the art of music (i.e. melodies)
- Yajurveda: It is known as ritual Veda.
- Atharvaveda: It is the latest of the four.It is about beliefs and superstitions.
Upanishad: It is anti-ritualistic in nature.It deals about the theories of creation of the universe and doctrine of action.
Sutras: Sutras deal about rituals, Sanskaras, social life, Medical science etc.
Puranas: Puranas describe the genealogies of various royal dynasties, i.e. Maurya, Andhra, Shishunag, Gupta, etc.
Jatak Kathas: These are the parts of art and literature of 3rd century B.C.
Arthashastra: It is the analysis of political and economic conditions of the Mauryas, composed by Kautilya(Chanakya).
Mudrarakshasa: It tells about the establishment of the Maurya dynasty, the fall of Nanda, Ramgupta, etc.
Rajtarangini: It was written by Kalhana in 12th century A.D. It is about the rulers of Kashmir. It is considered the, “first historical book of India.”
Foreign travellers: wrote about the information of India. For examples–
Megasthenes: He wrote book, “INDICA” about the dynasty of Maurya.
Fahien: He wrote about the Gupta Emperor.
Hieun-Tsang: He wrote about the Buddhist record of the western world during period of Harshavardhan.
Albiruni: He wrote ‘ Tarikh-ul-Hind.’
Ibna-Batuta: He wrote about India under the rule of Muhammad Tughlaq.