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Urdu Historiography in Bihar in The 19th Century - Contribution of Hindu Authors

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Item Code: HAX160
Author: Surendra Gopal
Publisher: K. P. Jayaswal Research Institute, Patna
Language: English
Edition: 2004
Pages: 191
Other Details 9x6 inch
Weight 314 gm
Book Description

Under the impact of modern education, nineteenth-century Bihar witnessed a new intellectual awakening. The new education stimulated a fresh look at traditional subjects, including history.

Several works were published in Urdu on local and regional histories. The present lectures focus on histories, produced by three Hindu writers in Urdu. None of them was a 'professional' historian by training. The first book Riaz-i-Tirhut was written after the author got a chance to read documents in the Record Room of Darbhanga Raj and his interest in local history was heightened. While writing he had to rely solely on his memory because by then he had left the job.

The author of Aina-i-Tirhut, a lawyer by profession, had a fondness for history. He went round Mithila and read all the inscriptions he came across. He also studied the available works on local history. The book was a labour of love.

Tawarikh-i-Ujjainia was written on the orders of the proprietor of Dumraon estate who established a department for the purpose. He appointed staff to help Munshi Binayak Prasad, who was asked to write the history of the Ujjainia community and the estae of Dumraan. He was given access to the Record Room of the estate; important Ujjainia families also provided historical information to him. He traced the history of the community from ancient times, though he is on firmer grounds when written records appear, i.e., from sixteenth century onwards. He wrote it in four volumes over a period of two decades.

Tawarikh-i-Ujjainia includes a number of original documents commencing from the 17th Century. Hence its value is great. We have a mine of information regarding political, socio-economic and cultural history of the region.

All the three historians were a witness to the process of modernization in different walks of life that started in Bihar in the nineteenth century. Their accounts present before us many hitherto unknown facts. After reading these histories we are in a better position to appreciate the processes which lay behind the limited renaissance in nineteenth-century Bihar.

I hope researchers working on the history of Bihar will find this brief attempt useful.

About the Author

SURENDRA GOPAL, b. 1936. Jullundur (Punjab), superannuated in 1996 as Professor and Head, Department of History, Patna University. His publications include Commerce and Crafts in Gujarat, XVI-XVII Centuries (Delhi, 1975), Patna In The Nineteenth Century (A Socio-Cultural Profile) (Calcutta, 1982), Indians in Russia in the 17th and 18th Centuries (Calcutta, 1988), India and Central Asia (Delhi, 2001) and Indian-Freedom Fighters in Tashkent: 1917-1922 (Kolkata, 2002), etc.

He has authored more than 100 research-papers and 112 reviews and published them in journals in India and abroad.

He has participated in conferences, seminars and symposia in and outside India.

He delivered 39th Heras Memorial Lecture at Bombay in December 2002 and 6th Ashin Das Gupta Memorial Lecture at Kolkata in March 2004.

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