Wednesday, June 15, 2005

On History

Varnam has a terrific essay on pre-Alberuni historical writing in India. This is in response to a recent Ayaz Amir column in The Dawn, where he asks:

Is there any Indian Herodotus? Or Thucydides or Tacitus?

Varnam's response:

The answer is No. My question to him is, why does it matter? When did having a Herodotus become the standard for approval for any civilization? Do the Mayans or Sumerians or Chinese have a Herodotus ? No. Does that diminish the value of those civilizations? No. Each country does things different now and in ancient times it was no different. While Greeks have well chronicled history, early Indian history comes from coins and charters, random inscriptions, oral tradition, literary compositions and religious texts [1]. Each of these provide a version of history which can be corroborated with inputs from other sources.

Do read the whole thing.

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