Archaeological and Literary Sources: History of Bihar

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Archaeological and Literary Sources for the study of the History of Bihar
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There are many sources related to the study of the history of Bihar. Among them, there are also archaeological along with literary sources.

Archaeological source for the study of the history of Bihar

  • In Singhbhum, Hazaribagh, Ranchi, Santhal Pargana, Munger, etc., some small tools of pre-stone and middle ages have been found. Neo-stone era items from Chirand (Saran) and copper-stone era items and pottery have been found from Chirant (Saran), Chechar (Vaishali), Sonpur (Gaya), and Maner (Patna).
  • Mauryan inscriptions have been received from places like Lauria Nandangarh, Lauria-Areraj, Rampurwa, etc. A considerable amount of coins have also been found in this area, ranging from early settlers to Gupta coins.
  • Major monuments located in Rajgir, Nalanda, Pataliputra (Patna), and Barabar hills are also important examples of archaeological sources.

Literary Source

Literary source for the study of the history of modern Bihar

  • Literary works include the Shatapatha Brahmana, composed in the 8th century BC, the various Puranas of later periods, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata; Buddhist works including Angatur Nikaya, Digha Nikaya, Vinayapitaka; Jain compositions like Bhagwati Sutra, etc., are important as historical sources as well as being religious compositions.
  • The accounts of foreign travelers, Megasthenes, Fahien, Ising, and Hiuen Tsang also provide useful information in the context of Bihar.
  • Kautilya’s work Arthashastra and Gupta-era literary works are also helpful in information about the ancient history of Bihar.

Literary source for the study of the history of Medieval Bihar

  • Minhaj’s Tabqate Nasiri, Hasan Dehlavi’s Basatinul Uns, Shaikh Kabir’s Afsanae Shahon, Abbas Sarvani’s Tetihi Shershahi, Risallah’s Waqiate Mushtaki, Ghulam Hussain Salim’s Riyaz-ur Salatin, Ghulam Hussain Tabatabai’s Seir-ul-Mutakheereen Adi is a unique source of information related to Bihar.
  • Some works of general history are important as sources for Bihar also. Notable among them are the Tarikh-i-Firoz Shahi of Zia Barani, Abul Fazal’s Akbarnama, Babur’s Tuzuk-e-Babri, and Mirza Nathan’s Bahariistane Gabi.
  • There are many accounts of foreign travelers as well. The accounts of Mulla Taqriya, Abdul Latif, Mohammad Sadiq and Bahbahani are very important in the Persian language.
  • Among European travelers, Ralph Fitch, Edward Terry, Manrique, John Marshall, Peter Mundy, Manucci, Tavernier, Bowrey, and Bishop Heber have described Bihar in their travelogues.
  • Factory records of various European trading companies are also useful sources.
  • Literature related to Sufi saints, which are divided into Tazkira, Malfuz, and Maktub categories, is also important.
  • Many sources of the history of the Mithila region of northern Bihar are available in Sanskrit and Maithili languages.
  • Vidyapati’s works Kirtilata, Kirtipataka and Jyotirishvara’s Varnaratnakar, and Chandreshwar’s Raniratnakar are notable among them.

Literary source for the study of the history of modern Bihar

There is also wide and varied source material for the study of the history of modern Bihar.

  • Among these, District Gazetteer, Land Survey and Settlement Reports etc. are prominent.
  • Compilation of letters of administrative importance, especially Fort William, India House Correspondence series, various large reports compiled by Francis Buchanan, government files, and other papers preserved in the national and state archives are also useful in this context.
  • Many newspapers, magazines and literary works published from Bihar which is available in different languages ​​are helpful in giving information about current events.
  • Documents from voluntary organizations, educational centers and other institutions can also be used as historical sources.
  • The usefulness of personal letters, diaries, memoirs etc. is also well known.
  • Information for the near-past can also be obtained by interview.

Thus historical sources are available in abundance which enriches our knowledge regarding Bihar.

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