(GS paper I / History optional Paper I : Historiography)
Context : Today (27 Nov 2021) is the 141th birthday of great historian, Philosopher and lawyer Kashi Prasad Jaiswal. His famous book “Hindu polity” became the most inspirable book for the Indian historian during the British Period because in this book, he countered that ideology of western historians in which it was propagated that India had learned about political institutions and ideas from the west and there were anarchical states that existed in Ancient India
K.P jaiswal was a great lawyer and then historian born in Mirzapur Uttar pradesh on 27 November 1881. He graduated from university of Allahabad and after he went to England for higher education and after returning to India , he worked as a lawyer in calcutta high court . with the request of ofSir Asutosh Mukaerjee , he started research on ancient Indian political system and concluded that , the british ‘s concept for ruling over India was that India was not fit for self rule or swaraj because India had nver practised any democratic rule and autocratic and despotic rule were the fundamental characteristics of ancient Indian political system.
In his book Hindu polity, he emphasised that , there were democratic rules (Not absolute but we can see the collective decision making process in ancient India ) and several political institutions existed in ancient india. The concept of Gana Rajya and sangh rajya could be seen in ancient India also. Vaishali ganrajya was one of the oldest Republics of the world .
Work of K.P Jaiswal :
He wrote more than 120 research papers and 11 books which were published by renowned publications and journals . His famous books are Hindu Polity and History of India, 150 A.D. to 350 A.D. He was expert in numismatics and did research over many Gupta and Mauryan could therefore he was invited for the conference organised by Royal Asiatic Society , London . He was elected as the president of Numismatic Society of India also
Significance of His famous work Hindu Polity :
During the first decade of the 20th century was the period when , a flame of national movement was burning among Indians(Even though in a limited aspect) after swadeshi movement . The British were ruling over India not only by power but also through several propagandas . They had declared that they were ruling Indians to teach about rule of law, about democratic value systems and about political institutions and modern political ideas. After 1917, when Tilak and Annie Besan had launched the Home Rule league, by publishing this book (Hindu Polity), the flame of nationalism was definitely increased . Through This it was scholarly proved that we are sufficiently capable to run our own administrative system , we are ready for swaraj and this self rule is not new for Indians. For a long time , even in ancient India , we have practiced democratic elements in our administrative system . Through this work , nationalism was enhanced. Therefore K. P Jaiswal could be credited for ennasing nationalism also .
Definitely the scholarly work on our ancient India during the British period was a tough task and these were our nationalism historians who tried to find out the element existed in our ancient India through which the glorification of ancient culture could be enhanced . This work of jaiswal eliminated the concept of British superiority over administrative and political knowledge