What is the problem with the periodisation of the Indian history
that James Mill offers?
In his massive three-volume work, A History
of British India, James Mill divides Indian
history into three periods
- Hindu, Muslim
and British. According to his prejudiced version of Indian
history, the British rule represents all the forces of progress
and civilisation, while the period before British rule represents
darkness, ignorance, despotism, religious intolerance, caste
taboos, superstitious practises, etc. However, the periodisation
of Indian History on the basis of religion is problematic for
several reasons. A variety of faiths, apart from Hinduism and
Islam, existed in the periods categorised as Hindu and Muslim by
Mill. Also, it is not right to classify an age according to the
religion of the rulers of the time. To do so would suggest that
the lives and the practises of the others do not really matter.
Another point to keep in mind is that all rulers in ancient India
did not share the same faith.
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