How reliable are British Raj-era sources for studying history?

Oct 2015
1,138
India
Even modern scholarship at Oxford & Cambridge need some freeing up. Two Indians who were teaching at these institutions retired recently. They have written their memoirs:

  1. The author of The World in Our Time (2011), Tapan Raychaudhuri, retired from Oxford in 1993 as a professor of Indian history.
  2. Fifty Years of Indian Archaeology (1960–2010): Journey of a Foot Soldier (2012) chronicles the professional life of Dilip Chakrabarti, who stepped down in 2008 as a professor of South Asian archaeology in Cambridge.

What do these two have to share about their experience in these high profile institutions?

Raychaudhuri, found Oxford “a major centre of empire worship” and is dismayed by the ignorance, even among radical colleagues, of the empire’s connection with bloodshed: one of them “had never heard of Britain’s exploitative role” till he visited India, though “he had studied the history of Britain and her empire at Oxford”.

Chakrabarti was aggrieved for a different reason: despite international recognition as South Asia’s leading archaeologist, he was never made a college fellow nor even director of study. Some two decades in Cambridge leave him looking from the outside at a glass case forged by a peculiarly English variety of academic insularity whereby all scholars are proclaimed equal but some treated as more equal than others.

References:

GLASS CASE WITH NO ENTRY - Memoirs of two Indian scholars who worked at Oxbridge
Book Excerptise: Spectre of Violence: The 1857 Kanpur Massacres by Rudrangshu Mukherjee
 
Mar 2019
1,535
KL
the indian irony is that either its history written in foreign british institutions like oxford, cambridge, or its scholars like Chakrabarti eductaed from there or indian institutions which are still unable to free themselves form colonial grip/mindset.

i have read some of Chakrabarti assertions, didn't really understand why he questioned the date of kausambi by the archaeologists such as GR Sharma, why he questioned dating of its coins or the ruins of the city. this ultimately gave free hand to date the kausambi late, im surprised that in wikipedia people use GR SHarma's sources, his pictures and yet apply the late dating of these western scholars. one of the dating for kausambi ruin picture which has been deliberately picked up from GR Sharma, arrchaeological survey of india or his report of its excavations in two periods of 1958 and 1960 in which he himself dates the ruins and brick revetment as 1000 BC has been reduced down to 2nd century BC which is mind blowing mess up of indian history in the first place.

the archaeologist hiself reports that he found the earliest structures made of burnt brick revetment over mudd rampart, but it is dubiously suggested by western influenced historians that kausambi rampart made of mud dates from 600 BC and lined with brick in 200 BC, a late dating of 800 years.

a coin of kausambi found from painted grey ware period which is pre 600 BC which has been dated by Shamra to be between 855-815 BC has been dated late to shunga period of 150-100 BC, again a late dating of 700 years

an artifact of harappa with realistic body style which dates to 2500 BC has been late dated by the british colonial archaeologist to gupta period 350 AD, a late dating of almost 3000 years.

regards
 
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