NCERT Solutions for Class 8 Social Science Our Pasts Chapter 1 : How, When and Where


How will the information historians get from old newspapers be different from that found in police reports?


(i) Historians gather information essential for writing history from various sources, unlike the police reports which deal with local incidents.

(ii) Apart from official documents in the archives, historians gather information from archaeological evidence, personal diaries of historical figures, travel accounts of pilgrims and religious scholars and autobiographies of important rulers.

(iii) Information gathered by historians from the newspapers focus on socio-economic aspects across the country, whereas the police reports focus on the criminal aspects of the local incidents.

(iv) Due to this difference in the perspectives, the information the police reports provide are different from for historical information.


State whether true or false: (a) James Mill divided Indian history into three periods – Hindu, Muslim, Christian. (b) Official documents help us understand what the people of the country think. (c) The British thought surveys were important for effective administration.


(a) True

(b) False

(c) True


Why did the British preserve official documents?


(i) The British believed that the act of writing was important.

(ii) They wrote every instruction, plan, policy decision, agreement, and investigation clearly; the records were used properly for studying and debating.

(iii) This conviction produced an administrative culture of memos, notings and reports.

(iv) The British also felt that all important documents and letters needed to be carefully preserved.

(v) So they set up record rooms attached to all administrative institutions.

(vi) The village tahsildar’s office, the collectorate, the commissioner’s office, the provincial secretariats, the lawcourts – all had their record rooms.

(vii) Specialised institutions like archives and museums were also established to preserve important records.


What is the problem with the periodisation of Indian history that James Mill offers?


(i) In 1817, in his book A History of British India, James divided Indian history into three periods – Hindu, Muslim and British.

(ii) Mill thought that Asian societies were at a lower level of civilisation than Europe.

(iii) According to his division of Indian history, before the British came to India, Hindu and Muslim despots ruled the country.

(iv) He argued in the book that religious intolerance, caste taboos and superstitious practices dominated the social life of Indians.

(v) He believed that British rule could civilise India. To do this it was necessary to introduce European manners, arts, institutions and laws in India.

(vi) Though his periodisation, Mill suggested that the British should conquer all the territories in India to ensure the enlightenment and happiness of the Indian people. For India was not capable of progress without British help.

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