Special Correspondent

CHANDIGARH: Narayani Gupta of Jamia Millia Islamia, Delhi, on Wednesday urged the teachers to take into account the linkages of history with social sciences as well as with art, literature and philosophy but said that history should not be identified exclusively with or subsumed under the social sciences.

Participating in a seminar on “Perspectives of history teaching” organised by Panjab University here, Prof Gupta emphasised that the students should be given hands-on experience and taught to interpret the sources to enhance their intellectual abilities. She also suggested that neglected fields like gender, military history, art, archaeology, music and films should find a place in the history syllabi.

Speaking on the creative reading of sources, Prof. J. S. Grewal, former Vice-Chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University, showed how study of administrative and judicial documents and of the creative and religious literature led to several interesting discoveries. For instance, the Mughal rulers, including Aurangzeb, gave charitable religious grants to non-Muslims; the Sikh rulers maintained the Qazi’s courts, using the Shariat law, and that more non-Muslims resorted to these than Muslims; the nature of the polity under the early Sikh rulers and Ranjit Singh was monarchical; and that the words “Misldari System” carried no meaning if seen in the light of evidence from contemporary sources.

Speaking on new perspectives in Modern Indian History, K. L. Tuteja (Kurukshetra University) maintained that there were fine shades of differences between community, communitarian, communalism and nationalism, which need to be understood for a better grasp of recent Indian history.

Anil Sethi of NCERT, Delhi, spoke on “Practising the Craft: Doing History in School, College and University” and said that apart from handling evidence and querying primary sources, “Doing History” refers to defining historical categories, assessing viewpoints and distinguishing between cognate concepts. Kumkum Roy, of JNU, underlined two principles of the National Curriculum Framework of NCERT regarding curricular concerns: democratic values and respect for diversity. Shireen Moosvi (AMU) maintained that new trends should be introduced and emphasised the need to ask new analytical questions from sources for a meaningful re-interpretation of history. NCERT Director Krishna Kumar asserted that the goal of higher education should be to create an opportunity as a result of which a student has a chance of being inducted into a community based on knowledge.

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