Tracing Changes Through a Thousand Years

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Chapter 1
Tracing Changes Through a Thousand Years
 Maps
 Maps are an important source of information regarding historical changes.  The degrees of accuracy of maps, such as those from twelfth century to eighteenth century, indicate the advances in knowledge and the information available to the people living in those times.

 Changes in names of geographical places can also be traced through historical maps. The context of the information available in the maps is also important.  Difference in meaning of terminologies

 The significance, usage and meanings of terminologies change over time.  In thirteenth century, the word Hindustan, used by Minhaj-i Siraj, meant the areas of Punjab, Haryana and lands between the Ganga and Yamuna. In modern times, the same word denotes the modern nation-state of India in its entirety.

 The context changed from geographical and cultural to political.  In modern context, foreigner means a person who is not Indian. During the medieval period, a foreigner was any stranger who appeared in a village or city. It referred to a person who was not a part of that society or culture.  Historians and their sources

 Different types of sources are used by historians to learn about the past, depending on the period being studied and the nature of the investigation.  The major sources of historical information are coins, architecture, inscriptions and textual records.

 The period from 700 AD to 1750 AD saw an increase in the number of textual records. The reason was easy availability of paper and its low cost.  It enabled people to write holy texts, chronicles, letters and teachings of saints, petitions, judicial records, and registers of accounts and taxes. These slowly replaced the older sources of information.

 Wealthy people, rulers, monasteries and temples collected manuscripts which were placed in libraries and archives.
 Manuscripts still had to be copied manually. Variations in handwritten copies of the same...
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