A HISTORY OF INDIA
Mirza Firuz Shah
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Akbar III 1948-2012
R. I. Moore
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Royal Mughal Ref:
There is nothing new in the attempt to understand history as a whole. To know how humanity began and how it has come to its present condition is one of the oldest and most universal of human needs, expressed in the religious and philosophical systems of every civilization. But only in the last few decades has it begun to appear both necessary and possible to meet that need by means of a rational and systematic appraisal of current knowledge. Until the middle of the nineteenth century History itself was generally treated as a subordinate branch of other fields of learning, of literature, rhetoric, law, philosophy or religion. When historians began to establish its independence as a field of scholarship in its own right, with its own subject matter and its own rules and methods, they made it in practice not the attempt to achieve a comprehensive account of the human past, but the history of western Europe and of the societies created by European expansion and colonization. In laying the scholarly foundations of their discipline they also reinforced the Enlightenment’s belief in the advance of ‘ civilization ’ (and, more recently, of ‘ western civilization ’ ), and made it, with relatively minor regional variation, the basis of the teaching of history almost everywhere for most of the twentieth
century. Research and teaching of the histories of other parts of the world developed mainly in the context of area studies like those of ancient Greece and Rome, dominated by philology, and conducted through the exposition of the canonical texts of their respective languages. World history as such remained the province of thinkers and writers principally interested in constructing theoretical or metaphysical systems. Only towards the very end of the century did the community of academic historians begin to recognize world history as a proper and even urgent field for the application of their knowledge and skills.
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