Class 8 Social Science History Chapter 1 | How, When And Where | Important Questions

Here are important questions from NCERT Class 8 History Chapter 1 How, When and Where.

1. Why do we continue to associate history with a string of dates?

In the past, historians were fascinated by dates. Their histories were an account of battles and major events like the coronation of kings. They wrote about rulers and their policies. For example, they often wrote about the year in which a king was crowned or the year in which he died and another king succeeded them. Specifying the dates is important for all such events.

2. How is history written?

When we write history, we divide it into chapters. This is done to give each chapter some coherence and tell the story in a way that makes some sense. When writing history, the focus is on events that help us to shape the story we are telling. For example, in the history of British Governor-Generals, the activities of Indians have no place.

3. Who is the author of A History of British India?

James Mill

4. Who was the Scottish economist and political philosopher who wrote A History of British India?

James Mill

5. How did James Mill divide Indian history?

He divided Indian history into three periods – Hindu, Muslim and British

6. What was the problem with dividing Indian history into Hindu, Muslim and British?

This division was problematic in many ways. First, a variety of faiths existed simultaneously in all of these periods and hence it was wrong to refer to any period as Hindu or Muslim. Also, James Mill who wrote A History of British India believed that before the British came, India was ruled Hindu and Muslim despots. His account of India focused on religious intolerance, caste taboos and superstitious practices. He believed that establishing British rule was essential to civilize Indians. Needless to say, in his history of India, the British represented all the forces of progress and civilization and the period before British rule was one of darkness. This was not true because much more advanced civilisations had existed in India long before the British came. Also, the British rule was not one of enlightenment and happiness for Indians. Rather it was the opposite.

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7. How is Indian history usually divided?

Indian history is usually divided into ancient, medieval and modern.

8. What was the problem with classifying Indian history as ancient, medieval and modern?

This periodization was borrowed from the West where the modern period was associated with economic growth, scientific development and establishment of democracy, equality and liberty. Medieval was a period when these features of modern society did not exist. In India, however, this modern history corresponds with British rule and under their rule, Indians did not enjoy equality, liberty or freedom. Nor was the country economically progressing under the British rule. Hence, it is not correct to classify this period as modern.

9. Why do many historians refer to the period of British rule as colonial?

The period of British rule is referred to as colonial because the British established control over the country, its economy and society. They collected revenue from people to meet their expenses, bought goods at cheap prices and produced crops for export. All of these practices ruined the economic and social progress of India. Hence, this period is referred to as colonial period.

10. What is colonization?

When the subjugation of one country by another country leads to political, economic, social and cultural changes that hurt the progress of a nation and affects the freedom and liberty of its people, this process is referred to as colonization.

11. How do we know about our history?

One of the most important sources of information about our recent history is administrative records. The British believed in writing down every decision, agreement, plan or policy and thus produced a culture of memos, notes and reports. In order to preserve these records, they set up record rooms attached to all administrative institutions. They also built archives and museums to preserve records. From these records we can learn about the last 250 years of our history.

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12. Who are calligraphists?

These are professionals who specialize in the art of beautiful writing.

13. Where is the National Archives of India located?

New Delhi

14. Why did the British conducted detailed surveys?

The British believed that the country had to be properly known before it could be administered effectively. Hence, they conducted revenue surveys with the objective of understanding topography, soil quality, flora, fauna, and cropping patterns. They also conducted botanical, zoological, archeological and anthropological surveys. By the end of 19th century, they started holding census surveys every 10 years.

15. Why can’t we get a complete picture of our recent past from official records?

Official records only tell us what the officials thought were important. They do not tell us what people in the country felt or why they acted in certain ways.

16. Apart from official records what are the other sources of information about our history?

Diaries of people, accounts of pilgrims and travelers, biographies of important personalities, newspapers and popular booklets are all good sources of information about our past.

17. The British held census operations every ………………………..

10 years

18. The National Archives of India were built in ……………………………


19. Who was the first Governor General of India?

Warren Hastings

20. When did Warren Hastings become the Governor General of India?


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