Sir Jadunath Sarkar

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Sir Jadunath Sarkar (यदुनाथ सरकार) (10 December 1870 – 19 May 1958) was a prominent Indian Bengali aristocrat and historian.

Life and career[edit]

Jadunath Sarkar
Born 10 December 1870
Karachmaria, Singra, Natore, British India
Died 19 May 1958
Calcutta, India
Occupation Historian
Spouse(s) Kadambini, Lady Sarkar


Born in Karachmaria village, he was the son of Rajkumar Sarkar, the Zamindar of Karachmaria in Natore in Bengal. In 1891, he passed the B.A. examination with honours in English and History from Presidency College, Calcutta. In 1892, he stood First in the First Class in the M.A. examination of Calcutta University in English. In 1897, he received the Premchand-Roychand Scholarship.[1]

He became a teacher in English literature in 1893 at Ripon College, Kolkata (later renamed Surendranath College). In 1898, he started teaching at Presidency College, Calcutta. In 1899, he was transferred to Patna College, Patna, where he would continue teaching until 1926. In between, in 1917-1919, he taught Modern Indian History in Benaras Hindu University and during 1919-1923 he taught in Ravenshaw College, Cuttack, now in Odisha. In 1923, he became an honorary member of the Royal Asiatic Society of London. In August 1926, he was appointed as the Vice Chancellor of Calcutta University. In 1928, he joined as Sir W. Meyer Lecturer in Madras University.

Sarkar was honored by Britain with a Companion of the Order of the Indian Empire CIE and knighted in the 1929 Birthday Honours list.[2] He was invested with his knighthood at Simla by the acting Viceroy, Lord Goschen, on 22 August 1929.[3]

Legacy[edit]

The Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta[4] an autonomous research centre has been located at 10, Lake Terrace, Sarkar's house, from 1973 to 2000. This house was handed over to the state government by Sarkar's wife, Kadambini Sarkar, just before she died. The building now houses the newly established Jadunath Sarkar Resource Centre for Historical Research, which has been established under the aegis of the CSSSC. The Jadunath Bhavan Museum and Resource Centre, a museum-cum-archive was set up at Jadunath Bhavan on 1 February 2015.[5]

Academically, Jos J. L. Gommans compares Sarkar's work with those of the Aligarh historians, noting that while the historians from the Aligarh worked mainly on the mansabdari system and gunpowder technology in the Mughal Empire, Sarkar concentrated on military tactics and sieges.[6] Kaushik Roy notes that the works of Jadunath Sarkar along with those of Jagadish Narayan Sarkar are now "forgotten due to pressure of Marxism and Postmodernism".[7]

Quotes[edit]

  • I would not care whether truth is pleasant or unpleasant, and in consonance with or opposed to current views. I would not mind in the least whether truth is, or is not, a blow to the glory of my country. If necessary, I shall bear in patience the ridicule and slander of friends and society for the sake of preaching truth. But still I shall seek truth, understand truth, and accept truth. This should be the firm resolve of a historian.
    • Quoted in Meenakshi Jain, "Flawed Narratives – History in the old NCERT Textbooks" [1] [archive], And Quoted in R.C. Majumdar, The History and Culture of the Indian People, Vol. 7, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Bombay, 1984, pp. xiii (quoted from a Presidential speech given at a historical conference in Bengal, 1915)
  • No new temple was allowed to be built nor any old one to be repaired, so that the total disappearance of all places of Hindu worship was to be merely a question of time. But even this delay, this slow operation of Time, was intolerable to many of the more fiery spirits of Islam, who tried to hasten the abolition of ‘infidelity’ by anticipating the destructive hand of Time and forcibly pulling down temples.
    • Jadunath Sarkar, History of Aurangzib, Volume III, Calcutta, 1928. [2] [archive]
  • Shivaji proved, by his example, that the Hindu race could build a nation, found a State, defeat its enemies; they could conduct their own defence; they could protect and promote literature and art, commerce and industry; they could maintain navies and ocean going fleets of their own, and conduct naval battles on equal terms with foreigners. He taught the modern Hindus to rise to the full stature of their growth. He demonstrated that the tree of Hinduism was not dead, and that it could put forth new leaves and branches and once again rise up its head to the skies.
    • Sir Jadunath Sarkar Shivaji and His Times, 1919, p. 406
  • The Historian of Shivaji at the end of a careful study of all the records about him in eight different languages, is bound to admit that Shivaji was not only the maker of the Maratha nation, but also the greatest constructive genius of medieval India . States fall, empires break up, dynasties become extinct, but the memory of a true “hero as King” like Shivaji remains an imperishable historical legacy for the entire human race. – The pillar of people’s hope. The center of a world’s desire, to animate the heart, to kindle the imagination, and to inspire the brain of succeeding ages to the highest endeavors.
    • Sir Jadunath Sarkar, House of Shivaji: Studies and Documents on Maratha History, Royal Period, 1955, p. 115
  • Meaning of Jihad is “to exert in the Path of God :” “Islamic theology, therefore, tells the true believer that his highest duly is to make exertion (jihad) in the path of God by waging war against infidel lands (dar-ul-harb) till they become a part of the realm of Islam (dar-ul-Islam). After conquest, the entire infidel population becomes theoretically reduced to the status of slaves of the conquering army (Muslims). The men taken with arms are to be slain or sold into slavery and their wives and children induced to servitude. As for the non-combatants among the vanquished, they are not massacred out right, as the Canon lawyer Shafi declared to the Quranic injunction, it is only to give them a respite till they are so wisely guided as to accept the true taith.
    • The History of Aurangazeb. Vol. 3, pp. 163-164 by Sir Jadunath Sarkar; published by Orient Longman 1972
  • Murder of non-Muslims is a merit : “The murder of infidels (even if they are innocent) is counted a merit in a Muslim. It is not necessary that he (Muslim) should have his own passion or mortify his flesh, it is not necessary for him to grow a rich growth of spirituality. He has only to slay a certain class of his fellow-beings (non-Muslims) or plunder their lands and wealth and this act is itself would raise his (Muslim’s) soul to Heaven. A religion where followers are taught to regard robbery and murder as a religious duty, is incompatible with the progress of manking or with the peace of the world.
    • The History of Aurangazeb. Vol. 3, pp. 161-169 by Sir Jadunath Sarkar; published by Orient Longman 1972
  • No peace between Mohammadan king and neighbouring of infidel states : “According to the Quranic law, there can not be peace between a Mohammedan king and his neighbouring infidel states. The latter are Dar-ul-Harb or legitimate stated for war, and it is the Muslim king’s duty to slay and plunder them (non-Muslims) till they accept the true faith (Islam) and become Dar-ul-Islam. (Land of Muslims alone), after which they will become entitled to his (Muslim king’s) protection.
    • Shivaji and his Times, pages 479-480, by Sir Jadunath Sarkar; published by Orient Longman.

Quotes about Jadunath Sarkar[edit]

  • But his voice remained a voice in the wilderness. Fourteen years later, he [R.C. Majumdar] had to return to the theme and give specific instances of falsification. “It is very sad,” he observed, “that the spirit of perverting history to suit political views is no longer confined to politicians, but has definitely spread even among professional historians… It is painful to mention though impossible to ignore, the fact that there is a distinct and conscious attempt to rewrite the whole chapter of the bigotry and intolerance of the Muslim rulers towards Hindu religion. This was originally prompted by the political motive of bringing together the Hindus and Musalmans in a common fight against the British but has continued ever since. A history written under the auspices of the Indian National Congress sought to repudiate the charge that the Muslim rulers broke Hindu temples, and asserted that they were the most tolerant in matters of religion. Following in its footsteps, a noted historian has sought to exonerate Mahmud of Ghazni’s bigotry and fanaticism, and several writers in India have come forward to defend Aurangzeb against Jadunath Sarkar’s charge of religious intolerance. It is interesting to note that in the revised edition of the Encyclopaedia of Islam, one of them, while re-writing the article on Aurangzeb originally written by William Irvine, has expressed the view that the charge of breaking Hindu temples brought against Aurangzeb is a disputed point. Alas for poor Jadunath Sarkar, who must have turned in his grave if he were buried. For, after reading his History of Aurangzib, one would be tempted to ask, if the temple-breaking policy of Aurangzeb is a disputed point, is there a single fact in the whole recorded history of mankind which may be taken as undisputed? A noted historian has sought to prove that the Hindu population was better off under the Muslims than under the Hindu tributaries or independent rulers.”


Publications[edit]

Books[edit]

Edited books[edit]

  • Later Mughals by William Irvine (in 2 volumes), (1922)
  • Edited, translated and compiled the collection of Mirza Raja Jai Singh I's letters titled Haft Anjuman.
  • Maasir-i- Alamgiri [5] [archive]

References[edit]

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  1. Encyclopædia Britannica: Sir Jadunath Sarkar [archive]
  2. The London Gazette, 3 June 1929 [archive]
  3. "Viewing Page 6245 of Issue 33539" [archive]. London-gazette.co.uk. 1929-10-01. Retrieved 2014-03-26.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta [archive]
  5. Jadunath Bhavan Museum and Resource Centre [archive]
  6. Jos J. L. Gommans (2002). Mughal Warfare: Indian Frontiers and Highroads to Empire, 1500-1700 [archive]. Psychology Press. p. 1. ISBN 978-0-415-23989-9.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Kaushik Roy (2004). India's Historic Battles: From Alexander the Great to Kargil [archive]. Orient Blackswan. p. 10. ISBN 978-81-7824-109-8.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Sarkar, Jadunath (1912). History of Aurangzib [archive]. M. C. Sarkar & Sons. Retrieved 31 August 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

Further reading[edit]


  • A Textbook of Historiography, 500 B.C. to A.D. 2000 E. Sreedharan

External links[edit]