The examination of primary sources can be a very valuable research method because in this way, historians can gain better insights into the experiences of people who lived during a certain historical period. For instance, it is possible to study the book named Ardhakathānaka or Half a Tale written by the poet Banarasidas who portrayed various aspects of religious, social, and political life in the country.
We will write a custom Essay on India Political Conflicts in the XVII Century specifically for you
301 certified writers online
This text is considered to be the first autobiography ever written in the Indian language. This book can highlight the most common concerns of people living in India at the beginning of the seventeenth century. This paper is aimed at examining such topics as government as well as law and order. In particular, one should examine the role of political conflicts on everyday life of citizens. This issue can be better examined by looking at people’s response to the news about the death of Emperor Akbar.
This detail is particularly important because it suggests that political conflicts such as wars of succession could be very disasterous; moreover, they could threaten the survival of many people because the preservation of law and order was not always possible during this political turmoil. These are the main questions that should be discussed more closely.
The response to the death of the emperor
The influence of political conflicts on the life of the community
It should be noted that the Emperor Akbar died in1605 and his rule was associated with the strengthening of the Mughal Dynasty (Testa 5). In particular, one should speak about the economic growth and significant expansion of its territory. The response to his death seems to be rather surprising to modern people. The author describes people’s behavior in the following way, “The whole town was in a tremor. Everyone closed the doors of his house in panic; shop-keepers shut down their shops” (Banarasidas 38).
To a great extent, this reaction can be explained by the fact that the residents of the town were afraid of the possible political turmoil that could follow the death of the emperor. More importantly, they believed that criminals could do almost anything with impunity because the law and order could not be maintained by the state.
Therefore, the death of the monarch could be perceived as a great tragedy that could endanger people who did not even want to be involved in the possible conflict. This is one of the details that can be singled out because it is important for explaining the behavior of the town residents.
The preservation of law and order
At that time, many people tried to hide the signs of their wealth. The author describes their behavior in the following way, “Rich men took to wearing thick, rough clothes such as are worn by the poor, in order to conceal their status” (Banarasidas 38). This example is also very eloquent because it indicates that people could be afraid of losing their possessions as well as their lives. So, they did not want to attract the attention of potential robbers who might decide to seize other people’s property.
Admittedly, this behavior may seem to be rather unfounded to the modern readers of Banarasidas’s autobiography. Nevertheless, these people were fully aware about the dangers of the power struggles in the country. This is one of the issues that should be taken into consideration.
The main issue is that there were no armed robbers in the town, and there were no sufficient reasons for this panic; however, the very expectation of the political turmoil dreaded many people. This detail attracts the attention of Banarasidas. They believed that the struggle for the crown could leave them defenseless against criminals. This is one of the reasons why they procured arms in order to protect themselves (Banarasidas 39). Thus, it is possible to argue that they could not put much trust in the efficiency of the state, especially at the time of the political crisis. Thus, the functioning of the state was rather imperfect.
More importantly, people were able to calm down only at the time, when they learned that the war of succession did not break out. Furthermore, the accession of the new monarch was welcomed even though people did not necessarily know much about the policies that he could pursue.
Thus, in their opinion, the absence of a king could make them even more vulnerable. It is quite possible that these people could know about the dangers of political unrest in the country. This is why they accepted the new king without questioning. At that time, their logic could be quite understandable.
Overall, it is possible to say that Emperor Akbar could be perceived as the only safeguard against the possible chaos. One should not suppose that he was idolized by people described by Banarasidas. Nevertheless, his shortcomings could be outweighed by the ensuing political turmoil which could pose a threat to every person regardless of his/her religious affiliation or political beliefs. This is one of the details that should be taken into account by the readers of this autobiography.
This discussion indicates that Banarasidas’ autobiography can be a valuable source for the study of India at the beginning of the seventeenth century. Admittedly, this text is influenced by the subjectivity of the author. However, his description can throw light on the way in which people could perceive the state and governmental institutions. Therefore, the study of primary sources can be of great use to historians who examine this period.
Therefore, it is possible to argue that political conflicts could have profound implications of the life of many people. In many cases, these events could imperil their survival and economic sustainability. Furthermore, the descriptions provided by Banarasidas shows that the political structure of the society was very unstable, because in many cases, it depended on a single person such as Emperor Akbar.
Get your first paper with 15% OFF
Moreover, political conflicts could easily undermine the ability of the state to protect the citizens from criminals. Overall, Banarasidas’s autobiography can be a valuable source for the study of India and its history. These are the main details that can be distinguished.
Banarasidas, The Ardhakathanaka, in Mukund Lath, ed., Half a Tale: A Study in the Interrelationship Between Autobiography and History (Jaipur: Rajasthan Prakit Bharati Sansthan, 1981), pp. 1-97. Print.
Testa, David. Government Leaders, Military Rulers and Political Activists, New York: Routledge, 2014. Print.