It is well known that almost all the north Indian languages and dialects came to be literized during the ‘medieval’ period. While the circumstances under which each found its ‘written’ avatar might differ, why the earliest traces of the languages clustered around the period between the 12th and the 15th centuries is an unresolved question of history. An apparently unrelated issue is the fact that the modern craft of historiography has now acquired an almost unrecognizable form when compared to those of the pre- and early modern period of history. What are the ways in which we understand the historiographic practices in that period? While it is easily asserted that Indians also had (a tradition of) history, it is not always clear as to how that tradition developed. The question of languages of history is as important as the problem of history of languages.
Dr Pankaj Jha was educated mostly in the University of Delhi and the University of Texas, USA where he spent a year as a Fulbright scholar. He has published research papers in English and Hindi in national and international journals. Languages he has worked with include Persian, Sanskrit, Hindi, Maithili and Apabhraṃśa. His book entitled A Political History of Literature was published by Oxford University Press in 2019. In 2020 appeared his co-edited book, Servants’ Pasts, a first of its kind study that traces the history of domestic servants in north
India. He is also the Managing Editor of probably the best-known international journal of Indian history, The Indian Economic and Social History Review. Having taught in various institutions including Ramjas College and St. Stephen’s College, he is presently teaching Early Modern Histories of India and Europe at LSR College for Women.