How, When and Where Class 8 History Chapter 1 Explanation

How, When and Where Class 8 History Chapter 1 Explanation, Question Answers

How, When and Where Class 8 History Chapter 1 with detailed explanation of the chapter ‘How, When and Where‘ along with question answers. Given here is the complete explanation of the chapter and all the exercises, Questions and Answers given at the back of the chapter.

Class 8 History – Chapter 1

How, When and Where

In this chapter, we will discuss that why we study history and why it is so important to remember the dates and the happenings of past of the different parts of the world. So, let’s start our chapter.

How, When and Where Class 8 Video Explanation

How important are dates

Have you ever thought why the dates are so important? Remembering dates is not an easy job. Moreover, it is not even an interesting task for many of us but have you ever thought why we need to remember dates or why we should study history?

Well, anything which we see happening in our surroundings must have begun on someday. For example, we drink tea or coffee but how did it become part of our dietary habit and when it first came into use by man. Not only this, we all must have traveled by train so when did trains start in India. Such questions take us back to the notion of dates and time but time is not always precise. Sometimes, we even don’t know about the exact date or time of that particular happening.

Why we can’t fix a particular date?

We can’t fix a particular date because many of the things happen over a stretch of time. We know that Britishers came to India in 1608 and then they started ruling India from 1757, but do we know the exact date of the year 1757 on which they started ruling? Similarly, if we move back to the example of tea, do we know the exact date on which Indians started drinking tea? That is why it is not possible to fix date for each and every event.

Now the question why we associate dates with history?

It is because in early times, the court historians use to record only the crucial events of a king’s life such as his coronation, marriage and the battles fought by him. So, now we know why dates are important.

Here a question arises that which dates are important?

A date doesn’t become important if something big happened on that day in the past but it gains its significance on the basis of how much keen we are to study the events which happened during a particular time. If our focus changes, the importance of the dates also changes. Let’s take an example the British historians began their history with the first governor general of Bengal Warren Hastings and it continues up to the last viceroy of India Lord Mountbatten. Their history mainly focuses on the activities, policies and the lifestyle of these men. It does not talk about anything else. Here what I want to say is that some other events were also happening at that time in India within the society but nothing was put on record for them. So, the chronology (sequence) of the lives of these British officers marks a different chapter of British history. So, can we write history covering the events which were related to Indian society within the format of the British governor generals?

Yes, we can and for this we have to write it in a sequence so that it not only sounds like a story but also the one with sense. In the process of writing the whole story with a shift in the subject we would be in a need of some new set of dates making the old dates less significant and thus a new set of dates will become important. So for that we have to periodise those events.

How do we periodise?

In 1817 James Mill a Scottish economist and political philosopher wrote three volumes named ‘A history of British India’ following were the contents of his book:

  • History was divide into three categories namely Hindu, Muslims, British on the basis of the rulers of different period.
  • According to Mill, all  Asian societies were at a lower level than the European civilization.
  • According to him Hindu and Muslim rulers had ruled India and there was huge intolerance against the religion of each other.
  • Some Social evils were also present such as caste system, superstitious beliefs etc.
  • According to him it was necessary to introduce European education and manners to them for their upliftment.

Do you think that such an idea can be accepted? First of all we cannot categories Indian history as totally a Hindu history or Muslim history as rulers from both the religions had ruled within the same period of time. Moreover, many other faiths also existed in India simultaneously with Hindu and Muslim religion and they all were practicing their faiths freely. Moving away from the British classification, the historians have divided Indian history into ancient, medieval and modern but this categorization also has some problems. Generally, when we talk about modern period, it denotes the growth of science and technology and also the freedom, liberty and equality to the citizens of that society but during the rule of Britishers there were no such rights given to the Indian citizens rather they were forced by Britishers for one thing or another moreover Britishers took away all the resources and wealth away from India. Thus many of the historians treat it as a ‘colonial’ period.

What is Colonial?

In this book we will study how Britishers established their rule in India and took control over all the territories, revenue and resources of our country. They forced Indians to sell their goods at low prices and made them produce the crops they needed. The Britishers also brought change in our culture, customs, economy and tastes. All these things refer to colonization of India. So, now the question arises how we know about all the happenings and their time period. Let’s get to know this.

How do we know?

Historians rely on different sources for writing history such as:

Administration Records

One of the important sources is the records of the British administration. The Britishers were of a view that each and every policy and agreement should be recorded so that it could be studied and debated if needed. This led to an administrative culture of writing memos, reports etc.

Record rooms were maintained within the office of tahsildars, commissioner’s office and law courts. Specialized institutions like archives and museums were made in order to preserve important records.

Calligraphists the one who writes beautifully were also appointed in order to copy the important documents.

Surveys become important  The practice of survey became very important during the time of Britishers. They wanted to know India in order to administer it properly. So, they conducted detailed survey for following reasons:

  • To map out India
  • To know the soil quality to check the sutiability for different crops
  • To know the flora and fauna
  • To know the local histories

Some of the surveys conducted were as follows:

  • Botanical Survey
  • Archaeological Survey
  • Forest Survey
  • Zoological Survey

So, what we can say is that we can get a lot of information from the surveys conducted by the Britishers but were these sufficient to serve as a source to know the history of India let’s see.

What official records do not tell?

No doubt we get a good amount of information from these surveys but we should know that these surveys were recorded according to the point of view of the officers. In order to know what other people of the country felt and the reasons behind their actions we need to look for other sources such as:

  • Diaries of people
  • Autobiographies
  • Account of pilgrims and travelers
  • Popular booklets
  • Newspapers
  • Ideas of leaders, poets, and social reformers.

All these serve as a good source to write the history

mapping and survey by the britishers in bengal

Source: NCERT

How, When and Where NCERT Book Solutions

State whether True or False

  1. James Mill divided Indian history into three periods Hindu, Muslim and Christian.
  2. Official documents help us what the people of the country think.
  3. The British thought surveys were important for effective administration.


  1. false
  2. false
  3. true

Question Answers

Q1. What is the problem with the periodization of Indian history that James Mill offers?

A. In his massive three volume work known as ‘A history of British India’ James Mill divided the Indian history into Hindu, Muslim and British. He laid emphasis on the upliftment of society which was introduced by the Britishers in India. According to him there was religious intolerance, caste taboos, superstitious beliefs, darkness etc. However this division was problematic for many reasons. A variety of faiths existed apart from Hinduism and Islam. Even the rulers of ancient India did not share the same faith.

Q2. Why did the British preserve the official documents?

A. The Britishers were of the view that written documents should be maintained. Every instruction, plan and agreement was written properly and clearly in order to study and debate on it. Such documents could also be used for future reference.

Q3. How will the information historians get from newspapers be different from that found in police reports?

A. In order to write history we have to go through various sources of history such as autobiographies, newspapers, magazines, police reports, etc. The difference we find in police reports and newspapers is that police reports describe about the administration setup during that time but with the business of perception of the officer. Whereas the newspapers describe about the real happenings of that time. Here also one finds the perception of the writer against the administration which could be both positive and negative.