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Jadunath Sarkar

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Jadunath Sarkar
Sarkar, 1927[1]
Born10 December 1870
Died19 May 1958 (aged 87)
Calcutta, West Bengal, India
SpouseLady Kadambini Sarkar

Sir Jadunath Sarkar, CIE, FRAS (10 December 1870 – 19 May 1958) was a prominent Indian historian and a specialist on the Mughal dynasty.

Sarkar was educated in English literature, worked as a teacher for some period of time but later shifted his focus history research writing. He had vast knowledge of Persian language and all his books he wrote in English. He was vice-chancellor (VC) of University of Calcutta from 1926–1928 and a member of Bengal Legislative Council between 1929–1932. In 1929 the British knighted him.[2]

Academic career[edit]

Sarkar was born in Karachmaria village in Natore, in a Bengali Kayastha[3][4] family to Rajkumar Sarkar, the local Zamindar on 10 December 1870.[5] In 1891, he graduated in English from Presidency College, Calcutta.[5] In 1892, he topped the Master of Arts examination, in English at Calcutta University and in 1897, he received the Premchand-Roychand Scholarship.[5]

In 1893, he was inducted as a faculty of English literature at Ripon College, Calcutta (later renamed Surendranath College).[5] In 1898, he was appointed at Presidency College, Calcutta after getting selected in the Provincial Education Services.[5] In between, from 1917 to 1919, he taught modern Indian history in Benaras Hindu University and from 1919 to 1923, both English and history, at Ravenshaw College, Cuttack.[5] 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.



He has been called the "greatest Indian historian of his time" and one of the greatest in the world, whose erudite works "have established a tradition of honest and scholarly historiography" by E. Sreedharan.[6] He has also been compared with Theodor Mommsen and Leopold von Ranke.[6] Arthur Llewellyn Basham calls him "the greatest Indian historian of his generation.".[7] He has also been described as "a star historian of modern India on medieval Indian history, who brilliantly caught the spirit of the age and devoted himself to the neglected field of Indian historiography."[8] He has also been appreciated as "unquestionably the greatest Indian historian of his time and one of the greatest in the world".[9]

Sarkar's works faded out of public memory, with the increasing advent of Marxist and postcolonial schools of historiography.[10]

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.[11]

Jadunath sarkar

His treatment of Shivaji Maharaj was however criticised by N.S.Takakhav; as "his sympathies lay with the Moguls and the commanders of Mogul empire and the British factors of Surat and Rajapur.[12]


Sarkar was honoured by Britain with a Companion of the Order of the Indian Empire CIE and knighted in the 1929 Birthday Honours list.[13] He was invested with his knighthood at Simla by the acting Viceroy, Lord Goschen, on 22 August 1929.[14]


The Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta, an autonomous research center, has been established in his house, which was donated to the state government by Sarkar's wife. CSSC also houses the Jadunath Bhavan Museum and Resource Centre, a museum-cum-archive of primary sources.[15]

List of works[edit]

Published works by Sarkar include:

  • Economics of British India (1900)
  • The India of Aurangzib (1901)
  • Anecdotes of Aurangzib (1912)
  • History of Aurangzib (in 5 volumes), (1912–24)
  • Chaitanya's pilgrimages and teachings, from his contemporary Bengali biography, the Chaitanya-charit-amrita: Madhya-lila (translation from the Bengali original by Krishnadasa Kaviraja, 1913)
  • Shivaji and his Times (1919)
  • Studies in Mughal India (1919)[16]
  • Mughal Administration (1920)[16]
  • Nadir Shah in India (1922)
  • Later Mughals by William Irvine (in 2 volumes), (edited by Jadunath Sarkar, 1922)
  • India through the ages (1928)
  • A Short History of Aurangzib (1930)
  • The Fall of the Mughal Empire (in 4 volumes), (1932–38)
  • Studies in Aurangzib's reign (1933)
  • The House of Shivaji (1940)
  • The History of Bengal (in 2 volumes), (1943–1948)
  • Maāsir-i-ʻĀlamgiri: a history of the emperor Aurangzib-ʻl̀amgir (translation from the Persian original by Muḥammad Sāqī Mustaʻidd Khān, 1947)[17]
  • Military History of India (1960)
  • A History of Jaipur, c. 1503–1938 (1984)[18]
  • A History Of Dasnami Naga Sanyasis


  1. ^ Chakrabarty 2015, p. ii.
  2. ^ "Sir Jadunath Sarkar". Encyclopædia Britannica.
  3. ^ Bellenoit, Hayden J. (17 February 2017). The Formation of the Colonial State in India: Scribes, Paper and Taxes, 1760-1860. Taylor & Francis. p. 14. ISBN 978-1-134-49429-3.
  4. ^ Kumar, Dr R. K. Bhatt & Mr Manish (10 September 2021). Development of Social Sciences: A Librarians Companion. K.K. Publications. p. 152.
  5. ^ a b c d e f "Sarkar, Jadunath". Banglapedia. 19 March 2015. Archived from the original on 8 June 2020. Retrieved 30 November 2019.
  6. ^ a b A Textbook of Historiography, 500 B.C. to A.D. 2000, E. Sreedharan, p. 448
  7. ^ Basham, A. L. “Sir Jadunath Sarkar, C.I.E.” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, no. 3/4, 1958, pp. 222–24. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/25202199. Accessed 17 Feb. 2024.
  8. ^ Jha, Ajay Kumar. “PROFILE OF A HISTORIAN: SIR JADUNATH SARKAR (1870-1958).” Proceedings of the Indian History Congress, vol. 65, 2004, pp. 880–90. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/44144800. Accessed 17 Feb. 2024.
  9. ^ Moumita Datta. SIR JADUNATH SARKAR. p. 11 [1]. Sir Jadunath was unquestionably the greatest Indian historian of his time and one of the greatest in the world, Naturally, therefore, his powerful personality and erudite works could not fail to exert great influence on contemporary scholars and historians. There was hardly any sensitive an honest worker in the field of medieval Indian history who could remain immune from this healthy influence in some way or other, directly or indirectly.
  10. ^ Kaushik Roy (2004). India's Historic Battles: From Alexander the Great to Kargil. Orient Blackswan. p. 10. ISBN 978-81-7824-109-8.
  11. ^ Jos J. L. Gommans (2002). Mughal Warfare: Indian Frontiers and Highroads to Empire, 1500-1700. Psychology Press. p. 1. ISBN 978-0-415-23989-9.
  12. ^ https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.63318
  13. ^ The London Gazette, 3 June 1929
  14. ^ "Viewing Page 6245 of Issue 33539". London-gazette.co.uk. 1 October 1929. Retrieved 26 March 2014.
  15. ^ "In the memory of Jadunath Sarkar". The Telegraph. Retrieved 30 November 2019.
  16. ^ a b Moreland, W. H. (July 1921). "Studies in Mughal India by Jadunath Sarkar; Mughal Administration by Jadunath Sarkar". The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. 3 (3): 438–439. JSTOR 25209765.
  17. ^ Davies, C. Collin (April 1949). "Maāsir-i-'Ālamgīrī of Sāqī Must'ad Khān by Jadunath Sarkar". The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. 1 (1): 104–106. doi:10.1017/S0035869X00102692. JSTOR 25222314.
  18. ^ Smith, John D. (1985). "Jadunath Sarkar: A History of Jaipur, c. 1503-1938". Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. 48 (3): 620. doi:10.1017/S0041977X00039343. JSTOR 618587. S2CID 161804789.


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