Nach seinem Wechsel ans College in Patna wechselte er  ins Fach Geschichte, das er bis zu seiner Pensionierung im Jahr lehrte. So lebte der Historiker A. Sarkar hat Indien nie verlassen. Sarkar starb im hohen Alter von 87 Jahren. The structure he has given to the decline and fall of the Mughal Empire in his account, with some modifications, has remained intact. The picture of the individual Mughal and Maratha nobles moving towards their final destiny like the characters of a Greek tragedy against the background of the decline, with all their personal conflicts, cowardice, heroism and self-sacrifice, so ably created by Jadunath, has remained unsurpassed even to this day.
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It is, however, unusual to be enthralled by a work centred on the lives of historians. Of course, there are exceptions. In recent years, there have been at least three delightful studies of the chequered life and the works of AJP Taylor, a hugely popular historian and compelling speaker who was denied high academic honours because he was seen a bit too frequently on TV. There has also been a delightful biography of Hugh Trevor-Roper, an incorrigible snob whose formidable reputation suffered when he authenticated the forged Hitler diaries.
Someone has also written a voluminous and over-detailed biography of Eric Hobsbawm but because the reviews have been so negative, I have not bothered with it. In India, however, we have not thought historians to be worthy subjects of study. This is largely because their lives were predictable. And, as Henry Kissinger famously said once, the politics of the senior common rooms tend to be the most vicious because the stakes are so small. I read the book leisurely and over a span of three weeks, in between negotiating the controversies over the Citizenship Amendment Act.
Normally, if I fail to complete a book in, say, a week, it gets overtaken by something else. Not this one. Despite the imperfections of time management—inevitable in my present life in politics—I actually went through the entire book because it was absolutely fascinating. It suffered from a lamentable paucity of reviews.
He was also obsessed with character and attributed the decline of the Moghul Empire to the declining personal standards of the monarch and the nobility. Finally, outside the world of history, he was an uninhibited Empire loyalist and believed that India needed to wait another 50 years before it secured independence.
Predictably, after Independence, Sarkar was never honoured by the state with a Padma award. Yet, there was another dimension of Sarkar that Raghavan has detailed: his seminal role in tracing and recovering historical documents that would otherwise have been lost to posterity. Indians, by and large, have been rather casual about the details of historical events, preferring either a grand sweep or relying excessively on oral tradition.
Sarkar was a complete fusspot when it came to details, even if it argued against the flow of the grand narrative. To him, it mattered to find out the exact spot of a battle, even when it meant cross-checking casual references in some long-forgotten despatch. This December will be the th birth anniversary of the man who was the pioneer in the study of the later Moghuls.
He was not honoured by post-Independence India and this is the year to remember him. I feel that a section of the National Archives should bear his name.
Books by Jadunath Sarkar
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. 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.
Honouring Jadunath Sarkar
Sir Jadunath Sarkar