Prof. Shashi Bhushan Upadhyay
Prof. Shashi Bhushan Upadhyay, Professor of History at Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), started his lecture with an introduction of the history, and how history is being portrayed in media. He was of the opinion that China has better historical traditions which makes a huge difference in their approaches to study history.
Prof. Upadhyay said that history didn’t originate in Greece, rather in the Middle East and Mesopotamia civilisation. The approaches and methods are different when it comes to decoding the past events in various cultures and societies. While delineating various other methods of relating to the past, Prof. Upadhyay was of the opinion that history is not the only way of doing so.
Besides, he emphasised on various types of sources to write history. He said that in the discipline of history, there is no chance of creating a source, since historians while decoding the past are completely dependent on sources left by others.
He also enumerated various types of sources falling under the gamut of primary, secondary and hybrid. Being nearest to the event in time and space, Prof. Upadhyay stated that primary sources are the most reliable sources in historicial research. He also tried to uncover the other side of the story by asserting that despite the aforementioned facts of the primary sources, one shouldn’t treat them as the most authentic sources because their creation is directly related to the interpretation of the creator. Nothing is absolute. Similarly, secondary sources are those which are written or elicited based on the primary sources. In the same way, hybrid source is a kind of primary source based on a particular problem and method which a researcher might use for a particular study.
Stating that there are different ways and means to trace already occurred events and mythology, Prof. Upadhyay said that popular memory remains to be one of the important methods to study history. He also revealed that collaborative evidence may help to legitimise the authenticity of events and facts.
Further, talking about bias in historical research, he stated that research is surrounded with all sorts of pre-conceived idea and assumptions. Bias is always there whenever one tries to decode or encode something. The researcher should try to minimise the bias for a logical and credible conclusion.