The Ramayana, the Mahabharata and the
Puranas are, according to the tradition, the history books of ancient
Indian history. The tradition was unanimously in vogue till the end of the 18th
century, when Sir William Jones, a pioneer among the British scholars, started
to study ancient Indian history from the Bhagavata Purana. Prior to that, it was
ordained for the kings and the administrators to devote some time everyday to
study this history. Even the rishis used to read it. Inference can be
drawn from this, that in those days, the science of historiography must have
advanced to such an extent that it had created confidence among the scholars
about its effectivity to develop ordinary men into those with capital M.
Personalities like Shivaji were the products of the developed historiography.
History used to be studied along with the Vedic literature. It had a place in
the educational curriculum.