Evidence means ‘proof’. Giving the definition of evidence, Rainier has written – ‘Any object that can be proved in the question and answer of an investigator related to an incident, it can be called evidence.’ According to the Oxford Encyclopedia, “Evidence is that graph which can prove to be helpful in obtaining knowledge related to past or present-tense events.”
In this way it can be said that ‘The graph which obtains systematic knowledge of an event is called evidence and the graph is the focal point of the event from where the gatherer of the evidence begins his work.’
Evidence is not investigated but discovered. The interpretation of facts by the historian is done on the basis of evidence only. Evidence based explanation is considered best. In the absence of confirmation by evidence, historical fact cannot be accepted. In order to get the information of the past, new evidence is constantly searched.
The depiction of the past is based on evidence. The historian is constantly in search of new evidence to authenticate his writings. Contemporary history is created to answer the questions of each generation in the context of new evidence. This is called ‘evidence-analysis’. Evidences are analyzed and given sequentially. then it is presented
It is not necessary that all the evidence is correct, so many evidences are analyzed for the authenticity of the evidence. Sometimes even direct evidence turns out to be false. For example- Abul Fazal’s statement regarding the suicide of Bhagwan Das, the king of Kashmir. Although the statement is based on direct evidence, it was found to be false after analysis. According to Abul Fazl, King Bhagwan Das tried to commit suicide due to mental imbalance, but this description is wrong. King Bhagwan Das had assured security to the Sultan of Kashmir. But when the Multan of Kashmir was presented to Akbar, Akbar took the Sultan as a prisoner, disregarding the commitment of Bhagwan Das. Unable to bear this, Bhagwan Das tried to kill himself.
In the process of evidence analysis, answers to certain fundamental questions are presented through events. Information about when, why, how and in what form the incident happened is obtained from various sources. Efforts are made to confirm it on the basis of evidence so that the incident can be proved authentic. Ancient evidence is reevaluated and analyzed on the basis of new evidence. Interpretation of facts in historical perspective should mean systematic description based on evidence. Yes. R. Elton has emphasized the acceptance of historical facts based on the interpretation of evidence. According to Clarke, facts should not be accepted as they are, but they should be confirmed by evidence. ,
Evidence in the absence of historian and historian is useless in the absence of evidence, the only goal of evidence-analysis is a clear presentation of complete knowledge about the past. In evidence-analysis, it is the responsibility of the historian to eliminate the objectivity of the evidence and establish objectivity.
Basic Elements of Evidence Analysis
Evidence-analysis is very important for the authenticity of the evidence. This evidence analysis is done on the following grounds-
1. Difficult Jump –
To prove the authenticity of one evidence, other evidence is required. Finding the relevant and necessary evidence is a difficult task, which is termed as an ‘insurmountable leap’. The collection of evidence requires a great deal of effort.
2. Acceptance of Evidence—
Only those evidences which are proved to be completely true are kept in the category of ‘proof’. Here proof means ‘certified’. Acceptance of evidence means ‘certified evidence’ or ‘certified evidence’. Evidence-acceptance is indispensable in evidence analysis.
3. Inference –
Historical conclusion is not conclusive like science but it is probabilistic. The scientist proves the accuracy of his conclusion many times in the laboratory, whereas the conclusion of the historian is inferential or probabilistic on the basis of evidence. Collingwood has called this a ‘historical conjecture’.
4. Knowledge of the Event—
In the absence of complete knowledge of the incident, it is not possible to search and evaluate the evidence. The past event should be presented in its true form. Therefore, complete information about the incident is essential. ,
5. Memory – Evidence—
Being indirect, memory cannot be called evidence, but it is helpful in evidence-analysis. If a person says that he wrote a letter to such a person, then it is an indirect evidence. But when he presents a reply to the letter (which he has received), it is said to be direct evidence. This direct evidence can be used in history. In such a situation, the letter sent earlier will prove helpful in the form of memory evidence.
6. Scissor and Paste History-
In the early stages of historiography, historians kept the facts as they were because they were unfamiliar with the modern methods of analysis. To give proper place to the facts in history has been termed as ‘scissors and gum’ method. Analytical historians such as Elton, Clark and Scott and historians loyal to the scientific disciplines opposed this method. According to Collingwood, “The historian must accept what he has after the truth of the facts has been proved by interpretation. This theory proves the scientific method in history. The statement of the authority should be corroborated from other historical sources than to be accepted as it is.”
7. Piageon-holing Method —
This method was named by Collingwood. It was used by Karl Marx, Spengler, Hegel, Wico, Kant, Herder and Tynby etc. He presented the conclusions by entering the bottom of the historical sources and analyzing the evidence.
8. Question – Bacon’s statement that scientists question nature and obtain conclusions by investigation, created a historical revolution. Now the historian started studying history with some fundamental questions. The historian asks some social question from the past and after getting the answer from the past presents it to the society. The mental process was awakened through questions and this led to the expression of knowledge. The question of the historian is the question of contemporary society. According to Collingwood, ‘Clarity of question is the criterion of scientific study’. If the nature of the question is not clear, the answer may not be clear. In the words of M. Point, ‘It is difficult to compile evidence in the absence of questions.’
9. Statement – In some circumstances, the matter has to be presented in the form of a mysterious statement by not saying it clearly. For example – Ghayasuddin Tughlaq died due to the conspiracy of Prince Ulugh Khan, but instead of writing it clearly, Barni has written this statement – “Allah knows the truth.” Such a statement cannot be accepted by the scientific historian. The scientific historian presents a true statement by analyzing the facts on the basis of other evidence.
On the basis of the above methods of evidence analysis, accurate and objective conclusion is presented by the historian.