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Constructing India:
Economy, Society and Politics from the Great War to Partition

Staff contact: Prashant Kidambi (Att. 704)

The period spanning the First World War to the Partition was a crucial epoch in the making of modern India. This module aims to provide students with critical perspectives on a major colonial Asian society caught up in the midst of radical economic, social and political transformation. It will assess, in particular, the impact of war, depression, demographic growth and urbanization on the Indian economy and social structure, the changing response of the British Raj to these developments and the nature of the emerging forms of mass politics based on new techniques of popular mobilization. Important historical debates that will be examined include the structures and dilemmas of imperial power, the nature and scope of economic change both in town and countryside, the role of ideology and 'interest' in shaping nationalist politics, the logic of Gandhian mass mobilization, the inter-linkages between elite and subaltern politics as well as the nature of religious 'communalism' and caste- and class-based political movements. Alongside the relevant secondary literature, the seminars in this module will offer an opportunity to examine a range of primary source materials: official publications such as census reports, commissions of inquiry on agriculture, industry and labour, the proceedings of successive committees on constitutional and administrative reforms as well as memoirs, autobiographies and private papers of prominent leaders such as MK Gandhi, J Nehru and MA Jinnah.

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Last updated: 12 February 2003
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