Colonial India: Polity, Economy and Culture

How was the course of Indian history shaped by colonial governance? How did the East India Company slowly become the colonial state?

In this course, you will understand this through a look at specific material practices used by the colonial state to transform various aspects of the everyday life of its subjects in the Indian subcontinent in the 19th and 20th centuries. The course will take you through a look at new agrarian forms produced by colonial legislation (for eg, Permanent Settlement Act and the Ryotwari system); innovations in the name of science and technology introduced in realms of geology, irrigation, botanical science, textile production, the telegraph and the railways; and the social transformation of caste as shaped through contestations around the body of the woman, to name a few. We will study important political struggles and insurrections of the period and the colonial response to these. You will build the skills to understand India in historical terms and the multiplicity of the colonial state and politics around it.