State and Society in Pre-Colonial India (c.800‑1800)

What was pre-colonial India like?

If you think about precolonial India, what comes to mind? Do you think of movies like Jodha Akbar and Bajirao Mastai or Padmavat? Or do you think of the Taj Mahal, and qawwalis, and poets like Kabir and Bulle Shah? 

If you do ask what precolonial India was really like, and how people lived, you will need to learn about forms of government that existed, various wars that were fought, and the ways in which empires were built and brought down. In this course, we do this by learning about the Cholas, Sultanate emperors, Deccan Sultans, the Vijayanagara Kingdom, the Mughals and Marathas. We explore how people lived, along with various regional and religious politics and the forms of art and culture that grew. 

In this course, we explore some of these questions to understand facts of a very significant time in Indian history. You will understand what changes have occured in the Indian polity and society over a period of 800 years. We do this by exploring several historical sources: paintings to coins, inscriptions to archaeological remnants, and of course, written and oral texts. This course includes a look at history and the present, and key historiographical debates around this period of Indian history.