The Many Pasts of India’s Present

An inquiry into the origin’ questions of India: Geological, ecological, cultural and political

This course is not a typical history of India. We approach Indian history from the present, and look at aspects of India’s past that we need to question and examine from where we stand. 

How did India’s cultural, political and environmental geography come together as its territory? Who are the people of India and where did its civilisation’ begin? How did India become a modern nation-state? 

We look at three key and enduring tropes about India, as a timeless, independently emergent, or pure (in racial or religious parameters) entity. We take a multidisciplinary approach and look at the ways the natural and human induced aspects of change have impacted the course of Indian history. 

We will also look at present day concerns and debates about India’s origins, territory and historical pasts, and the way discourses shape the country as it is today. We hope this course will help you appreciate the dizzying plurality of India’s pasts and dynamism, and the coexistence of cultural differences.