India's Road to Modernity, 1707-1947 (HIH2106A)

StaffDr Nandini Chatterjee - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15
NQF Level5
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks;

Module aims

You will need effective communication and analytical skills, oral and written, to complete many of your modules and in a job after you graduate.  This module aims to help you develop your skills in researching, interpreting, and analysing both primary and secondary material, and in reporting on your work.  It provides you with an opportunity to learn about a society and culture that is likely to be unfamiliar, explore the history of that society in depth, and develop the depth of understanding you will require to study more specialised areas of history.  It will also give you an opportunity to work with and critically interpret culturally unfamiliar material, and work in a team for group presentations.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Be aware of the various developments in the history of the Indian subcontinent from the early eighteenth to the mid twentieth century.
  • 2. Make a close evaluation of the key developments and debates in the historiography of South Asia.
  • 3. Evaluate the main themes in the subject and collate information upon, and evaluate in greater detail, those aspects of the module discussed in seminar and especially those topics selected by students for their coursework.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. Analyse the key processes and events in the modernization of the Indian subcontinent.
  • 5. Collate data from a range of sources, both primary and secondary.
  • 6. Interpret primary sources, especially those authored by contemporary Indians.
  • 7. Trace long-term as well as short-term historical developments.
  • 8. Recognise and deploy historical terminology correctly.
  • 9. Assess different approaches to historical writing in areas of controversy.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 10. Work both independently and in a group, including participating in oral seminar discussions.
  • 11. Identify a topic, select, comprehend, and organise primary and secondary materials on that topic with little guidance.
  • 12. Produce to a deadline and in examination conditions a coherent argument.

Syllabus plan

  1.   The twilight of the Mughals or the rise of proto-nations? Seminar: Tipu Sultan of Mysore
  2.   The East India Company State.  Seminar: Zamindars – creating a landed gentry
  3.   Rebellion – 1857.  Seminar: The appeal of the Mughals
  4.   A colonial economy.  Seminar: The de-industrialisation debate
  5.   Political associations and campaigns.  Seminar:  Ilbert Bill controversy
  6.   Religious reformations. Seminar: The Arya Samaj
  7.   The modern Indian woman. Seminar: Indian feminism
  8.   Gandhi and mass nationalism. Seminar: Satyagraha
  9.   Muslim identity and politics. Seminar: Hindi and Urdu
  10.   Caste and social critique.  Seminar: Ambedkar
  11.   Partition, violence and beyond. Seminar: Survivors

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities22 hoursLectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities22 hoursSeminars; these will be led by the tutor. You will need to prepare for each seminar and present on a given topic in groups of 4 on 4 occasions
Guided independent study 22 hoursWeb-based activities located on ELE – preparation for seminars and presentations
Guided independent study234 hoursReading and preparation for seminars and presentations

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay plan x 1500 words1-12Verbal and written

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay303000 words1-12Verbal and written
Group Presentation2025 minutes1-11
Exam502 questions in 2 hours1-12Written

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Essay3000 words1-12Referral/deferral period
Group PresentationScript as for individual presentation, equivalent to 10 minutes1-11Referral/deferral period
Exam2 questions in 2 hours1-12Referral/deferral period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading:


Arnold, David. Science, Technology and Medicine in Colonial India (Cambridge, 2000)

Bayly, Christopher. Rulers, Towsnmen and Bazaars: North Indian society in the Age of British Expansion 1770-1870 (Cambridge, 1983)

Bayly, Christopher. Recovering Liberties (Cambridge, 2012)

Bayly, Susan. Caste, society and politics in India from the eighteenth century to the modern age (Cambridge, 1999)

Bose, Sugata, and Ayesha Jalal, Modern South Asia: history, culture, political economy (Delhi, 1998)

Brass, Paul. Language, Religion and Politics in North India (London, 1974)

Breckenridge, Carol and David Lelyveld eds., Orientalism and the postcolonial predicament (Philadelphia, 1993)
Chatterjee, Partha. Nationalist thought and the colonial world: a derivative discourse? (London, 1986) and State and Politics in India (Delhi, 1998)
Forbes, Geraldine Women in Modern India (Cambridge, 1996)

Hardiman, David. Gandhi in His Time and Ours (London, 2003)
Hasan, Mushirul ed., India's partition: process, strategy and mobilisation (New Delhi, 1993) and Gender, politics and the partition of India (Delhi, 2000)
Irschick, Eugene. Dialogue and History: Constructing South India, 1795-1895 (Berkeley, 1994)

Jalal, Ayesha. The sole spokesman: Jinnah, the Muslim League and the demand for Pakistan (Cambridge, 1986)
Khan, Yasmin. The Great Partition: the Making of India and Pakistan (New Haven, London, 2007)

Kopf, David. The Brahmo Samaj and the Making of the Modern Indian Mind (Princeton, 1979)

Lelyveld, David. Aligarh’s First Generation: Muslim Solidarity in British India (Princeton, 1978)

Metcalf, Thomas and Barbara, A concise history of India (Cambridge, 2002)
Pandey, Gyanandra. The construction of communalism in colonial north India (Delhi, 1990)

Parel, Anthony (ed.), Gandhi's Hind Swaraj and the other writings (Delhi,1997)

Tomlinson, B. R. The Economy of Modern India: from 1860 to the twenty-first century (Cambridge, 2013)

Zamindar, Vazira. The Long Partition and the Making of Modern South Asia: Refugees, Boundaries, Histories (New York, 2007)

Zelliot, Eleanor. From Untouchable to Dalit: Essays on the Ambedkar Movement (New Delhi, 1996)


And other books from the New Cambridge History of India series.

Module has an active ELE page?


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date


Key words search

India, Modernity, Modern History, Pakistan, Mughal Empire, British Empire, Gandhi, Nehru, Colonialism, Religion, Gender