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Reading Indian Nationalism


Admission requirements



This course provides an introduction to an important aspect of modern Indian history for students who have not necessarily studied Indian history previously. Indian nationalism refers to the many underlying forces that molded the Indian independence movement since the late nineteenth century, and strongly continue to influence the politics of India. While it is at the heart of many contrasting ideologies that brought together peoples, united against a common enemy, British rule, it was also the cause of ethnic and religious conflict in Indian society. This course will address the wide spectrum of political organizations, philosophies, and movements, both non-violent and revolutionary which had the common aim of ending British colonial authority in India. It will also question the manner in which nationalism dealt with inequalities based on caste and class and addressed the women’s question. This course will allow students to engage with some of the path-breaking studies of the history of Indian nationalism that have a bearing on Indian history as well as theories of nationalism. Students will have the opportunity to read texts of Indian thinkers such as Tagore, Savarkar, Gandhi, Nehru, Iqbal and Ambedkar as well as memoirs and writings of ordinary Indians in order to understand the various idioms of protest that co-existed within the fold of Indian nationalism.

Course objectives

The course aims at giving students a basic knowledge about nationalism in India and introducing them to thinkers from the region and important historiographical debates.
It also aims at imparting certain skills that include: reading critically, summarising and presenting an argument.


The website

Mode of instruction


Assessment method

20 % class presentation
20 % assessment
60 % final examination



Reading list

To be announced


via usis

Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Study in Leiden website for information on how to apply.

Contact information

Prof. dr N.K.Wickramasinghe


All other information.