HIS101 | History I

Course Information

  • 2019-20
  • HIS101
  • 5-Year B.A., LL.B. (Hons.)
  • I
  • Nov 2019
  • Core Course

It is a core course to be taught to the first year students of the B.A., LL.B. (hons) programme as mandated by the Bar Council of India.  It is a foundational course, to teach the philosophy of history, historical methods and an introduction to the history of India as to be found in a three year BA programme in any leading university in India as per the standards prescribed by the UGC for the same.

Everyone needs to know their past.  It is the knowledge of our past as individuals, societies and nations that enables us to live in the present and plan for the future.  How we remember this past is determined by what we want in the present and what we hope to be in the future.  It is this which has made the study of history so acrimonious, with so many debates and different claims.  Nothing expresses this better than the debate about the recent find of dna of one of the skeletons found in the area of the Harappan culture.

To control/possess the past enables one to control the present and to determine the future.  If history as a discipline was not crucial to this there would be no need to control the bodies that prepare the history textbooks for school children or the ones which fund research into the past or why some historians are favoured and others hounded.

Students of law need to know not only their own past, or the past of their community, region and country but also the past of the laws, the legal institutions, the judicial systems that they have to engage with in the present.  When we are ignorant of the past processes and contexts we end up reinventing the wheel and repeating the past mistakes.

Through this course I hope that each of the students will develop their thinking capacity further, to reason out, to delve deeper into the issues that plague our society today, be it injustice, communalism, casteism, gender discrimination and more recently jingoism.  Without a knowledge of who are the people who inhabit this country, where they came from, what were their diverse cultures, religions, beliefs and practices we cannot begin to live as one nation.

This course, therefore, is only an introduction to what is history and an attempt to understand some of the problematic issues in the pre-colonial history of India. The readings for this course are taken from the works of prominent historians who have continuously revised their works based on recent findings so that the student gets updated knowledge, rather than relying on out-dated books.


V S Elizabeth
Dr. V. S. Elizabeth

Professor of History (On Lien)