CBR213 | Lesser Known Aspects of the Struggle/s for freedom from British Rule

Course Information

  • 2023-24
  • CBR213
  • 5-Year B.A., LL.B. (Hons.), LL.M.
  • V, IV
  • July 2023
  • Elective Course

This is an elective and fits in with the BCI mandate to make students aware of the history and culture of India. History 1 and 2 are taught in the first and second trimesters and therefore there is every likelihood that students have forgotten the historical methods and perspectives they learnt during their early years of study here at NLS. While History 1 and 2 cover the history of the Indian subcontinent from the prehistoric periods to contemporary India they do not deal with the struggles for freedom carried out by rulers and communities that were marginalised then and continue to be left out the dominant/meta narratives.

To a great extent they completely gloss over the role and contributions of women from various walks of life, women who fought the British as rulers in defence of their kingdoms, women and men loyal to their rulers and fighting to save the kingdoms they lived in and those in British India who joined the hands of the revolutionary forces or of the Indian National Congress or other such organisations. Also a few of the struggles by rulers like Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan or by Jhansi Rani Lakshmi Bai have been presented by imperialist and nationalist historians in a manner that has colored the understanding of the past for the present generations creating more questions than answering them.

In a sense this course takes off in part from the History 2 course which deals with the Colonial rule in the Indian subcontinent, addressing the question of the Indian National Movement, but delving a little deeper into aspects that are completely ignored or only discussed in passing in that course. This Course attempts to raise the following questions:

Who determines what the content of history of a nation ought to be?

Why have women and other marginalised groups been omitted from these narratives?

What is the consequence of omitting these groups?

What will be the impact of including them?

This course will be based on a seminar style discussion, supplemented by lectures on topics for which there is little or no sources. Students will be required to come to each class prepared to respond to the discussion questions circulated in advance. Topics for which articles are available they will have to present response papers.

For the most part this course will depend on newspaper cuttings, internet and whatever academic articles are available on the identified topics. But as a foundational basis for understanding the objective of this course students will be required to read about the philosophy of history (truth and objectivity in history) and on Rewriting history.

This course will be taught in basically three modules – the first one on the philosophy of history and about rewriting history; the second will focus on specific, rulers, peoples who rebelled against the British particularly from present day Karnataka and Tamil Nadu while the third module will look at the lives and impact made by individuals influenced by the Indian National Congress and the Indian National Army.



Dr. V. S. Elizabeth

Professor of History