Welcome to Modern India!

Course Description

Namaste! This class investigates several major events in the last century of Indian history in order to equip students with a basic understanding of the historical, cultural and economic landscape of modern India. We begin with a study of British rule and the rising nationalism of the early 20th century, looking closely at the influences of key figures such as Gandhi, Nehru and Jinnah. You will learn about the independence movement and the partition of India and Pakistan (and later Bangladesh), and the religious tensions which have continued to plague South Asia since Partition. In addition, students will consider the rise of India’s lower castes and their evolving integration into wider Indian society. We will compare government edicts of equality with everyday examples from the lives of the lower castes and peasants in the ‘undercities’ of India. We will examine how the Indian government’s management of natural resources affects the lives of rural Indians.  Lastly, this course will scrutinize the political and humanitarian challenges in the region of Kashmir.


Boo, Katherine; Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity
Hardgrove, Ann; “India” from Peoples and Cultures of Asia edited by Raymond Scupin
Roy, Arundati; Walking with Comrades

The Choices Program of Brown University, “Indian Independence and the Question of Partition”

Various documents and documentaries provided by Mrs. Burd

Class Participation

                  Beyond teaching you about the intricate patterns of Indian society, the goal of this course is to prepare you for your next academic adventure…. college! Therefore this course is modeled on a college level freshmen seminar class. As in college, you are solely responsible for completing your assignments. While there will be no daily ‘homework checks’, your preparation will be demonstrated by your participation in class discussions and your inclusion of key concepts in essays and simulations.

Homework and Grading Policies

If you miss a class due to sickness, a college visit, or another excused reason, please consult the class website (via www.moravianacademy.org), where all homework assignments will be posted. Make sure to find a classmate who can supply you with notes and information from the missed day! 

Your grade for this class is based upon your performance in the following three categories;

  1. Essays: 80%
  2. Simulation: 10%
  3. Class Participation: 10%

Late assignments will be accepted; however they will incur a penalty of 10% for each day late. Grading scale and plagiarism policy are coherent with that found in the Parent/Student Handbook.

Please do not hesitate to contact me with questions, concerns or suggestions either in person (my office is in Snyder 208), by email: kburd@mamail.net, or by scheduling a meeting. I look forward to an exciting semester with you as we explore the incredible country of India