British Rule (19th C to 1947)

India: A Historical Overview [Asia Society]
Background reading about "the people and characteristics of India's historical eras, from the early Indus River Valley civilization, through the Mughal period to present day."

South Asia, 1900 A.D.-present [Timeline of Art History, The Metropolitan Museum of Art]
"India struggles for independence from colonial British rule through the early twentieth century, finally gaining its freedom in 1947." With a period overview, list of key events, and seven related artworks.

TimelineThe Story of India: Freedom [PBS]
Excellent annotated timeline with text, images, and video clips throughout.

British India [Manas: India and Its Neighbors]
An extensive look at the history of the British presence in India, by UCLA professor of history Vinay Lal.

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, 1869-1948
Mahatma Gandhi [Manas: India and Its Neighbors]
An in-depth look at the life and legacy of Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948), by UCLA professor of history Vinay Lal.

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Independence and Partition

The Story of India: Partition and Independence [PBS]
A brief overview of the people, places, and major events related to the partitioning of colonial India into two independent states, Pakistan and India. Told through images and video clips from the PBS documentary. With discussion questions for students.

Flashback to Indian Partition [BBC News]
A detailed overview of the events of August 1947 that created India and Pakistan.

Postcolonial Studies: The Partition of India [Department of English, Emory University]
A brief overview with text discussing the reasons for partition, as well as the impact and aftermath. With maps and a timeline.

Independent India [Manas: India and Its Neighbors]
An extensive look at the political history of India after its 1947 independence, by UCLA professor of history Vinay Lal.

Pakistan: A Political History [Asia Society]
"When Pakistan became a country on August 14th, 1947, [it became] the largest Muslim state in the world. The creation of Pakistan was catalyst to the largest demographic movement in recorded history. Nearly seventeen million people-Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs-are reported to have moved in both directions between India and the two wings of Pakistan (the eastern wing is now Bangladesh)."

Recommended Print ResourceIndian Independence and the Question of Pakistan [Choices for the 21st Century Education Program, Watson Institute for International Studies, Brown University]
"Indian Independence and the Question of Pakistan probes the complex, rich history of South Asia. The end of the Second World War was also the beginning of the end for the old colonial empires. India's bid for independence from Great Britain is riveting history. Examining the debate leading up to the partition of India into two states provides insight into the historical dynamics that continue to shape India and Pakistan today and provide the backdrop for the conflict in Kashmir." This is a print resource that must be purchased. There are some online supplemental materials related to the unit that are available free of charge, including some maps of India and some cartoons and newspaper extracts. There is also a free "Teaching with the News" lesson plan (India and Pakistan in the Wake of the Mumbai Attacks) "that has students explore the circumstances surrounding the [2008] Mumbai terrorist attacks, place the attacks into a large global context, and examine the historical relationship between India and Pakistan." Please note that users must sign up for a free Choices Program account in order to access this online lesson plan.

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The South Asian Diaspora

The Desi Diaspora [Asia Society]
"This essay describes the world events and many adversities that shaped overseas Indians' sense of unity and identity over the past two centuries."

Primary SourceEchoes of Freedom: South Asian Pioneers in California, 1899-1965 [The Library, University of California, Berkeley]
"The story of early Indian immigrants to California told through photographs, documents, and publications, drawn from the South/Southeast Asia Library's rich archive of material on South Asians in North America."

Sikh Community: Over 100 Years in the Pacific Northwest [The Wing Luke Asian Museum]
"Although Sikhs have been living in the United States and Canada for over a century, the general public understands little about the Sikh faith and the community's long-standing roots in the Pacific Northwest. The first Sikh immigrants arrived in this region in the late 1800s, working in lumber mills and constructing railroads." Five topics, with many images: 1) Sikhism (history); 2) Life in the Pacific Northwest; 3) Distinguished Community Leaders; 4) Mis-Identity; 5) Being Sikh in a Western World.

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© 2009 Asia for Educators, Columbia University