Modern Delhi: from Mughals to Megacity
Value: two units
Dr Markus Daechsel
Taught through weekly two-hour seminars and supervisions of dissertation through a series of 1-to-1 meetings
Taught unit: Oral Assessment (10%); Best 2 Essays out of 4 (20%) and 3-hour Exam (70%); dissertation unit: 10,000-word dissertation (100%)
NB: Not to be taken in conjunction with HS2315: Despots and Mullahs: The Modern Muslim World and Development, 1930-1980
Delhi has long been the epicentre of political power in India, and a microcosm through which the many changes making modern India can be observed. It is now one of the largest cities in the world, and whilst one of India’s most modernized also easily the harshest and unforgiving towards newcomers and residents. Living in Delhi has become synonymous with living on the hard edge of global urbanization. At the same time, Delhi has great historical importance, with thousands of mosques, madrasas, temples, forts, Sufi shrines and even an ancient observatory still visible around the new urban landscape dominated by concrete flyovers and multi-story office buildings. Delhi was the place where the first Muslim Sultanates of South Asia were forged, where the Great Mughal Empire reached its greatest cultural sophistication, and where the British colonial rulers of India faced their most traumatic crisis in the Great Mutiny of 1857. Later, in the early twentieth century Delhi became the site of New Delhi, one of the most ambitious and enduring new city building projects of modern times. This brand-new course charts how the history of South Asia over the last 200 years shaped a city, how India was transformed from a Muslim Empire into a foreign Empire, and then into a nation-state at the forefront of globalization. It uses as its source the city itself, its changing urban geography and architectural marvels, its material culture and the writings of its residents over the ages, from poet-Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar to British administrators, religious reformers, nationalist politicians, business tycoons and film makers.