A History of India

Ref: C2341912

This course will first look into the emergence of the Harappan Period of India history, examining the various archaeological investigations into key sites in order to build up an extensive picture of that culture. We will then go on to consider the growth and maturity of that culture and its society before considering key reasons for its ultimate downfall in thew late Bronze Age, including a careful analysis of the so-called "Aryan" migrations into India. We will go onto consider the great importance of the Aryan and Vedic culture, and how this transformed northern Indian society during the early Iron Age. We will conclude by looking at the emergence of the earliest "classical" republics of north India, considering the earliest historical and literary evidence to gain some insight into the particular appearance of Magadha as the foremost of the republics, as well as its potential rivals, and the incorporation of north-west India into the Achaemenid Empire.

Course aim

The growth of early Indian civilisation is powerful story of social structures, urban growth and rivalry that dramatically produced one of the most sophisticated cultures in the ancient world. This course will chart the rise of that phenomenon.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Demonstrate some awareness of the extent of the Harappan Civilisation
  • Make a brief assessment of the arguments for the decline and downfall of Harappan Civilsation
  • Describe at least 2 key features of the nature of Vedic culture, and the nature of north Indian society in the early Iron Age
  • Provide an outline of the nature of the earliest republics of "classical" India, and Magadha in particular.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning

What else do I need to know?

  • All materials will be provided

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful
  • "Ancient India" EJ Rapson, Chios Classics "India: A History" John Keay, Harper Press "The Story of India" Michael Wood, BBC Books

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course

Download full course information sheet

A History of India


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2019
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

Not sure or have further questions? Contact courseenquiries@wea.org.uk

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