This topic guide will help you work with the topic of India. The guide is mainly intended for use in English class, but it may also be relevant for other school subjects such as History or Social Studies.
The guide is designed to give you a good overview of India's history as part of the British Empire, as well as the nation's fight for independence, and the role that Mahatma Gandhi played in this process. You can also find specific suggestions for texts to use as reference points, as well as ideas for further thematic perspectives.
Historically, the Indian subcontinent consisted of a number of different states, which in some ways shared a common culture. European interest in the region started to surge in the 1600s, when the powerful British East India Company took control of most of the trade in the area. In the 1700s, the Company went further still, and directly started to take over Indian territories using private armies and political manipulation. The Company then assigned leaders who were loyal to Britain, and India become a colony.
The Indians grew increasingly upset with their colonial rulers, however, which resulted in the Indian Rebellion of 1857. The rebellion was eventually stopped, but as a consequence of the chaos the British crown seized control of India from the East Indian Company, which led to the era of the British Raj.
Indian remained a colony until the middle of the 20th century. Faced by increasing pressure from a growing protest moment, which was periodically led by the activist Mahatma Gandhi, the British Parliament decided to grant India full independence in 1947. At the same time, the area was split into two separate nations - India and Pakistan.
Today India is a country with a huge population and a rapidly growing economy, but it also struggles with a number of social problems - such as gender discrimination, economic inequality and child labour.