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India at War
HIST 136
Spring 2010
Section: 01  

India is often regarded as a land of ascetic nonviolence. Yet war is central to Indian history and culture. One of the core texts of Hindu religion and philosophy, for example, is the Bhagavad Gita, "The Song Celestial," that recounts a conversation between Krishna and Arjuna as the latter prepares to enter into a fight to the death against his friends and relatives, an internecine conflict known to the world as the Mahabharata. Another ancient work, the Arthashastra, on statecraft and warfare, was authored by the enigmatic Kautilya (a.k.a. Chanakya) in the centuries just after the Buddha walked the earth; moreover, Kautilya was roughly contemporaneous with the emperor Ashoka, famous for his conversion to Buddhism and nonviolence. More recently, the rise of Islam in South Asia is thought to have been occasioned by widespread looting and bloodshed, as "ghazis" -- warriors of the faith -- forcibly brought the Hindu subcontinent under the "sword of Islam". Yet this era produced Akbar, the Mughal emperor best known for his policy of tolerance or "sulh-i-kul," or "peace toward all". And fewer episodes in South Asia were more drenched in blood than the Mutiny-Rebellion of 1857, as Indians and Britons killed each other in droves to determine the fate of Britain's Indian Empire. Nevertheless, a mere 11 years after the cessation of that conflict, a boy nicknamed Moniya was born in Gujarat who would grow up to become Mohandas K. Gandhi. And his nonviolent revolution would likewise be scarred by widespread communal violence, mass murder and rape, and national vivisection. This seminar will explore India's long experience of and preoccupation with violence and will investigate in particular the ways in which they have shaped Indian religion and society.

Essential Capabilities: None
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: SBS HIST
Course Format: SeminarGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: None
Past Enrollment Probability: Not Available

Last Updated on DEC-11-2023
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