"India is home to some of the world's oldest, greatest, and most successful civilizations. Today the South Asian subcontinent contains 20 percent of the world's population and is a thriving center for global business. Over the next decade, India alone is expected to surpass China in population, making this region one of most significant economic powerhouses in the world. Beyond the globalization of the 21st century, the region has always played a critical role on the world stage. Over the past 5,000 years, the subcontinent has been home to a rich tapestry of peoples and cultures. Two of the world's great religions-Hinduism and Buddhism-as well as some of humanity's most significant wisdom literature all have their origins in South Asia. And with its strategic location and unique geography, the lands east of the Indus River have long been a central hub for trade, migration, and cultural exchange. Go inside this thrilling story with A History of India, a breathtaking survey of South Asia from its earliest societies along the Indus and Ganges rivers through the modern challenges of the 21st century. Taught by Professor Michael H. Fisher of Oberlin College, these 36 sweeping lectures enable you to understand the epic scope of the subcontinent's history. Perhaps the most important facet of this history is how diverse the region truly is. Roughly the size of continental Europe, India-along with its neighbors Pakistan and Bangladesh-contains a myriad of ethnic groups, socioeconomic classes, religions, and cultural mores. What's more, the subcontinent has seldom been unified under a single empire or government, making its history complicated and difficult to navigate. With the expert guidance of Professor Fisher, you will: - See how geography and climate shaped the development of its civilizations-sometimes facilitating contact between groups, but often isolating them, which entrenched local cultural and governance systems. - Trace the migration of varied peoples over the mountains from Asia and Europe, as well as in through the coasts, creating areas of dynamic cultural exchange. - Delve into the legacies of the Mauryan Empire, the Mughal Empire, and British colonialism, three of the few governments that ever unified the subcontinent. - Witness the fight for independence from European powers and the partition of the region into the countries of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh in the 20th century. - Review some of the largest challenges and opportunities faced by this area today, from expanding urbanization to the vast need for energy sources to the ongoing, heated political and ideological debates about national identity. Professor Fisher reveals this complex narrative with skill and compelling insights. By the end of A History of India, you will understand the full scope of the region, its people, and its cultures, across time and today. Discover Diverse Cultures with Complex Origins Professor Fisher takes you back to reflect on the very beginning of human history, shedding light on the earliest societies on the subcontinent: - the Adivasi forest dwellers - the urban civilizations in the Indus Valley - the Vedic cultures that were the ancient cultural forebears of today's Hindus Few artifacts have survived to tell us about these societies, so scholars have relied on DNA evidence and linguistic analysis to provide clues about their mysterious origins. Much of our cultural understanding of ancient India has been passed down in two national epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. While not strictly fact-based histories as Westerners understand the term, these texts give us remarkable insight into the origins and development of India's history, particularly the Vedic tradition. One of the most fascinating topics of this course is its overview of the subcontinent's religions, starting with the Vedic cultures. Hinduism is the religion of those who revere the Vedas as sacred truth, and this tradition had and continues to have a profoundly deep influence on South Asian societies, governments, and even economies. The rise, expansion, and influence of Jainism, Buddhism, and Islam occurred in dialogue with the Hindu ethos, and you'll come to understand how these religions served the needs of many who felt disenfranchised by the dominant milieu. You'll also uncover the lives of Christians, Jews, and Zoroastrians (Parsis) who created thriving communities that endured for centuries, mostly in trading ports. Professor Fisher skillfully offers both an "etic" and an "emic" perspective-that is, history as it is understood from our perspective as outsiders and history as it is known within the culture-which ultimately yields a comprehensive, nuanced, and multi-voiced account of South Asia's story. Professor Fisher unpacks these nuances and offers profound insight into some of the great religions found on the subcontinent: - Learn about the Vedas and how the idea of the "cosmic man" gives division and order to social classes ("castes"). - Gain wisdom from the Bhagavad Gita and see why it is one of the world's best-known texts. - Find out why the economic and political situation in the year 500 B.C.E. led to the rise of new religions such as Jainism and Buddhism. - Meet Siddhartha Gautama and follow the growth of Buddhism across Asia. - Consider why Islam spread so mightily throughout the subcontinent-and what the current status of Muslims is throughout the region. Navigate a Bustling Political and Economic Hub Because of its size and diversity, South Asia traditionally has been divided into numerous kingdoms. Nonetheless, its strategic location has also made the subcontinent an important trading center and economic hub. For instance, the Silk Road connecting China with Europe had a branch that ran through northern India. And in the 15th century, when Vasco da Gama sailed around the horn of Africa, he landed on India's coasts, ushering in a new era of global commerce. Professor Fisher takes you through a series of developments as people from around the world migrate in and out of the subcontinent, leading to great political upheavals as well as economic and cultural exchange. - Watch as myriad invaders travel through the Khyber Pass from Afghanistan to set up-or conquer-kingdoms in India. - Investigate how Islam spread so quickly throughout South Asia, leading to many years of sultanate rule, and examine how this new paradigm changed social relations and patterns of governance across the region. - Peer into the reign of the Mauryans, starting with Chandragupta, who consolidated the subcontinent's first major empire, and continuing with the rule of his grandson, the renowned Buddhist Emperor Ashoka. - Witness the beginnings of the Mughal empire, as a Central Asian warrior named Babur conquered the Delhi sultanate, and follow the rise and fall of this dynasty, tracing the lives of the emperors Akbar, Jahangir, Shah Jahan (who created the gorgeous Peacock Throne and the Taj Mahal), and Alamgir. - Reflect on the religious, social, and economic differences between northern India, the Deccan Plateau, and the many southern kingdoms. - Follow the development of European trade and colonialism, including multiple East India companies, and consider how their practices affected the local economy and politics. - Explore the circumstances that led to the British crown claiming rule over India, and consider the lasting consequences of the Raj for the subcontinent. Over the past 100 years, the region has seen some astonishing developments. British rule may have unified the subcontinent, but racist policies and economic siphoning of resources did much damage to the spirit and economy of India. From the 1857 sepoy uprising through the chaotic events that led to independence and partition in 1947, Professor Fisher takes you inside the Indian and Pakistani nationalist movements. You'll explore the legacies of key nationalist leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi, Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, Subhas Chandra Bose, and Muhammad Ali Jinnah, and you'll see how the quest for independence was not only a political movement-but also a question of ethnic and religious identity. Finally, you'll also travel the world to consider the lives of Indians in Europe, Africa, and elsewhere-and how Indians in Britain often fared better than Indians under British rule on the subcontinent. Explore India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh Today Following the independence and partition of India and Pakistan (which was divided into East and West Pakistan) in 1947, you'll witness great turbulence as each nation struggled to develop its own system of government in the wake of British colonialism. In India, you'll trace the recent history of what is now the world's largest democracy, from Prime Minister Nehru's five-year economic plans to boost food production through the rule of Indira Gandhi and her sons. You'll gain new perspective on the State of Emergency in the 1970s, the three wars with Pakistan and insurrections in tribal regions, and the outlook of India's government today. Meanwhile, in modern-day Pakistan and Bangladesh, you'll explore the development of their Islamic governments, witness numerous coups and shifts of power, and reflect on some of the key crisis points in recent years, from the 1971 split of East Pakistan into Bangladesh to Pakistan's nuclear arms race with India to the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. In the end, Professor Fisher projects what might be on the horizon for each of these nations. It is clear that South Asia is on the verge of another great boom in terms of economic and sociopolitical power. True to its history, it remains one of the world's most important clusters of civilizations, and it will continue to play an integral role in humanity's ongoing story. A History of India is a must-have course for understanding this powerful region and its profound influence on the rest of the globe. "