Medieval India I: Polity and Administration

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Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation CoreSUSHS4044

Course Coordinator and Team: Tanuja Kothiyal

Email of course coordinator: tanuja[at]aud[dot]ac[dot]in\

Pre-requisites: No

Aim: This course introduces undergraduate students to the processes of evolution of medieval polity in India, one that evolved from the coming together of the sedentary agrarian frontier of the Indo-gangetic basin and the mobile nomadic one from West and Central Asia. The course would examine the emergence of Indo-Islamic polity and society through an engagement with ideas like kingship, authority and religion among others. Medieval polity in India from 8th to 18th centuries AD has largely been understood in the context of dark and golden ages. This course attempts to explore enduring political processes and institutions that persisted through varied political formations. It also explores formation of centralised empires like the Sultanates and the Mughal empire, their interactions with existing regional polities and the manner in which the empire and the regions impacted each other.

Brief description of modules/ Main modules:
Part I:

  • Polity in Medieval India
  • What/when is “Early Medieval”?
  • Medieval India and the historiography of “Medievalism”
  • Religion and State
  • Independent polities

Part II:

  • Administrative Structures, Institutions and Practices in Medieval India
  • Agrarianism and expansion of landed aristocracy State and Bureaucracy Markets, Ports, Trade routes and their administration


  • Blake, Stephen K, Shahjahanabad: The Sovereign City in Mughal India, 1639-1739, CUP
  • Burton Stein. New Cambridge History of India :Vijayanagar.
  • Chandra, Satish, Medieval India I and II
  • Chattopadhyaya, B D, The Making of Early Medieval India, OUP, (Introduction)
  • Gordon, Stewart,The Marathas 1600-1818, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993)
  • Habib, Irfan, “ Formation of the Sultanate Ruling Class of the Thirteenth Century”, Medieval India 1: Researches in the History of India, OUP, 1992
  • Jackson, Peter, The Delhi Sultanate: A Political and Military History, CUP, 1999.
  • Khan, IqtidarAlam, “The Mughal Assessment System during Akbar’s Early Years, 1556-1575”, Medieval India 1: Researches in the History of India, OUP, 1992
  • Singh, Upinder, A History of Ancient and Early Medieval India: From the Stone Age to the 12th century
  • Talbot, Cynthia and Catherine Asher, India Before Europe
  • Thapar, Romila, Early India, (Last four chapters)
  • Veluthat ,Kesavan, The Political Structure of Early Medieval South India, Delhi, 1993.

Tentative Assessment schedule with details of weightage:

AssessmentDate/period in which Assessment will take placeWeightage
Class TestThird Week of August20%
Take Home AssignmentTake Home Assignment20%
Take Home AssignmentTake Home Assignment20%
End Semester ExamAs per SUS schedule40%