Course Title: 
Glimpses of Indian Economy and Polity
Course Code: 
Year Taught: 
Undergraduate (UG)
School of Engineering

'Glimpses of Indian Economy and Polity' is a course offered in the B. Tech. programs at School of Engineering, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham.

Unit 1


General Introduction; Primitive man and his modes of exchange – barter system; Prehistoric and proto-historic polity and social organization.

Ancient India – up to 600 B.C.

Early India – the vedic society – the varnashramadharma – socio-political structure of the various institutions based on the four purusarthas; The structure of ancient Indian polity – Rajamandala and Cakravartins – Prajamandala; Socio-economic elements from the two great Epics – Ramayana and Mahabharata – the concept of the ideal King (Sri Rama) and the ideal state (Ramarajya) – Yudhisthira’s ramarajya; Sarasvati - Sindhu civilization and India’s trade links with other ancient civilizations; Towards chiefdoms and kingdoms – transformation of the polity: kingship – from gopati to bhupati; The mahajanapadas and the emergence of the srenis – states and cities of the Indo-Gangetic plain.

Unit 2

Classical India: 600B.C. – 1200 A.D.

The rise of Magadha, emergence of new religions – Buddhism and Jainism – and the resultant socio-economic impact; The emergence of the empire – the Mauryan Economy and Kautilya’s Arthasastra; of Politics and trade – the rise of the Mercantile Community; Elements from the age of the Kushanas and the Great Guptas; India’s maritime trade; Dharma at the bedrock of Indian polity – the concept of Digvijaya: dharma-vijaya, lobha-vijaya and asura-vijaya; Glimpses into the south Indian economies: political economies of the peninsula – Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas and Cholas.

Medieval India: 1200 A.D. – 1720 A.D.

Advent of Islam – changes in the social institutions; Medieval India – agrarian economy, non-agricultural production and urban economy, currency system; Vijayanagara samrajya and maritime trade – the story of Indian supremacy in the Indian Ocean region; Aspects of Mughal administration and economy; The Maratha and other provincial economies.

Unit 3

Modern India: 1720 - 1947

the Indian market and economy before the arrival of the European traders; Colonisation and British supremacy (dismantling of everything that was ‘traditional’ or ‘Indian’) – British attitude towards Indian trade, commerce and economy and the resultant ruining of Indian economy and business – man-made famines – the signs of renaissance: banking and other business undertakings by the natives (the members of the early Tagore family, the merchants of Surat and Porbander, businessmen of Bombay, etc. may be referred to here) – the evolution of the modern banking system; Glimpses into British administration of India and administrative models; The National movement and nationalist undertakings in business and industry: the Tatas and the Birlas; Modern India: the growth of largescale industry – irrigation and railways – money and credit – foreign trade; Towards partition – birth of two new nations – division of property; The writing of the Indian Constitution – India becomes a democratic republic – a new polity is in place.

Independent India – from 1947

India since Independence – the saga of socio-political movements; Indian economy since Independence – the fiscal system – the five year plans – liberalisation – the GATT and after; Globalisation and Indian economy; Impact of science and (new/ emerging) technology on Indian economy; Histories of select Indian business houses and business entrepreneurship.


  • The Cultural Heritage of India. Kolkata: Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture.
  • Kautilya. Arthasastra.
  • Altekar, A. S. State and Government in Ancient India. New Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass.
  • Sircar, D. C. Studies in the Political and Administrative Systems in Ancient and Medieval Times. New Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass.
  • Dutt, R. C. The Economic History of India. London, 1902.
  • Dharampal. Collected Works (Volumes IV & V). 7. Dharampal. Archival Compilations (unpublished).
  • Bajaj, Jitendra & M. D. Srinivas. Indian Economy and Polity. Chennai: Centre for Policy Studies.
  • Bajaj, Jitendra & M. D. Srinivas. Timeless India, Resurgent India. Chennai: Centre for Policy Studies.
  • Joshi, Murli Manohar. Science, Sustainability and Indian National Resurgence. Chennai: Centre for Policy Studies, 2008.
  • Tripathi, Dwijendra. The Oxford History of Indian Business. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2004.
  • McGuire, John, et al, eds. Evolution of World Economy, Precious Metals and India. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2001.
  • Tripathi, Dwijendra and Jyoti Jumani. The Concise Oxford History of Indian Business. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2007.
  • Kudaisya, Medha M. The Life and Times of G. D. Birla. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2003.
  • Raychaudhuri, Tapan and Irfan Haib, eds. The Cambridge Economic History of India. Volume 1. New Delhi: Orient Longman, 2004.
  • Kumar, Dharma, ed. The Cambridge Economic History of India. Volume 2. New Delhi: Orient Longman, 2005.
  • Sabavala, S. A. and R. M. Lala, eds. J. R. D. Tata: Keynote. New Delhi: Rupa & Co., 2004.
  • Mambro, Arvind ed. J. R. D. Tata: Letters. New Delhi: Rupa & Co., 2004.
  • Lala, R. M., For the Love of India: The Life and Times of Jamsetji Tata. New Delhi: Penguin, 2006.
  • Thapar, Romila. The Penguin History of Early India: From the Origins to AD 1300. New Delhi Penguin, 2002.
  • Majumdar, R. C., et. al. An Advanced History of India. Macmillan.