Modern India

The world's largest democracy was born on August 15, 1947, when India became an independent dominion inside the British Commonwealth. On this date, the long history of the British Raj (1858–1947) came to an end, while the history of struggle between Hindu India and Muslim Pakistan entered a new era. Try to narrow your research to a particular area. You might start by finding an entry in a good print encyclopedia or by reading a short, general book on your topic. This will give you an overview of the subject and help you to refine your search. 

Check out the starting your research project before you begin! Some possible subject areas for the history of modern India include:
role of India under Nehru in the Non-Aligned Movement
crusade for rights for the untouchables
the Bangladesh Liberation War
the Green Revolution and the struggle for agricultural self-sufficiency in modern India

We can't fit every resource about modern Indian history on to this list! A topic guide is just the beginning of building your bibliography.

Reference materials

This is the place to start any research project. Reference books offer short, authoritative information on every topic. These books must be used in the library. Most contain bibliographies of important books on your topic. A good first stop would be any of the standard print encyclopedias in the Beaver collection: Encyclopedia Americana, World Book or Britannica.


Bingham, Jame, ed. (2001). The Usborne Internet-linked encyclopedia of world history. REF 901 B51 2001
Gale Group. (2001). History behind the headlines : the origins of conflicts worldwide. REF 909 H62 2001
Gall, Timothy, ed. (2004). Worldmark encyclopedia of the nations: Asia and Oceania. REF 910.3 W89 v. 4
Herb, G. and Kaplan, D. ( 2008). Nations and nationalism: a global historical overview. REF 320.54 NAT 4 volume set with olive-green spines


Britannica Online Great for pre-search and primary sources, including speeches, essays, biographies, court decisions, editorials and photos.
General Reference Center Gold
Gale Virtual Reference Library
Routledge Reference Resources


Books about modern India history will be found at 954. Biographies can be found at 921, listed alphabetically by the subject's last name (for example, a biography of Gandhi would carry the call number: 921 Gandhi).

Dudley, William, ed. (2003). India and Pakistan : opposing viewpoints. 355.0217 In2 2003 219 pages.
Einfeld, Jann, ed. (2003). India. 954 IND 272 pages.
Hay, Jeff, ed. (2006). Hinduism. 294.5 H58 2006 223 pages.
McLeod, John. (2002). The history of India. 954 M13 2002 223 pages.


For these Gale Group Resources, try using the following subject terms: Indian History, 1526-1947; Indian History, 1947-; Bangladeshi Secession, 1971; India-Pakistan War, 1971; Hindus.
Academic OneFile
Biography in Context For information on famous people associated with modern India. Search by the person's last name.
Expanded Academic ASAP
General OneFile
World History In Context
SIRS Use the Subject Heading Search to create a term to reflect your research goals.
World News Digest

Internet sites

Internet History Sourcebook Connect to primary sources related to Indian history, from ancient times to modern day.
India Virtual Library Enter here to link to many authoritative sites on Indian history, culture, languages and social issues.
The story of India Told through a six-part, PBS production.
Timeline of Indian history With links to brief essays on timeline entries.

BPL: Electronic Resources

ATLA Religion. For articles on religion in India.
History Study Center. Great introduction to modern Indian history plus many primary sources.
PAIS International. For scholarly articles on political issues in modern India: internal politics, the environment, modernization, etc.
Sociological Abstracts. For scholarly articles related to life in modern India: gender issues, families, education, religion, poverty, etc.

Updated, 4/11