The Indian civilization ranks among the world’s oldest. The land has is renowned for its ancient history and its civilizations can be traced as far ago as 5000BC. Since ancient days, India has contributed significantly to what forms modern science. Ancient Indian sciences in very advanced fields such as space research, healthcare, diplomacy, warfare, mathematics, and avionics continue to remain a subject of wonder in today’s advanced world. Hence, several foreign and Indian students enroll at reputed universities in this country to study Indian classics – or ancient history of the land. In this post, guest blogger Ranjan Kumar writes about the best universities to study Classics in India.
What is Classics?
Classics is the study of the languages, culture, history and thought of the civilizations of ancient Greece and Rome. It’s an interdisciplinary stream that features a wide range of opportunities to study literature (epic, drama, historical writing, and much else), history and archaeology of the Greek and Roman Mediterranean, philosophy (both ancient and modern), and linguistics.
According to the UK school curriculum, Classics involve the study of Latin, Classical Greek, Classical Civilisation, and Ancient History.
Why Study Classics?
Classics is a very specialized field of study. It involves learning and researching how people in ancient India lived, their science and technology, culture and heritage as well as languages in which they communicated. Excavations at ancient sites such as Harappa, Dwarka, Hampi and elsewhere have proved that ancient Indians had access to science and technology that has no parallel in the modern world, despite advances in science.
The study of Classics requires students to develop the analytical skills needed to understand ancient languages and engage in disciplines such as linguistics and textual criticism. Studying the Classics can sharpen your understanding of the way language works in general and also help you understand how people in a distant time and place organized and described the world.
Further, studying classics also helps find lucrative jobs in India and abroad with various reputed centers of education, Central, and state-owned history departments, among others. Learn more why it would be a great idea to study classics.
Generally, the study of classics begins soon after completing Secondary School Certificate (SSC) or its equivalent. Students opt for Arts stream for two years of their junior college or Higher Secondary Certificate courses. Upon successful completion of 12th standard, there are lots of Professional Courses Available in India, they may also choose study of classics for the Bachelor of Arts degree. Here are top universities where you can study classics in India.
Top 10 Universities to Study Classics in India
by Ranjan Kumar
Nalanda University is one of the oldest educational facilities in the world. It was established around 5th Century AD and flourished for nearly eight centuries till it fell victim to various conquests of India. After lying in ruins for almost 800 years, erstwhile President of India, APJ Abdul Kalam proposed the revival of the university in 2006. A plot of land in Rajgir, Bihar was identified and Nalanda University was revived. Nalanda University ranks as the foremost educational institute in India for classics study.
Serampore College and University rank among the oldest Indian universities. It was established in Howrah in the year 1818, at a time when British East India Company was gaining stranglehold of the Indian subcontinent. Serampore College offers excellent Bachelor of Arts (BA) History courses for students who wish to study classics.
Mumbai University (University of Bombay)
Established in 1857 as University of Bombay, this premier educational institute of India offers BA History courses that are acclaimed worldwide. It is now known as Mumbai University. The varsity has Department of Sociology and Anthropology and Department of History, both offering courses in classics. As the name implies, the varsity is based in Mumbai.
The University of Madras has a specialized School of History where one can study for excellent BA courses in classics. The university also ranks among the oldest educational institutes in India. You can also take a Distance Education course in BA History from the University of Madras. It is based in Chennai (Madras).
For anyone wanting to learn about the great Islamic heritage and culture of India in ancient days, Aligarh Muslim University is the best option. AMU not only offers the study of classics of India but also other various other ancient Asian civilizations. The Aligarh-based University was established in 1875 while its Department of History was formed in 1920.
The University of Allahabad was established in 1875. The varsity’s Department of Ancient History, Culture and Archeology have been functioning since 1955. BA courses from this department rank among the topmost for classics study in India. The university also houses a museum of ancient history. Several graduates of the department have held the top position at Archeological Survey of India.
Institute of Archeology is the educational division of Central government’s Archeological Survey of India (ASI), the organization tasked with studying, documenting and preservation of Indian history. The institute is based in New Delhi. It offers the best post-graduate courses in India for classics study. It admits only 15 students every year and offers them a monthly stipend of Rs. 8,000 for activities such as field study and excavation projects.
New Delhi-based university, Jamia Millia Islamia has a very specialized department for classics studies. Established in 2007, the Department of Art History and Art Appreciation offers myriad programs for the study of history and ancient art. Undergraduate programs at Jamia Millia Islamia are aimed at providing students a forum to learn about ancient visual arts of the Indian subcontinent, Middle East, and South East Asia as well as Europe.
Jadavpur University is located in Kolkata and is renowned for its various excellent courses, including engineering studies. It was established in 1905. The university’s Department of History offers Bachelor degrees in studies of classics. The department itself has won several accolades for its courses.
The University of Calcutta offers excellent post-graduate programs in classics. They include Ancient Indian History and Culture, Archeology, Islamic History and Culture, History and Museum Sciences. It ranks among the Five Star Universities designed by the Indian government and is one of the oldest since it has been functional since 1857.
It is worth remembering that studying classics is not a course for everyone. You need a genuine interest in history and learning about ancient cultures. Generally, extensive research and field studies form part of the syllabi for classics studies. Students looking at glamorous degrees should stay away from studying classics, you cannot get fancy positions in the corporate sector with a BA, Master of Arts or Ph.D. in Classics. At best, you will find jobs at colleges and universities, ASI and some history groups. However, if you are genuinely interested in the study of classics, it is worth considering any of these universities and institutes that we mention above. Majority of these universities also enroll foreign students provided they meet the set criterion. A large number of students from Europe, neighboring countries and the Middle East study classics at these universities.
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