It’s been 73 years since India achieved independence after around 200 years of British rule. Yet, most of us know quite little about the complexities of such a big freedom movement that lasted for decades. This Independence Day weekend, travel back in time to understand how our country achieved such an incredible feat. From top lawyers to the journalist power-couple to our readers’ favourite historians, this week we have reading recommendations from a range of our most-read authors. Whether you want to indulge in serious scholarly work or want to read an accessible history, these books will surely enhance your understanding of India and its remarkable history.
Ramchandra Guha’s “Gandhi” – Solid, informative and insightful
“Freedom at Midnight’” by Collins and Lapierre – A bit melodramatic but an excellent read and very good qua princely India)
Nelson Mandela’s “Long March to Freedom” – Though not India related, it is a stirring account showing that what lies behind an independence movement is, apart from the politics, the issues, the oppression, above all, the need for an indomitable spirit of a single or small set of crusaders. Without that spirit, no movement can truly succeed.
Makers of modern India by Ramachandra Guha: Makers of Modern India is a detailed source for information about the country’s political traditions… You will see caste, religion, colonialism, the economy language, gender, nationalism, democracy, and secularism in a historical context. The book is a treat for those who are curious about the formation of the multifarious collection of people, ideas, and religions in India.
Train to Pakistan: Khushwant Singh: Regarded as one of the most heart-rending testimonials of the partition of 1947, the Train to Pakistan is an ideal novel for those who wishes to learn more about India’s past and is looking for more than the socio-political scenario behind the partition.
Discovery of India by Jawaharlal Nehru: Jawaharlal Nehru wrote the book ‘The Discovery of India’, during his imprisonment at Ahmednagar fort for participating in the Quit India Movement (1942 – 1946). The book was written during Nehru’s four years of confinement to solitude in prison and is his way of paying an homage to his beloved country and its rich culture.
Along with Makers of modern India: Ramachandra Guha and Discovery of India by Jawaharlal Nehru,
Sagarika also recommends –
The Idea of India by Sunil Khilnani: This long essay makes an eloquent and persuasive argument for Nehru’s idea of nationhood in India. At a time when the relevance of Nehru’s vision is under scrutiny, this book assumes a special significance.
Diary of a Man in Despair by Friedrich Reck: A secret diary written under the Third Reich in which Reck gives thrilling rein to his fury against the Nazis and their supporters. Best encapsulated in this quote: “A man must hate this Germany with all his heart if he really loves it”
Ayodhya The Dark Night: The Secret History of Rama’s Appearance In Babri Masjid By Dhirendra K Jha & Krishna Jha – A tense, tragic and unputdownable account of the political currents and conspiracies that led to the placing of an idol of Rama in the Babri Masjid in the early years of India’s independence
The Emperor Who Never Was: Dara Shukhoh in Mughal India by Supriya Gandhi – Scholarly and accessible in a most satisfying way, this history plunges deep into the life and mind of Dara Shukoh, unravelling many of our stereotypes about the eternal prince — and often his brother, too.
Fali Nariman, Before Memory Fades: Before Memory Fades: An Autobiography reflects his concern for the welfare of the judiciary, his firm conviction in the principles laid down by the constitution, and his views on the troubled relationship between political power and the Judiciary.
Rohit De, A People’s Constitution: Exploring how the Indian Constitution of 1950 enfranchised the largest population in the world, A People’s Constitution considers the ways that ordinary citizens produced, through litigation, alternative ethical models of citizenship.
Ornit Shani, How India Became Democratic: How India Became Democratic tells the untold story of the preparation of the electoral roll on the basis of universal adult franchise in the world’s largest democracy and offers a new view of the way democracy captured the political imagination of its diverse peoples.
Madhav Khosla, India’s Founding Moment: How India’s Constitution came into being and instituted democracy after independence from British rule … Madhav Khosla explores the means India’s founders used to foster a democratic ethos.
History of the Freedom Movement in India, by R. C. Majumdar (3 volumes): This Book Is Looked Upon As The Standard Reference And Text On The Indian Freedom Movement All Over The World. A Classic.
India: From Curzon to Nehru and After, by Durga Das: Classic study, originally published in 1969. Personal experiences, work with Gandhi, Nehru, Indian politics, government. a provocative and interesting memoir, stretching from a Punjab village to the highest echelons of power in New Delhi.
Pakistan or The Partition of India, by B. R. Ambedkar: Originally published in the year 1945, this book by the father of our constitution deals with the following chapters: Muslim Case for Pakistan, Hindu case Against Pakistan, What if not Pakistan? Pakistan and the Malaise, Must there be Pakistan?, The Problems of Pakistan, Who can Decide? This book is a unique source of information for the Institutions, Libraries, Universities, scholars, and Researchers of Political Science, Modern History.