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As we know that Indian history is broadly divided into three categories, namely, ancient, medieval, and modern. Therefore, in order to understand where India stands today, one must read some of the books on modern Indian history which will throw light on how India became what it became.
The Idea of India by Sunil Khilani
Though this book was published in 1977, still it is very much relevant and can be a good source to understand modern Indian history. This book serves as an introductory serve as an introductory guide in which important topics are covered such as how India became independent, its economic and political history since Partition, and how democracy shaped the country into a nation.
India after Gandhi by Ramachandra Guha
This is one of the most significant books written on modern Indian history. This book primarily covers “India after Gandhi”, as the title itself tells. This means that this book talks about the post-independence era, i.e. from 1947 to 1990s. In fact, one can get to know about the political, economic, and social background which existed in India after the death of the father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi.
The Argumentative Indian: Writings on Indian History, Culture, and Identity by Amartya Sen
Amartya Sen, a Nobel Laureate economist writes about India's history and identity in this book. At the same time, he primarily focused on the traditions of public debate and intellectual pluralism in this book. It must be noted that this book by Sen is a compilation of all the essays which he had written considering all the spheres of the country. Therefore, this is good read in order to know understand about modern India.
India– The Emerging Giant by Arvind Panagiriya
This book is best suited for those who want to know and understand the economy of India. This book focuses on the different economic paths, from Jawaharlal Nehru to Manmohan Singh. Though this book is mostly comprehensive and analytical, but it is a good read in order to know the depths of modern Indian history in terms of economy.
Keywords: India, Modern Indian History, Independence, History, Economy, Politics, Books.
The history of India can be described as rich and turbulent. The south Asian country has faced many invasions and survived through most of them. India is the home to one of the first three civilizations that existed on earth, the Indus Valley Civilization. From ancient times to the Mahajanpadas, rolling down all the way to the Delhi Sultanate, not before the Mughals came, and finally the infamous/famous ‘British Raj’; the country’s history is a tale, that too, a great one!
Parts of this great tale have been recorded in many books, written by several writers. All of them have different approaches, styles of storytelling, and a deep knowledge about ‘India’ as a subject. Here are 10 books you must read if you want to know about Indian history:
ALSO READ: Books, lots and lots of books!
1. Discovery of India by Jawaharlal Nehru
The Discovery of India served as an honour paid to the cultural heritage of India and her history. The book allows you to see through the eyes of a patriot, who is fighting for the independence of his country. It is one of the finest modern works on Indian history. Written by former (and first) Prime Minister Nehru when he was in prison, this book aims to give a snapshot of India’s long history.
2. Freedom at Midnight by Dominique Lapierre and Larry Collins
The book showcases the series of events that unfolded during India’s independence movement in 1946 and 1948. An extensively researched work that will provide the details you never knew! It’s highly recommended if you wish to study India’s independence and partition. Freedom at Midnight also includes interviews with British India’s last Viceroy, Lord Mountbatten.
3. The Argumentative Indian by Amartya Sen
The Argumentative is a series of essays that narrate India’s history and more importantly, how that history influenced and shaped cultural identity. The book talks about India’s long history of public debate and heterodoxy. It is written by the NobelPrize-winning economist Amartya Sen.
4. India after Gandhi: The History of the World’s Largest Democracy by Ramachandra Guha
India after Gandhi gives you a picture of the ‘post-independence’ scene i.e. it helps you to understand the evolution of Modern India. From partition to the rise of religion and caste-based politics, the book also covers Nehru’s socialism and Rajiv Gandhi’s impactful career. By writing this 900-page book, Ramachandra Guha proved to be India’s best historian.
5. The Wonder That Was India by A L Basham
The Wonder That Was India covers the period between ancient India and the arrival of Muslims. Details of the Harrapan Civilization along with the Aryan invasion theory of Harrapa’s doom have been covered. AL Basham also talks about Rig Veda and other Sanskrit texts to give a deeper understanding of India’s past.