India is a real land of contrasts. Reading really helps one to understand a country, and some of the best books about India can truly help to bring this country to life.
With a rich and diverse landscape, blend of religious beliefs, vibrant culture, historic sites, national parks, dazzling beaches, and more, India is a land like no other. Whether you plan on travelling around incredible India, or simply wish to be an armchair traveller, there are several excellent books that will help you to gain a greater understanding about this magical place, the psyche, and its people.
Some of the best books about India are as follows:
Discovery of India, Jawaharlal Nehru
This is a beautifully written book about the history of India, and one that really offers readers’ an insight into the culture and philosophy of the country. It reveals events from the past that have helped to shape India’s present. The author writes very eloquently to stir and impassion the reader.
A Passage to India, E.M. Forster
This evocative story is filled with emotion and wonder, showing how some expats attempted to discover authentic India, away from the colonist influences. It details what happened to individual people who were trapped within political and cultural troubles, and takes great pains to reveal thought and feelings.
India – A Portrait, Patrick French
This book looks at individual Indians and examines how India has become such a growing economy and global player. It also looks at the role of India as a stable democracy.
In Spite of the Gods: The Strange Rise of Modern India, Edward Luce
This book from 2006 took a detailed look at the new and modern India, dealing with the economics and industry of the country. It looks closely at how, despite all rhyme and reason, India really did grow into a global success story.
The Wonder That Was India, A.L. Basham
This easy to read book is a great introduction to the culture of India. It looks at how India has grown and evolved over the years, looking at the position in the past and comparing and contrasting the situation with today.
India’s Unending Journey, Mark Tulley
This wonderfully thoughtful book looks at the concept of India having taken what is often described as “the middle way”. It looks at how India has simultaneously tried to shed itself from English colonial influences, whilst still retaining some English traditions, values, and cultural aspects.
Everybody Loves a Good Drought: Stories from India’s Poorest Districts, Palagummi Sainath
There is no sugar coating of the pill in this emotive page turner of a book about life in India’s slums and incredibly poor areas. It is informative and a real eye opener; one that is sure to pull at the heart strings and leave the reader feeling a deep sorrow for some of India’s poorest citizens. It shows the other side to development, and personalises the statistics, facts and figures that are otherwise often presented.
City of Djinns, William Dalrymple
A well written account of a year in Delhi, crammed with wit, charm, and a sense of actually being there and experiencing the events that are typed on the pages.