67 books on the history of India, written by Indians and writers smitten by India

Indian history isn't just the freedom struggle. It is a history of music, of food, or education and literature. It is also the history of our beliefs and our way of life.
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The Last Mughal

by William Dalrymple

About the book:  On a dark evening in November 1862, a cheap coffin is buried in eerie silence. There are no lamentations or panegyrics, for the British Commissioner in charge has insisted, 'No vesting will remain to distinguish where the last of the Great Mughals rests.' This Mughal is Bahadur Shah Zafar II, one of the most tolerant and likeable of his remarkable dynasty who found himself leader of a violent and doomed uprising. The Siege of Delhi was the Raj's Stalingrad, the end of both Mughal power and a remarkable culture.

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India After Gandhi

by Ramachandra Guha

About the book:  Born against a background of privation and civil war, divided along lines of caste, class, language and religion, independent India emerged, somehow, as a united and democratic country. Ramachandra Guha’s hugely acclaimed book tells the full story - the pain and the struggle, the humiliations and the glories - of the world’s largest and least likely democracy. While India is sometimes the most exasperating country in the world, it is also the most interesting. Ramachandra Guha writes compellingly of the myriad protests and conflicts that have peppered the history of free India. Moving between history and biography, the story of modern India is peopled with extraordinary characters. Guha gives fresh insights on the lives and public careers of those longserving Prime Ministers, Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi. But the book also writes with feeling and sensitivity about lesser known (though not necessarily less important) Indians - peasants, tribals, women, workers and musicians. Massively researched and elegantly written, India After Gandhi is a remarkable account of India’s rebirth, and a work already hailed as a masterpiece of single volume history.

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The Discovery of India

by Jawaharlal Nehru

About the book:  Gives an understanding of the glorious intellectual and spiritual tradition of (a) great country.' Albert Einstein Written over five months when Jawaharlal Nehru was imprisoned in the Ahmadnagar Fort, The Discovery of India has acquired the status of a classic since it was first published in 1946. In this work of prodigious scope and scholarship, one of the greatest figures of Indian history unfolds the panorama of the country's rich and complex past, from prehistory to the last years of British colonial rule. Analysing texts like the Vedas and the Arthashastra, and personalities like the Buddha and Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru brings alive an ancient culture that has seen the flowering of the world's great traditions of philosophy, science and art, and almost all its major religions. Nehru's brilliant intellect, deep humanity and lucid style make The Discovery of India essential reading for anyone interested in India, both its past and its present.

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India's Struggle for Independence

by Bipan Chandra

About the book:  This is a study of India's independence movement, from an abortive revolt against the British in 1857 through the times which eventually lead to Indian Independence in 1947 seen from the Indian point of view. The book is based on primary sources, hundreds of interviews with those who took part in the struggle for freedom, and presents new information on the formation of the Indian National Congress and the British response to various uprisings. It also examines the personalities and influence of the leaders of the time and evolves a new and coherent view of the history of the period.

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The Wonder that was India

by A.L. Basham

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Medieval India: From Sultanat to the Mughals Part - II

by Satish Chandra

About the book:  A Broad Survey Of Political, Social, Economic And Cultural Developments In India Between 1206 And 1526 With Emphasis On Economic, Social And Cuoltural Aspects. Attempts To Bridge The Gap Between Current Hisotrical Research And Popular Perception Of The Controversial Phase. 14 Chapters And Matters.

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India

by John Keay

About the book:  Older, richer and more distinctive than almost any other, India's culture furnishes all that the historian could wish for in the way of continuity and diversity. The peoples of the Indian subcontinent, while sharing a common history and culture, are not now, and never have been, a single unitary state; the book accommodates Pakistan and Bangladesh, as well as other embryonic nation states like the Sikh Punjab, Muslim Kashmir and Assam.Above all, the colonial era is seen in the overall context of Indian history, and the legacy of the 1947 partition is examined from the standpoint of today, revised for 2010.

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City of Djinns

by William Dalrymple

About the book:  ‘Could you show me a djinn?’ I asked. ‘Certainly,’ replied the Sufi. ‘But you would run away.’

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The Penguin History of Early India

by Romila Thapar

About the book:  WINNER OF THE KLUGE PRIZE FOR LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT 2008 Early India—a complete rewrite of Romila Thapar’s A History of India (Volume 1)—brings to life thousands of years of India’s precolonial history: its prehistoric beginnings; the great cities of the Indus civilization; the emergence of mighty dynasties such as the Mauryas, Guptas and Cholas; the teachings of the Buddha; the creation of the Mahabharata and the Ramayana; and the evolution of regional cultures. In exploring subjects as diverse as marriage, class, art, erotica and astronomy, Thapar provides an incomparably vivid and nuanced picture of India, creating a rich mosaic of diverse kingdoms, landscapes, languages and beliefs.

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India Since Independence

by Bipan Chandra

About the book:  A Thorough And Incisive Introduction To Contemporary India The Story Of The Forging Of India, The World'S Largest Democracy, Is A Rich And Inspiring One. This Volume, A Sequel To The Best-Selling India'S Struggle For Independence, Analyses The Challenges India Has Faced And The Successes It Has Achieved, In The Light Of Its Colonial Legacy And Century-Long Struggle For Freedom. The Book Describes How The Constitution Was Framed, As Also How The Nehruvian Political And Economic Agenda And Basics Of Foreign Policy Were Evolved And Developed. It Dwells On The Consolidation Of The Nation, Examining Contentious Issues Like Party Politics In The Centre And The States, The Punjab Problem, And Anti-Caste Politics And Untouchability. This Revised Edition Offers A Scathing Analysis Of The Growth Of Communalism In India And The Use Of State Power In Furthering Its Cause. It Also Documents The Fall Of The National Democratic Alliance In The 2004 General Elections, The United Progressive Alliance'S Subsequent Rise To Power And The Indo-Us Nuclear Deal That Served To Unravel The Political Consensus At The Centre. Apart From Detailed Analyses Of Indian Economic Reforms Since 1991 And Wide-Ranging Land Reforms And The Green Revolution, This New Edition Includes An Overview Of The Indian Economy In The New Millennium. These, Along With Objective Assessments Of Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Jayaprakash Narayan, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Rajiv Gandhi, Vishwanath Pratap Singh, Atal Bihari Vajpayee And Manmohan Singh, Constitute A Remarkable Overview Of A Nation On The Move.

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Indira: The Life of Indira Nehru Gandhi

by Katherine Frank

About the book:  The definitive and first non-partisan biography of one of the most formidable political figures of the twentieth century (voted Woman of the Millennium in a BBC poll, 2000)

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A History of India

by John Keay

About the book:  A history of India upto 1300 AD introducing the beginnings of India's cultural dynamics

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Ancient India

by D.N. Jha

About the book:  This book is a substantially modified and enlarged version of the author's "Ancient India: An Introductory Outline" (Delhi, 1977) and surveys the major developments in India's social, economic and cultural history up to the end of the ancient period and the beginning of the early middle ages and explains the rise and growth of states with reference to their material basis. Special attention has been paid to the elements of change and continuity in society, economy and culture, and to the changing forms of exploitation and consequent social tensions as well as to the role of religion and superstition in society. The book demolishes the popular historiographical stereotypes created by the Hindu-chauvinist communal writings. It also gives the lie to the view that the Indian society has been stagnant and changeless -- a view which was propagated by Western scholars in the heyday of British imperialism and continues to be peddled ingeniously in our own times. The assassination of Mahatma Gandhi ... and the demolition of the Baburi Masjid are two ... unforgettable milestones in the unfolding of the backward-looking Hindu revivalist and fascist politics of contemporary India. Since both Harappa and Mohenjodaro are situated now in Pakistan, the Hindu revivalists are busy locating the epicentre of the Harappan culture in the elusive Saraswati valley.

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Land of seven rivers

by Sanjeev Sanyal

About the book:  DID THE GREAT FLOOD OF INDIAN LEGEND ACTUALLY HAPPEN? WHY DID THE BUDDHA WALK TO SARNATH TO GIVE HIS FIRST SERMON? HOW DID THE EUROPEANS MAP INDIA? The history of any country begins with its geography. With sparkling wit and intelligence, Sanjeev Sanyal sets off to explore India and look at how the country’s history was shaped by, among other things, its rivers, mountains and cities. Traversing remote mountain passes, visiting ancient archaeological sites, crossing rivers in shaky boats and immersing himself in old records and manuscripts, he considers questions about Indian history that we rarely ask: Why do Indians call their country Bharat? How did the British build the railways across the subcontinent? Why was the world’s highest mountain named after George Everest? Moving from the geological beginnings of the subcontinent to present-day Gurgaon, Land of the Seven Rivers is riveting, wry and full of surprises. It is the most entertaining history of India you will ever read.

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Somanatha

by Romila Thapar

About the book:  History and sources of Somanatha Temple; a study.

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Dominance Without Hegemony

by Ranajit Guha

About the book:  What is colonialism and what is a colonial state? In exploring these questions, Ranajit Guha points out that the South Asian colonial state was a historical paradox. Britain may have ruled India as a colony, but it never achieved hegemony over most of the population, collaborating with the nationalist elite but never persuading the masses. Thus the colonial state, as Guha defines it in this closely argued work, was a paradox--a dominance without hegemony. His work will be essential to an understanding of Indian history.

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Asoka and the Decline of the Mauryas

by Romila Thapar

About the book:  This book discusses the history of the Mauryas with a special emphasis on the reign and activities of Asoka. It focuses on sources, socio-economic conditions, administration, Dhamma, foreign relations, and the decline of the Mauryas. This third edition contains a new foreword which updates research.

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Raj

by Lawrence James

About the book:  This is the brilliantly told story of one of the wonders of the modern world - how in less than a hundred years the British made themselves masters of India. They ruled it for another hundred, departing in 1947, leaving behind the independent states of India and Pakistan. British rule taught Indians to see themselves as Indians and its benefits included railways, hospitals, law and a universal language. But the Raj, outwardly so monolithic and magnificent, was always precarious. Its masters knew that it rested ultimately on the goodwill of Indians. This is a new look at a subject rich in incident and character; the India of the Raj was that of Clive, Kipling, Curzon and Gandhi and a host of lesser known others. RAJ will provoke debate, for it sheds new light on Mountbatten and the events of 1946-47 which ended an exercise in benign autocracy and an experiment in altruism.

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The Essential Gandhi

by Mahatma Gandhi,Louis Fischer

About the book:  Mohandas K. Gandhi, called Mahatma (“great soul”), was the father of modern India, but his influence has spread well beyond the subcontinent and is as important today as it was in the first part of the twentieth century and during this nation’s own civil rights movement. Taken from Gandhi’s writings throughout his life, The Essential Gandhi introduces us to his thoughts on politics, spirituality, poverty, suffering, love, non-violence, civil disobedience, and his own life. The pieces collected here, with explanatory head notes by Gandhi biographer Louis Fischer, offer the clearest, most thorough portrait of one of the greatest spiritual leaders the world has known. “Gandhi was inevitable. If humanity is to progress, Gandhi is inescapable. . . . We may ignore him at our own risk.” –Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. With a new Preface drawn from the writings of Eknath Easwaran In the annals of spirituality certain books stand out both for their historical importance and for their continued relevance. The Vintage Spiritual Classics series offers the greatest of these works in authoritative new editions, with specially commissioned essays by noted contemporary commentators. Filled with eloquence and fresh insight, encouragement and solace, Vintage Spiritual Classics are incomparable resources for all readers who seek a more substantive understanding of mankind's relation to the divine.

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Elementary Aspects of Peasant Insurgency in Colonial India

by Ranajit Guha

About the book:  This historiography of peasant insurgency in India has frequently been a record of the efforts of the colonial administration to deal with mass uprisings in the countryside. The colonialist tended to see insurgency as a crime or pathology, seldom regarding it as a struggle for social justice, Guha seeks to correct this failure to understand the aims and motives of the insurgent. He adopts the peasant's viewpoint and examines the peasant rebel's awareness of his own world and his will to change it. The study covers the period 1783-1900 and identifies some of the elementary aspects that characterized peasant rebel consciousness in this period. This classic work deserves to form an indispensable part of the reading list of all serious students of South Asian history.

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