Internet is vast and unmeasurable. But, if you ask me Indian History is even vast than the internet. You need to read a number of books on Indian history to have a holistic picture of our past rather than considering one specific work as the bible.
To have a reign over the Indian History, the historians often classify it into three sub parts – Ancient, Medieval and Modern. Which are further divided into sub- sections. And each sub-section is like an abyss, the more you try to gaze into it, the deeper it becomes. And, in such a scenario it becomes extremely difficult and complicated to understand the Indian History.
Hence, we’ve compiled a list of 15 books on Indian History to make it easier for you to navigate through our rich historical past.
1. A History of Ancient and Early Medieval India
The book covers ancient and early medieval Indian history. It is a must read for all those who are interested in Indian History. As, the book helps reader gain clarity and deeper understanding on the subject. The most complicated terms are explained in a relatable manner, graphic representation of artefacts and maps, and lot of information and facts in the book are backed by reference.
2. An Era of Darkness: The British Empire in India
An Era of Darkness: The British Empire in India is about the atrocities of the British Rule in the Pre- Independent India. A very well researched book, it traces the journey of Britishers in India and the atrocities that were meted out to Indians at their expense. Unlike other books on Indian History, this book is an immersive experience for the readers.
3. Jawahar Lal Nehru: The Discovery Of India
The Discovery of India was penned down by Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru between 1942-1945. During this period he was imprisoned at Ahmednagar fort in Maharashtra. The book traces India’s history right from the ancient period to the time when British Government left India.
4. Freedom at Midnight
Freedom at Midnight, is about India’s freedom struggle. It covers a very crucial time frame in India’s Independence: right from the last year of British rule to Gandhi ji’s death. The book covers some exclusive topics like – reactions from the princely states; the partition of British India and the aftermath – violence and gore. Which make the book equally contesting among certain masses.
5. From Tryst to Tendulkar: The History of Independent India
Tryst to Tendulkar is a compilation of India’s journey: from 1947 to 2014 by popular Quora writer Balaji Viswanathan. The book encompasses all facets of Indian economy in its purview. The author talks about political issues, wars, poverty, sports, entertainment and technology. It is one of the best books to read on Indian history for holistic information.
6. India: A History
Looking at Indian history chronologically has its own perks.It helps us grasp the context faster. And the best bet in the context of Indian history is Keay’s book. Do read it and let us know if you were able to retain all of it.
7. India After Gandhi: The History of the World’s Largest Democracy
India After Gandhi is a book centred around the history of independent India. The book is vastly different from other books on Indian history as it starts where most books on modern Indian history end: end of the British Raj and Independence of India. It talks about India’s people -their conflicts, protests, and wars; the ostracised and the privileged; glory and shame the nation has faced.
8. India After Independence
India After Independence is a sequence to India’s Struggle For Freedom by Bipin Chandra. The book talks about the five decades since the Britishers left. This book is a must read for you if you want to know how things shaped up immediately after the britishers left.
9. India Wins Freedom
India Wins Freedom is an autobiography by Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad. The book is his take on the Indian freedom struggle and the creation of Pakistan. It also highlights his personal experience during the said period. This book is great because of the unique POV by a selfless freedom fighter.
10. India’s Struggle For Independence
India’s Struggle for Independence by Bipin Chandra is one of the most rich and diverse book on this subject. It covers Indian struggle for Independence right from Mangal Pandey’s mutiny and includes the smallest of details. Needles to say this book on Indian history has been meticulously written down by the author by a lot of patience, research and hard-work. It is a must read book on Indian History.
11.Land of the Seven Rivers: A Brief History of India’s Geography
This book is an interesting take on India’s history with reference to its Geography. A lot of how’s and why have been answered in geographical context to satiate the readers. But, the same geographical context has raised a lot more how and why. This book is a very fresh take on Indian history and that is a good reason for you to read it.
12. Pakistan or the Partition of India
Pakistan or the Partition of India is an extremely interesting read.There’s a famous proverb by Chinua Achebe which says,”until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.” This book is by a lion, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, who despite his Dalit status had many laurels to his name.
13. The Last Mughal: The Fall Of A Dynasty
This book will give you an insight about the last Mughal ruler: Bahadur Shah Zafar II. But, more than that it reveals what lead to the downfall of the Mughal empire at the hands of East India Company. And most importantly, where did the last Mughal emperors vanish ?
14. The Penguin History of Early India
This book explores ancient Indian history in details . It presents the readers with facts and evidences on almost every page. It is a very well researched book and must read for anyone who wants to read in detail description of India’s early history.
15. The Wonder That Was India
It was book written by a foreign author for western audience to correct the negative stereotype created by other foreign authors. However, this book is great for Indian audience too. And captures the ancient Indian history aptly. Whether it is about Indus Valley Civilisation or about the Aryan invasion you’d find ever small details covered minutely.
Do you know of any other books on Indian History that should be a must-read for students and enthusiasts? Do let us know in the comments below.