67 years of Independence. 68th Independence Day. However, nearly 7 decades down the line, many of us feel that 15th August has now become nothing more than a national holiday? Perhaps a good read about our country will help us all in understanding what makes our motherland so unique and make us proud of the fact that we are Indians.
In collaboration with 4 other contributors, Bipan Chandra weaves together the various threads of India's freedom struggle and presents the whole story in a comprehensible way. Beginning with the Revolt of 1857, the first struggle for Indian independence, it goes on to recount and analyse the many other movements and events that influenced the freedom struggle up to the end of the British Raj in 1947. While it is difficult to cover every aspect of the subject in a single volume, the book is intended to be as exhaustive as possible, making it among some of the most complete books on Indian history centred on this period.
Freedom at Midnight casts a spotlight on the defining moments of history that led to India's independence. It includes the descriptions of royal princely states and the extravagant lifestyles of their occupants, the British era, and the partition of British India to India and Pakistan, as well as the terrifying bloodshed that followed. Further, it gives an insight into the events which led to the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, discusses the motives of Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Jawaharlal Nehru, the leaders of the newly formed free nations and draws attention to the crucial boundary separating India and Pakistan. The significance of the book is that it tries to re-awaken the spirit of the present generation by being empathetically considerate to the fact that leaders across the nation were united in their battle for a common cause - freedom. Their pursuit of the dream of a country free from inequality, illiteracy and poverty.
One of the most complete and accurate books on ancient and early medieval Indian history, the book unfolds the glorious story of ancient and early medieval India through discussions, illustrations and narratives. The book avoids all the traditional methods of telling history and takes an altogether new path, by including ancient artifacts, artefacts, coins and inscriptions. The book also describes the various ways through which history is constructed and the manner in which sources are used to construct facts and timelines. Consequently, concepts and terms in history are explained in easy and simple language. Few historical debates are mentioned so that readers can understand how controversies in history are handled.
A work of fiction, the Man Booker Prize (2008) winning book talks about how Balram, the son of a rickshaw puller was forced out of school and made to work at a teashop. Even as he unwillingly undertakes the routine chores, his heart weaves a path of escape. Dreams become reality when a rich landlord hires him as a driver for his son and his daughter-in-law’s family and their two Pomeranian dogs. The book explores the story of Balram Halwai and how he rises from poverty, ending up as a wealthy businessman in Bangalore. It is the story of struggle, spilling of blood and a corrupt system. The journey of the protagonist, born in Laxmangarh, is a journey from the paths of darkness to great entrepreneurial success, written in the background of a growing India.
A classic in its own right, Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie is a work of historical fiction. In the hour of India's freedom on 15th August, 1947, two babies are born in the Bombay hospital. As fate would have it, they were switched by a nurse in the hospital. Saleem, son of a poor woman and Shiva, the son of a wealthy couple are destined to live the lives of one another. However, when they grow up, their lives intersect and become inextricably connected to India's turbulent journey of victory and defeat. Hopeful and magical, the book creates an impressive niche in the hearts of readers with unforgettable and rich characters as is India herself.
Want more books on Indian history, culture and other works of fiction, check out our list of 68 Must Read Books on India.