Here are 5 books that will expand your political horizon and help you emerge with a better understanding of modern Indian politics.
Here are 5 books that will expand your political horizon and help you emerge with a better understanding of modern Indian politics.Amazon

Enrich Your Understanding Of Modern Indian Politics With 5 Influential Books

"Today a reader, tomorrow a leader."

Margaret Fuller

A good book is a whetstone for the mind. When you finish it, you emerge sharper and more enriched than before. Around us, there is no lack of opinions, especially when it comes to politics. People are ready to spout nonsense in the name of freedom of speech. If one is interested in cutting through all the unnecessary rhetoric of the masses and truly immerse themselves in understanding politics, one ought to read the experts in the field. India is the world’s largest democracy and its political history is pluralistic and in-depth with a lot of nuances and lenses through which it can be examined. As we find ourselves in the thick of this Election season, here are 5 books that will expand your political horizon and help you emerge with a better understanding of modern Indian politics.

I. 'India After Gandhi: The History of the World's Largest Democracy ' by Ramachandra Guha

This is easily one of the most important books one ought to read to understand modern Indian political history Spanning the post-independence era eminent Indian historian Ramachandra Guha unpacks the intricate tapestry of India's development. He doesn't shy away from the harsh realities – religious conflicts, political turmoil, and social inequalities. But he also sheds light on the triumphs – economic growth, a vibrant democracy, and the inspiring stories of leaders and ordinary citizens who shaped the nation. By delving into these complexities, the book equips you, as an Indian citizen, to be an informed participant in your country's future. You'll gain a deeper appreciation for the challenges overcome and the foundations laid for a strong democracy. It's a chance to meet the heroes of modern India, both celebrated and lesser-known, and understand how their actions continue to resonate today.

Buy it here.

II. 'Half Lion: How P.V. Narasimha Rao Transformed India' by Vinay Sitapati

In the words of political writer Kapil Kommireddi, “If Jawaharlal Nehru ‘‘discovered” India, it can reasonably be said that P.V. Narasimha Rao reinvented it”. India's Prime Minister from 1991 to 1995, P.V. Narasimha Rao, oversaw a period of significant economic change. However, his achievements remain a topic of debate. In his book Half Lion: How P.V. Narasimha Rao Transformed India, political scientist Vinay Sitapati challenges common perceptions of Rao. Using fresh evidence and interviews, Sitapati paints a new picture of this often misunderstood and criticized leader. Abhilash Puljal praises the book for its clear and engaging style, recommending it to both specialists and general readers interested in learning about Rao's often-overlooked contributions.

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III. 'The Discovery of India' by Jawaharlal Nehru

Jawaharlal Nehru, India's first Prime Minister, penned this book during his imprisonment by the British Raj (1942-1945). Published in 1946 after independence, the book offers a sweeping exploration of Indian history, culture, and philosophy. Nehru traces the country's journey from the ancient Indus Valley Civilization and the wisdom of the Vedas and Upanishads, through various periods shaped by foreign invasions, all the way to the eve of Indian independence under British rule. Considered a personal homage to his homeland, The Discovery of India provides a window into Nehru's thoughts and ideas, which later influenced his vision for an independent India. The book's title has been critiqued for its Eurocentric undertones, suggesting a need for "discovery" by an outsider, and some argue Nehru's interpretations hold the mark of his own political leanings. Nevertheless, The Discovery of India remains a significant work for understanding both Indian history and the mind of one of its most influential leaders.

Buy it here.

Here are 5 books that will expand your political horizon and help you emerge with a better understanding of modern Indian politics.
Oppenheimer's Connection To India: Nehru, Homi Bhabha, The Bhagavad Gita, & More

IV. 'The Accidental Prime Minister: The Making and Unmaking of Manmohan Singh by Sanjaya Baru'

Sanjaya Baru, a former media advisor to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (2004-2014), offers a controversial insider's perspective in his memoir "The Accidental Prime Minister." Baru portrays Singh, an economist by training, as a capable leader but restricted by a complex power struggle. The book proposes a "dual power centers" theory, suggesting that Sonia Gandhi, the head of the Congress party, held significant sway, potentially undermining Singh's authority. Baru details Singh's interactions with his cabinet, the challenges of coalition governance, and his handling of critical issues like the India-US nuclear deal. While the Prime Minister's Office refutes the book's claims of Singh's weakness, "The Accidental Prime Minister" remains a significant source for understanding the Manmohan Singh era, offering a window into the political maneuvers and inner workings of the Indian government during that period.

Buy it here.

V. 'Dalit Women: Vanguard of an Alternative Politics in India by S. Anandhi'

This book examines the complex interplay of gender, caste, and social class in modern India. It explores how historical shifts and regional variations are shaping the identities of Dalits across the country. These identities are constantly evolving and defy easy categorization. Through ethnographic studies from various regions of India, the book delves into caste-based politics, feminism within the Dalit community, the impact of religion and economic forces, and the ongoing struggles Dalits face for social, economic, and political equality.

Buy it here.

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