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Non Fiction Reads to understand India

Interesting Recent Reads on India

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Also read — A new breed of authors takes India by storm

The Rise and Fall of Nations — Ruchir Sharma

Not just for understanding the Indian economy, but also the world economic order. This is a gem of a read. The chapter on Good Billionaires versus Bad Billionaires, is itself worth the price of the book.

While a few years dated, the first two books discuss the unleashing of India’s entrepreneurial energies. The third book is an insightful look into the predicament of human nature, picking examples from India’s greatest literature — the Mahabharata and the Ramayana.

  • Wise and Otherwise — Stories from around India that the author comes across, in her philanthropic works.

It would take a whole library for any ONE social issue. However, my goal is to update this list with recent titles that I have had the pleasure of reading

Sisterhood Economy — India’s patriarchal society exposed at it’s worst. And what women are doing to succeed in spite of such egregious bullying.

There’s a plethora to choose from. I found this one to be somewhat illuminating.

Marching with a billion — Uday Mahurkar

Mad in India — Tarika Roy and Soumya Gupta

Targeted at Indians (non Indians will have a hard time understanding this book), this is another insightful look into Indian practices. Some chapters read a lot better than others. For example, the chapter on cricket and India’s obsession with it, could have been written by a 5th grader. Certainly not a literary masterpiece, but the insights themselves are worth the cost of the book.

Daksh Tyagi — A Nation of Idiots

Daksh highlights the problems with Indian citizens. Why we follow centuries old traditions, why we support candidates (whether political or otherwise) based on community, rather than talent.

Definitely a must read for introspective Indians as well as outsiders trying to understand India.

  • My Gita — Devdutta Patnaik. Some deeper insights into the lessons of the Gita.

An interesting insight into India’s most famous legal mind, along with historical cases, the emergency, and why India doesn’t have juries!

Gujarat: The Making of a Tragedy

This book is not an easy read. It details one of India’s darkest periods — the aftermath of the Godhra train incident. The riots that took place, with a largely complicit police force, is a must read for all Indians.

This is a work in progress. It was meant to complement a list of newer fiction writers emerging from India.



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