Review of India’s Struggle for Independence This was my first history book which I read when I started preparing for civil services. It’s an interesting read with nice anecdotes, stories and, quotes weaved into small chapters. This book never makes you feel heavy. It can be easily finished if someone targets to read one or two chapters in a day. Since Bipin Chandra is a historian with a left-leaning perspective, it gives a one-sided picture. But this was my first book on modern India which made me aware of the freedom struggle for India’s Independence which makes this book quite special.
Review of Modern India: This is a book on India’s freedom struggle written from a subaltern perspective. This perspective challenges the elite perspective of Indian nationalism and has been critical Congress driven nationalism. Sumit Sarkar has narrated the story of Indian nationalism from the perspective of masses. Though a very different perspective, I found the book a little boring. However, it is a must-read if someone wants to understand the history from the perspective of masses.
Review of From Plassey to Partition: A History of Modern India: This book changed my perspective of reading history books. It made me realize that history is written by the writers and not the victors. The whole concept of historiography is so important if someone is reading history or trying to make any conclusions from the history book. Writers write history based on the information available and also interpret the historical event from their own lenses. However, this book is a piece of art. I found it very unbiased, quite nuanced with a lot of details, and thousands of citations as if you are reading a research paper. The most beautiful thing about this book is to make you understand with a lot of clarity the conflicting questions present in our politics. For instance- How Indian masses were hardly in sync with the leadership of Congress at the national level? The concept of popular consciousness was absent. Local grievances and the local leadership played an important role in any national movement started at that time. Indian national movement was very vague so that each group could interpret it in their own ways. This book is a must-read for all history lovers. The first few chapters are heavy reading but slowly you will not feel like putting it down.
Review of Social Background of Indian Nationalism: This book is also one of the best books ever written on Modern India. As the title of the book says, this book is written from a social perspective. Someone should read this book to understand how did feudalism evolve in Indian society? How did news classes emerge? What was the role of means of transport and modern education in the development of Indian nationalism? What were the factors which played an important role in the crusade against the caste system and untouchability?
Review of India After Gandhi: This book is very special to me because it was a gift from Chaitanya. It was a superb read. I read this book in 2012 and finished it in 15-20 days. It has around 1000 pages but I wanted to finish it as early as possible. This book was unputdownable. It was one of the best books I ever read. Reading this book created a kind for urgency to me to read more books if you want to get selected for civil services. Since then I never stopped reading non-fiction books. Ram Chandra Guha, the author of the book has so vividly narrated the story of post-Independence India that it feels like you are watching a movie. It also helps you in understanding the current day politics because whatever is happening, it has its background in history. This book is a masterpiece and one of the best books to know about the post-independence history of India. It tries to answer some difficult questions like Why India has survived as well as succeeded as a nation despite having huge diversity and differences? However, the author has also been criticized as being pro-congress in depicting the post-independence history and politics.
Review of India since Independence: This book is similar to India After Gandhi by different authors. Some chapters of the book explaining the consolidation of India as a Nation and Land Reforms are very insightful. However, this book is written in academic form rather than like a story. It might not be an easy read but if someone wants to understand the left perspective of Indian politics since Independence, this is one of the best books.
Review of Modern Indian History: This book is like a guide book to help you remember all the historical events and helps you write better and structured answers for modern India history questions. The best thing about this book I liked is that it has created separate chapters for different Governor Generals of India, and the events happened during their tenure that makes you clearly remember different acts and treaties signed between British India and different rulers of that time.
Till today, I only remember reading these books on Modern and Post-Independence India. As soon as I read more books or remember my old books, will update this blog. Till then, keep reading guys!!