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4 Must Read Books By Indian Authors

Shrikant Jadhav takes keen interest in the Indian Literature. He is also a follower of Gandhian thoughts and ideology

must-read-indian-books

Best Books By Indian Authors

Though most of the Indian literature work is in the native Indian languages like Sanskrit, Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Bengali and Kannada, the number of English authors in India has been ever increasing since its independence in 1947. In fact, Indians now publish thousands of books in the English language every year, at par with any native English-speaking country. With so many books being published every year, if you are someone who wants to start reading from scratch about India, it is very challenging to shortlist few. In this article I try to solve this problem by sharing some of the best Indian books that I have read.

  1. The Story of My Experiments with Truth by M.K. Gandhi
  2. Malgudi Days BY R.K. Narayan
  3. Train to Pakistan By Kushwant Singh
  4. Godan By Munshi Premchand, translated By Jai Ratan & P. Lal
My Experiment With The Truth BY M.K. Gandhi

My Experiment With The Truth BY M.K. Gandhi

The Story of My Experiments with Truth By M.K. Gandhi

About the Author:

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, popularly known as Mahatma Gandhi, also known as the Father of the Nation in India, needs no introduction. People around the globe are aware of his contribution to the Indian freedom struggle and his fight against the racism in South Africa. He was the champion and advocate of nonviolence. He was nominated 5 times for the Noble peace prize but never got one. He was not awarded the Bharat Ratna (which is the highest civilian award in India) because the government was of the opinion that he was above any of the civilian awards, such was the charisma and stature of this man in India!

About the Book:

If you want to know what made Gandhi the Mahatma (Mahatma stands for great soul) , you must read this book about his life. I was fortunate to read this book in my 12th grade when I was preparing for my medical entrance exam in one of the institutes in India, where it was mandatory to qualify an exam on Gandhian thoughts and ideology. Being a science student, I was initially reluctant to spend my time on reading his autobiography, but I gave it a shot and trust me it was perfectly worth it. I became an accidental fan of Mahatma Gandhi after reading this book. In this book he has shared every aspect of his life, including his mistakes, his boyhood in Gujarat, his relationship with his father and his journey in vegetarianism. I will not disclose too many details here but some of the events that he has shared are inspirational and heart touching. It takes courage for a man of his stature to openly admit and document his mistakes in a book.

Malgudi Days By R.K. Narayan

Malgudi Days By R.K. Narayan

Malgudi Days By R.K. Narayan

About the Author:

Rasipuram Krishnaswami Iyer Narayanaswami popularly known as R.K Narayan is one of the leading authors of early Indian English literature. He is also known as William Faulkner of India due to the striking similarity in their style of writing. He has received the second highest civilian award the Padma Vibhushan. Born and brought up in Madras (modern day Chennai) in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, his writings were inspired by the people and events surrounding him in the pre- independence era.

About the Book:

No one has captured the essence of rural India like R.K. Narayan and Malgudi Days. Malgudi Days is a collection of 32 short stories from the early 19th century British India. Malgudi is a fictional South Indian town and each story revolves around different characters in this town. What fascinates me about this book is its simplicity and the honest characterizations done by the author. The way he brings each character to life is simply amazing. This book depicts the lives of people from all sections of the society, right from the entrepreneurs to beggars. His narrative literally teleports us to this small, beautiful, and happy village, Malgudi. Though the characters in the book are imaginary, the struggle and life depicted here captures the true picture of rural India. Some of the stories in this book have brusque ending but that is signature R.K Narayan for you. My personal favorite story from this book is about Swami and friends. The story revolves around a ten-year-old schoolchild named Swaminathan, his friends, his childhood and schooling in Malgudi. There are other interesting short stories about a doctor, a postal worker, an astrologer, a gatekeeper, a Tamil Brahmin which I found quite interesting. This book is also recommended in curriculums for literature students in India.

So do read this book and let me know which of these 32 stories you liked the most.

Train to Pakistan By Kushwant Singh

Train to Pakistan By Kushwant Singh

Train To Pakistan By Kushwant Singh

About the Author:

Kushwant Singh was an author, lawyer and politician born in Punjab province during the British rule in India. Born and brought up in an Indo-Pakistan border state, his writings were influenced by the events that took place in the Punjab province during the partition of India. He was awarded the second highest civilian award the Padma Vibhushan by the Indian Government in 2007.

About the Book:

The partition of India in 1947 (into India and Pakistan) was one of the most painful events in the 19th century. It is estimated that 2 million people died and around 15 million were displaced from their homes during the partition. While there is lot of content available online about the political reasons and the religious conflicts that caused this partition, this book depicts the life in a fictional village on the border of India and Pakistan. It shows how the Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims lived together during the 19th century and their love hate relationship. The book does not take sides, neither blames any one group for the violence. It is focused on the consequences and impact on lives of the people due to partition rather than the reason for the partition. It is also the story of a Sikh boy and a Muslim girl whose love endured and transcends the ravages of war. Modern day education system teaches us Mathematics, Science, History and Geography but this book teaches us how to be humans first! Many global conflicts today and of the future can be avoided if books like this are part of the school curriculums.

One of the classic Indian novels, Train to Pakistan is a must read for everyone!

Godan By Munshi Premchand

Godan By Munshi Premchand

Godan By Munshi Premchand translated By Jai Ratan & P. Lal

About the Author:

Dhanpat Rai Srivastava popularly known by his pen name Munshi Premchand is one of the most celebrated writers of the India. Born in the year 1880 in the British India, all his contributions have been in the Hindi language in the Hindustani Literature. He is famously known as the "Upanyas Samrat" ("Emperor among Novelists") by the writers in India. Jai Ratan & P. Lal translated Premchand' s work into English with the title "The Gift of Cow".

About the Book:

Godan captures different aspects like casteism, economic inequality, gender inequality, corruption, taboo around inter-caste marriages and other political and social challenges faced by the Indian society. The story has many characters, but it revolves mainly around a peasant Hori Mahato and his desire to gift a cow to his son in law and eventually feed its milk to his grandson. The act of donating a cow in charity is considered as one of the holiest things in Hinduism. Hori works hard all his life to fulfill his wish of buying a cow but the end to the story would bring tears in the eyes of the readers. In parallel, the story also shows the social taboo associated with the widow remarriages that was prevalent in India in the 19th century. It also depicts the hypocrisy of the rich class, their interrelation, and the plight of farmers in the British India. Premchand was an advocate of socialism and his ideology is stamped all over this book. This book has something for everyone - satire, emotions, drama, politics, religion and much more.

If you are someone who want to understand the complexity of Indian society, this book is a must read for you!

Happy Reading!

I hope that you like these thoughtfully selected books. Do let me know which one amongst these is your favorite.

Bonus tip:

Once you finish reading the first 4 books, here are two more books which you should give a shot.

  1. The God of Small Things BY ARUNDHATI ROY
  2. Early India From the Origins to AD 1300 BY ROMILA THAPAR

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Shrikant Jadhav

Comments

Shrikant Jadhav (author) from Pune, India on May 17, 2021:

Thanks Thelma! Do share your feedback once you finish reading these books.

Thelma Alberts from Germany on May 17, 2021:

These are interesting books to read. Thanks for sharing.

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