Suggested Readings

Basham, A. L. The Wonder That Was India. Picador, 2014. (572 pages)

A great book on ancient Indian history, covering its geography, religion, governance, philosophy, and literature to science.

Chhibber, Ajay and Salman Soz. Unshackling India: Hard Truths and Clear Choices. HarperCollins,
2021. (492 pages)

A look at human capital, technology, agriculture, finance, trade, public service and more and the limitations of the Indian state.

Dubash, Navroz K. India in a Warming World: Integrating Climate Change and Development.

Oxford University press, 2020 (504 pages)

A look at the challenges of addressing climate change compounded by a sense of injustice-we did not cause the problem—and the immediate challenges of poverty and development.

Ghosh, Amitav. The Nutmeg’s Curse: Parables for a Planet in Crisis. University of Chicago Press, 2022 (336 pages).

A powerful work of history, essay, testimony and polemic, stating that the origins of our contemporary climate crisis is in Western colonialism’s violent exploitation of human life and the natural environment.

Guha, Ramchandra. India After Gandhi Revised and Updated Edition: History of the World’s Largest Democracy. Ecco, 2019. (992 pages)

Understanding post-independence, from 1947-2017, Economist and Wall Street Journal Book of the Year. 2017.

Jaffrelot, Christophe. Modi’s India: Hindu Nationalism and the Rise of Ethnic Democracy. Princeton University Press, 2021. (656 pages)

How a popularly elected leader has steered the largest democracy toward authoritarianism and intolerance.

Jaishankar, S. The India Way: Strategies for an Uncertain World. HarperCollins, 2022.

An intelligent analysis of world events and the evolution of India’s foreign policy since independence.

Jeffrey, Craig. Modern India: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press, 2018. (144 pages)

Changes in the economic, social, political and cultural changes unfolding in India today.

Kant, Amitabh. Made in India: 75 Years of Business and Enterprise. Rupa Publications, 2023. (212 pages)

Multi-faceted survey of the nation’s business heritage and culture-now one of the largest economies in the world.

Karnad, Bharat. Why India is not a Great Power (Yet). Oxford University Press, 2015 (568 pages)

The deficits in hard power; the country’s military capacities and the “software” related to hard power-absence of political vision and will, insensitivity to strategic geography, and unimaginative foreign and military-the shortfalls that prevent the country from achieving great power status.

Madhusudan, Harsh and Rajeev Mantri. A New Idea of India: The Civilizational Republic. Viking, 2023. (405 pages)

An analysis of the socio-political past from the Mughal ere to the current government in power.

Menon, Shivshankar. India and Asian Geopolitics: The Past, Present. Brookings Institution Press, 2021. (408 pages)

A clear-eyed look at modern India’s role in Asia, including its response to the rise in China and the broader world.

Mody, Ashoka. India is Broken: A People Betrayed, Independence to Today. Stanford University Press, 2023. (528 pages)

A provocative new account of how India moved relentlessly from its hope-filled founding in 1947 to the dramatic economic and democratic breakdowns of today.

Nehru, Jawaharlal. Discovery of India. Penguin Random House, 2004. (656 pages)

An introduction to Indian history by a brilliant writer during India’s struggle against the British Empire.

Saran, Shyam, How China Sees India and the World. Juggernaut, 2022. (305 pages)

An authoritative account of the India-China relationship and how China perceives the other country.

Saran, Shyam, How India Sees the World. Juggernaut Publication, 2017. (320 pages)

A ringside view of the most critical events and shifts in Indian foreign policy in the new millennium, including the epochal India-US nuclear deal.

Sen, Amartya. The Argumentative Indian: Writings in Indian History, Culture and Identity. Picador, 2006. (360 pages)

The idea and identity of India, written by a renowned economist and a Nobel laureate.

Tharoor, Shashi. An Era of Darkness: The British Empire in India. Aleph Book Company, 2016. (360 pages)

The impact of two hundred years of British rule. A winner of the Sahitya Akademi Award.




Suggested Fiction and Memoirs/Biographies

Desai, Kiran. The Inheritance of Loss. Grove Press, 2006 (384 pages).

A book about characters who face choices that illuminate the consequences of colonialism as it collides with the modern world.

Gandhi, Mohandas Karamchand and Mahatma Gandhi. Mohandas K. Gandhi Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments with Truth. Dover Publications, 1983. (494 pages)

Satyagraha, Gandhi’s nonviolent protest movement (satya=true, agraha=firmness) came to stand, like its creator, as a moral principle and a rallying cry; the principle was truth and the cry freedom.

Gawande, Atul. Being Mortal. Metropolitan Books, 2017. (304 pages)

The challenge of his profession: how medicine can not only improve life but also the process of its ending. Best Book of the Year by the Washington Post, the New York Times Book Review, NPR and Chicago Tribune.

Ghosh, Amitav. Sea of Poppies: A Novel (The first of three novels in The Ibis Trilogy). Picador, 2009. (560 pages).

The first in an epic trilogy about a tumultuous voyage across the Indian Ocean shortly before the outbreak of the Opium Wars in China.

Lahiri, Jhumpa. Interpreter of Maladies. Mariner Books Classics, 2019 (208 pages).

This collection flawlessly charts the emotional journeys of characters seeking love beyond the barriers of nations and generations.

Mistry, Rohinton. A Fine Balance. Vintage, 1997 (603 pages).

This novel captures all the cruelty, corruption, dignity and heroism of India.

Roberts, Gregory David. Shantaram: A Novel. St. Martin’s Griffin, 2005

A escaped convict flees Australia for the teeming streets of Bombay seeking in this remarkable place what they cannot find elsewhere. This novel has the world of human experience in its reach and a passionate love for India at its heart.

Roy, Arundhati. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness. Knopf, 2017 (464 pages).

An intimate journey of many years across the Indian subcontinent- from the cramped neighborhood of Old Delhi and the roads of the new city to the mountains and valleys of Kashmir and beyond, where war is peace and peace is war.

Verghese, Abraham. My Own Country: A Doctor’s Story. Vintage, 1995. (432 pages)

An account of the (AIDS) plague years in the American heartland. National Books Critics Circle Award Finalist.

Verghese, Abraham. The Covenant of Water. Grove Press. 2023 (736 pages).

A novel set in Kerala, South India, following three generations of a family seeking the answers to a strange secret. A shimmering evocation of a bygone India.


Thanks To our Sponsors