In an earlier column, I provided a brief analytical history of India’s democratic institutions since Independence. In this column, I offer a list of non-fiction books that I have myself found useful in understanding the complicated career of our Republic. I would have like to choose 75 books, both in the interests of symmetry and because the reader would have had a greater range of choices. However, listing 75 titles and providing even the briefest explanations for each was not feasible within the word limit of this column.
So I have picked 50. I have restricted myself to the period after 1947; this is an “Independent India” rather than “Indian History” reading list. The date of first publication for each book is given in parentheses.
I begin with Granville Austin’s The Indian Constitution: Cornerstone of a Republic (1966), a landmark work on the debates that went into the framing of the Constitution. To be read alongside is Niraja Gopal Jayal’s Citizenship and Its Discontents: An Indian History (2013), which has a longer time frame and a more sociological approach.
The most important development of our first decade as a free nation included the integration of the princely states and the creation of linguistic states. The best book on the first theme remains…