100 books like India After Gandhi

By Ramachandra Guha,

Here are 100 books that India After Gandhi fans have personally recommended if you like India After Gandhi. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Imagining India: The Idea of a Renewed Nation

Dinesh C. Sharma Author Of The Outsourcer: The Story of India's IT Revolution

From my list on the history of modern India.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a journalist who has strayed into book writing with a particular interest in the history of post-independent and contemporary India. My interest in this subject developed as an offshoot of reporting on landmark changes during the period of economic liberalization in the 1990s. One of the astounding stories of this period was the rise of the technology industry and the outsourcing business. A deeper study of this took me back to the period of independence in 1947 and decades before it.  

Dinesh's book list on the history of modern India

Dinesh C. Sharma Why did Dinesh love this book?

It is a book on the history of modern India but told from the perspective of an entrepreneur and a business leader – and one of the architects of the IT revolution. It tells the story of ideas that dotted India’s transition from the era of socialism to that of liberalization and globalization, while highlighting successes and failures. It projects new ideas – technological as well as creative policy options - for meeting some of the pressing challenges of poverty, health, education, and economic growth. 

By Nandan Nilekani,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Imagining India as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A visionary look at the evolution and future of India

In this momentous book, Nandan Nilekani traces the central ideas that shaped India's past and present and asks the key question of the future: How will India as a global power avoid the mistakes of earlier development models? As a co-founder of Infosys, a global leader in information technology, Nilekani has actively participated in the company's rise during the past twenty-seven years. In Imagining India, he uses his global experience and understanding to discuss the future of India and its role as a global citizen and emerging economic giant. Nilekani…


Book cover of The Technological Indian

Dinesh C. Sharma Author Of The Outsourcer: The Story of India's IT Revolution

From my list on the history of modern India.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a journalist who has strayed into book writing with a particular interest in the history of post-independent and contemporary India. My interest in this subject developed as an offshoot of reporting on landmark changes during the period of economic liberalization in the 1990s. One of the astounding stories of this period was the rise of the technology industry and the outsourcing business. A deeper study of this took me back to the period of independence in 1947 and decades before it.  

Dinesh's book list on the history of modern India

Dinesh C. Sharma Why did Dinesh love this book?

Indian engineers and technologists are among the most sought-after globally, particularly from the elite Indian Institutes of Technology that were originally modeled after MIT. The book traces India’s engagement with MIT from the 1880s to 2000 through the story of Indians who went to MIT to study and their contributions to engineering and industry back in India. It is a fascinating account of a few elite engineers but woven into it is a social, political, economic, and cultural history of modern India. 

By Ross Bassett,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Technological Indian as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the late 1800s, Indians seemed to be a people left behind by the Industrial Revolution, dismissed as "not a mechanical race." Today Indians are among the world's leaders in engineering and technology. In this international history spanning nearly 150 years, Ross Bassett-drawing on a unique database of every Indian to graduate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology between its founding and 2000-charts their ascent to the pinnacle of high-tech professions.

As a group of Indians sought a way forward for their country, they saw a future in technology. Bassett examines the tensions and surprising congruences between this technological vision…


Book cover of Grassroots Innovation: Minds On The Margin Are Not Marginal Minds

Dinesh C. Sharma Author Of The Outsourcer: The Story of India's IT Revolution

From my list on the history of modern India.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a journalist who has strayed into book writing with a particular interest in the history of post-independent and contemporary India. My interest in this subject developed as an offshoot of reporting on landmark changes during the period of economic liberalization in the 1990s. One of the astounding stories of this period was the rise of the technology industry and the outsourcing business. A deeper study of this took me back to the period of independence in 1947 and decades before it.  

Dinesh's book list on the history of modern India

Dinesh C. Sharma Why did Dinesh love this book?

The discourse on modern India is often about achievements in science and technology, R&D in national laboratories, and industry. However, in a country of one billion plus people, innovation is happening not just in formal sectors. Ordinary people – farmers, teachers, students, artisans, school dropouts, homemakers – are constantly innovating to solve everyday problems using frugal means. The book is an account of spotting grassroots innovations, nurturing them, and building networks with formal systems and markets. It is critical to understand this process for a deeper appreciation of contemporary India. 

By Anil K. Gupta,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Grassroots Innovation as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A moral dilemma gripped Anil K. Gupta when he was invited by the Bangladeshi government to help restructure their agricultural on-farm research sector in 1985. He noticed how the marginalized farmers were being paid poorly for their otherwise unmatched knowledge. The gross injustice of this constant imbalance led Gupta to found what would turn into a resounding social and ethical movement-the Honey Bee Network-bringing together and elevating thousands of grassroots innovators.
For over two decades, Gupta has travelled through rural lands, along with hundreds of volunteers of the Network, unearthing innovations by the ranks-from the famed Mitti Cool refrigerator to…


Book cover of The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable

Akshat Rathi Author Of Climate Capitalism: Winning the Race to Zero Emissions and Solving the Crisis of Our Age

From my list on crash course in our climate choices.

Why am I passionate about this?

Typically, climate journalists share stories of disastrous extreme weather events made more extreme by climate change. But over the past decade, I’ve discovered that every sector of the economy and every country on the planet that I’ve had the privilege to explore has people working on climate solutions. Crucially, in many places, these are now working at scale. 

Akshat's book list on crash course in our climate choices

Akshat Rathi Why did Akshat love this book?

A series of lectures that shames the literary world for its lack of imagination in weaving the greatest threat humanity faces–climate change–into stories.

Ghosh is a first-rate novelist, but his greatest legacy will be his nonfiction work on climate, colonialism, and migration.

By Amitav Ghosh,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Great Derangement as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Are we deranged? The acclaimed Indian novelist Amitav Ghosh argues that future generations may well think so. How else to explain our imaginative failure in the face of global warming? In his first major book of nonfiction since In an Antique Land, Ghosh examines our inability--at the level of literature, history, and politics--to grasp the scale and violence of climate change. The extreme nature of today's climate events, Ghosh asserts, make them peculiarly resistant to contemporary modes of thinking and imagining. This is particularly true of serious literary fiction: hundred-year storms and freakish tornadoes simply feel too improbable for the…


Book cover of Such a Long Journey

Samrat Upadhyay Author Of Mad Country

From my list on fiction that make political feel intensely persona.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in Nepal, where politics was part and parcel of everyday life. During my childhood and teenage years, we lived under a monarchy, where the king was supreme. Yet there was always a simmering tension between what was a mildly authoritarian rule and what the people’s aspirations were. As I grew into adulthood, Nepal saw a massive uprising that ushered in a multiparty system, then later, after a bloody Maoist civil war, the overthrow of the crown. Yet, even amidst all these political upheavals, people do live quotidian lives, and the space between these two seemingly disparate things has always felt like a literary goldmine to me. 

Samrat's book list on fiction that make political feel intensely persona

Samrat Upadhyay Why did Samrat love this book?

As an author from Nepal, I have learned the most from Rohinton Mistry than any other South Asian writer about how to “translate” the landscape and language of my country for an international audience. Such a Long Journey was the first novel that taught me how to integrate the social and political seamlessly into the psychological makeup of my protagonist—in an English that is uniquely local. In the novel, Gustad Noble, a devoted family man, gets snared into the deception and corruption of the government under Indira Gandhi. It’s a riveting read, and Mistry is superb with vivid descriptions. That the book was banned in certain conservative circles in India makes it even more of a gem. 

By Rohinton Mistry,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Such a Long Journey as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It is Bombay in 1971, the year India went to war over what was to become Bangladesh. A hard-working bank clerk, Gustad Noble is a devoted family man who gradually sees his modest life unravelling. His young daughter falls ill; his promising son defies his father’s ambitions for him. He is the one reasonable voice amidst the ongoing dramas of his neighbours. One day, he receives a letter from an old friend, asking him to help in what at first seems like an heroic mission. But he soon finds himself unwittingly drawn into a dangerous network of deception. Compassionate, and…


Book cover of Bombay Monsoon

D.J. Adamson Author Of Admit to Mayhem

From my list on mystery and thriller you’ll read the entire weekend.

Why am I passionate about this?

My father estranged himself from his sister because she was an alcoholic. I never met my aunt. However, when looking for a strong character for my Lilian Dove Mystery Series, I decided this aunt was a good mentoring character. Fictionally, I gave my aunt sobriety, but her recovery is not so much from drinking as it is recovering from the past to take on life anew. The mysteries Lillian Dove becomes involved her help her see how to do this. And first, she needs to learn to admit life is full of mayhem. Small-town Iowa amateur sleuth who ends up owning a liquor store.

D.J.'s book list on mystery and thriller you’ll read the entire weekend

D.J. Adamson Why did D.J. love this book?

Bombay Monsoon, first book in the new Emergency Series, delivers Ziskin’s talent for blending literary techniques and believable characters while taking the reader on an intense ride.

Journalist Danny Jacobs, young and anxious to make his mark, hasn’t been in Bombay long when he is caught up into intrigue, romance, and danger. Set in India during 1975 when India was shaken with political unrest after Prime Minister Indira Gandhi declared a state of emergence, Zisken weaves cultural adjustment along with crime and romance.

The book written by Zisken is an impressive page-turner, thanks to his meticulous attention to detail and insightful knowledge of India.

By James W. Ziskin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bombay Monsoon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The last thing Danny wants to see published is his obituary

The year is 1975. Danny Jacobs is an ambitious, young American journalist who's just arrived in Bombay for a new assignment. He's soon caught up in the chaos of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's domestic "Emergency."

Willy Smets is Danny's enigmatic expat neighbor. He's a charming man, but with suspicious connections. As a monsoon drenches Bombay, Danny falls hard for Sushmita, Smets's beguiling and clever lover-and the infatuation is mutual.

"The Emergency," a virtual coup by the prime minister, is only the first twist in the high-stakes drama of Danny's…


Book cover of A Fine Balance

Elizabeth R. Andersen Author Of The Scribe

From my list on historical fiction that are not in Western Europe.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ever since I picked up an old copy of Richard Halliburton’s Book of Wonders as a child, I’ve known that exploring other cultures and countries is something I wanted to experience for the rest of my life. From then on, I’ve traveled, taken cross-cultural studies, and managed international teams as a tech marketer–and my passion for new people and places hasn’t ceased. I love reading (and writing) about the liminal spaces in history–the times and places that aren’t easy to define and don’t make it into standard history books. This list reflects my interests, and I hope it broadens the horizons of other readers. 

Elizabeth's book list on historical fiction that are not in Western Europe

Elizabeth R. Andersen Why did Elizabeth love this book?

This massive book has haunted me ever since I finished it a few months ago. It’s set during a period I knew nothing about (India, 1975, during Indira Gandhi’s “State of Emergency”).

It took me a while to become invested in the characters, and that is because Mistry takes his time (more than 600 pages) to really develop the four main characters, exploring their history, their motives, fears, and prejudices.

Parts of this book were so brutal that I had to set it aside for a few days until I felt I could continue. Parts of it were so sensitive and touching that I cried.

When I finished it, I had a book hangover, and I haven’t been able to get it out of my head since. 

By Rohinton Mistry,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked A Fine Balance as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With a compassionate realism and narrative sweep that recall the work of Charles Dickens, this magnificent novel captures all the cruelty and corruption, dignity and heroism, of India. The time is 1975. The place is an unnamed city by the sea. The government has just declared a State of Emergency, in whose upheavals four strangers--a spirited widow, a young student uprooted from his idyllic hill station, and two tailors who have fled the caste violence of their native village--will be thrust together, forced to share one cramped apartment and an uncertain future.

As the characters move from distrust to friendship…


Book cover of Tibetan Foothold

Patti Shales Lefkos Author Of Nepal One Day at a Time: One woman's quest to teach, trek and build a school in the remote Himalaya

From my list on inspiration to leap out of your comfort zone.

Why am I passionate about this?

Currently a journalist, author, and adventure traveller, I am a former inner-city educator from Vancouver, BC, Canada with a Masters of Environmental Education degree, a Wilderness Leadership certificate, and a post-graduate certificate in Journalism. Solo and with my husband I have completed several major treks in Europe, Tibet, and Nepal including Mount Kailash kora, Everest Base Camp north (Tibet), The Annapurna Circuit and Base Camp, Everest Base Camp south (Nepal), Upper Mustang, the Manaslu Circuit and Tsum Valley for a total of about 800 km. I am currently training to complete Nepal’s Great Himalayan Trail (low route), 1,500 km from one end of Nepal to the other.

Patti's book list on inspiration to leap out of your comfort zone

Patti Shales Lefkos Why did Patti love this book?

Dervla Murphy truly showed up as a voluntourist before the term even existed. Her 1966 account of volunteering in an orphanage in a Tibetan refugee camp in India inspired me to look for an opportunity to help children in need in a developing country. Her bravery in the face of incredible discomfort and profound sadness at the plight of children suffering from not only a lack of education but more urgently from hunger and disease influenced my future travel decisions. Dervla’s perseverance and tenacity against all odds in this desolate camp and support of Tibetan refugees warmed my heart and strengthened my resolve to make a difference in the lives of others. Her courage helped me overcome my fears of solo travel to remote areas.

By Dervla Murphy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Tibetan Foothold as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The moving tale of Dervla Murphy's experiences working in the Tibetan refugee camps of Northern India in the sixties.


Book cover of Four Years' Service in India (1853)

Andrew Otis Author Of Hicky's Bengal Gazette: The Untold Story of India's First Newspaper

From my list on non-fiction journalism and history in India.

Why am I passionate about this?

As the author of Hicky's Bengal Gazette: The Untold Story of India's First Newspaper I have great interest in journalism and history in the Indian subcontinent. There are relatively few books that explore these topics in a narrative nonfiction way. It is my hope that this shortlist will help readers find a few good books to start with.

Andrew's book list on non-fiction journalism and history in India

Andrew Otis Why did Andrew love this book?

Perhaps the most unusual book on the list. This book is a riveting, true account of a British soldier in India in 1847. It’s a first-person tale of Ryder’s life in the army, of endless marches, and moments of sheer terror. Most histories are written for, and by elites, but this story is written by a true subaltern – a very special thing! If you want to know what life was truly like for the average British soldier in the Raj, read this. Did I also mention it is a page-turner? I guarantee you won’t be able to put it down. (It’s also free online).

By John Ryder,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Four Years' Service in India (1853) as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is a pre-1923 historical reproduction that was curated for quality. Quality assurance was conducted on each of these books in an attempt to remove books with imperfections introduced by the digitization process. Though we have made best efforts - the books may have occasional errors that do not impede the reading experience. We believe this work is culturally important and have elected to bring the book back into print as part of our continuing commitment to the preservation of printed works worldwide.


Book cover of Malgudi Days

Reenita Malhotra Hora Author Of Operation Mom: My Plan to Get My Mom a Life... and a Man

From my list on South Asian young adults.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a passion for this topic because I too am a South Asian author. I read these books to stay informed about the latest ideas shaping our understanding of the South Asian young adult, both within and outside of the geographical boundaries of South Asia. I want to see more stories out there with South Asian themes, characters, settings— contemporary stories in particular. I’d like to see South Asians in ordinary life and not stereotypical situations like The Indian Wedding. We have so many stories to tell! I hope you enjoy the books on this list as much as I have!

Reenita's book list on South Asian young adults

Reenita Malhotra Hora Why did Reenita love this book?

It is hard to say whether the stories of Malgudi Days are for children or adults. R.K. Narayan, the pioneer of early Indian literature in English, has written a series of delightful books based upon a fictional village called Malgudi. This first one is a collection containing 32 short stories, a series of lovable characters. I especially love how he portrays the teen angst of characters like Iswaren, Ramu, and Sambu whose lives determined by passing exams, are so far from the lives of South Asian teens in the West. Unlike today’s stories with pacing and riveting plots, this one is a lesson in slowing down to take a deep and close examination of Indian rural life, particularly for these young adults in Malgudi.

By R. K. Narayan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Malgudi Days as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Introducing this collection of stories, R. K. Narayan describes how in India 'the writer has only to look out of the window to pick up a character and thereby a story'. Malgudi Days is the marvellous result. Here Narayan portrays an astrologer, a snake-charmer, a postman, a vendor of pies and chappatis - all kinds of people, drawn in full colour and endearing domestic detail. And under his magician's touch the whole imaginary city of Malgudi springs to life, revealing the essence of India and of human experience.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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