Since I just graduated from the UO last month, I now have a lot of time to read up on India. I was an English major, so I love classical and modern literature but that hasn’t stopped me from delving into the socio-political history of India as well. Some of my recent favorites have been:
- The Lives of Sri Aurobindo, by Peter Heehs: A very thorough biography of the founder of the Sri Aurobindo Society and his exciting life as a political independence leader, teacher, and yogi.
- The White Tiger, by Aravind Adiga. Winner of the 2008 Man Booker Prize, this is a hilarious tale of an Indian villager who through cunning and survival skills becomes a successful entrepreneur set in the rush of modern day Delhi.
- The Kama Sutra of Vatsyayana, translated by Sir Richard Burton: surviving over a thousand years, this text describes the proper societal practices of love and marriage in India. A fascinating and insightful read.
- Cutting for Stone, by Abraham Verghese: set in Addis Ababa, twin brothers are as entwined in love as they are in their passion for practicing medicine. Vivid characters against the backdrop of Indian and American hospital life and practices.
- A Passage to India, by E. M. Forster: a 1928 satirical novel about the societal relationship between Indians and Britishers. An entertaining read that holds deeper societal critiques.
- Interpreter of Maladies, by Jhumpa Lahiri: the author of The Namesake presents a compelling collection of short stories set in both India and the United States. If you like short stories, read these.
- India’s Freedom, published by Urwin Books: a collection of speeches and letters of Prime Minister Jawharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister after India became a free nation in 1947. Nehru suffered through periods of imprisonment for his vision of a socialist, anti-imperialist government that would serve the people first and foremost.