The 74th anniversary of the Indian Independence is upon us, and it’s time to pick up some books that will rouse the patriot in us. It’s also time to get out books that will inform us about India’s history, legacy and the tumult India has gone through to be what it is today. Reading list 7 Books related to Indian Freedom you should read for this year’s independence day. This list consists of both fiction and non fiction – of intimate stories and macroscale reflections on the most important period of Indian history.
Independence Day: 7 Books Related To Indian Freedom You Should Read-
Home and The World by Rabindranath Tagore
Tagore has inserted himself and his political and nationalistic views in his principal character – Nikhilesh. Nikhilesh is a liberal aristocrat, living his days in wedded bliss with Bimala. However, the advent of charismatic orator and fierce nationalist Sandip causes a stir in their marital life, when Bimala becomes attracted to him. But this is more than just a story of an extramarital affair. Nikhilesh and Sandip represent two different types of nationalists and two different ideologies of patriotism. While Nikhil belongs to a gentler sect that renounces heedless violence and destruction caused by Swadeshi and disregards idealization of the nation as an abstract ‘motherland’. Sandip, on the other hand, is a greedy but charismatic man who promotes self interest and believes in radical nationalism. Bimala is symbolic of the country, caught between the two ideologies. Thus, by creating a domestic allegory for pre-independence nationalist sentiment, Tagore has woven a masterpiece.
Mottled Dawn by Saadat Hasan Manto
This is a collection of short stories that revolve around the Partition of India – one of the most disastrous outcomes of the Independence. There are stories about the exchange of mental hospital patients after the partition, about the lives of women and about inter religious friendship. Weaving a masterpiece of humanity and violence, this one is worth visiting.
Train to Pakistan by Khushwant Singh
This is another literary oeuvre about the partition of India. It follows the descent of a quaint, harmonious village into the madness of religious violence by the onset of a train that divides its people forever. Delving into the roots of ethnoreligious strife between the Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs, this book is poignant and intimate.
Anandamath by Bankim chandra Chatterjee
Chatterjee was the precursor of Tagore, and perhaps the first man to write and define the novel genre in India. This book, in fact, was banned during the British rule, for its exposure of the realities of the Raj. The book has a complex plot, and delves into the societal realities of the time – the Bengal famine, Sanyasi rebellion and of course the British Raj. This is a masterpiece from the creator of the patriotic slogan Vande Mataram.
Across The Black Waters by Mulk Raj Anand
Mulk Raj Anand is known for painting realistic yet beautiful portraits of the Indian pre-independence social realities. He has talked about untouchability, caste system and more. Here, he delves into the atrocities of the British, as he crafts the story of a man recruited to fight for Britain in the first world war, and its implications on the man and his family. The peasant family is deposed from their land and the man himself goes through physical and psychological trauma.
An Era of Darkness by Shashi Tharoor
This is the history of the British Raj in India, compiled by one of the greatest Indian scholars of our times. This book is a meticulously researched and passionately written account of the downfall of Indian economy and culture due to the Raj. He explains in detail the systematic way in which the British furthered their agenda. It then shows how that proved detrimental for our country.
India’s Struggle for Independence by Bipin Chandra
This is a comprehensive book that chronicles, as the title suggests, India’s struggle for independence. It is mammoth in its scope. It traverses the length and breadth of India’s colonial history, simultaneously adopting a microscopic and macroscale approach. This is a tremendously researched book. Plus, it is a coherent compilation of the hundreds of mini narratives that have shaped Indian history.