The writers, Mark Tully and Patrick French, Pankaj Mishra and Professor Meghnad Desai all chose their best books on India. They all try to encompass modern India’s cultural diversity and social complexity. There is some overlap. Mark Tully and Pankaj Mishra both chose Amartya Sen’s The Argumentative Indian to explain the deep (pre-colonial) roots of Indian democracy and Desai and French both chose India after Gandhi by Ramachandra Guha as the best introduction to understanding the recent history of the country. Sen’s books is also picked by William Dalrymple in his choice of books on India, Ancient and Modern.
Roy Moxham looks at Indian Journeys and Victor Mallet picks books on the Ganges and the Indus in his top five books on Asian Rivers.
Kaushik Basu chooses his top books on the Indian economy (and includes both The Argumentative Indian by Sen and India after Gandhi by Guha) and Brian Shoesmith chooses his best books on Indian Film. Vishakha Desai discusses the place of women in India in her best books on Asian women. Kushanava Choudhury chooses five books that inspired him as a novelist.
Slowly Down the Ganges
by Eric Newby
Empires of the Indus: The Story of A River
by Alice Albinia
The River's Tale: A Year in the Mekong
by Edward Gargan
Black Dragon River: A Journey Down the Amur River Between Russia and China
by Dominic Ziegler
Meltdown in Tibet: China's Reckless Destruction of Ecosystems from the Highlands of Tibet to the Deltas of Asia
by Michael Buckley
Human history has been founded on the banks of great rivers – but in the East they are increasingly the focus of bitter international and environmental dispute, says Victor Mallet, the journalist and author of River of Life, River of Death. Here he selects five brilliant books that profile Asia’s most celebrated waterways.
Kaushik Basu, Professor of Economics at Cornell and former Chief Economist of the World Bank (2012-2016), says there’s a Gandhian way of evaluating society that takes account of both growth and inequality, and tells us why his job is an anthropologist’s dream come true. He picks the best books to understand India’s economy.