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Republic Day GoodReads! 10 engaging books you won’t stop flipping through

Every Republic Day brings a lot of new hopes and aspirations for the Indian democracy and the people that make it the world’s largest. On days like these, our hearts are filled with immense pride. But it is also a time to introspect and form informed opinions about the socio-political and cultural fabric of our great nation.

India has always been blessed with several talented and scholarly writers and thinkers who have time and again shared their views on India, India’s history, democracy, constitution, military achievements, and more. Here, we list some of the best books to flip through this month! 

Republic Day reads for every bibliophile

Makers of Modern India, By Ramachandra Guha


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Eminent historian Ramachandra Guha writes about nineteen prolific Indians who helped India evolve as a republic. It’s a compilation of some of Dr Guha’s most effective writings and speeches. The book highlights the lives of men and women that played a significant role in the making of Modern India.

You’d love reading about the lesser-known facets of the lives of Rabindranath Tagore and Jawahar Lal Nehru, among others. The author has also written about important personalities who have unfortunately been forgotten by the nation. From nationalism to religion to language to caste and gender, the book talks about varied topics from the perspective of the makers of modern India.

The Grandeur of Republic Day Celebrations, by Sitanshu Kar

We Indians have some fond memories of waking up early morning to catch the Republic Day Parade on Doordarshan every January 26. Author Sitanshu Kar has chronicled the spectacular event that the Republic Day parade is. The event is being held since 1950 when the constitution came into effect.

Watching the armed forces march in perfect coordination to patriotic tunes makes every Indian’s heart swell with pride. Attended by dignitaries from the world over, the parade is a beautiful depiction of India’s military might and rich cultural heritage. The book also talks about the incredible Beating the Retreat event held on January 29 every year.

How India Became Democratic, By Ornit Shani

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Image Courtesy: Penguin India

This intriguing book takes its readers through the untold story of the electoral roll based on the universal adult franchise in India. The author shares a fresh point of view on how democracy in the nation has been institutionalised.

Shani also writes about how the Indian democracy managed to capture the political imagination of its citizens. The book discusses how Indians became voters even before they could become citizens in an independent India. It talks about the struggles Indians had to go through to attain voting rights and how they proved to be a driving force in the making of democratic citizenship.

The Idea of India, By Sunil Khilnani


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 In this essay, Khilnani presents an eloquent argument for Jawahar Lal Nehru’s idea of nationhood in India. The book narrates the political and economic journey of India, from the struggle for independence to its first nuclear experiment. The Idea of India was published on India’s 50th Independence Day. The essay also sheds light on the cultural aspects of India while also introducing its readers to the history of modern India. The book is a great take on India’s complicated relationship with the idea of modernity.

Kohinoor: The Story of the World’s Most Infamous Diamond, By William Dalrymple & Anita Anand


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This vivid account of the Indian diamond Koh-i-Noor, one of the most celebrated gemstones of the world, makes for an amazing read. Authored by renowned historian William Dalrymple and British journalist and author Anita Anand, the book narrates the story of the diamond while unearthing facts that the world had never heard of before.

The book takes its readers with the diamond as it travels from the Mughal court to Persia to Afghanistan and later from Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s durbar in Punjab to the Crown of the Queen of England.

Indian Superfoods, By Rujuta Diwekar


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Written by India’s leading nutrition and exercise science expert Rujuta Diwekar, this book is a treasure trove of India’s incredible culinary wealth. You will be surprised to know the power of Indian food as you move from one chapter to the next.

The writer leaves you enriched as she tells you that ghee actually burns fat, cashews are great antidepressants, kokum is a natural antacid, and sugar helps anti-ageing. From fertility boosters to mind calmers, the superfoods featured in the book could prove to be life-changing for its readers.

India’s Bravehearts, By Lt. Gen. Satish Dua


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India’s Braveheart introduces us to the life of an Indian soldier. Written by Lieutenant General Satish Dua, PVSM, UYSM, SM, VSM, who retired as the Chief of Integrated Defence Staff, the book offers rare (and personal) insights into the Indian Army.

In the book, the celebrated officer writes about deadly operations and daring surgical strikes, life at LoC, the arduous yet redeemable training that makes an Indian soldier a true braveheart of the nation, and more. It would not be an exaggeration to call this gripping story of our national heroes is unputdownable. It will make you feel immensely proud of our armed forces and will also leave your eyes moistened.

The Argumentative Indian, By Amartya Sen

A must-read for every Indian, this brilliant book features a great selection of writings by Nobel laureate economist Amartya Sen. In The Argumentative Indian, the celebrated economist writes about India’s age-old argumentative tradition. He helps his readers understand contemporary India in the context of its long argumentative tradition.

Sen asserts that it is of utmost importance for every Indian to understand the rich argumentative tradition of India to help the democracy succeed. He argues that understanding the argumentative tradition will also help in the removal of caste and gender inequality that unfortunately still exists in India.

We Indians, By Khushwant Singh

Khushwant Singh is remembered as one of India’s finest journalists and writers. Known for his wit and sarcasm, Singh takes a humourous dig on Indians and what they are proud of as an Indian and what they are ashamed of.

The book touches on fascinating topics like what makes a Hindu a Hindu or what makes us Indians champion sycophants and name-droppers of the highest order. He also writes about Indians and their equation with arranged marriages and love. The book also talks about the hypocrisies that exist in Indian society.

Around India in 80 Trains, By Monisha Rajesh


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This travel book narrates the incredible journey of author Monisha Rajesh’s 40,000km adventure in 80 Indian trains. Rajesh’s family moved to Chennai, then Madras, in 1991 from Sheffield. But they moved back to England after two years. And it was only after 20 years that the author returned to India.

French author Jules Verne’s 1872 book Around the World in 80 Days inspired her to embark on a similar adventure. There couldn’t have been a better way to explore India for the first time than travelling a distance equivalent to the circumference of the Earth in the great Indian Railways. Rajesh’s witty and humorous writing makes her adventurous story even more compelling and enjoyable.

Feature Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Also read: A look at eminent cartoonist Narayan Debnath’s literary work that immortalised him

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