Originally Posted by @Sweet Cleopatra
Do you suggest a good book about Indian society or history? I am starting to be obsessed and want to know more before I judge.. Please help me..
Sure there are. In fact I recommend these books to you, Buddy Holly, and any other person interested in Indian culture. The first two of these books are authored by true sons of the soil (Pavan Varma, & Nobel Laurette in Economics Amartya Sen) in remarkable prose. The last one is a more distant view, by an Indian settled in the Caribbean, VS Naipaul, another Nobel Laurette, this time in literature, whose command on English prose needs no introduction at all.
India is a vast, beautiful land with a rich, heterogeneous culture. But what is this "culture", that we Indophiles love to talk about. A year back, my eyes fell on a lone copy of THE GREAT INDIAN MIDDLE CLASS on a bookshelf and I instinctively rushed it and purchased it. It fully explained to me why double hypocrisy is a rampant feature of this educated, aspirational class of India that holds the real reins of the country. Why they are selfish and uncaring, blind to the many social malaise that overwhelm the country and yet, with a religious fervour and self-righteousness of "doing the right thing". At the same time, why do they continue to preach to each other righteousness and morality while conveniently drifting away into consumerism. Also why must they hold on to their "culture" with iron fists and project it to the rest of the world, if it is in fact so cumbersome to actually follow? Why preach the teachings of "Duty" and still bribe the policeman with a self-righteous conduct? Why buy the best things for yourself and yet disdain materialism? Why talk about patriotism and runaway to settle in the USA? Why return and pretend to be superior to your relatives? The whole psychology of it. All these and many more things become clear on reading THE GREAT INDIAN MIDDLE CLASS. It is an absorbing study on how the Indian Middle Class came to be as the Author traces the the very foundation of the problem in Gandhi's interpretation of the Indian sacred text "Bhagwad Gita". Trust me, it is like solving a puzzle
In my case, its solved!
Next is THE ARGUMENTATIVE INDIAN that like the title tells you why do Indians love to argue so much.
Following is an extract from the reviewer David on goodreads.com.
Despite all of this, The Argumentative Indian is a book I recommend to everyone with an interest not just in India, but also the slippery relationship between cultural uniqueness and so-called universal values. The book is a collection of wide-ranging essays - most of which were previously published elsewhere - that are difficult to encapsulate in a single thesis, but maybe it would be something along these lines: Just how Western are so-called Western values? Democracy, individual liberty, multi-cultural tolerance, secularism, reasoned debate. Are these values unique to Western culture or have they been excluded from shallow historical readings of other civilizations. Like India, for example.
You can find the link to his full review further below.
Finally is the 'view from the outside' you'll find in INDIA: A MILLION MUTINIES. Here is an extract to Litbug's review of the book:
Take in every chapter without trying to form an opinion. Because every single episode is a personal story, a story ridden with all the chaos India is, but from a closer, and therefore, a much narrower view. To understand and appreciate India, you need to be an Eagle that circles for hours over a large landscape patiently, gradually, imperceptibly zooming in towards the earth in wide, slow gliding movements until you’re ready to swoop upon the target of your choice. Look at India from a giddying height where you can capture the view of the entire land, and you’ll miss out on the nuances that characterize the intricate threads of a maddening world. Zoom in real close, and you’ll notice all the fine weaves, but without the advantage of a fair, panoramic view.
Find the link to the whole review further below.
The Great Indian Middle Class:
The Argumentative Indian:
India: A Million Mutinies: