Best Books from Indian States, Part 2

In this series: 

Best Book from India, Part 1

In the part 1 of the series, one of the most debated states were Delhi and Maharastra. While someone pointed out that White Tiger is a trash (that I  dont agree with), others said that it should listed under Bihar (that I somehow agree). Another disagreement was the state of Maharastra were I picked Bombay based Shantaram while the most favorite was Narcopolis. Other suggestions were The Em and Big Hoom and The Midnight’s Children ( I had picked it for Kashmir instead ). Thanks lot for the feedback.

This part of the series is compiled with the help of suggestions I have got through twitter, blog comments and emails. Here it goes:

11. Tamil Nadu: The Man Who Knew Infinity by Robert Kanigel

(Suggested by Pallavi Kamat )

There is no denying that this selection will spark some debate because Tamil Nadu is again a state with lot of literature. I still pick this one because its written beautifully about the most gifted mathematician’s journey from the villages to world stage.

The Book Cover
The Book Cover

[Bonus Read: Ramanujan and the Mysteries] 

12. Pondicherry: Life of Pi by Yann Martel

In the movie based on this book, Pondicherry is shown with lot of sitar playing in the background and girls practicing Bharatnatyam (classical Indian dance). It may propagandizes the more western view of India but its easily the best book from the former French colony of India.

Book Cover of Life of Pi. Also, a major motion picture
Book Cover of Life of Pi. Also, a major motion picture

13. Gujarat: Stories of My Experiments with Truth by M.K Gandhi

This autobiography by Mahatma Gandhi is included in the list of 100 most Spiritual books of the 20th Century.

An autobiography by Mahatma Gandhi
An autobiography by Mahatma Gandhi

14. Goa: Reflected in Water, writing on Goa edited by Jerry Pinto

This book is collection of the essays and poems on Goa. More emphasis is more the natural beauty and ever-changing culture of the former Portuguese colony of India.

file picture of Jerry Pinto
file picture of Jerry Pinto

[Bonus Read: Book Review- Em and the Big Hoom by Jerry Pinto ]

15. Madhya Pradesh: India’s Bandit Queen by Mala Sen

Do not confuse with the book ” Bandit Queen of India” which is an autobiography by Phullan Devi. This book by Mala Sen was responsible for bringing Phullan Devi in the mainstream even before Shekhar Kapur’s feature film “Bandit Queen” did so.

Book by Mala Sen
Book by Mala Sen

16. Uttar Pradesh: Mahabharata by Ved Vyas

Maybe it is  the most important book ever written in India. While entire North India can stake claim to this book, I give to Uttar Pradesh because Kingdom of Hastinapur is located there.

[Bonus Read: Book Review of Jaya: An Illustrated Retelling of Mahabharata]

JAya- Retelling of Mahabharata
Jaya- Retelling of Mahabharata

17. Himachal Pradesh: Ghost Stories from Shimla Hills by Minakshi Choudhary 

(Suggested by Ishita Sood )

This book is your perfect companion for the trip to Shimla (no, it is not !) but if you have survived Stephen Kings, then you will not surely mind an Angreez Churail in the Mall road.

Ghost stories anyone ?
Ghost stories anyone ?

18. Assam : Tea, Love and War by David Mitchell

David Mitchell is searching for English roots in Assam through its violent but romantic past. Non-history enthusiast may label the book as “boring”.

Searching for English Roots in Assam
Searching for English Roots in Assam

19. Jharkhand: Gangs of Wassaypur, the making of the modern classic 

This book is the making of the modern classic of the Indian Cinema, Gangs of Wasseypur with the complete screenplay with details on casting, location and character. A must have for the film lovers in India.

The book cover
The book cover

20. Orissa: An Incredible Banker by Ravi Subramanian

(Suggested by : V T Rakesh )

In the hush voices, Ravi Subramanian is called the John Grashim of banking in  India. Do read this book to find out the authenticity of the claim.

The Incredible Banker
The Incredible Banker

This brings the end of the part 2. In part 3 I will cover interesting states like Bihar, Chattisgarh, North-Eastern States and Union Territories. I have not read much from these states, so I will rely on your suggestions for the best books from those states. Also, do let me know about my selection of books so far and your combined score of Part 1 and Part 2.

31 thoughts on “Best Books from Indian States, Part 2

  1. Great Avi…. loved the selection going by the info as I too had not read ANY one of them 😛 😦
    for Bihar i know a book telling about olden days of patliputra – Vaishali ki nagarvadhu by Acharya Chatursen .
    PS its a hindi Novel .


    1. Thank you Kokila. I was really looking forward for your comment on this series.
      Good suggestion for Bihar. My knowledge of Indian literary is limited to Indian writing in English, so thank you for your recommendation.


  2. Looks like I missed part 1 but will check that out!
    This is an amazing piece. I am going to come back to this again. There was this Bengali author Sharatchandra – he wrote in Hindi and his stories have been compiled as ‘khands’. They were all set up in Kolkata 😄


    1. Thank you Parul for the lovely comment. I have covered West Bengal in the previous part. Though I had picked Inheritance of Loss, I was very conflicted as WB is full of great literature, both in bengali and in English.

      Is the translation of Sharatchandra work available ?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh it’s okay! It is not possible read each and every book or know about them. My father has entire collection of Sharatchandra so when i was in my teens i laid my hands on all of them. Your post made me remember those days! Thank you! 😄


    1. Thank you Digonta. It is really sad that the publishers of this book has not promoted it at all. You will not find its copy in any book stores.
      David writes with lot of empathy in the book. You will surely enjoy it.

      Also, you have researched North-East India in depths, so in case you have any recommendation from the region, do let me know and help me in improving this list.

      Thank you again for visiting the blog 🙂


  3. I’ll get the ghost stories one! I have a liking for spooky tales 😀
    years back, I started reading the life of pi but found it so boring that I left it mid way 😛

    However, its movie was damn good esp that Tiger, Parker, he stole my ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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