5 Books That Trace Indian History Through The Written Word

With a mix of both fiction and non-fiction titles, our second instalment of ‘Alternate Histories’ takes us through India’s many bygone eras, tracing its past through the legends, accounts and languages that have chronicled the Indian people and their many stories. From the riveting tale of India’s first newspaper, The Bengal Gazette, to Venetian traveller and physician Nicolò Manucci’s first-hand account of the Mughal Empire, this list will trace the many Histories of India through Words.

From Waris to Heer: A Novel of Punjab by Haroon Khalid

“From Waris to Heer” intertwines the legendary love story of Heer Ranjha with the life of Waris Shah, the 18th-century poet who immortalised it. The novel weaves between the timeless love tale and Waris Shah’s journey amidst the social and political upheaval of Punjab. Stories like Heer Ranjha are vital threads in Indian culture, preserving traditions, expressing social commentary, and offering enduring ideals of love and rebellion.

Hicky’s Bengal Gazette: The Untold Story of India’s First Newspaper by Andrew Otis

“Hicky’s Bengal Gazette: The Untold Story of India’s First Newspaper” by Andrew Otis dives into the birth of a free press in India. It chronicles the rise and struggles of James Augustus Hicky’s revolutionary gazette, the first of its kind in South Asia. Unveiling the corruption of the British East India Company, the book explores the paper’s fight for free speech and its lasting impact on Indian journalism. These stories are crucial for understanding India’s journey towards a free and informed society.

A Venetian at the Mughal Court: The Life and Adventures of Nicolò Manucci by Marco Moneta

“A Venetian at the Mughal Court” chronicles the extraordinary life of Nicolò Manucci, a teenager who stumbles into 17th century India and decides to stay till his death at 82. Witnessing epic clashes for the Mughal throne and hobnobbing with emperors, Manucci’s adventures offer a unique European perspective on a pivotal period in Indian history. Such firsthand accounts bridge cultures and provide invaluable insights into the splendours and complexities of Mughal India.

Wanderers, Kings, Merchants: The Story of India Through Its Languages by Peggy Mohan

 “Wanderers, Kings, Merchants” explores India’s rich history through the lens of its diverse languages. Examining the influence of migrations, empires, and trade, Mohan reveals how languages like Sanskrit and Urdu shaped the nation’s identity. Understanding these stories proves to be crucial for all Indians, with ‘language’ reflecting a vibrant tapestry of cultures and constant evolution, forming the very foundation of the country’s unique heritage.

Sahib’s India: Vignettes from the Raj by Pran Nevile

Pran Nevile’s “Sahib’s India” offers a glimpse into the lives of British colonials in India, drawing on personal accounts and literature. It explores their customs, homes, and interactions with Indians, revealing a fascinating yet vanished world. These stories hold importance for understanding both the British Raj’s impact and the complexities of India’s colonial past.

Pick up any one of these 5 Books That Trace The History of India In Words from any Kunzum store or WhatsApp +91.8800200280 to order. Buy the book(s) and the coffee’s on us.

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