Today, as we celebrate 71 years of being free, we have picked five fiction-related books because they take us back to the time when India first tasted freedom, the India-Pakistan partition, its horrible aftermath, to tales of pre-independence.
1. Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie
Midnight’s Children is the delightful story of Saleem Sinai and other children, who were born at the stroke of midnight on August 15, 1947. The story mainly revolves around Saleem, who is born in independent India and is burdened with huge expectations.
2. Train to Pakistan by Khushwant Singh
Train to Pakistan is set in the summer of 1947, in the midst of partition. In the tiny village of Mano Majra, India’s partition is a horrific event for people whose homes are on the border of India and Pakistan.
3. Autobiography of An Unknown Indian by Nirad C. Chaudhuri
The story is a perfect autobiographic account of the transition of colonial India into an independent country. Winston Churchill thought it one of the best books he had ever read. Arguably his magnum opus, it is the story of modern day India through the eyes of one man.
4. The Shadow Lines by Amitav Ghosh
This Sahitya Akademi award-winning novel is set in Kolkata and follows two families — one English and one Bengali — and their lives set against the Swadeshi movement, the Second World War, the partition of India and the communal riots of 1963-64 in Dhaka and Kolkata.
5. The Great Indian Novel by Shashi Tharoor