Book Box | Stories from India’s margins

Aug 12, 2023 03:43 PM IST

Five books that unveil India's borderlands and their hidden tales. From arid deserts to lush coasts, here's a rich tapestry of cultures and human resilience.

Dear Reader,


I am in the Hindustani Prachar Sabha Library in Mumbai. It is a rainy afternoon, and I am browsing through a quaint collection of books. Inside carefully stored in glass-enclosed bookshelves, is a treasure trove of old manuscripts – some from the 1500s, translations of the Upanishads, beautiful folios of calligraphic art with gold paint.

But what takes my breath away, are the newspapers – sepia-coloured newsprint sheets bound in volumes. They have political columns and advertisements that exhort Indians to give up using imported cloth and use swadeshi instead. Everywhere is a fierce patriotism ablaze with the fire of idealism.

Copy of Young India at the Hindi Prachar Sabha Library, Mumbai
Copy of Young India at the Hindi Prachar Sabha Library, Mumbai

I decide to turn to geography to mark the celebrations of India's 77th Independence Day next week, scouring my collection of recent reads to pick up five books. Each of these five traverses India's margin lands, telling little-known stories of India's borders and of the forgotten lands in between.

Book 1 of 5


Book 2 of 5

Midnight Borders
Midnight Borders

Book 3 of 5


Book 4 of 5

The Far Field
The Far Field

Book 5 of 5

The Hungry Tide
The Hungry Tide

That’s all for this week. And if you are taking time off, and travelling over the Independence Day holidays, and looking for more reading, here are five fast-paced books for your airplane reads.

Until next week, Happy Reading.

Sonya Dutta Choudhury is a Mumbai-based journalist and the founder of Sonya’s Book Box, a bespoke book service. Each week, she brings you specially curated books to give you an immersive understanding of people and places. If you have any reading recommendations or suggestions, write to her at

The views expressed are personal

Continue reading with HT Premium Subscription

Daily E Paper I Premium Articles I Brunch E Magazine I Daily Infographics
Story Saved
Live Score
Saved Articles
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Monday, December 11, 2023
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now