An essential reading list for Hindus

Background note

I was asked to create a sort of “essential reading” by multiple compatriots so I put the following together. In my experience the modern Hindus are rather lazy and disinclined to read anything unless it is something along the lines of “One Night in a Call Center”. Therefore I limited the list to what I felt was essential reading material keeping in mind the current situation that we Hindus face. In addition, I assume some familiarity with basic texts such as Ramayana, and thus did not include them. My Hindi is rather middling and certainly not good enough to read books, so while I am sure there are many good books in Hindi, I am not a proficient Hindi reader. I can read, write, and speak Telugu fluently, so perhaps I may make a separate post later on for Telugu readers with books of interest I came across.

In this list I have tried to cover a range of books and articles on different subjects which I felt were essential reading for Hindus and may help our continued existence as a civilization. Readers may also note the books on China and Japan which are important civilizations for Hindus to understand, especially with the current rise of the Han empire with global ambitions. Particular attention must be paid to the “Anti Foreignism…” book by Bob Tadashi Wakabayashi because it contains a full translation of the great Japanese thinker Aizawa Seishisai’s Shinron (New Theses) which in my view must be compulsory reading for the navel gazing Hindu elite alongside our own classics.

If the books/articles are available online even partly, I provided links.


How the World Works by James Fallows

Bad Samaritans by Ha Joon Chang

How Rich nations got Rich Essays in the History of Economic Policy by Erik S. Reinert

National System of Political Economy by Friedrich List

Report on Manufactures by Alexander Hamilton


Arthashastra by Kautilya

The Shukraniti (Original Sanskrit Text with English Translation, Index of Verses, Sanskrit Word Index and Notes)

Mahabharata (attention must be paid to the shAnti parvan where the grandsire expounds on rAjanIti)

Anti-Foreignism and Western Learning in Early Modern Japan The New Theses of 1825 by Bob Tadashi Wakabayashi

Fully available at:

Jimusaku by Aizawa Seishisai, translated by Donald Keene

The Book of Lord Shang

The Republic by Plato

On The Commonwealth by Marcus Tullius Cicero

The Ajnapatra or Royal Edict – Relating to the Principles of Maratha State Policy by S. V. Puntambekar

China’s Legalists: The Earliest Totalitarians and Their Art of Ruling By Zhengyuan Fu

Autocratic Tradition and Chinese Politics By Zhengyuan Fu

The Muqaddimah by ibn Khaldun Translated by Franz Rosenthal


Peter the Great by Robert K. Massie

New History of the Marathas in 3 Volumes by GS Sardesai

The Anglo-Maratha Campaigns and the Contest for India: The Struggle for Control of the South Asian Military Economy by Randolf G. S. Cooper

The Secret History of the Mongols

The Decline of the West by Oswald Spengler

“Rulers Ruled By Women” An Economic Analysis of the Rise and Fall of Women’s Rights in Ancient Sparta by Robert K. Fleck


Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth?: Demography and Politics in the Twenty-first Century by Eric Kaufmann

In addition to this we suggest going through the work of Michael Blume here:




Muslim Separatism: Causes and Consequences by Sita Ram Goel

Jesus Christ – An Artifice for Aggression by Sita Ram Goel

Understanding Islam through Hadis Religious Faith or Fanaticism? by Ram Swarup

The Passion of the Greeks: Christianity and the Rape of the Hellenes by Evaggelos G. Vallianatos

The Word as Revelation: Names of Gods by Ram Swarup

Moses the Egyptian: The Memory of Egypt in Western Monotheism By Jan Assmann

The Price of Monotheism by Jan Assmann


Hindu Law: Beyond Tradition and Modernity by Werner Menski

Comparative Law in a Global Context: The Legal Systems of Asia and Africa by Werner Menski

History of Dharmashastras by PV Kane


The War Against Human Nature II: Gender Studies by Frank Salter

Sex and culture by J. D. Unwin (with particular attention to Chapter 5)

On Human Nature by EO Wilson


7 thoughts on “An essential reading list for Hindus”

  1. If I may take the liberty to add a few more in the history section:
    1. History & Culture if the Indian People – Vols 6 & 7 (Delhi Sultanate & Mughal Empire)
    2. Sir HM Elliot’s History of India as described by its own historians (Vol 5)
    3. Stanley Lane-Poole – Vol 3 & 4 (of above series itself)
    4. Nilakanta Sastri’s History of South India – must read chapters on Vijayanagara & Bahamanids
    5. South India & her Muhammadan Invaders ~ Krishnaswami Aiyangar
    6. Early Muslim Expansion in South India – Venkataramanayya
    7. Baburnama – either the Anette Beveridge or more recent Wheeler Thackston translation
    8. Weatherford’s work on Genghis Khan & the Making of the Modern World
    9. Jadunath Sarkar’s – House of Shivaji & Shivaji & his times
    10. HB Sarda’s Maharana Kumbha – Sovereign, Soldier, Scholar
    11. Also, 5 biographies of Rana Pratap are available on
    12. Basham’s Wonder that India was – for those interested in the “glorious” past 🙂
    13. The Packhum Persian website has numerous translations of Moslem historians
    14. Portuguese Vijayanagar War of 1558 – A Study in Military History – by Krishna Kumar Panjaje Thesis available for download on the site
    15. Kincaid’s volumes on Maratha History

  2. Arya, for some reason the DLI link to the 3rd volume of Sardesai’s New History of the Marathas seems to be broken. Any idea if any new link is available for downloading this one?

  3. Very nice list,please also suggest sime books on :
    Linguistics,especially Indian.
    Indian and World history in detail, you can suggest different books for different regions.

  4. Wonderful list,some queries though :
    1. Going by your first paragraph,you seemed to have shortened the list,so do you have a longer list with more books ?
    2. Please suggest books on complete comprehensive world history,you can suggest different books for different regions and time periods.
    3. Please suggest some books on linguistics especially Indian.

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