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5 Must Read Books By Journalist Vir Sanghvi That Tells Us About Post Independence & Why India Is, The Way It Is!

Have you ever sit back and thought about the years after independence?

While we stand today and look back, there is so much history that has gone by.

We are all taught about life until independence. But we do not look into the days after independence that shaped us today.

We have forgotten that the India we know today was created by the people who came after independence.

Sadly, we don’t really have a lot of accounts of what happened in the aftermath of the Independence partition and the first election.

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But when you start asking questions about what did the elections do to India, how the cities became what they are today, you need resources.

Sources that could lay down before you the history as it was.

You want to know why we follow things now, why democracy in India is different than it is outside. Were you looking for answers to these?

Then, you are in the right place!

Today, we bring to you the books by journalist Vir Sanghvi. He covers everything about the Indian lifestyle, the political influences, our myriads of cuisines, and more.

In simple words, everything that becomes part of our lives as Indians.

Vir Sanghvi - Author, Columnist, Journalist
Source: GQ India

Vir Sanghvi is a journalist who worked with Hindustan Times as a reporter, a host, and now as a columnist.

The 65-year-old journalist has documented a lot of our history and talks deeply about how and why we Indians tend to live the way we do as a country.

He has seen the country developing from nothing to this aspiring superpower.

He also breaks the myth that history is serious and boring. He shows us the stories that laid foundations of our country, from his first-hand experience.

Someone who was close with the crucial stakeholders in major events post-independence.

The story of modern India that impacts today. He breaks down why issues we think are trivial have evolved across the years. He speaks as an observer of things many of us have witnessed. But with the lens of a journalist.

As someone who was present there and has a vivid memory of everything that made and broke the country.

If you haven’t read Vir Sanghvi’s versions of known issues, you should now!

Check out the book recommendations below:


1. A Rude Life: The Memoir

A Rude Life - Book by Vir Sanghvi

‘In India, jibes about complexions never really go away.’

If you want to understand why Vir Sanghvi could be one of the best persons to know history from, A Rude Life will give you more than one reason for it.

This memoir is an account of his journey starting from him going to Oxford for studies. Then it tracks his coming back to India, becoming a political beat journalist.

He gives us the banter, and little scoops from the lives of people we know as the biggest personalities of the country.

Presenting how the biggest decisions that affected the country were taken. Also, keeping the human nature of the people involved, this book will make you go wow, and chuckle at moments. You’ll realize how we often forget the human behind the lawmakers of the country.

Or, even how Amitabh Bachchan was another actor experimenting with his life in the 80s and 90s, leading to him joining politics.

And, interestingly, this Vir Sanghvi’s book is a product of lockdown and the free time induced in it.

Sanghvi, yet, says there might be some discrepancies here and there, like the day or month it happened.

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Because, after all, it is a short version of his entire life journey, carefully traced back from his memory!

Quick Bytes About the Book:

Number of Pages: 400 Pages

Published on: 26 July 2021

Get your copy on Amazon for just ₹448.


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2. Mandate: Will of The People

Mandate: Will of the People by Vir Sanghvi

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‘The ancients believed that the perspective one has on time and phenomena to one’s life-form.’

Have you wondered why people elect some politicians and leaders whom you think might not even slightly qualify for the role?

Have you been furious at someone winning elections whom you thought had no chance at all?

Then, pick up a copy of Mandate to understand the country’s fabric better!

This Sanghvi’s book records the little nuances of elections.

It shows how people’s decisions are made on factors one cannot fathom or put into a simple graph chart to understand.

Starting from Indira Gandhi’s quest to become the prime minister and the emergency. To the recent elections, the book gives you an insight into why some elections are won way before the polling is announced.

This also is a BTS version of some of our celebrated politicians.

Quick Bytes About The Book:

Number of Pages: 156 Pages

Published on: 18 February 2015

Get your copy on Amazon for just ₹182.

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Also, read: If Politicians Had A True Instagram Bio, This Is How It Would Have Looked Like


3. Men of Steel

Men of Steel by Vir Sanghvi

‘It was surprisingly easy to get the businessmen to talk.’

The era of social media has made it easier for us to get a peek into the minds of some business giants.

We have Mahindra speaking his mind on his Twitter.

Entrepreneurs like Kunal Shah, give everyday tips on how they turned theirs into a unicorn.

But the first era of Indian businessmen who created empires of wealth have been secluded and have never been socially accessible.

Some of them still rule the charts.

Masterminds like Ratan Tata, Bikki Oberoi, Uday Kotak, Sunil Mittal are far away from the public eye. They have never spoken in detail about their plans and strategies.

Men of Steel consists of a series of interviews by Vir Sanghvi. He picks the minds of these businessmen.

We have seen experts analyzing these businesses, their profits, growth, and success strategies.

However, the legends themselves give you an insight into how they deal with the enormous task at hand on a daily basis.

You should not miss this book if you look at nerdy talks on businesses and startups.

Quick Bytes About The Book:

Number of Pages: 125 Pages

Published on: 18 October 2012

Get your copy on Amazon for just ₹140.


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4. The Gamechangers: Transforming India

The Gamechangers by Vir Sanghvi

‘Social Media has no sense of the complex and insidious divides within the Indian class.’

What is the new India? We have all talked about this at some point. We have come across hashtags and campaigns on New India, but what is it actually?

Vir makes it clear to you.

He shows us how the middle class has become the driving force of this version of the country. And, this is beautifully served to you in The Gamechangers, with a dressing of candor on top.

The book has essays on everyone we identify within this period of India.

Karan Johar’s inaugurating a new version of Indian films and doors to conversations on sexuality.

Arnab Goswami pioneered a new genre of TV news. All find a place in the book. I

t has the ideal politician Sashi Tharoor and Gaggan Anand representing the evolving Indian cuisine.

The book presents to you why and how these personalities came into being. And, what they represent about India from their lives.

Covering all sections of life, this book will leave you with a new perspective to view your country.

Quick Bytes About The Book:

Number of Pages: 125 Pages

Published on: 18 October 2012

Get your copy on Amazon for just ₹170.


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5. The Indian Pantry: The Very Best Of Rude Food

The Indian Pantry by Vir Sanghvi

If you have missed it by now, let me remind you, Sanghvi is a columnist too. He has been an active columnist for Hindustan Times where he delves into the world of food.

‘There is no other vegetable that can be eaten in any shape, or at any consistency than the potato.’

From the quirky stories on how chat became part of Indian culture to how Biriyani has become our national love.

For people to get an insight into his years of writings, Indian Pantry is a collection of all of his best work.

If you are a food enthusiast, then this book is for you. Check out this collection of hunting down the inception of your favorite food.

Quick Bytes About The Book:

Number of Pages: 125 Pages

Published on: 18 October 2012

Get your copy on Amazon for just ₹342.


You can check out his weekly column on HT Brunch, every Sunday.


You can also check out other books by Vir Sanghvi which he co-authored along with Rudrangshu Mukherjee: ‘India Then & Now

Buy now on Amazon

The book talks about the concept of India over the years. Mumbai, where dreams don’t die captures the essence of the dream city.

The book was created in partnership with photojournalist Raghu Rai.

Vir has been a master of all trades, who has something to offer for everyone, from a foodie to a politics fan.

Hope you have your reading carts ready with these Vir Sanghvi books, and this time your TBR list actually turns out to be an amalgamation of something from everything!

Happy Reading 🙂

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