Recommended Reading

Below are some recommended books, anthologies, and articles from the areas of my historical research. This is only a partial list; please check back for updates.

Modern South Asia

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C.A. Bayly. Recovering Liberties: Indian Thought in the Age of Liberalism and Empire (Cambridge University Press, 2012). Bayly’s book examines India’s liberal intellectual tradition, including Rammohan Roy, early nationalists such as R.C. Dutt and G.K. Gokhale, and the persistence of the tradition in later political actors.

Bipan Chandra. The Rise and Growth of Economic Nationalism in India (People’s Publishing House, 1966). A classic account of how Indian nationalism was rooted in debates about India’s poverty and the economic handicaps imposed by British colonialism.

Jim Masselos. Towards Nationalism: Group Affiliations and the Politics of Public Associations in Nineteenth Century Western India (Popular Prakashan, 1974). Nationalist antecedents and early nationalist activity, from the perspective of Bombay and Poona.

S.R. Mehrotra. The Emergence of the Indian National Congress (Vikas, 1971; Rupa, 2004). This is the most authoritative and exhaustive account of early Indian nationalism through 1885, when the Indian National Congress was established.

S.R. Mehrotra. A History of the Indian National Congress, Vol. 1, 1885-1918 (Vikas, 1995). This volume takes Mehrotra’s narrative through the end of moderate dominance of the Congress and the rise of Mahatma Gandhi.

Sumit Sarkar. The Swadeshi Movement in Bengal, 1903-1908 (People’s Publishing House, 1994). A detailed account of the movement triggered by Lord Curzon’s partition of Bengal in 1905, tracing its evolution from a moderate movement to one marked by extremism and terrorism.



Harold Coward, ed. Indian Critiques of Gandhi (State University of New York Press, 2003). Perspectives on Gandhi from his critics and opponents, friendly and otherwise, ranging from Indian Christians to the Hindu Mahasabha.

Ramachandra Guha. Gandhi Before India (Allen Lane, 2013). Details Gandhi’s early years and South African career.

Ramachandra Guha. Gandhi: The Years that Changed the World (Allen Lane, 2018). An encyclopedic account of Gandhi’s career in India after 1915, shedding valuable light on many of the Mahatma’s colleagues.

David Hardiman. Gandhi in His Time and Ours (Permanent Black, 2003). Essays on Gandhi’s career, thought, and global legacy.

Bhikhu Parekh. Colonialism, Tradition and Reform: An Analysis of Gandhi’s Political Discourse (Sage, 1999). Discusses the complexities of Gandhi’s idea of non-violence, his critique of untouchability, and his views on Indian and Hindu culture.

Lloyd I. Rudolph and Susanne Hoeber Rudolph. Postmodern Gandhi and Other Essays: Gandhi in the World and at Home (University of Chicago Press, 2006). Essays by two of the most preeminent political scientists of India.

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Sarvepalli Gopal. Jawaharlal Nehru: A Biography, two vols. (Harvard University Press, 1976, 1980). The most detailed and authoritative biography of India’s first prime minister.

Ramachandra Guha, ed. Makers of Modern India (Penguin Viking, 2010). Excerpted writings of twenty-one “makers” of India, ranging from the relatively unknown nineteenth century feminist Tarabai Shinde to better-known figures such as Gandhi and Jinnah.

Christophe Jaffrelot. Dr. Ambedkar and Untouchability: Analysing and Fighting Caste (Permanent Black, 2005). A concise account of how Ambedkar transitioned from being an intellectual to an activist and politician, theorizing the caste system and the practice of untouchability before working towards their eradication.

Meekakshi Mukherjee. An Indian for All Seasons: The Many Lives of R.C. Dutt (Penguin, 2009). The life and career of the Bengali early nationalist leader, from his days in the Indian Civil Service through his landmark economic work and diwanship in Baroda.

Vinay Sitapati. Half Lion: How P.V. Narasimha Rao Transformed India (Viking, 2016). Restores the Rao’s significance to modern India–and not just India’s decision to liberalize its economy.



Mariam Dossal. Mumbai: Theatre of Conflict, City of Hope (Oxford University Press, 2010). Pays particular attention to the politics of that rarest of resources in Bombay: land.

Sharada Dwivedi and Rahul Mehrotra. Bombay: The Cities Within (Eminence Designs, 1995). A classic and richly illustrated account of the city’s development.

Naresh Fernandes. City Adrift: A Short Biography of Bombay (Aleph, 2013).

Prashant Kidambi. The Making of an Indian Metropolis: Colonial Governance and Public Culture in Bombay, 1890-1920 (Ashgate, 2007).

Jim Masselos. The City in Action: Bombay Struggles for Power (Oxford University Press, 2007). A collection of essays on nineteenth and twentieth century Bombay by one of the city’s most preeminent scholars.

Gyan Prakash. Mumbai Fables (Princeton University Press, 2010).

Murali Ranganathan, ed. Govind Narayan’s Mumbai: An Urban Biography from 1863 (Anthem Press, 2008). A translation of a Marathi-language “biography” of the city, packed with detail of Bombay of the mid-1800s.

Gillian Tindall. City of Gold: The Biography of Bombay (Penguin,1992). Concentrates on the early Bombay inhabited by the British.

Zoroastrians and Zoroastrianism


Pierre Briant. From Cyrus to Alexander:  A History of the Persian Empire (Eisenbrauns, 2002).

Jamsheed Choksy. Conflict and Cooperation:  Zoroastrian Subalterns and Muslim Elites in Iranian Society (Columbia University Press, 2007). Choksy’s work focuses on Iran’s transition from a largely Zoroastrian to a largely Muslim society, challenging commonly-held beliefs about the process of Islamic conversion.

Touraj Daryaee.  Sasanian Persia:  The Rise and Fall of an Empire (I.B. Tauris, 2009). Daryaee’s book is the first comprehensive, English-language work on the Sasanid empire to be published in decades.

Amelie Kuhrt.  The Ancient Near East, Vols. 1-2 (Routledge, 1995 & 2006).

Michael Morony. Iraq After the Muslim Conquest (Gorgias Press, 2005).

Josef Wiesehöfer.  Ancient Persia (I.B. Tauris, 2001).


Janet Kestenberg Amighi. The Zoroastrians of Iran: Conversion, Assimilation, and Persistence (AMS Press, 1990).

Nile Green.  “The Survival of Zoroastrianism in Yazd.” Iran: Journal of Persian Studies 38 (2000), pp. 115-122.

Monica Ringer. Pious Citizens: Reforming Zoroastrianism in India and Iran (Syracuse University Press, 2011).


John Hinnells.  Zoroastrian and Parsi Studies: Selected Works of John R. Hinnells (Ashgate, 2001).

John Hinnells.  The Zoroastrian Diaspora: Religion and Migration (Oxford University Press, 2005). A comprehensive history of Parsi settlements in Pakistan, North America, UK/Europe, East Asia, Australia/New Zealand, East Africa, and elsewhere.

John Hinnells and Alan Williams, ed.  Parsis in India and the Diaspora (Routledge, 2007).

Phillip Kreyenbroek with Shehnaz Munshi.  Living Zoroastrianism: Urban Parsis Speak About their Religion (Curzon, 2001). An innovative study of modern Parsi religious practice and belief, based on extensive interviews with community members.

Eckehard Kulke.  The Parsis in India: A Minority as an Agent of Social Change (Weltforum Verlag, 1974; Vikas Publishing House, 1975). Perhaps the best single volume on the history of the modern Parsi community.

Susan Stiles Maneck.  The Death of Ahriman (K.R. Cama Oriental Institute, 1997).

Jesse Palsetia.  The Parsis of India:  Preservation of Identity in Bombay City (Brill, 2001; Manohar, 2008). Similar in scope to Kulke’s work, this book provides an excellent account of the history of the modern Parsis.

Mitra Sharafi. Law and Identity in Colonial South Asia: Parsi Legal Culture, 1772-1947 (Cambridge University Press, 2014).

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William W. Malandra. An introduction to ancient Iranian religion: Readings from the Avesta and Achaemenid inscriptions (University of Minnesota Press, 1983).

Jenny Rose. Zoroastrianism: A Guide for the Perplexed (Bloomsbury, 2011).

Prods Oktor Skjærvø. The spirit of Zoroastrianism (Yale University Press, 2011). The most recent collection of Old and Young Avestan as well as Pahlavi texts in translation, grouped according to “key concepts”.

Michael Stausberg. Zarathustra and Zoroastrianism: A Short Introduction (Equinox, 2008).

Michael Stausberg and Yuhan Vevaina. The Wiley Blackwell Companion to Zoroastrianism (Wiley Blackwell, 2015). A wide-ranging collection of articles on Zoroastrian history, belief and practices, and interactions with other religions.