What exactly do we mean when we mean we are centre of right or pro market rather than pro communist or leftist. So, the logical next question is what should one read up on? Here are some thoughts. Feel free to add to it.
First up, a must read is George Orwells Animal Farm. This is a parody of the communist rule and but it is a delightful story told using an animal farm as protagonists. In a nutshell, for any ideology - the leaders have a set of rules for themselves and a set of rules for their followers. See any elitist arguing for socialism - including Congress honchos - while arguing for a socialist landscape, their own families asset balance grows by leaps and bounds. They get treatment in the best hospitals around the world and globetrot on chartered flights while denying basic development for their countrymen. Even the rulers of the most pure state in the world while having a police that is ostensibly a committee for a promotion of virtue and prevention of vice - lead very unvirtuous live abroad. Clearly, some people are more equal than others.
A great example of talking something and doing something else is none other than Mother Teresa. Best exemplified in his book Missionary Position by the late Christopher Hitchens - Teresa ran hospices, not hospitals, but when she herself required treatments, preferred not (you guessed it) hospices, but hospitals, not in Kolkata, but in some swank developed countries. Enough said, this book is worth a read - as it will question a lot of beliefs that have been implanted into your head.
Something our secular press will rarely highlight, but mostly hide and obfuscate - is the 1990 forced exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the Kashmir valley. This story is slowly but surely being turned into a story of Islamic victimhood by the likes of Basharat Peer, but the reality of the story is more about Islamic aggression. A first persons account is here, at Our moon has Blood Clots by Rahul Pandita.
And while at it, a must read is actually Pravin Swamis - Jihad in Kashmir, for which I cannot find an online link - even though it obfuscates real causes, it does put the facts in order.
Our school books will have you believe that a few handful of leaders won us Independence. Especially those with names beginning with Nehru and Gandhi. My English book (not history book) actually had something about Indira Gandhis contribution to the freedom struggle - which obviously was more important than many others. Read, Freedom at Midnight by Dominique Lapierre for a more realistic picture of the era.
Apart from this, do read, Train to Pakistan by Khushwant Singh, Tamas (its translation) by Bhisham Sahni, Lajja by Taslima Nasreen, The Blood Telegram by Gary Bass, Being Different by Rajiv Malhotra., India - a history by John Keay,
This is a post I quickly cobbled together - will update this over time as I get time...