Publish with us

Follow Penguin

Follow Penguinsters

Follow Hind Pocket Books

7 Audiobooks Every Voter Must Listen to for the 2024 Election Season

Informed voting begins with enriched understanding! As we gear up for the 2024 Indian elections, we’ve handpicked seven audiobooks that every voter must have on their radar. From insightful analysis to historical narratives, these audiobooks are your go-to companions for understanding the issues and making your voice heard in the upcoming election season.


Ready to cast your vote?

Breaking the Mould
Breaking the Mould || Raghuram Rajan, Rohit Lamba

In Breaking the Mould, the authors explain how we can accelerate economic development by investing in our people’s human capital, expanding opportunities in high-skilled services and manufacturing centered on innovative new products, and making India a ferment of ideas and creativity. India’s democratic traditions will support this path, helped further by governance reforms, including strengthening our democratic institutions and greater decentralization.

The authors offer praise where the Indian establishment has been successful but are clear-eyed in pointing out its weaknesses. They urge India to break free from the shackles of the past and look to the possibilities of the future. Written with unusual candor, and packed with vivid examples and persuasive arguments, this is a book for anyone who has a stake in India’s future.



The Discovery of India
The Discovery of India || Jawaharlal Nehru

Jawaharlal Nehru wrote The Discovery of India during his imprisonment at Ahmednagar Fort for participating in the Quit India Movement (1942-1946). The book was written during Nehru’s four years of confinement to solitude in prison and is his way of paying an homage to his beloved country and its rich culture.

The work started from ancient history; Nehru wrote at length of Vedas, Upanishads, and textbooks on ancient time and ends during the British raj. The work is a broad view of Indian history, culture, and philosophy; the same can also be seen in the television series. The work is considered as one of the finest writings on Indian history. The television series Bharat Ek Khoj, which was released in 1988, was based on this work.


Savarkar: Echoes of a Forgotton Past, Vol. 1: Part 1
Savarkar: Echoes of a Forgotton Past, Vol. 1: Part 1 || Vikram Sampath

An alleged atheist and a staunch rationalist who opposed orthodox Hindu beliefs, encouraged inter-caste marriage and dining, and dismissed cow worship as mere superstition, Savarkar was, arguably, the most vocal political voice for the Hindu community through the entire course of India’s freedom struggle. From the heady days of revolution and generating international support for the cause of India’s freedom as a law student in London, Savarkar found himself arrested, unfairly tried for sedition, transported and incarcerated at the Cellular Jail, in the Andamans, for more than a decade, where he underwent unimaginable torture.

From being an optimistic advocate of Hindu-Muslim unity in his treatise on the 1857 War of Independence, what was it that transformed him in the Cellular Jail to a proponent of “Hindutva”, which viewed Muslims with suspicion?

Drawing from a vast range of original archival documents across India and abroad, this biography in two parts – the first focusing on the years leading up to his incarceration and eventual release from the Kalapani – puts Savarkar, his life, and his philosophy in a new perspective and looks at the man with all his achievements and failings.


The Rise of the BJP
The Rise of the BJP || Bhupendar Yadav, Ila Pattnaik

The Bharatiya Janata Party is an idea that was seeded into the minds of nationalist Jana Sangh leaders when they began to envision India after Independence. Much like the very core the freedom struggle was built on, they saw India as a demographically, culturally and historically cohesive and unified nation—as Bharat.

In this book, senior BJP leader and cabinet minister Bhupender Yadav and leading economist Ila Patnaik come together to trace the BJP’s journey from its humble roots, through ups and downs and to eventually getting 303 seats in Lok Sabha in 2019 and becoming the world’s largest political party. While focusing on the larger economics and political story, the book encapsulates many smaller, yet hugely significant stories of individuals and incidents, which brought the BJP to where it stands now.

For the first time ever, The Rise of the BJP, tells us the inside story of how one of the most powerful political parties makes decisions, implements ideas and executes policy. Meticulously researched and immensely compelling, the book shows us how the BJP fought competing ideologies, political assaults and catapulted to the centre stage of national politics.


Our Hindu Rashtra
Our Hindu Rashtra || Aakar Patel

India has taken so sharp a turn in recent years that the very center has shifted considerably. What led to this swing? Is it possible to trace the path to this point? Is there a way back to the just, secular, inclusive vision of our Constitution-makers?

This country has long been an outlier in its South Asian neighborhood, with its inclusive Constitution and functioning democracy. The growth of Hindutva, in some sense, brings India in line with the other polities here. In Our Hindu Rashtra, writer and activist Aakar Patel peels back layer after layer of cause and effect through independent India’s history to understand how Hindutva came to gain such a hold on the country. He examines what it means for India that its laws and judiciary have been permeated by prejudice and bigotry, what the breach of fundamental rights portends in these circumstances, and what the all-round institutional collapse signifies for the future of Indians.

Most importantly, Patel asks and answers that most important of questions: What possibilities exist for a return? Thought-provoking and pulling no punches, this book is an essential listen for anyone who wishes to understand the nature of politics in India and, indeed, South Asia.



These Seats are Reserved
These Seats are Reserved || Abhinav Chandrachud

Reservation or affirmative action is a hugely controversial policy in India. While constitutionally mandated and with historians, political scientists and social activists convinced of its need, many resist it and consider it as compromising ‘merit’ and against the principle of equality of opportunity.

In These Seats Are Reserved, Abhinav traces the history and making of the reservation policy.

How were groups eligible for reservations identified and defined? How were the terms ‘depressed classes’ and ‘backward classes’ used in British India and how have they evolved into the constitutional concepts of ‘Scheduled Castes’, ‘Scheduled Tribes’, and ‘Other Backward Classes’ in the present day?

The book delves into the intellectual debates that took place on this matter in the Constituent Assembly, the Supreme Court and Parliament. Several contentious issues are examined dispassionately: are reservations an exception to the principle of equality of opportunity? Do quotas in government service undermine efficiency? Can ‘merit’ really be defined neutrally? What is the thinking behind the rule that no more than 50 per cent of the available seats or positions can be reserved?

Deeply researched and ably narrated, this volume is a compelling addition to every thinking individual’s library.



1971 || Anam Zakaria

The year 1971 exists everywhere in Bangladesh—on its roads, in sculptures, in its museums and oral history projects, in its curriculum, in people’s homes and their stories, and in political discourse. It marks the birth of the nation, it’s liberation. More than 1000 miles away, in Pakistan too, 1971 marks a watershed moment, its memories sitting uncomfortably in public imagination. It is remembered as the ‘Fall of Dacca’, the dismemberment of Pakistan or the third Indo-Pak war. In India, 1971 represents something else—the story of humanitarian intervention, of triumph and valor that paved the way for India’s rise as a military power, the beginning of its journey to becoming a regional superpower.

Navigating the widely varied terrain that is 1971 across Pakistan, Bangladesh and India, Anam Zakaria sifts through three distinct state narratives, and studies the institutionalization of the memory of the year and its events. Through a personal journey, she juxtaposes state narratives with people’s history on the ground, bringing forth the nuanced experiences of those who lived through the war. Using intergenerational interviews, textbook analyses, visits to schools and travels to museums and sites commemorating 1971, Zakaria explores the ways in which 1971 is remembered and forgotten across countries, generations and communities.

What does the history of dissent look like?

In the second volume of his landmark book, Discordant Notes, Rohinton Nariman brings to light ground-breaking cases and judgements which made remarkable additions to our Constitution, improved and improvised some laws and most importantly, gave the space to the citizens of this country to be able to think, re-think and re-learn freely.


Charting out the history of the dissenting judgements in the history of the Supreme Court of India, Nariman begins by quoting Professor Allan Hutchinson’s Laughing at the Gods: Great Judges and How They Made the Common Law, where he speaks of ‘judicial greatness’ as:


‘Great judges seek to make a critical accommodation with the legal tradition by combining heresy and heritage in a playful judicial style; they refuse to be hampered by customary habits of judicial mind. For them, law is not something to be mastered. It is a sprawling tableau of transformation in which experimentation and improvisation are valued as much as predictability and faithfulness to existing rules and ideas. They see possibilities and make moves that others overlook. Great judges flaunt conventional standards in the process of remaking them; their judgements are the exceptions that prove the rule. And, once they have done what they do, others are less able to view the world in the same way again.’

Discordant Notes by Rohinton Nariman
Discordant Notes || Rohinton Nariman


He then mentions that it is in this sense that he chose the four great dissenters for this book. Overlooking other prominent judges who wrote numerous dissents in their lifetime, he chose to write about the ones who might have given only six dissents, for example, but had brilliant oversight packed in them, insights that changed the course of future judgements in India.


Nariman named these four dissenters, the ‘Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse’ because just like in Book Six, ‘Revelation’ of the New Testament in the Bible, these are the people who give the world a chance to repent before they are consigned to the ashes. He states how each one of these four dissenters fulfills this role, some of them prophesying doom if their dissents do not become the law, and others offering a chance of redemption, if in the future, their view is accepted in preference to that of majority.


One of the first cases discussed in the second volume of Discordant Notes is the Keshava Madhava Menon v. State of Bombay (1951) case dissented by judge Sir Saiyid Fazl Ali. What came up for consideration before the Supreme Court was the interpretation of the expression ‘void’ contained in Article 13 (1) of the Constitution of India. The majority judgement, delivered by S.R. Das, J., on behalf of the three learned judges of the court, held that Article 13 (1) does not make existing laws which are inconsistent with fundamental rights void ab initio, but only renders such laws ineffectual with respect to the exercise of fundamental rights on and after the date of commencement of the Constitution, Article 13 (1) having no retrospective effect. Therefore, if prosecution for a criminal act was commenced before the Constitution came into force, it can be proceeded with according to that law, even after the commencement of the Constitution.


Fazl Ali, J., joined Mukherjea, J., dissented. For reference, Article 13 (1) reads as follows:


‘All laws in force in the territory of India immediately before the commencement of this Constitution, in so far as they are inconsistent with the provisions of this Part, shall, to the extent of such inconsistency, be void.’


Fazl Ali, J referred to the original draft of the Constitution, in which the words ‘shall stand abrogated’ were used instead of ‘shall be void’ in Article 13 (1). He then observed that the Constitution makers used various expressions to convey precisely and thoroughly what they meant. While some articles used ‘invalid’, ‘ceased to have effect’ and ‘shall be inoperative’, ‘void’ is used only in two articles 13 (1) and 154 – and both of them deal with cases where laws are repugnant to other laws. Hence, the learned judge concluded that there is a precision and thoroughness of the framers of the Constitution with the strong sense in which the word ‘void’ has been used and cannot be completely ignored.


Nariman noted that this case is an important judgment, which was later followed in Behram Khurshid Pesikaka v. State of Bombay (1955) and Bhikaji Narain Dhakras v. State of M.P. (1955), as forming the foundation for what became known as the ‘Doctrine of Eclipse’, i.e. that pre-constitutional law cannot be said to be void from inception, but only ineffective if it violates a fundamental right, the fundamental right casting a shadow over such law.


Rohinton Nariman discusses and analyses many more such interesting cases and judgements and enlightens us with the kind of roads they fractured, mended and laid the foundation of, in this remarkable book. It speaks to anyone who decides to speak for themselves or for others, who decides to obtain knowledge in multi-dimensional spheres and most notably, for someone who decides to learn and re-learn.

7 Things You Didn’t Know About the Law of Freedom of Speech

Freedom of Speech is one of the pivotal fundamental rights granted by the Constitution to the citizens of India. Abhinav Chandrachud’s Republic of Rhetoric brings to light the law of free speech in India and how it has transformed over the years. Also analysing the present law relating to obscenity and free speech, this book evaluates whether the enactment of the Constitution made a significant difference to the right to free speech.
Here are 7 things about the law of freedom of speech that will leave you stunned.
A closer look at its history and evolution reveals that the enactment of the Constitution made little or no substantive difference to the right to free speech in India.
Republic of Rhetoric blog creative 1.jpg
The Indian Press Act, 1910, said that the government could not ask a newspaper to furnish a security of more than Rs 2000, while later, the Indian Press (Emergency Powers) Act, 1931, said that the security could not exceed Rs 1000.
Republic of Rhetoric blog creative 2.jpg
This decision was perhaps taken because members of the Sub-Committee believed that non-citizens could not be trusted with the right to free speech because they would not necessarily have had India’s best interests at heart.
Republic of Rhetoric blog creative 3.jpg
No person can show his film to the public without a certificate from the Censor Board.

Republic of Rhetoric blog creative 4.jpg
After the enactment of the Constitution, laws relating to hate speech in India have only been strengthened.

Republic of Rhetoric blog creative 5.jpg
The inclusion of the word ‘reasonable’ in Article 19(2) was an important compromise.
Republic of Rhetoric blog creative 6.jpg
Judgments of the Supreme Court and the Punjab, Patna and Madras High Courts had made it difficult for the government to restrict hate speech or speech which promoted enmity between different groups
Republic of Rhetoric blog creative 7.jpg
Which aspect of the freedom of speech surprised you the most? Tell us.
Republic of Rhetoric blog Footer.jpg

error: Content is protected !!