Location/Culture Reports

Culture Report – India

Some books written specifically about Delhi include Delhi Through the Ages edited by RE Frykenburg, Kushwant Singh’s Delhi; Delhi, Its Monuments & History by Dr Percival Spear; and Mansions at Dusk, a coffee-table guide to the remaining havelis, or mansions, of Delhi.

Some books written about India include May You Be the Mother of One Hundred Sons by Elisabeth Bumiller, a look at the position of women in Indian society, based on interviews with women from all walks of life, and Anita Desai’s Feasting and Fasting. Other worthwhile books includes Arundhati Roy’s Booker Award-winning The God of Small Things, Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy, William Sutcliffe’s Are You Experienced?, J.R. Ackerley’s Hindoo Holiday, and Salman Rushdie’s Midnight's Children. Midnight's Children also won the Booker Prize and was banned in India by Indira Gandhi.

The subject of the English in India has been a popular one. One group of books on the subject is Paul Scott’s The Raj Quartet. It is a sweeping epic that looks at the collapse in the 1940s of British rule in India. The four books in the series are The Jewel in the Crown, The Day of the Scorpion, The Towers of Silence, and A Division of the Spoils. In 1984, the books were filmed for British television and later shown on Masterpiece Theatre. The series was filmed on location in India and is now available on DVD. The books are wonderful to read, and the television series is wonderful to watch, so take your pick, or indulge in both!

What really happened in the Marabar caves? This is the mystery at the heart of E.M. Forster's 1924 novel, A Passage To India. Passage is the story of three English newcomers to India and an Indian with which they cross paths. In 1984, David Lean filmed a brilliant movie version of the book staring Judy Davis. Many of the same actors that were in Passage were also in Jewel in the Crown.

Arguably, the most famous writer about India is Rudyard Kipling. He wrote three books about India - Kim and two books of short stories: Soldiers Three and In Black and White.

Besides the many Bollywood Movies, other movies filmed in India include City of Joy, Gandhi, The Jungle Book, Kuma Sutra: A Tale of Love and Monsoon Wedding.