The spirit of Maharashtra is cosmopolitan, forward-thinking, tolerant and vibrant. There is enough to keep connoisseurs of temples, forts, old monuments and art—gainfully preoccupied here. Bombay or Mumbai—the capital of Maharashtra is not only seen as the financial capital of India but is literally the Gateway of India which is secular, progressive yet rooted. It is also home to the largest film industry in the world, an industry whose turnover is more than that of the GDP of several small nations. The film industry in Mumbai sees thousands thronging the city every year, hoping to make it big.
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Maharashtra is home to several National Parks. Project Tiger has 4 major areas of concentration in the state namely Tadoba-Andhari, Melghat, Sahyadri and Pench. The experience of Maharashtra is diverse and rich with colourful cultures, woven into one gigantic quilt. The festivals here galvanise the sleepy thousands into fervent motion. Witness this experience through these books, that bring to you the happy and the darker side of the state.
Title: Maximum City: Bombay Lost & Found
Author: Suketu Mehta
Publisher: Penguin Random House India
Blurb: A native of Bombay, Suketu Mehta gives us an insider’s view of this stunning metropolis. He approaches the city from unexpected angles, taking us into the criminal underworld of rival Muslim and Hindu gangs, following the life of a bar dancer raised amid poverty and abuse, opening the door into the inner sanctums of Bollywood and delving into the stories of the countless villagers who come in search of a better life and end up living on the sidewalks. As each individual story unfolds, Mehta also recounts his own efforts to make a home in Bombay after more than twenty years abroad. Candid, impassioned, funny and heartrending, Maximum City is a revelation of an ancient and ever-changing world.
Price: Rs. 363 || Pages: 600
Title: Smritichitre: The Memoirs of a Spirited Wife
Author: Lakshmibai Tilak
Translator: Shanta Gokhale
Publisher: Speaking Tiger Publishing
Blurb: Lakshmibai Tilak was born in 1868 into a strict Maharashtrian Brahmin family in a village near Nashik. And at the age of eleven, she was married off to poet Narayan Waman Tilak, a man much older than her. In Smritichitre, Lakshmibai candidly describes her complex relationship with her husband–their constant bickering over his disregard for material possessions, which quite often left them penniless, and his bouts of intense rage in these moments. But at the core of their relationship was their concern for society and the well-being of every human being, irrespective of caste, class or gender, and their unwavering devotion to each other.
When first published in Marathi in 1934, Smritichitre became an instant classic. Lakshmibai’s honesty and her recounting of every difficulty she faced with unfailing humour make Smritichitre a memorable read.
Price: Rs. 455 || Pages: 520
Blurb: A paying guest seems like a win-win proposition to the Joshi family. He’s ready with the rent, he’s willing to lend a hand when he can and he’s happy to listen to Mrs Joshi on the imminent collapse of our culture. But he’s also a man of mystery. He has no last name. He has no family, no friends, no history and no plans for the future. The siblings Tanay and Anuja are smitten by him. He overturns their lives and when he vanishes, he breaks their hearts. Elegantly wrought and exquisitely spare, Cobalt Blue is a tale of rapturous love and fierce heartbreak told with tenderness and unsparing clarity.
Price: Rs. 386 || Pages: 240
Title: Sacred Games
Author: Vikram Chandra
Publisher: Penguin India
Blurb: Seven years in the making, Sacred Games is an epic of exceptional richness and power. Vikram Chandra’s novel draws the reader deep into the life of Inspector Sartaj Singh, and into the criminal underworld of Ganesh Gaitonde, the most wanted gangster in India. This is a sprawling, magnificent story of friendship and betrayal, of terrible violence, of an astonishing modern city and its dark side. Drawing on the best of Victorian fiction, mystery novels, Bollywood movies and Chandra’s years of first-hand research on the streets of Mumbai, Sacred Games reads like a pot boiling page-turner but resonates with the intelligence and emotional depth of the best of literature.
Price: Rs. 445 || Pages: 968
Title: Maharashtra Maximus: The State, Its People and Politics
Author: Sujata Anandan
Publisher: Rupa Publications India
Blurb: What is Maharashtra? What has been the contribution of various communities and castes in making the Maharashtra of today? What makes Mumbai a centre of political power? Why is it that rampage can be unleashed if the city is called by its old name, Bombay? Who is a Maharashtrian?
Sujata Anandan delves into history to unravel multiple layers that explain the complexity of Maharashtrian politics and its impact on the Indian State.
Price: Rs. 316 || Pages: 256
Title: Five Plays
Author: Vijay Tendulkar
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Blurb: Vijay Tendulkar has been in the vanguard of Indian theater for almost forty years. These five plays, Silence!, Vultures, Sakharam, Encounter, and Kamala are some of his best-known, most socially relevant, and also most controversial work. Tendulkar’s plays will interest anyone concerned with Indian theater and writing, as well as literature and drama students.
Price: Rs. 530 || Pages: 357
Author: Daya Pawar
Translator: Jerry Pinto
Publisher: Penguin India
Blurb: The first Dalit autobiography to be published, Baluta caused a sensation when it first appeared, in Marathi, in 1978. It quickly acquired the status of a classic of modern Indian literature and was also a bestseller in Hindi and other major languages. This is the first time that it has been translated into English. Set in Mumbai and rural Maharashtra in the 1940s and ’50s, it describes in shocking detail the practice of untouchability and caste violence. But it also speaks of the pride and courage of the Dalit community that often fought back for dignity. Most unusually, Baluta is also a frank account of the author’s own failings and contradictions—his passions, prejudices and betrayals—as also those of some leading lights of the Dalit movement. In addition, it is a rare record of life in Maharashtra’s villages and in the slums, chawls and gambling dens of Mumbai.
Price: Rs. 298 || Pages: 336
Title: Yayati: A Classic Tale of Lust
Author: V. S. Khandekar
Publisher: Orient Paperbacks
Blurb: The story of Yayati is perhaps one of the most intriguing and fascinating episodes of Mahabharata. Yayati was a great scholar and one of the noblest rulers of olden times. He followed the shastras and was devoted to the welfare of his subjects. Even the King of Gods, Indra, held him in high esteem. Married to seductively beautiful Devyani, in love with her maid Sharmishtha and father of five sons from two women, yet Yayati unabashedly declares, ‘My lust for pleasure is unsatisfied’. His quest for the carnal continued, sparing not even his youngest son and exchanging his old age for his son’s youth.
Price: Rs. 391 || Pages: 254
This list of books is curated by Amritesh Mukherjee for Purple Pencil Project’s Instagram.