A few weeks ago I started reading some books about India... I picked 4 books:
1. A passage to India by E M Forster
2. Freedom at night by Larry Collins,Dominique Lapierre
3. India in slow motion by Mark Tully
4. The Heart of India by Mark Tully
Well... all are very good books and I can't rank which one I liked most. I wrote about freedom at midnight. I also wanted to write something about A Passage to India but I don’t find myself good enough to write about a classic. I was unable to stop myself to write something about Mark Tully... I simply loved the way he writes about India. He does so because of his love for India. After reading No Full stops in India I found it hard to believe that it is written by a foreigner. I don't agree fully with him at many points but still I loved the books. No full stops in India and India in slow motion are good books, The heart of India is also worth reading.
Well the following lines by Mark Tully in introduction of The Heart of India depict his love for India....
“I soon realized that it was not going to be difficult to get involved in India. From the first day I arrived I was surrounded by friends... many are still good friends to this day. It's through them that I became involved in their country. Now, when I am asked why I'm staying on, I reply, 'Because of my friends'.
That, of course, is only part of the truth. I'm drawn to India by its beauty, particularly its natural beauty. Recently I was beside a campfire in the Great Himalayan National Park, watching the snow-covered mountains glitter in the sunset. A week later I was in Kerala, in the extreme south, sitting in my bathing trunks, looking out over the Arabian Sea as the sun slid like a great red dome below the horizon. There are the smells of India too, which invoke such nostalgia. There is the dry scent of early summer in Delhi as the blue jacarandas, the scarlet gulmohars and other trees come into flower, the sweet smell of the queen-of-the-night and the freshness of the first scent of pine trees in the foothills of the Himalayas after a long, hot and dusty drive across the plains. There are the folk songs and the classical music with raagas that start with such austerity and end in ecstasy. There are the great epics and the love poetry. There's the art of the Pradhan tribe in Central India which occupies the whole of one wall of my flat. There's the color of the festivals, the solemn dignity of the courtyards of the great mosques filled with line after line of worshippers bowing there heads in prayer and the colorful informality of the pujari performing the evening rites in a Hindu temple. There's the sound of priests singing the Sikh scriptures carrying across the water of the sacred tank in which the Golden Temple stands. There are the great monuments of India. I have never known anyone to be disappointed by the Taj Mahal or the forts of Rajasthan. There are fresh cooked parathas for breakfast in the open-air dhabas, or restaurants, along the Grand Trunk Road, and there's the delicacy of a vegetarian thali, or tray, in Gujarat.
All these keep me in India, but they are not the whole. It would need a poet to describe what India means to me, and I am not a poet. I can only say that I'm not alone among foreigners in believing there's nowhere like India, and no people like Indians. I am perhaps more unusual for a foreigner in that I have accepted as a part of India. ....
... There would have been no stories to tell if it hadn't been for the villagers who welcomed us into their homes, insisted on giving us food and, of course, tea and answered inquisitive questions. In many parts of the world I would have been told to mind my own business....”
More or less this is the image I carry in my mind for India… Now, what can I say about this man and his books about India! I can only wish to travel throughout India and interact with people like he did.
I am looking forward to read some more books by Mark tully along with some books of William Dalrymple.
Please note that these are my personal views and I am not reccomending these books to you, you will like these books only if you are interested in these kind of books.