Indian Subcontinent Bibliography, all periods

including Pakistan, Sri Lankha/Ceylon, Nepal, etc.

copyright 1998 by Historical Novelists Center

In publishing data, please note that Delhi and New Delhi are two different cities.

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Abdullah, Syed

House of India Cookbook *****!
Follet, 1965; Tower, 1969
Excellent not only as a cookbook, but explaining regional and sub-cultural differences. Dispells a lot of myths about the cooking, while some of the recipes are authentically gruelling, as in the recipe for kala kand: "While you're doing that, and to break the monotony....Now if strength permits, pour the mixture...." T2-3

Alkazi, Roshen

Ancient Indian Costume ****
Art Heritage, New Delhi, 1983; 209 pgs, bibliography, index
Covers what you need to dress people up to about 1200. T1

Baker, Samuel White, Sir, 1821-1893

Eight Years' Wanderings In Ceylon

Bhakari, S. K.

Indian Warfare: An Appraisal of Strategy and Tactics of War in the Early Medieval Period ****
Munshiram Manoharlal, New Delhi, 1981; 230 pgs, 17]leaves of plates; bibliography, index.
Revision of the author's thesis (Ph.D.--University of Saugar, 1975) under title: Warfare in northern India between 600-1200 A.D. Good basis for military heroics or the horrors of warfare sweeping over your village. T2

Bruce, George

The Stranglers: The cult of Thuggee and Its Overthrow in British India *****!
Longmans, London, 1968; 234 pgs., 8 plates, bibliography, index
Fascinating book, about the British discovery of the ancient subculture, that contributed to its own final downfall because they felt they had by their own recent breaking of the divine laws (against harming women, children, etc.) they deserved their punishment. Also includes the British struggles with the Dacoits. T2

Chandra, Moti

Costumes, Textiles, Cosmetics and Coiffures in Ancient and Medieval India ****
Oriental Publishers, Delhi, for the Indian Archaeological Society, 1973; 248 pgs, 14 plates
Heavy weight, but covers the complex interrelationship of the different parts of adornment in the intricate art of Indian costume. Good through about 1500. T3

Date, Govind Tryambak

The Art of War in Ancient India ****
Oxford University Press, 1929
Don't believe it's all Gandhian non-violence. India has its own very ancient systems of organizing for warfare, not like anyone else's. T2

Dikshitar, V. R. Ramachandra

War in Ancient India ****
originally 1944; now from Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi, 1987; 416 pgs, 7 plates, bibliographic reference, index
This is a heavy duty classic, with passages quoted in Sanskrit. One thing to note: you can get it on microfilm from the Library of Congress if you want your own copy. T3

Dogra, Ramesh C., and Urmila Dogra

A Dictionary of Hindu Names ****
Aditya Prakashan, New Delhi, 1992
Gigantic, encyclopedic lap-breaker. Only problem: assumes you have a name, for which you want the meaning. Does not break things down chronologically, ethnically, etc. nor go into family names. Very good with some of the other books, like Ingraham or van Velze. T2

Dongerkerry, Kamala S.

The Indian Sari *****!
New Delhi
As good for telling you when the sari was not worn as for detailing several different drapes which often told you whence a woman comes, as different areas have diverse styles. T2

The Romance of Indian Embroidery
Thacker & Co. Ltd., Bombay, 1951
Background on the historical and regional styles and techniques. T3

Fabri, Charles

Indian Dress, a Brief History *****!
Orient Longman, New Delhi, 1977; 100 pgs, bibliography, index; illos by the author; originally published in 1960 as A History of Indian Dress.
An excellent introduction to the subject, and for some of you, all you will need. T1


Go To Project GutenbergA Record of Buddhistic Kingdoms, Being an Account by the Chinese Monk Fa-Hien of his Travels in India and Ceylon (A.D. 399-414) in Search of the Buddhist Books of Discipline ****
Translated and annotated with a Corean recension of the Chinese text by James Legge
Original source material, well annotated -- make of it what you will. T3

Gandhi, Maneka

The Penguin Book of Hindu Names ***
Penguin Books, New Delhi, 1992
Nice-sized pick-list if you don't have to be culturally too specific, but any of the others is better. T1

Ghurye, Govind Sadashiv, PhD

Indian Costume *****!
Popular Book Depot, Bombay, 1951
Popular Prakashan, Bombay, 1966
An excellent fat, detailed reference. The one flaw is that for the mass of text it is light on pictures to the modern eye. Probably the best all-around reference, though specialist texts may exceed it for a particular area or era T2

Gulik, Robert Hans van

Hayagriva; the mantrayanic aspect of horse-cult

Halder, Syed Zafar

Islamic Arms and Armour of Muslim India ****
Bahadur Publishers, Lahore, c1991; 309 pgs, bibliographical references, index.
For the Middle Ages forward, of course. T2

Harfield, Alan

The Indian Army of the Empress, 1861-1903 ***
Details the forces and actions of the British Raj in far greater breadth than an Osprey book. T2

Ingraham, Holly

People's Names: A Cross-cultural Reference Guide to the Proper Use of Over 40,000 Personal and Familial Names in Over 100 Cultures *****!
McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, Jefferson, NC; 1997; 613 pgs, index, select annotated bibliography
The contemporary Indian chapter covers many cultural sub-groups. Arabic takes care of your Moguls and Pakistani. In the Ancient sub-set of the Historical section, there is a chapter on Sanskrit names, and a note on Indus Valley culture. T1

Johnson, Gordon

The Cultural Atlas of India *****!
Facts on File; 240 pgs
The usual superb job of this series, covering modern India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, etc. T1

Kalita, Bharat Chandra

Military Activities in Medieval Assam
Daya Pub. House, Delhi, 1988; 176 pgs, 7 maps (some folded); bibliography, index.
Covers the period 1200-1675. T2

Katturia, Ramdev P.

Life in the Courts of Rajasthan, during the 18th Century ****
S. Chand, New Delhi, 1987; 352 pgs, 15 plates, other illos
Excellent trip to the time and place. Note that a certain amount of this applies to the previous century, too. T2

Keene, H. G. (Henry George), 1825-1915

Fall Of The Moghul Empire Of Hindustan

Koul, R. K.

Sociology of Names and Nicknames of India, with Special Reference to Kashmir *****!
Utpal Publications, New Delhi & Bombay, 1982
Great book if you can find it. Goes over various ethnic groups, the differences in their usage of names. Big pick-lists, ethnically sorted, including one for Medieval Kashmir. T1

Kulke, H, & Dietmar Rothermund

A History of India ****
409 pgs
This is your good basic overall history from the dawn of time to the present, exploring all the political and cultural forces at work in the various periods. T1

Majno, Guido, MD

The Healing Hand: Man and Wound in the Ancient World *****!
Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1975
Heavy research and testing, too, to see how well period practices actually worked. Fascinating reading. Among others, covers classic medicine of India, including the treatment of cobra bite, and survival rates. T1

Meyer, J. Jacob

Sexual Life in Ancient India ****
Dorset, 591 pg
While everyone breathes and eats, still MOST characters will have to carry out this part of life in an authentic fashion. At least, you should know what's lurking in the backs of minds, and the style in which one person comes on to another. There are no singles bars or cafes. T1

Osprey Books

Men-At-Arms Series:

Palchoudhuri, Ila

Ancient Hair Styles of India ****
Rupa, Calcutta, 1974; 44pg, mostly illos
For those who want to really get down to details, or who are looking for a portrait of a character. T3

Pant, Gayatri Nath

Indian Arms and Armour ****
Army Educational Stores, New Delhi, 1978-<1983 >; bibliographies and indexes; foreword by M. N. Deshpande.
Covers weapons, armor, shields, and archery from the earliest evidences. T1

Studies in Indian Weapons and Warfare ***
Army Educational Stores, New Delhi [1970]; 304 pgs; bibliography; foreword by K. M. Cariappa.

Phul, Raj Kumar

Armies of the Mughals, 1526-1707 ****
Oriental Publishers and Distributors, New Delhi, 1978; 372 pgs, bibliography, index.
When Osprey is not enough, or you would rather get one fat complete book rather than four little books that don't cover enough. T3

Rama Rau, Santha, & the editors of Time-Life Books

The Cooking of India *****!
Time Inc., NY, 1969; part of the Foods of the World series
This is back from the days when Time-Life Books was always good, instead of always suspect. It combines travelog with cooking school, covering the many subcuisines of this vast and culturally complex area, complete with a "Guide ot Ingredients" and a glossary. Photos and text include descriptions of traditional kitchens, food preservation, and markets. There is an essay on betel nut for chewing. T2-3

Saletore, R. N.

Sex in Indian Harem Life *****!
Orient Paperbacks, New Delhi, 1978; 181 pgs
Okay, we were all waiting for this. How IS it different? Find out here. T2

Salmonson, Jessica Amanda

The Encyclopedia of Amazons: Women Warriors from Antiquity to the Modern Era *****!
Paragon House, NY, 1991; 290 pg, no index, bibliography
Covers the warrior women commoner in the north, and many violent Goddesses. Many of the legendary women touched on are sorceresses rather than warriors, using only magic, possibly left over from an earlier draft that covered violent women more broadly. T2

Sarkar, Jagadish Narayan

The Art of War in Medieval India ****
Munshiram Manoharlal, New Delhi, 1984; 395 pg, 16 pg. of plates : ill., maps; bibliography, index.
Great basis for warriors and warfare, up to about 1500. T 2

Some Aspects of Military Thinking and Practice in Medieval India
Ratna Prakashan, Calcutta, 1974; 58, 7 plates; bibliographical references, index.
"The present essay was presented to and read by ... [the author's] in the 28 International Congress of Orientalists held at Canberra in January 1971." T3

Satya Shrava

Sakas in India
The Sakas are the Scytho-Sarmatian horse nomads that kept both the Persians and the Huns at bay for centuries. They moved into India and became a ruling caste. T2

Sewell, Robert

Go To Project GutenbergA Forgotten Empire: Vijayanagar; A Contribution to the History of India ****
Starts with a summary of Dekkan history, then picks up in detail with text anchored on the letters written by two 16th C. Portuguese travellers. Vijayanagar was the empire that held 250 years against the Moguls, yet was forgotten by 1900. T2

Slesin, Suzanne & Cliff, S.

Indian Style ****
700 photos fill 300 pages with a montage of images from the traditional to the contemporary -- which includes a Le Corbusier house (retch). More importantly, the sacred residences of Brahmins, the cheerful colors of painted mud huts, traditional homes, and the palaces that now serve as luxury hotels. T1

Stierlin, Henri, ed.

Architecture of the World: Islamic India ****
Taschen, 192 pg
Islamic Indian architecture is just what the name suggests, a blend of the Indian and the Arabic, via Persia. T2

Architecture of the World: India ****
Taschen, 192 pg
Excellent coverage of the native architecture. T2

Time-Life Books, the editors of

TimeFrame 3000-1500 BC: The Age of God-kings ***
Time-Life Books, Alexandria, Virginia, 1987
Very pictorial, good text. The air-brushed reconstructions are sometimes too in love with vast plain surfaces rather than trying to give us maximum pictorial information, and the maps, while they cover the ground, are strictly minimal.

TimeFrame 1500-600 BC: Barbarian Tides
Time-Life Books, Alexandria, Virginia, 1987
Another wide-ranging introduction to all the world at the time, including the Americas. Same complaints. T1

TimeFrame 600-400 BC: A Soaring Spirit ***
Time-Life Books, Alexandria, Virginia, 1987
Strictly Old World; guess the New World was on vacation. Does go nicely into Buddhism and Confucism. T1

Velze, Jacob Antoon van

Names of Persons in Early Sanscrit Literature *****!
Utrecht, 1938
Sorted by theophoric vs. mundane name, then subsorted by which God referenced, or other subject of meaning. Vast pick-list. T2

Verma, Mohini

Dress and Ornaments in Ancient India: the Maurya and Sunga Periods ****
Indological Book House, Delhi, 1989; 161 pgs, 23 pgs of plates, other illos; bibliography, index
Excellent for the period it covers. Though originally a PhD thesis, not too dry. T3

Verma, Som Prakash

Art and Material Culture in the Paintings of Akbar's Court ****
Vikas, New Delhi, 1978; 150 pgs, 40 plates
The closest you are going to get to a photo album of the place. T2


The Kama Sutra
Our translation is not as racy as the love scenes in many a modern novel. Details how a courtesan should go about her business, as much about coquetry as sex; how a man should court a girl, and what sort of names she should not have; as well as describing briefly a wide variety of positions of finicking difference, in many cases requiring contortionary ability. The sociological stuff is far more fascinating. T2

Worswick, Clark

Princely India; photographs by Raja Deen Dayal, 1884-1910 *****!
Knopf, NY, 1980; 151 pgs, forward by J. Kenneth Galbraith
Worswick provides the text to Dayal's gorgeous photos. Remember, much of this will apply to earlier decades, or even centuries. Just compare it to the paintings, and see how little has changed. T3

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Alamkara: 5000 years of Indian Art ***

Essays and lots of images.

Ancient World Web *****!

Superb linksite, which it would be silly to try and duplicate here. Especially fine for including Asian, American, and African sections, not just Europe and the Near East.

Antiquity & Astronomy of the Vedic Culture ****

Covers astronomy/astrology in Vedic literature.


We had a specific request for more on bindi. This is a shop that specializes in them.

Indian Arts, Culture, and Heritage ****

A great big site, with lots to cruise.

Myth of the Aryan Invasion of India ***

Discusses the usual image of a violent invasion, details the mistakes made in setting up the theory, the contortions of scholars attempting to support it, refutes it, and presents it as a way of denigrating early Indian culture.

Aryan Invasion ***

This reprint from the Hindustan Times could better be titled "The Great Drought" as it covers the satellite evidence and others for the dessication of about 2000 BC that destroyed the Indus Valley culture, not some Aryan Invasion (the culture was *built* by Aryans.

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