So many of us have read so many books. And there are only so many Indian authors writing in ways that are relatable to Indians. Most Indians, majorly North Indians, have an added advantage of knowing another language that is used by them almost all the time – Hindi. And most of us haven’t thought about it, but there is a plethora of books in Hindi that are just amazing and will leave you spellbound by their gripping storytelling.
While you read this, you may be wondering if your Hindi skills are good enough to be reading novels. Here’s the deal… If your language isn’t that good, read. It will improve your skills. Just like reading English books improves your English language skills. I cannot promise that you’d understand every word of the story, but then don’t you need dictionaries while reading other novels? Use this link to translate any difficult words to English, and wallah, you’re all equipped to get reading.
Hindi can sometimes seem intimidating. But there are a few authors like Premchand, Bhisham Sahni and Amrita Pritam, who will make you realise what you’ve been missing and it won’t be so difficult anymore.
Another idea that crosses ones mind is, ‘there are always translations!’. Well yes, there are, but just think about the Hindi dubbing of English films, and you’ll get the idea of the accuracy of the translations. Only a very few translators do a great job in keeping safe the emotions of the book.
So here is a list of books that you can start with if you want to give a hand at reading in Hindi. Trust me, you’ll not worry about the difficulty once you start reading.
1. मुंशी प्रेमचंद
Premchand is one of the most known authors in Hindi language. You must have heard of him and must have probably read his work back in school. Some of his books are over a hundred years old. He was considered to be the first Hindi author whose writings prominently featured realism. His novels usually describe the sufferings of the poor and the downtrodden. Below are some of his books you can binge read. He also has a set of short stories which you can read one story at a time, if you’re a slow reader.
मासिक वेतन तो पूर्णमासी का चाँद है, जो एक दिन दिखाई देता है और घटते-घटते लुप्त हो जाता है – प्रेमचंद
And what’s great is these books come real cheap because of the small readership (which is sad 😥 ) Buy them here.
2. अमृता प्रीतम
Amrita Pritam, is an acclaimed writer and poet from Punjab. She is clearly one of the top writers and is the first Punjabi woman novelist and poet. You must remember her for the story Pinjar? The one that was turned into a movie starring Urmila Matondkar and Manoj Bajpayee? Yeah well, that is the kind of emotion that runs in the veins of her characters. She was the first woman to receive Sahitya Academi Award! I’d say, read Pinjar. But if you don’t want to, you MUST read her autobiography – रसीदी टिकट . The book is going to leave your heart aching and your eyes moist with the intensity of her love and her passion for life.
वह धरती नरक होती है जहाँ महुआ नहीं उगता – अमृता प्रीतम
Again, cheap books that are indeed priceless. Buy them here.
3. एक गधे की आत्मकथा – कृष्ण चन्दर
The last two authors were my personal favourites and have been written ages ago. But this one was recently authored and oh what a read!
As the title goes Ek Gadhe ki Aatmakatha, this story revolves around the life of an educated donkey. Pulling a beautiful satire on the society, the politics and the people of today, this book is extremely easy to read. And what’s the plus side? It has an amazing storytelling. A 100 pages have summed up the comedy of homosapiens quite precisely.
Buy it and I promise you will not regret it.
4. इश्क़ में शहर होना – रवीश कुमार
Ravish Kumar. Well, he is a journalist who is admired by the whole nation for his straightforward self and unbiased approach towards problems. I have read his works and his blog Qasbaa, and he writes in the everyday Hindi, without using fancy words. So this book is a must read if you’re looking for easy yet sassy content.
Laprek (Short Love Story) is a highly ambitious, experimental Nano format of story writing. Originated at digital platform of Facebook, the famous face of TV news, anchor Ravish Kumar has started writing micro fiction in a limited space of Facebook and twitter. The politics of our times figures as Metaphor in the loving exchange between characters. Laprek is a story of Love in cities. It is a story of Cities in love.
Are you using kindle unlimited? The book is available there. Or you can always buy a physical copy.
5. हरिशंकर परसाई
Parsai is an author all of whose books are great. They’re funny and full of satire. I’ll just present a few of his books’ names and you’ll know – निठल्ले की डायरी , अपनी अपनी बीमारी, कहत कबीर, तुलसीदास चन्दन घिसें, and जैसे उनके दिन फिरे .
मैं मरूं तो मेरी नाक पर सौ का नोट रखकर देखना, शायद उठ जाऊं –
You can read any of his books. They’re all very well written and are a great read.
Buy them here.
So yeah, go ahead and read. Trust me, reading in your vernacular language is absolutely amazing. The idea is to not give up. Yes, it will be a little difficult in the beginning and you will read only one page in about five minutes, but then you will start picking up speed and be reading like you read in English.
Happy Reading! 🙂