Prominent poets Mirza Ghalib and Mohammad Ibrahim Zauq have often written about Delhi with a sense of love and respect. “The world is the body, Delhi its soul”, declared the first in homage to the historical richness of the city, its breathtaking panoramas and its cultural past. The capital’s now altered landscape may not inspire much to sonnets, however, the city still provides a fascinating setting for bibliophiles to consume in words even today.
In recent decades, contemporary Indian writers have contrasted their books with the sights, sounds and societies that occupy the capital. If you’re homesick for Delhi or need a reminder as to why it’s still worth living there (despite the pollution), this list of books will push you in its direction.
A bad character (2014) by Deepti Kapoor
“Delhi is no place for a woman in the dark unless she has a man and a car or a car and a gun,” Idha, the protagonist of Kapoor’s first book, tells about her perception of Delhi. This literary fiction is as much a personal account of a young Indian girl facing her emotional bandwidth in the face of the difficult events that surround her, as it is a commentary on life in Delhi for women. Despite the disturbing events highlighted in the book, the reader travels through the brunches of the Khan Market and the qawallis heard at Nizamuddin Dargah, soaking up the little joys the city has to offer.