History of India: Any book suggestions?

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History of India: Any book suggestions?

My brother is moving to India in a few months. Can any one suggest a good history book of the country and region, ideally from a post-colonial or left perspective?



 The way I learn history is to first go to historical fiction, then to academic books on the subject.   The historical fiction allows one to learn the names, places, factions, politics etc., and by the time I go to academic books I can absorb more without having my head spinning trying to remember who is who and what is what.

Maybe some others better versed in Indian history can advise on both.  

In the mean time, I've found this on line news magazine handy when I want to get background on current events in India:



Thanks TP!