Primary Documents for the Study of Indian History, c. 1890-2000.

Prepared by Vinay Lal


BPP: British Parliamentary Papers, House of Commons.

CWMG: Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi. 100 vols. GI, 1951-1996.

MIPT: K. P. Karunakaran, ed., Modern Indian Political Tradition. New Delhi: Allied Publishers, 1962.

MPWMG: Raghavan Iyer, ed., Moral and Political Writings of Mahatma Gandhi, 3 vols. Oxford: Clarendon Press: Vol. I, 1986; Vol. II, 1986; Vol. III, 1987.

GI: Government of India, Manager of Publications or Publications Division.

PPGI: Publications Proscribed by the Government of India. Eds. Graham Shaw and Mary Lloyd. London: The British Library, 1985.

TP: Nicholas Mansergh, ed., Transfer of Power, 1942-47: Constitutional Relations between Britain and India. 12 vols. Vol. XII: 8 July-15 August 1947. London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1983.


1=Essential Documents; 2=Valuable; 3=Worthwhile.

(All documents are “1” unless otherwise stated)

At the end of most entries, the event to which the document refers is mentioned in square brackets.


Gandhi, M. K. “The Great Trial”, CWMG, Vol. 23, pp. 110-20. [Speech at his trial, 1922].

Gandhi, M. K. [Letter to Lord Irwin, 1930] In CWMG, Vol. 30, pp. 2-8, 14-16 [Salt March].

Gandhi, M. K. Autobiography or The Story of My Experiments with Truth. 1925. Various editions. If necessary, chapters dealing with Gandhi’s life until 1914 may be omitted.

Punjab Subcommittee [of the INC]. Report of the Commissioners [Appointed to Look into the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre]. Vol 1, Report. Bombay: Karnataka Press, 1920. Reprinted as Punjab Disturbances 1919-1920, vol. 1: Indian Perspective. Delhi: Deep Publications, 1976.

Industrialization, Technology, and Development

Nehru, Jawaharlal, “Economic Development”, in Jawaharlal Nehru’s Speeches, Vol. 1: 1946-49. 2nd ed., Delhi: GI, 1958 [1949], pp. 91-147.

First Five-Year Plan. Delhi: Government of India, Publications Division,1952.

Report of the Congress Agrarian Reforms Committee. Delhi: GI Press, 1949.

Dutt, R. C. “The Economic Condition of India” [1901]. Reprinted in MIPT, pp. 372-385. (3)

Shiva Kumar, A. K. and Joh E. Rohde. The Progress of Indian States, 1995: A Report on the Achievements of Indian States in Child Survival, Health, Nutrition, Family Planning, Maternal Mortality, Primary Education, Gender Equity, Child Labour. New Delhi: UNICEF, 1995. (2)

Nayyar, Deepak, ed. Industrial Growth and Stagnation: Selection of Articles from the Economic and Political Weekly. Mumbai: Sameeksha Trust Books, 1993. (2)

Government of India, Planning Commission. Reports of the Expert Group on Estimate of the Proportion and Number of Poor. New Delhi, 1993. (3)

Fernandes, W., and Thukral Ganguly, eds. Development, Displacement and Rehabilitation: Issues for a National Debate. New Delhi: Indian Social Institute, 1989. (2)

Communal/Sectarian Conflict

Padgaonkar, Dilip, ed. When Bombay Burned. New Delhi: U.B.S. Publishers, 1993. [Bombay Riots, December 1992-January 1993] (3)

Daud, S. M. and H. Suresh. The People’s Verdict: An Enquiry into the December 1992 and January 1993 Riots in Bombay. Mumbai: Indian People’s Human Rights Tribunal, 1993. (2)

Nandy, Ashis, et al. Creating a Nationality: The Ramjanmabhumi Movement and Fear of the Self. New Delhi: Oxford UP, 1995.

Women / Women’s Issues

Towards Equality: Report of the Committee on the Status of Women in India, Department of Social Welfare, Department of Social Welfare, Ministry of Education and Social Welfare, GI Press, 1975.

Infant Marriage and Enforced Widowhood in India, Being a Collection of Opinions, For and Against, Received by Mr. Behramji M. Malabari, from Representative Hindu Gentlemen and Official and Other Authorities. Bombay: ‘Voice of India’ Printing Press, 1887. (3)

Shramshakti: Report of the National Commission on Self-Employed Women and Women in the Informal Sector. 1989. (3)

Law and Legal Issues

Constitution of India. New Delhi: Government of India Press. Various editions.

“Maintenance of Internal Security Act, 1971 [No. 26 of 1971].” Reproduced in B. V. Kumar, Preventive Detention Laws of India (Delhi: Konark Publishers, 1991), Appendix 7, pp. 64-78. (2)


1918 BPP. House of Commons, Vol. 8 (Reports, Vol. 4). Cmd. 9190, “Report of the Committee Appointed to Investigate Revolutionary Conspiracies in India.” [Also called Sedition/Rowlatt Committee Report] [Also published as Sedition Committee Report, Secret edition, Calcutta: Bengal Secretariat Press, 1918; various reprints]

“Congress Responsibility for the Disturbances 1942-43.” BPP (1942-43) Vol. 9 (Acounts and Papers, Vol. 3), pp. 827ff. Cmd. 6430. [Quit India Disturbances]

The Civil Disobedience Enquiry Committee Report [1922]. Reprinted ed. A. M. Zaidi, New Delhi: Indian Institute of Applied Political Research, 1986. (2)

“Measures taken to counteract the Civil Disobedience Movement, and to Deal with the Terrorist Movement in Bengal …” BPP (1931-32), Vo. 18, pp. 973 ff. Cmd. 4014. [Civil Disobedience Movement, 1930] (2)

Gandhi, M. K. “Speech at AICC Meeting”, 8 August 1942. CWMG, Vol. 76, pp. 384-96. [Quit India Movement]

Gandhi, M. K. Hind Swaraj [1909; various editions]. Included in MPWMG, Vol. I: 199-270; also in PPGI, “European Languages”, no.77.

INA Trial. Ram, Moti. Two Historic Trials in [the] Red Fort. New Delhi: Roxy Printing Press, 1946. Pp. 1-306, especially pp. 140-219 [Defence Address by Bhulabhai Desai]. (2) [Indian National Army Trial, 1945]

Tagore, Rabindranath. Nationalism. New York: Macmillan, 1917. 159 pp. various reprints. (2)

Bhattacharya, Sabyasachi, compiler and ed. The Mahatma and the Poet: Letters and Debates Between Gandhi and Tagore 1915-1941. Delhi: National Book Trust, 1997.

Congress Presidential Addresses, Containing Full Text of the Presidential Addresses from 1911 to 1934, 2nd Series (Madras: G. A. Natesan, 1934), pp. 415-474 [Motilal Nehru, 1919], 732-755 [Mahatma Gandhi, 1924], 884-902 [Jawaharlal Nehru, 1929].

Muhammad Ali Jinnah, [A Plea for Hindu-Muslim Unity], “Presidential Address to the All-India Musim League, Lucknow, 1916”, from India’s Claim for Home Rule (Madras: Ganesh & Co., 1917), pp. 255-280.

Azad, Maulana Kalam. India Wins Freedom. New Delhi: Orient Longman, various editions. (3)

Tilak, B. G. Bal Gangadhar Tilak: His Writings and Speeches. Enlg. ed. Madras: Ganesh & Co., 1919, pp. 35-51, 55-80, 104-162, 201-6, 265-80, 373-389. (2)

Bipan Chandra Pal. “Political Philosophy of the Extremists [1906].” In MIPT, pp. 190-213. (2)

Nehru, Jawaharlal. Toward Freedom: The Autobiography of Jawaharlal Nehru. [also published as Autobiography]. Boston: Beacon Press, 1961 [1941], pp. 1-47 may be omitted if necessary.


Gandhi, M. K. Non-Violent Resistance (Satyagraha). New York: Schocken Books, 1964, pp. 3-176, 342-353, and 383-388.

Aurobindo, Sri. The Doctrine of Passive Resistance. (3)

Joshi, Barbara, R., ed. Untouchable! Voices of the Dalit Liberation Movement. Minority Rights Group. London: Zed Books, 1986.


“Famine Commission, 1898. Report.” [Sir J. Lyall, President]. BPP (1899), vol. 31, pp. 535 ff. C. 9178. (2)

“Plague Commission, 1898-99. Report.” BPP (1902), Vol. 72, pp. 223 ff. Cd. 810. (2)

“Food Situation, 1943: Speech by the Food Member of the Governor-General’s Counicl, and other Papers.” BPP (1942-43), Vo. 9, pp. 777 ff. Cmd. 6479. [Bengal Famine, 1943]

EKLAVYA. Bhopal — A People’s View of Death, Their Right to Know and Live. Bhopal: Eklavya, 1984. [Bhopal/Union Carbide Gas Leak, 1984] (2)

Delhi Science Forum. Bhopal Gas Tragedy. Delhi: Delhi Science Forum, 1985. [Bhopal/Union Carbide Gas Leak, 1984]

Agarwal, Anil and Sunita Narain. Global Warming in an Unequal World: A Case of Environmental Colonialism. New Delhi: Centre for Science & Environment, 1991. (2)

Morse, Bradford and Thomas Berger. Sardar Sarovar: The Report of the Independent Review. Goa: The Other India Bookstore, & other publishers, 1993. [Dispute over the Narmada Development Project]

The State of India’s Environment: The Second Citizen’s Report. New Delhi: Centre for Science and Enviornment, 1984.

Government of India, Ministry of Environment and Forests. National Stragegy for Conservation and Sustainable Development: Report of the Core Committee. New Delhi: GI, 1990. (3)

Social and Reform Movements / Issues

Gandhi, M. K. “Speech at Banaras Hindu University”, 4 Feb. 1916. In CWMG, Vol. 13, pp. 210-16.

Ambedkar, B. R. What Congress and Gandhi Have Done to the Untouchables. Bombay: Thacker & Co., 1945; reprint, 1977.

Mandal, B. P, chiarman. Report of the Backward Classes Commission. 7 vols in 2. New Delhi, 1981. Volume 1: Introduction.

Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. Seventh Report. Delhi: GI Press, 1985. (2)

Department of Social Welfare. Report of the Committee on Untouchability, Economic and Educational Development of the Scheduled Castes. [Elayaperumal Committee] Delhi: GI Press, 1969. (3)

Encounters: A Report on Land Struggle in Bihar. Delhi: People’s Union for Democratic Rights, 1996.

Report of the Age of Consent Committee, 1928-29. [Publication details unknown] (2)

Scavenging Conditions Enquiry Committee [N. R. Malkani, Chairman]. Report. Delhi: GI Press, 1960. (2)


Gopal, S.; Thapar, Romila; et al. “The Political Abuse of History.” Seminar [Delhi], no. 364 (December 1989); also reprinted in Social Scientist, vol. 18, nos. 1-2 (Jan-Feb 1990):76-81, and South Asia Bulletin 9, no. 2 (1989):65-67. (2)

Indian National Congress. Cawnpore Riots Enquiry Committee. A History of the Hindu-Muslim Problem in India … Allahabad: Sunderlal, 1933. 544 pp. Complete. PPGI, “European Languages”, no. 109.

Godse, Nathuram. May It Please Your Honor [statement in court of the assassin of Mahatma Gandhi, November 1948]. 3rd ed., Delhi: Surya Prakashan, 1987. [this document will require editing, as there are scores of printing errors] (3)

White Paper on Communist Violence in India. Delhi: GI Press, 1949. (3)

[Documents on Indian Liberalism — Speeches and Writings of Surendra Nath Banerjea, Dadabhai Naoroji, and Gopal Krishna Gokhale]. In MIPT, pp. 31-122. (2)

[Address Presented to Lord Minto, Viceroy of India, on 1 October 1906, by a delegation of Muslims led by the Aga Khan]. In MIPT, pp. 277-286.

Jacob, T. G., ed. National Question in India: CPI [Communist Party of India] Documents, 1942-47 (New Delhi: Odyssey Press, 1988), pp. 80-104, 119-25, 158-240. (3)

Savarkar, Damodar Vinayak. Hindutva: Who is a Hindu? 6th ed., Delhi: Bharti Sahitya Sadan, 1989. (2)

Golwalkar, Madhav S. Bunch of Thoughts. Bangalore, 1966 [esp. “The Nation and Its Problems] or We, or Our Nation Defined. Nagpur, 1939. [either of these two texts might be chosen]

State Violence and Oppression

Shah Commission of Inquiry. Interim Report I and Interim Report II [March 3 and April 7, 1978]. Dehi: GI Press, 1978. [Emergency, 1975-77]

People’s Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR) and People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL). Who are the Guilty: Report of a Joint Investigation into the Causes and Impact of Riots in Delhi from 31 October to 10 November. Delhi: PUCL/PUDR, 1984. [Massacre of Sikhs]

Delhi, 31 October to 4 November 1984: Report of the Citizens’ Commission. Delhi, 1984. [Massacre of Sikhs] (2)

Rao, Amiya; Ghose, Aurbindo; Bhattacharya, Sunil; Ahuja, Tejinder; and Pancholi, N.D. Report to the Nation: Oppression in Punjab. Foreword by Justice V. M. Tarkunde. New Delhi: Citizens for Democracy, 1985. [Secessionism/Terrorism in Punjab and the State Response]

Imperial State/Imperialism/Constitutionalism

“Government of India Act [1919] …” BPP (1920), Vol. 35, pp. 1 ff. Cmd. 610. [The Government of India Act, 1919] (3)

“Government of India Act [1935] …” BPP (1935-36), Vol. 19, pp. 1149 ff. Cmd. 5133. [The Government of India Act, 1935]

“Full Text of Indian Press Act, VII of 1908.” BPP (1908), Vol. 74, pp. 919 ff. Cd. 4152. (2)

“Announcements by and on behalf of His Majesty the King-Emperor at the Coronation Dubar held at Delhi on the 12th December 1911.” BPP (1911), Vol. 55, pp. 577 ff. Cd. 5979. (3)

Report of the Indian Statutory Commission. London: HMSO, 1930. (2)

“Constitutional Reforms: Communal Decision.” BPP (1931-32), Vo. 18, pp. 965 ff. Cmd. 4147.


“Indian Round Table Conference. Second Session. Proceedings.” BPP (1931-32), Vol. 8, pp. 1ff. London: HMSO, 1932. Cmd. 3997

“India. Statements of Policy. Statement of the policy of His Majesty’s Government made by the Secretary of State for India on 14 June 1945.” BPP (1944-45), vol. 9, pp. 653 ff. Cmd. 6652.

“Correspondence and Documents connected with the Conference between the Cabinet Mission and His Excellency the Viceroy and Representatives of the Congress and the Muslim League, May 1946.” BPP (1945-46), Vol. 19, pp. 145 ff. Cmd. 6829.

“Cabinet Mission: Correspondence with the Congress Party and the Muslim League, 20 May-29 June 1946.” BPP (1945-46), Vol. 19, pp. 177 ff. Cmd. 6861.

“Cabinet Mission: Papers relating to the Sikhs, the Indian States, and the European Community, May-June 1946.” BPP (1945-46), Vol. 19, pp. 137 ff. Cmd. 6862. (2)

“India (Statements of Policy). Statement of 3 June 1947.” BPP (1946-47), Vol. 19, pp. 11 ff. Cmd. 7136.

“Indian Independence Act, 1947”, and “Indian Independence Order”, in TP, Vol. 12, pp. 233-249 and 713-720, respectively.

[Report of the Boundary Commission in Punjab and Bengal], in TP, Vol. 12, pp. 744-757.

Jawaharlal Nehru’s Speeches, Vol. 1: 1946-49 (Delhi: GI Press, 1958 [1949], pp. 1-90. If you are really short of space, use instead the following: Constituent Assemblyof India. Debates, 14 August 1947. [Speeches by Rajendra Prasad, Nehru, etc]. Available at

[Documents on Kashmir, including the Instrument of Accession of Jammu and Kashmir to the Indian Union]. Teng, Mohan K; Bhatt, Ram Krishen; and Santosh Kaul, Kashmir: Constitutional History and Documents (New Delhi: Light & Life Publishers, 1977), pp. 495-574. (mainly 2, but “Instrument of Accession is “1”)

Centre — State Relations [Federalism; Decentralization]

White Paper on Hyderabad. Delhi: GI Press, 1948. [Integration of Hyderabad, 1948] (2)

White Paper on Jammu and Kashmir. Delhi: GI Press, 1948. [Dispute over Kashmir with Pakistan]

White Paper on Indian States. Delhi: GI Press, 1950. [Administrative reorganization of the Indian Republic] (3)

Report of the States Reorganization Commission, February 1954 to September 1955. Delhi: GI, Ministry of Home Affairs, 1955. [Administrative reorganization of the Indian Republic]

White Paper on the Punjab Situation. New Delhi: GI Press, 1984. [Violence in Punjab]

Council of Sikh Affairs. The Anguish of Punjab — The Sikhs Demand Justice. Chandigarh, 1983. [Violence in Punjab] (3)

Council of Sikh Affairs. The Punjab River Water Dispute — The Truth. Chandigarh, 1983. [Violence in Punjab] (3)

Report of the Official Language Commission. New Delhi: GI Press, 1956. [Status of English/Hindi]

Reports of the Committees of the Panel on Land Reforms. [Planning Commission] Delhi: GI Press, 1959. [Land Reforms] (2)

Constituent Assembly of India. Report of Linguistic Provinces Commission. New Delhi: GI Press, 1949. [Administrative reorganization of the Indian Republic] (3)

Culture and Civilization:

Sri Aurobindo. The Spirit and Form of Indian Polity. Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram, [1947], 1966. (2)

Swami Vivekananda. “Pride in India’s Past and Her Mission in the Modern World.” [Address delivered at Colombo] In MIPT, pp. 123-133. (2)


“India and the War: Communique issued by the Governor-General and resolutions by the Indian National Congress, the All-India Moslem League …” BPP (1939-40), vol. 10, pp. 35 ff. Cmd. 6196. (2)


“Working of the Indian Factory Act. Report.” BPP (1889), Vol. 58, pp. 463ff. Paper 124. (3)

“Report of the Indian Factory Labour Commission.” Vol. 1: Report [only]. BPP (1908), Vol. 74, pp. 545 ff. Cd. 4292.

Labour Investigation Committee. Report [by D. V. Rege] on an Enquiry into Conditions of Labour in Plantations in India. Delhi, 1946. (3)

Foreign Relations

Nehru, Jawaharlal. “India and the World”, in Jawaharlal Nehru’s Speeches, Vol. 1: 1946-49. Delhi: GI Press, 1958 [1949], pp. 201-330.

Copyright: Vinay Lal