It's a reservoir that can never go dry, and neither is it possible to ever do justice to any list of top classics. Still, here's a humble attempt at making you appreciate the range of the language, and also at the same time evoke the deep feelings of joy, pain and love their authors have evoked in their readers.
Gunaahon Ka Devta (by Dharamveer Bharti)
One of the most-touching romantic novels ever, it was first published in 1949. Gunaahon Ka Devta is a complex love story that defies the general concepts of romantic relations, taking it way ahead in the realm of human existence. Chander and Sudha, the lead pair, love each other since childhood but do not get married to each other. The books traces the love lost and found in the process and beyond.
RashmiRathi (By Ramdhari Singh Dinkar)
First published in 1954, Rashmirathi is a novel take on the Hindu mythological epic Mahabharat. The character of Karna, the son unmarried Kunti (Pandu's wife) had with Lord Son, is portrayed as the hero in the poem. It is interesting to read the perspective of what is otherwise an unsung hero in Vyas's Mahabharata.
From the injustices meted out to Karna as a 'shudra-putra' to the self-righteousness of the Pandavas and even Kunti, Dinkar points them all out in his poetic style.
Madhushala (By Harivansh Rai Bachchan)
One of the most-quoted works of Harivansh Rai Bachchan, Madhushala was first published in 1935. Madhushala has gems of philosophical wisdom using the symbol of alcohol and alcoholisms. Interestingly, the poet was a teetotaller.
Nirmala (By Munshi Premchand)
First published in 1928, Nirmala is one of the many novels where Premchand takes a dig at the evil practices plaguing Indian society. The USP of Premchand's works is the usage of colloquial words and referrences. Nirmala is the story of a young woman married to a widower and her struggles thereafter.
Also read: Remembering Premchand's Idgaah
Raag Darbari (By Sri Lal Sukla)
Raagdarbari, first published in 1970, is a commentary on the disconnect between what we practice and what we preach. Rangnath, a history student visits his village and stays there to notice the stark differences between the ideals he learnt at university and the practices of his uncle, the village head and his practices.
Kitne Pakistan (by Kamleshwar)
Hindi writer-scriptwriter Kamleshwar won the Saahitya Academy in 2003 for Kitne Pakistan. Kamleshwar creates a fictional court where different historical characters are brought to the witness's box and asked to narrate their version of history. Through Kitne Pakistan, Kamleshwar address the struggles and pains of partition. Interestingly, it is not just about India-Pakistan but also brings forth historical personalities like Alexander and Akbar.
Maila Aanchal (Phanishwar Nath Renu)
Phanishwar Nath Renu wrote Maila Aanchal in 1954. Based in rural regions of Bihar, Maila Aanchal showcases the various struggles of less-privelaged classes -- both physical and ideological.
Have you read all of the books? Are they on your bucket list or do you have more names to add? Share your views in the comment box below.