Context: Question asked by a member in the rationalists’ site Nirmukta. I have modified the answer that I gave with the suggestions by few of my friends and other members in the group. I think I would be updating this list.This list draws from a global perspective and narrows to questions specific to India.
Ans: You need to have a balanced view of the whole spectrum of politics to make up your mind. Further, you need to have an idea of India specific issues to have a locally grounded outlook. Also, you need to have an idea of the philosophical and biological underpinnings of politics to consolidate your views.
My recommendations with the rating in a total score of 5 are the following:
Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari (4+): Factual theoretical narrative
The Story of Philosophy by Will Durant (2.5+): Factual narrative
Anti-Duhring by Friedrich Engels: Reasoning; Political Left
The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State by Friedrich Engels(3+): Factual reasoning
Open Society and its Enemies by Karl Popper (2.5+): Ideological Liberalism, Free-thinking
The Future of Freedom by Fareed Zakaria (3+): American Centre Right; Right liberal
The New Left: the Anti-industrial Revolution by Ayn Rand (2.5+): American political Right
For the New Intellectuals by Ayn Rand (2.5+): American political Right
Annihilation of Caste by BR Ambedkar (edition with Foreword by Arundhati Roy) (4+): Factual analysis; Indian Cultural Free-Thinking; Cultural Left
Castes in India: Their Mechanism, Genesis, and Development by B.R Ambedkar (4+): Theoretical interpretation of Indian caste system
The Civilization: The West and the Rest by Niall Ferguson ( 3.5+): Factual narrative; Right centered
The Empire by Niall Ferguson ( 3+): Factual narrative, Right-centered
The Ascent of Money by Niall Ferguson (3+): Factual narrative.
God Delusion by Richard Dawkins (4+): Polemic; Foundational book of New Atheism that transformed western popular towards agnosticism.
Moral Landscape by Sam Harris (3+): Polemic; A bold advance from the staple of New Atheism
The Origin of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt (3+); Factual interpretation; western liberalism
Discovery of India by J Nehru (2.5+): Factual narrative, Indian soft cultural Left
Ancient India by RC Majumdar(3+): Factual narrative.
Besides this, you can consult Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (4+) for filling up the ‘gaps.’