Longer Essays
Longer Essays features a selection of Guha’s more reflective and extended articles (5,000 words or more) on history and politics.  Drawing on writings of the past decade-and-a-half, this website of Ramachandra Guha’s writings will be continuously updated to include his columns as they appear. Through these rich and varied essays, Guha seeks to capture the modern history of what he terms the ‘most interesting country in the world’.
  Indira Gandhi and the Indian Emergency, The Hindu (published in June 2000 on the 25th Anniversary of the Emergency and uploaded on) [Saturday, July 11th, 2015]

‘I had always believed that Mrs Gandhi had no faith in democracy, that she was by inclination and conviction a dictator. This belief has tragically turned out to be true’. Jayaprakash Narayan, prison diary, entry of 22 July 1975 ‘I have no more powers than I had before’. Indira Gandhi, in an interview with NBC, [...]

 
 
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  Traveling With Tagore, Penguin Classics [Wednesday, April 15th, 2015]

Rammohan Roy was able to assimilate the ideals of Europe so completely because he was not overwhelmed by them; there was no poverty or weakness on his side. He had ground of his own on which he could take his stand and where he could secure his acquisitions. The true wealth of India was not [...]

 
 
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  Where Are The Conservative Intellectuals in India, Caravan (March 2015) [Friday, March 20th, 2015]

There is a paradox at the heart of Indian public life today: that while the country has a right-wing party in power, right-wing intellectuals run thinly on the ground. This makes India an exception among the world’s established democracies. The United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany all have a long lineage of first-rate intellectuals [...]

 
 
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  Wealth and Power in Modern India, New Republic [Tuesday, January 6th, 2015]

Book Review of “Capital: The Eruption of Delhi”, Rana Dasgupta, Penguin Press. I The novelist and critic U. R. Ananthamurthy once said that India lives simultaneously in the twelfth and the twenty-first centuries. He might have added: and all the centuries in-between. No city better exemplifies Ananthamurthy’s maxim than the country’s capital, Delhi. The three [...]

 
 
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  A Nehruvian in China, Caravan [Friday, June 7th, 2013]

The first Chinese intellectual I knew of was named Fei Xiaotong. The year was 1980, and I was beginning a doctoral degree in sociology in Kolkata. The city was hostile to my discipline, largely because its intellectual culture was Marxist-dominated and Maoist-infested. Those who read Marxism mechanically allowed that the disciplines of history, economics, and [...]

 
 
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  Democracy and Violence: in India and Beyond, Economic and Political Weekly [Saturday, April 6th, 2013]

In about a year’s time, the citizens of India will vote in their sixteenth General Elections. The last such exercise, held in May 2009, showcased a bewildering variety of parties and politicians. Some 700 million adults were eligible to vote; about 400 million actually voted, to choose five hundred and forty-three members of the national [...]

 
 
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  Indians Great Greater Greatest?, The Hindu [Saturday, July 21st, 2012]

I… Nations need heroes, but the construction of a national pantheon is rarely straightforward or uncontested. Consider the debate in the United States about which faces should adorn the national currency. The founding figures of American Independence—Jefferson, Washington, Hamilton, Madison, and Franklin—are all represented on the dollar bill, albeit on different denominations. So are the [...]

 
 
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  A Partisan History of the Oxford University Press, Caravan Magazine [Wednesday, February 15th, 2012]

In the 1990s, I spent many weeks in what must, or at any rate should be, every Indian’s favourite city—Bombay, a city whose depth of history and richly lived (and intensely felt) cosmopolitanism is in such stark contrast to the even-tempered blandness of my own home town, Bangalore. I would go there twice a year, [...]

 
 
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  A PROPHET ANNOUNCES HIMSELF, Times Literary Supplement [Thursday, August 12th, 2010]

In the third week of September 1909, The Illustrated London News published a withering attack on the idea of Indian nationalism. Its author was G. K. Chesterton, who was then writing a weekly column for the magazine. The Catholic novelist was not especially known for his interest in Britain’s colonies; indeed, this may have been [...]

 
 
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  THE PAST AND FUTURE OF THE INDIAN NATIONAL CONGRESS, Caravan [Monday, March 1st, 2010]

Not long ago, I found myself in a panel discussion on television with three politicians. One was a Congress Member of Parliament, a second an MP from the Bharatiya Janata Party, the third the President of one of the smaller regional formations. In the course of the conversation I found reason to criticize the three [...]

 
 
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