/Ramachandra Guha

About Ramachandra Guha

Ramachandra Guha is a historian and biographer based in Bengaluru. His books include a pioneering environmental history, The Unquiet Woods (University of California Press, 1989), and an award-winning social history of cricket, A Corner of a Foreign Field (Picador, 2002), which was chosen by The Guardian as one of the ten best books on cricket ever written. India after Gandhi (Macmillan/Ecco Press, 2007; revised edition, 2017) was chosen as a book of the year by the Economist, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal, and as a book of the decade in the the Times of London and The Hindu.

The Greatest Gandhian


The Telegraph

Like all other Indians, I grew up thinking of 15th August as the day when, back in 1947, the first Government of independent India was sworn into office. However, in recent years the day has acquired for me another meaning, not unrelated to the first. In my consciousness, 15th August 1947 has been joined by 15th [...]

By |2021-10-31T21:06:02+05:30August 14th, 2021|Categories: History, Biography|Tags: , , , , |

Taking the South Seriously


The Telegraph

I have recently been revisiting Walter Crocker’s 1966 book, Nehru: A Contemporary’s Estimate. This book remains the best single-volume study of the life and legacy of India’s first prime minister, and it says many interesting things about Nehru’s country too. Consider these remarks about the part of India I myself live in: “South India has counted [...]

The Bookseller of Bangalore


Scroll.in

Shortly before T. S. Shanbhag shuttered his Premier Bookshop in 2009, Asha Ghosh and Kathleen Dargis made a short film about him (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RLxYuoWKhA0). The film was dedicated to the photographer Raghav Shreyas, who died tragically young, and was a habitué of the store. It features, among other things, a lovely cameo of the owner of Premier [...]

The Opening and Closing of the Hindu Mind


The Telegraph

“What am I? Asiatic, European, or American? I feel a curious medley of personalities in me.” — Swami Vivekananda In 1873, the social reformer, Jyotirao Phule, published a searing critique of the caste system. Entitled Gulamgiri, the book was written in Marathi, yet it carried a dedication in English. This expressed the author’s admiration for “the [...]

Where the Hard Right Meets the Hard Left


The Telegraph

I have been reading the memoirs of Dora Russell, a pioneering British feminist and educationist. These were published in three volumes, of which I have just finished the first. This covers her upbringing in Edwardian England, her education at Cambridge, the development of her views on gender equality, an experimental school she established, and the years [...]

Why Modi and Shah Fear Young Activists


NDTV.com

Why would the Indian state arrest a twenty-one-year-old woman activist who seeks a cleaner and safer planet? Should not the country want young people to look beyond their narrow personal interests to the interests of society at large? Why did our Government lock up a young citizen seeking to build a better future for herself and [...]

The Moral Evolution of Mohandas K Gandhi


The Telegraph

The American writer Louis Fischer is best known for his book The Life of Mahatma Gandhi, which Richard Attenborough drew upon while making his award-winning film of 1982. Fischer’s book was published in 1949, a year after Gandhi’s assassination. Seven years previously, he had written a much slimmer (and now far less well known) volume entitled [...]

In Praise of Archives and Archivists


The Telegraph

In the third week of January 2020—exactly a year ago—I was in New Delhi, working in the collections of the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library. I first discovered the archival riches of the NMML in the early 1980s, and explored them most fully while living in Delhi between 1988 and 1994. In those years I would [...]

A Man to Match His Mountains


from the Introduction to The Chipko Movement by Shekhar Pathak

I first came across Shekhar Pathak’s name in the files of the Uttar Pradesh State Archives in Lucknow. The year was 1983, and I was working on a dissertation on the social history of forests in the Uttarakhand Himalaya. In those days the U.P. State Archives were well run; the files one ordered came to one’s [...]

Making Indian Cities Habitable – The Legacy of Patrick Geddes


India Forum

‘India lives in her villages’, said Mahatma Gandhi, and that maxim of his has been resolutely followed by Indian environmentalists. From celebrated popular struggles like the Chipko Andolan and the Narmada Bachao Andolan to quieter, more low-key work in rehabilitating village tanks and pastures, the environmental movement in India has been substantially focused on the countryside. [...]