/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.

In Praise of Desmond Tutu


The Telegraph

I have been thinking a great deal about South Africa these past few weeks, in part because of the Test series being played there, but mostly because of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, with whose passing the last of the great stalwarts of the anti-apartheid struggle has left the stage. Although best known for the work he did [...]

The Mahatma’s Words


The Telegraph

One of the most remarkable individuals I have known was K. Swaminathan, a professor of literature from Madras who went on to become Chief Editor of the Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi. Swaminathan was born in the town of Pudukkotai on 3rd December 1896. When his centenary was observed in 1996, I wrote a biographical profile [...]

For a Free Press: The Legacy of B G Horniman


The Telegraph

When, in 1995, Bombay was renamed Mumbai, it led to a spurt of such renamings of buildings, streets, parks, and railway stations in the city. However, a few dead foreigners were spared the fate of being consigned to the dustbin of history. Among them were Annie Besant, after whom a major thoroughfare in central Mumbai is [...]

The Sardar of the Kisans


The Telegraph

In 1931, the annual meeting of the Indian National Congress was held in the port city of Karachi. Vallabhbhai Patel was elected President. Early in his address, Patel remarked: ‘You have called a simple farmer to the highest office to which any Indian can aspire. I am conscious that your choice of me as first servant [...]

The Exemplary Indian


The Telegraph

Perhaps because my own life has largely been devoted to the pursuit of personal success, I have always felt a guilty veneration for those who live for others. The public servant I most admired died on Sunday the 5th of September, aged sixty-six. In these times this may seem too early to go (particularly as he [...]

Memories of 1971


The Telegraph

The city outside India I know best is London, and the place in London I know best is the British Library, where, for thirty years and counting, I have scoured the capacious collections pertaining to the history of colonial India. I must have worked there for at least a thousand days all told, always following the [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]