/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.

India Against Gandhi


Financial Times

Born in 1958, a decade after Gandhi’s death, I grew up in an atmosphere of veneration towards the Mahatma. One of my great uncles helped edit Gandhi’s Collected Works; another founded a pioneering initiative in community health inspired by Gandhi. These familial influences were consolidated and deepened by the public culture of the time. Gandhi was [...]

Attenborough Revisited


The Telegraph

This week marks the fortieth anniversary of the release of Richard Attenborough’s epic film Gandhi. Attenborough’s papers are located in an archive an hour’s train ride from London. Visiting them recently, I found several files of reviews of the most significant (some would say only worthwhile) film that the director made. They included an assessment in [...]

In Praise of Ian Jack


The Telegraph

In the course of my life, I have met many remarkable men, who have distinguished themselves as scholars, writers, artists, sportsmen, scientists, entrepreneurs, politicians, and activists. These men, almost without exception, have had a high sense of self-regard. As the Hindustani expression goes, ‘apne ko bahut samajhte hain’. Some are crudely boastful about their achievements; others [...]

An Ecological Pioneer


The Telegraph

In 1922, a professor at Lucknow University named Radhakamal Mukherjee published a book called Principles of Comparative Economics. Reading the book one hundred years later, I was struck by the attention it paid to the impact of the natural environment on the social and economic life of Indian villages. Mukherjee was perhaps the first Indian scholar [...]

The Fear of Free Thought


The Telegraph

At a conference last month, I met the Director of one of our prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology. Himself a fine scientist and excellent administrator, he told me that no fewer than eight IITs were currently without Directors. In each case, the term of the previous incumbent had ended, and though a search committee had been [...]

50 for 75 – An Independent India Reading List


The Telegraph

In an earlier column (The Telegraph, 13th August), I provided a brief analytical history of India’s democratic institutions since Independence. In this column, I offer a list of non-fiction books that I have myself found useful in understanding the complicated career of our Republic. I would have liked to choose seventy-five books, both in the interests [...]

The Real Game – The joys of watching cricket in whites


The Telegraph

As a member of the Karnataka State Cricket Association I have free entry to all matches played at the Chinnaswamy Stadium. However, I have never exercised that privilege in the case of the Indian Premier League. More or less my only IPL memory is from the first edition of the tournament, when, dining in a Bangalore [...]

Growing Old with the Telegraph


The Telegraph

Although I grew up in north India, the newspaper that came into our home was headquartered in a great city then called Calcutta. This was The Statesman, whose main edition was published in the first capital of British India, but which had a small subsidiary edition printed in the second and last capital of the Raj. [...]

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 [...]