Episode 385: Vinayak Calling Vinayak

To understand modern India, we must understand the history of Hindutva — and we must wrestle with Savarkar. Vinayak Chaturvedi joins Amit Varma in episode 385 of The Seen and the Unseen to discuss his life and work as a historian — and the importance of history in shaping the present moment.
Joint production with IVM Podcasts

Episode 384: Narayan Ramachandran Is Playing the Long Game

He has lived two lives: first he reached the top of the corporate ladder and became a top banker; and now he is embarked upon the long game of changing India. Narayan Ramachandran joins Amit Varma in episode 384 of The Seen and the Unseen to talk about stimulating change, building institutions — and making ideas and serendipity come together.

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Episode 383: Arati Kumar-Rao Took a One-Way Ticket

She gave up a corporate career to live a slow life: to travel, to immerse, to write, to learn to see. Arati Kumar-Rao joins Amit Varma in episode 383 of The Seen and the Unseen to talk about her writing, her photography and the lessons she has learnt by standing still and looking.

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Episode 382: Kushal Mehra Dives Into Hindu Thought

He describes himself as a dharmik skeptic, and has written a book about how atheism evolved within Hindu philosophy. Kushal Mehra joins Amit Varma in episode 382 of The Seen and the Unseen to discuss his intellectual evolution– and his journey as a podcaster.

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Episode 381: V Vinay Has Lived a Life of Science

He created the iconic Simputer, and has lived a life that married science and its applications. V Vinay joins Amit Varma in episode 381 of The Seen and the Unseen to talk about his journey and what it taught him.

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Episode 380: Sowmya Dhanaraj Is Making a Difference

How do women live in India? How do workers live? What impact can economics have in the real world? Sowmya Dhanaraj joins Amit Varma in episode 380 of The Seen and the Unseen to describe her life, her work and the churn in our society.

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Episode 379: Lant Pritchett Is on Team Prosperity

He’s one of the great economists of our times, always focussed on the big questions, no matter how hard they are. Lant Pritchett joins Amit Varma in episode 379 of The Seen and the Unseen to talk about his life, his work and what he has learnt about the world.

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Episode 378: Rohit Lamba Will Never Be Bezubaan

He is an economist with the soul of a poet. He has studied number theory and is an expert on policy. He has studied Urdu and and dreams in shairi. Rohit Lamba joins Amit Varma in episode 378 of The Seen and the Unseen to discuss economics, politics, society and our human condition.

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Episode 377: Malini Goyal is the Curious One

As a journalist, she always went deep. As an author, she has peeled off layers of Bengaluru — and Indian society. Malini Goyal joins Amit Varma in episode 377 of The Seen and the Unseen to share her insights — and the values that shape her work.

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Episode 376: Postcards From Utsav Mamoria

When he travels, he’s a man of reflection. When he creates, he’s a man of action. Utsav Mamoria joins Amit Varma in episode 376 of The Seen and the Unseen to talk about his philosophy towards travel, creating and living.

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Episode 375: Karthik Muralidharan and the Bureaucrat’s Burden

To reform India, you must reform the Indian state. Karthik Muralidharan joins Amit Varma in episode 375 of The Seen and the Unseen to talk about his much-awaited new book that has finally released — and the chapters on it that deal with our bureaucracy.

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Episode 374: Making Policy Fun with Khyati Pathak and Friends

Economics and public policy touch all our lives, and have humanitarian consequences. But isn’t it damn boring? No! Khyati Pathak, Anupam Manur and Pranay Kotasthane join Amit Varma in episode 374 of The Seen and the Unseen to talk policy and comics — and how they came together in their book, We the Citizens.

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Episode 373: Deepak VS and the Man Behind His Face

He’s an entrepreneur who thinks deeply about the world, and some of his ideas could make your brain explode. Deepak VS joins Amit Varma in episode 373 of The Seen and the Unseen to share his thoughts on entrepreneurship, education, morality, life and the old hag who sits on your chest.

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Episode 372: Manjula Padmanabhan is a Forever Outsider

She’s a comic-strip artist, a playwright, a science fiction author — a creator who doesn’t fit into any box. Manjula Padmanabhan joins Amit Varma in episode 372 of The Seen and the Unseen to talk about her life and learnings.

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Episode 371: Ram Guha Writes a Letter to a Friend

His latest book looks back at a friendship — and at a world gone by. Ramachandra Guha joins Amit Varma in episode 371 of The Seen and the Unseen to shoot the breeze and share some memories.

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Episode 370: Yugank Goyal Is out of the Box

So what if he is an academic? He is also an an original thinker with deep insights about education, elections, colonisation, politics, history, society. Yugank Goyal joins Amit Varma in episode 370 of The Seen and the Unseen to throw thought-bomb after thought-bomb at all of us.

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Episode 369: The Life and Times of Ira Pande

She’s a writer. She’s a translator. She’s as old as this Republic, and she knows it well. Ira Pande joins Amit Varma in episode 369 of The Seen and the Unseen to talk about her life and her learnings.

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Episode 368: Irfan, the Keeper of Memories

He’s a master of the longform conversation, a connoisseur of the past, a man steeped in culture. Syed Mohd Irfan joins Amit Varma in episode 368 of The Seen and the Unseen to discuss his life, his times, his learnings — and Guftagoo!

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Episode 367: Swapna Liddle and the Many Shades of Delhi

Delhi has had a mad history — and that history has shaped our culture, our art, our languages, our society. Swapna Liddle joins Amit Varma in episode 367 of The Seen and the Unseen to take us on a walk through space and time.

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Episode 366: Arghya Sengupta and the Engine Room of Law

He’s been an important force in shaping legal policy over the last decade. He’s written an essential book on our constitution. He’s worked closely with government — but done so with a sense of public purpose. Arghya Sengupta joins Amit Varma in episode 366 of The Seen and the Unseen to talk about  his life, his work and his learnings.

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Episode 365: Rakhshanda Jalil Watches the Changing World

You could think of her as someone who tries to preserve a fading world — or to chronicle a changing one. Rakhshanda Jalil joins Amit Varma in episode 365 of The Seen and the Unseen to talk about literature, language and loss.

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Episode 364: Amitava Kumar Finds His Kashmiri Rain

Writing helps you find yourself, and shape yourself. Nothing illustrates this better than the life & work of our guest today. Amitava Kumar joins Amit Varma in episode 364 of The Seen and the Unseen to continue his journaling in the form of this conversation.

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Episode 363: Ranjit Hoskote is Dancing in Chains

He’s a poet, art critic, curator, translator, cultural theorist — and someone who helps make sense of our world. Ranjit Hoskote joins Amit Varma in episode 363 of The Seen and the Unseen to talk about his life, his times and his work.

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Episode 362: You’re Ugly and You’re Hairy and You’re Covered in Shit but You’re Mine and I Love You

What is the difference between ch*tiya and dusht? Why are vegetarians evil? Why do Indians do the best bench pressing? Krish Ashok and Naren Shenoy join Amit Varma in episode 362 of The Seen and the Unseen for the most fun conversation ever. Really, ever. We got it certified.

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Episode 361: Pritika Hingorani Wants to Fix Our Cities

Cities are that miraculous technology that bring people together to make us all better, richer, happier. But bad planning, or even too much planning, can turn them into hellholes. Pritika Hingorani joins Amit Varma in episode 361 of The Seen and the Unseen to share her insights on how we should think about cities, how governments do policy, and what economics can bring to urban planning.

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Episode 360: Rahul Matthan Seeks the Protocol

The world is changing fast. Technology can be used to empower us — and also to hack our brains & our lives. What laws do we need to protect our freedoms? Rahul Matthan joins Amit Varma in episode 360 of The Seen and the Unseen to share his work on privacy — and on a new, subtle approach towards data governance.

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Episode 359: Danish Husain and the Multiverse of Culture

He is a writer, an actor, a poet, a storyteller, an anti-storyteller — and he cares about both the world outside and the one inside. Danish Husain joins Amit Varma in episode 359 of The Seen and the Unseen to talk about his life and learnings.

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Episode 358: The Semiconductor Wars

Semiconductors power much of modern technology — and thus, our lives and our politics. Pranay Kotasthane and Abhiram Manchi join Amit Varma in episode 358 of The Seen and the Unseen to shed light on how so much geopolitics today centres around chips — and why its such a big deal.

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Episode 357: Seema Sirohi and the View From Washington

She’s covered US-India relations as a foreign correspondent for more than 30 years — and now she’s told that momentous story in a book. Seema Sirohi joins Amit Varma in episode 357 of The Seen and the Unseen to talk about her life as a journalist — and the love-hate relationship between countries that she saw at close quarters.

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Episode 356: Santosh Desai is Watching You

What is this world we live in, and how did we get here? One of the finest thinkers on this subject is in the house. Santosh Desai joins Amit Varma in episode 356 of The Seen and the Unseen to discuss Indian society and this changing world.

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Episode 355: The Life and Times of KP Krishnan

India has travelled a long way in the last few decades — and one man had an inside view of the whole process, shaping policy and trying to fix the nation. KP Krishnan joins Amit Varma in episode 355 of The Seen and the Unseen to talk about his extraordinary life and learnings.

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Episode 354: Figuring Out Motherhood

Motherhood is a terrifying condition that changes a woman’s life forever. Forget coping with it — how do you even understand it? Priya Mathews and Gunjan Grover Gupta join Amit Varma in episode 354 of The Seen and the Unseen to discuss all they have learnt from being mothers, processing the experience, and their cult podcast, The Mommy Mix Tape.

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Episode 353: Apar Gupta Fights the Good Fight

How does technology affect our rights? Do we need protection from the state and Big Tech? Apar Gupta joins Amit Varma in episode 353 of The Seen and the Unseen to discuss his battle for digital rights in India.

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Episode 352: The Bankable Wisdom of Harsh Vardhan

He’s been a consultant, an expert on the financial sector, and now lives a life of the mind. Harsh Vardhan joins Amit Varma in episode 352 of The Seen and the Unseen to discuss his life and learnings.

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Episode 351: Pallavi Aiyar Has Seen the World

She’s been a journalist,  travelled the world, lived in nine countries, fought and beaten cancer — and written about it all in exquisite prose. Pallavi Aiyar joins Amit Varma in episode 351 of The Seen and the Unseen to talk about her life and learnings.

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Episode 350: Sudhir Sarnobat Works to Understand the World

He built a career and a life through sheer force of will — and he applies that intentionality to everything in his life. Sudhir Sarnobat joins Amit Varma in episode 350 of The Seen and the Unseen to talk about his life, his learnings and the frameworks he wants to share with others.

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Episode 349: The Incredible Insights of Timur Kuran

Why did the Middle East fall behind Europe despite being in a similar state in 1000 AD? How do modern authoritarians benefit from our tendency to falsify our preferences? Timur Kuran joins Amit Varma in episode 349 of The Seen and the Unseen to share his learnings from history — and what they teach us about today.

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Episode 348: Devangshu Datta Traded His Corduroy Pants

From Ganja Park in Kolkata to lock-ups in 13 countries, he has travelled the world and lived through mad times. Devangshu Datta joins Amit Varma in episode 348 of The Seen and the Unseen to discuss Bengalis who make bombs, Gujaratis who make fetish costumes, his river pirate ancestors and how Only Fans has disrupted Pornhub.

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Episode 347: India’s Massive Pensions Crisis

It might seem to be a subject that would interest only wonks and retirees, but “pensions can reshape an entire society.” Ajay Shah and Renuka Sane join Amit Varma in episode 347 of The Seen and the Unseen to explain why — and to take a deep dive into the crisis India is facing right now.

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Episode 346: The Seema Goswami Files

She’s been a journalist, an editor, a columnist, a novelist — someone who sees the world and writes it down. Seema Goswami joins Amit Varma in episode 346 of The Seen and the Unseen to talk about her life and times, and what they taught her.

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Episode 345: Economic Learnings of India for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Bihar

If Bihar was a country, it would be both one of the largest and one of the poorest in the world. How did we get here? What can we do? Mohit Satyanand and Kumar Anand join Amit Varma in episode 345 of The Seen and the Unseen to share their insights from a lifetime of study — and a road trip they took last year

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