Episode 160: Participatory Democracy

In India, we have government of the people and for the people, but not by the people. How can we fix this? Polymath thinker Ashwin Mahesh joins Amit Varma in episode 160 of The Seen and the Unseen to chat about participatory democracy, India Against Corruption, the Aam Aadmi Party and what makes a Good Indian.

Joint production with IVM Podcasts

Episode 158: Radically Networked Societies

From the Arab Spring to Shaheen Bagh, radically networked societies are rising up to express themselves. What do they have in common? How will a hierarchical state deal with a networked society? Pranay Kotasthane shares his insights with Amit Varma in episode 158 of The Seen and the Unseen.

Read show notesEpisode 158: Radically Networked Societies

Episode 157: Taking Stock of Our Republic

India has endured — but as we celebrate another Republic Day, we must remember that we cannot take this for granted. Historian Ramachandra Guha joins Amit Varma in episode 157 of The Seen and the Unseen to examine some of the currents of history that brought us here, and are still in flux.

Read show notesEpisode 157: Taking Stock of Our Republic

Episode 156: Kerala and the Ivory Throne

Kerala has a madly interesting history. It was a hub of globalisation centuries ago, an exemplar of tolerance. Almost in contrast, it took casteism to an extreme. It also had a matrilineal system, a tradition of empowered women, and some badass queens. Historian Manu Pillai joins Amit Varma in episode 156 of The Seen and the Unseen to discuss all this and more.

Read show notesEpisode 156: Kerala and the Ivory Throne

Episode 155: Films, Feminism, Paromita

Immense changes have swept through our lives in the last three decades. Filmmaker and writer Paromita Vohra joins Amit Varma in episode 155 of The Seen and the Unseen, and turns her unique gaze both inwards and outwards.

Read show notesEpisode 155: Films, Feminism, Paromita

Episode 154: The Art and Science of Economic Policy

Economic policy affects each of us — and yet, India has gotten it wrong for decades. In their groundbreaking new book, Vijay Kelkar and Ajay Shah write not just how to do policy, but how to think about policy. They join Amit Varma in episode 154 of The Seen and the Unseen to share their learnings, first principles onwards.

Read show notesEpisode 154: The Art and Science of Economic Policy

Episode 147: Jahangir the Curious

Jahangir is often considered a lightweight Mughal emperor, an ineffectual drunkard sandwiched between his father and his son, Akbar and Shah Jahan. But this is an unfair view. Parvati Sharma joins Amit Varma in episode 147 of The Seen and the Unseen to shed light on not just Jahangir as an emperor, but on his human side, endearing and infuriating in equal measure.

Read show notesEpisode 147: Jahangir the Curious

Episode 146: India’s Sedition Law

Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code is an archaic law and needs to go. But what is the historical background of our sedition law? What are the political and social contexts in which it evolved and thrived? Chitranshul Sinha joins Amit Varma in episode 146 of The Seen and the Unseen to discuss his book on the subject, The Great Repression.

Read show notesEpisode 146: India’s Sedition Law

Episode 142: Ponzi Schemes

We are surrounded by frauds, and are dying to believe them. Vivek Kaul joins Amit Varma in episode 142 of The Seen and the Unseen to discuss ponzi schemes, both in India and outside, both by private actors and the government. Also discussed: chit funds and kitty parties, and why we are wired to be deceived.

Read show notesEpisode 142: Ponzi Schemes

Episode 141: Being Gay, Loving Books

Vivek Tejuja, known for his writing on books, has just released his memoir of growing up gay in India. He joins Amit Varma in episode 141 of The Seen and the Unseen to discuss how he — and those around him — came to terms with his sexuality. In the second half of the episode, Vivek and Amit discuss writers they like, and read out their favourite poetry.

Read show notesEpisode 141: Being Gay, Loving Books