Episode 232: Understanding India Through Its Languages

The problem with the past is that it’s over. How can we enter distant history and understand what happened? Language is one way. Peggy Mohan joins Amit Varma in episode 232 of The Seen and the Unseen to share her insights on what the evolution of our languages reveals about how we got here.

Also check out:
1. Wanderers, Kings, Merchants: The Story of India through Its Languages — Peggy Mohan.
2. Peggy Mohan’s books on Amazon.
3. Amit Varma’s Twitter thread on episodes of The Seen and the Unseen about India.
4. Early Indians — Episode 112 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Tony Joseph).
5. India = Migration — Episode 128 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Chinmay Tumbe).
6. The Art of Translation — Episode 168 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Arunava Sinha).
7. The Indianness of Indian Food — Episode 95 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Vikram Doctor).
8. One Hundred Years of Solitude (Spanish) (English) — Gabriel García Márquez.
9. Songs of Kabir — Translated by Arvind Krishna Mehrotra.
10. Essential Kabir — Translated by Arvind Krishna Mehrotra.
11. I, Lalla: The Poems of Lal Dĕd — Translated by Ranjit Hoskote.
12. On Language — Noam Chomsky.
13. The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language — Steven Pinker.
14. The Baburnama: Memoirs of Babur, Prince and Emperor — Translated by WM Thackston Jr.
15. Guns, Germs and Steel: Jared Diamond.
16. Punctuated equilibria: an alternative to phyletic gradualism — Niles Eldredge & Steven Jay Gould. (Also, criticism of it.)
17. Genesis of Ṛgvedic Retroflexion — Madhav Deshpande.
18. Linguistics, Style and Writing in the 21st Century — A talk by Steven Pinker.
19. Hindi Nationalism — Alok Rai.
20. A House Divided: Origin and Development of Hindi/Hindavi — Amrit Rai.
21. Hindustani Musalmaan – Hussain Haidry.
22. Hum Kagaz Nahin Dikhayenge — Varun Grover.
23. The Emperor of All Maladies — Siddhartha Mukherjee.
24. The Song of the Dodo — David Quammen.
25. The Tangled Tree — David Quammen.
26. Spillover — David Quammen.
27. Romila Thapar and Irfan Habib on Amazon.

This episode is sponsored by Wondrium. Check out their series, The Story of Human Language. For free unlimited access for 14 days, click here.

Please subscribe to The India Uncut Newsletter. It’s free!

And check out Amit’s online course, The Art of Clear Writing.