Episode 167: India’s Greatest Civil Servant

In 1906, a 13-year-old boy burnt down his school in a village in Kerala and ran away from home to work in the gold mines of Kolar. Decades later, he put this country together. Narayani Basu joins Amit Varma in episode 167 of The Seen and the Unseen to talk about the extraordinary life of VP Menon.

Joint production with IVM Podcasts

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.

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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.

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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.

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Episode 139: The Gita Press and Hindu Nationalism

The recent victories of political Hindutva were enabled by a century-long cultural movement spearheaded by a publishing house based in Gorakhpur. Akshaya Mukul, author of Gita Press and the Making of Hindu India, joins Amit Varma in episode 139 of The Seen and the Unseen. Themes discussed include the relationship between society and the state, Marwari history, cow, temple, gender, caste, Muslims, Communism, and the spontaneous combustion of virtuous Hindu women.

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Episode 132: Women at Work

There is a crisis in India today. There are not enough women taking up paying jobs — and their unpaid labour at home continues to be taken for granted. Journalist Namita Bhandare joins Amit Varma in episode 132 of The Seen and the Unseen to talk about the state of women in India today.

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Episode 130: Demystifying GDP

In recent times, the GDP has become less of an economic measure and more of a political tool. Economist Rajeswari Sengupta joins Amit Varma in episode 130 of The Seen and the Unseen to explain what the GDP is, what it is good for, what it is not good for and what the fuss over this figure in India is all about. This episode has immeasurable value.

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