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.
Is there such a thing as Indian conservatism? What does it mean and where did it come from? Jaithirth Rao joins Amit Varma in episode 145 of The Seen and the Unseen to discuss his latest book.
The history of humanity is more than just the history of men. Historian Ira Mukhoty joins Amit Varma in episode 144 of The Seen and the Unseen to talk about going beyond the male gaze to write history. She also discusses Daughters of the Sun, her account of the rich and complex world of Mughal women.
The geopolitics of the West is reasonably well-understood — but China remains a mystery to many. What drives China? How does it look at India? China expert Manoj Kewalramani joins Amit Varma in episode 143 of The Seen and the Unseen to provide historical context and strategic perspective.
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.
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.
What exactly is wrong with Indian agriculture? How can we help our farmers? Barun Mitra and Kumar Anand join Amit Varma in episode 140 of The Seen and the Unseen to discuss the root causes and remedies of this decades-long problem.
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.
Times are bad — but pessimists can dream! Tired of only talking about problems, Shruti Rajagopalan, Rajeswari Sengupta and Vivek Kaul join Amit Varma in episode 138 of The Seen and the Unseen, to propose solutions! Three each. Many bad jokes and Bollywood songs are thrown in.
The India of 2019 is a different country from the India of 1989. Social commentator Santosh Desai joins Amit Varma in episode 137 of The Seen and the Unseen to discuss the many ways in which we have been transformed in this time — not always for the better.
Data journalism in India is fast coming of age, shedding light on our society and politics. Roshan Kishore joins Amit Varma in episode 136 of The Seen and the Unseen to speak about his profession (data journalism), his passion (political economy) and his dark, mysterious past as a student leader in JNU.