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Ramachandra Guha

Ramachandra Guha

Society & Education

  • Topics: Education, History, Politics, Society
  • Languages: English
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Ramachandra Guha is an eminent Indian historian, and award-winning writer. His research interests have included ecology, sub-continental political thought, post-independence history of India, and cricket history. The New York Times has referred to him as “perhaps the best among India’s non-fiction writers”; Time Magazine has called him “Indian democracy’s preeminent chronicler”; and in 2008, Foreign Policy and Prospect magazines named him as “one of the world’s one hundred most influential intellectuals”.

Guha’s awards include the 2001 Leopold-Hidy Prize of the American Society of Environmental History for his essay "Prehistory of Community Forestry in India". "A Corner of a Foreign Field" was awarded the Daily Telegraph Cricket Society Book of the Year prize for 2002, and he won the R. K. Narayan Prize at the Chennai Book Fair in 2003. The Government of India awarded him the Padma Bhushan, India's third highest civilian award in 2009, and in 2011 he received the Sahitya Akademi Award for his book ‘India after Gandhi’.

Guha is now a full-time writer in Bangalore. Between 1985 and 2000, he taught at various universities in India, Europe and North America. These included the University of California, Berkeley, Yale University, Stanford University and Oslo University, where he was Arne Naess chair in 2008, and at the Indian Institute of Science, where he was Sundaraja Visiting Professor. He was also a fellow of Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin in Germany (1994–95). Guha was appointed the Philippe Roman Chair of International Affairs and History at the London School of Economics for 2011–12, succeeding Niall Ferguson.

Guha’s books include a pioneering environmental history, ‘The Unquiet Woods’ (1989); ‘Savaging the Civilized’ (1999), a life of the anthropologist-activist Verrier Elwin, which the Times Literary Supplement called the ‘best biography by an Indian for many years’, an award-winning social history of cricket, ‘A Corner of a Foreign Field’, and ‘India after Gandhi’ (2007), the award-winning history of India since independence, which has become the standard text on contemporary India. In October 2013 he published 'Gandhi Before India', the first volume of a two-part biography of Mahatma Gandhi, which describes life from his childhood to the two decades in South Africa.

Aside from his scholarly work, Guha writes regularly on social and political issues for the general public. Between 1997 and 2009 he wrote a fortnightly column for The Hindu, India’s national newspaper. He now writes columns in The Telegraph and the Hindustan Times, with these articles appearing in translation in other Indian newspapers. A regular contributor to various academic journals, Guha has written extensively for the magazine Outlook, where he masters over a classic genre of narrative non-fiction.

He is managing trustee of the New India Foundation, a nonprofit body that funds research on modern Indian history.


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