Foreign Policy is a Big Deal

So much of the lives of common people depends on the relationships between nations. But is foreign policy an arcane subject, meant only for wonks and elites? No! Pranay Kotasthane and Manoj Kewalramani join Amit Varma in episode 170 of The Seen and the Unseen to demystify international relations.

Taking Stock of Covid-19

How should India handle Covid-19? Every option on the table carries huge costs, and will take countless lives. Shruti Rajagopalan joins Amit Varma in episode 169 of The Seen and the Unseen to help navigate the complex decisions that policy makers are being forced to make with little information.

The Art of Translation

There are over 6000 languages in the world. How can we possibly understand one another? Arunava Sinha joins Amit Varma in episode 168 of The Seen and the Unseen to explain the importance of translation, and literature itself, in these divisive times.

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.

Nanak Was Here

The man known as Guru Nanak was one of the great travellers of his time, passing through lands that are today spread across nine countries. Amardeep Singh joins Amit Varma in episode 166 of The Seen and the Unseen to talk about how he retraced Nanak’s path — and also about his efforts at documenting the Sikh heritage of Pakistan.

Genetic Engineering

Humans are the only bots with the ability to reprogram themselves. Shambhavi Naik joins Amit Varma in episode 165 of The Seen and the Unseen to discuss the science, ethics, politics and policy implications of genetic engineering.

The Ideas of Our Constitution

Contrary to popular belief, the Indian constitution was not a copy-paste job without a vision. It emerged from decades of intellectual ferment. Madhav Khosla joins Amit Varma in episode 164 of The Seen and the Unseen to describe the history of the key ideas that drove our founders and shaped our constitution.

Who Broke Our Republic?

Seven decades after Independence, India is still wracked by poverty and strife. Who is responsible? Kapil Komireddi joins Amit Varma in episode 163 of The Seen and the Unseen to excoriate every political player of Independent India. No prisoners taken.

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.

The Theatre of the Budget

Budgets matter more than they should — and the process of making them matters more than their contents. Ajay Shah and Vivek Kaul join Amit Varma in episode 159 of The Seen and the Unseen to discuss both journey & destination, strategy & tactics.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The Citizenship Battles

Why is India burning over the Citizenship Amendment Bill? Why does the NRC matter? What is happening in Assam? Srinath Raghavan joins Amit Varma in episode 152 of The Seen and the Unseen to give historical perspective on our current ferments.

Maharashtra Politics Unscrambled

Politics in Maharashtra is deeply complicated. Its themes and fault lines have been formed over decades. Veteran journalist and author Sujata Anandan joins Amit Varma in episode 151 of The Seen and the Unseen to unravel some of the mysteries behind its fascinating dramas.