The Seen and the Unseen

Our weekly podcast, hosted by Pragati editor, Amit Varma. Out every Monday.

Budget. Bollywood. Badmaashi

Like cricket and cinema, the annual budget brought out by the central government has become a national obsession. Vivek Kaul. the Shah Rukh Khan of Economics, joins Amit Varma, the Govinda of Podcasting, in episode 129 of The Seen and the Unseen to demystify the budget. Much fun is had. Blockbuster guaranteed.

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India = Migration

India is a nation on the move, and migration is in our DNA. Economic historian Chinmay Tumbe joins Amit Varma in episode 128 of The Seen and the Unseen to present the rich history of migrations into, out of and within India.

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Our Colorful Past

Indian history is wild fun. Historian Manu Pillai joins Amit Varma in episode 127 of The Seen and the Unseen to regale him with stories from his latest book. The subjects discussed include caste, gender, narrative manipulation, mad elephants and men blown out of cannons.

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Building Sports Ecosystems

Can India ever be a sporting nation? What will it take to get there? Joy Bhattacharjya, who started up Kolkata Knight Riders, brought the u-17 Football World Cup to India and is CEO of the Pro Volleyball League, sure thinks so. He joins Amit Varma in episode 126 of The Seen and the Unseen to share his passion and vision for Indian sport.

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The Importance of Finance

People often talk of the world of Finance as a giant casino, where sociopathic bankers gamble with the livelihoods of real people. Economist Ajay Shah joins Amit Varma in episode 125 of The Seen and the Unseen to explain why this is a misconception, and why Finance is at the heart of our progress.

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India’s Supreme Court

As the recent sexual harassment case indicates, all is not well with the Supreme Court of India. Constitutional economist Shruti Rajagopalan joins Amit Varma in episode 123 of The Seen and the Unseen to explain why the Supreme Court has gone wrong on both ends of the tradeoff between Independence and Accountability.

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The 2019 Elections

Elections in India are madly complex, and defy simple explanations. Sadanand Dhume joins Amit Varma in episode 122 of The Seen and the Unseen to discuss the Age of Modi, and what these elections mean for India, the BJP and the Congress party.

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All Hail Public Choice Theory!

Governments consist of people, and people respond to incentives. For this reason, there is no better way to understand government than through the tools of economics. Episode 121 of The Seen and the Unseen is a rerun of an old episode of The Pragati Podcast, in which Amit Varma introduces Pavan Srinath to the mindblowing insights of Public Choice Theory.

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Resisting State Injustice

Conventional wisdom holds that there are three ways to respond to injustice by the state: we may leave, complain, or comply. Philosopher Jason Brennan joins Amit Varma in episode 120 of The Seen and the Unseen to argue that there is a fourth option: to resist. 

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Modi’s Lost Opportunity

Despite being a Congress spokesperson, economist Salman Soz was hopeful in 2014 that the Modi government would be good for India. As the title of his new book indicates, that turned out to be quite The Great Disappointment. Soz joins Amit Varma in episode 119 of The Seen and the Unseen to elaborate on the many economic failures of the Modi government. He also tackles tough questions on the...

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Zombie Firms and Creative Destruction

The Indian economy has the seeds of a horror film, with zombies stalking the landscape. Air India is one. Jet could have been another had it been rescued. Economist Ajay Shah joins Amit Varma in episode 118 of The Seen and the Unseen to explain the importance of creative destruction, and why failing firms should be allowed to die. Also discussed: price controls and market failure.

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What is Libertarianism?

“In a sense there have always been but two political philosophies: liberty and power.” David Boaz. author of The Libertarian Mind, joins Amit Varma in episode 117 of The Seen and the Unseen to explain what libertarian thinking stands for, and to bust some of the misconceptions around it.

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India’s Lost Decade

In 2008, India was growing at 8.8% and was described as a miracle economy. It all went downhill in the next 10 years. Puja Mehra, author of The Lost Decade, joins Amit Varma in episode 116 of The Seen and the Unseen to describe the random events, political imperatives and human dramas that collided to bring us to the brink of a crisis.

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The Intellectual Foundations of Hindutva

The ideology of Hindutva dominates our political and cultural landscape today. How did it begin, and what is it precisely? Aakar Patel, author of the forthcoming book 'Our Hindu Rashtra', joins Amit Varma in episode 115 of The Seen and the Unseen to shed light on three important Hindutva thinkers.

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Crime in Indian Politics

Why is crime ubiquitous in Indian politics? Why is your neta also a dada? Political scientist Milan Vaishnav joins Amit Varma in episode 114 of The Seen and the Unseen to speak about the incentives in play that have brought us to this place.

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The Geopolitics of the Bangladesh War

The formation of Bangladesh was neither inevitable nor a bilateral matter between India and Pakistan. Historian Srinath Raghavan joins Amit Varma in episode 113 of The Seen and the Unseen to describe the geopolitical forces that shaped those events of 1971.

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The Story of Our Ancestors

Who were the first Indians? Where did the Harappans go? Who were the Aryans? Whose descendants are we? Tony Joseph joins Amit Varma in episode 112 of The Seen and the Unseen to describe how massive scientific advances in the last few years have given us answers to these questions.

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Understanding the India-Pakistan Conflict

What are the hidden dynamics of the India-Pakistan conflict? What are the possible ways of resolving it? Historian and foreign policy analyst Srinath Raghavan joins Amit Varma in episode 111 of The Seen and the Unseen to discuss the game theory and geopolitics of this messy situation.

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Reporting Venezuela

Venezuela is a country blessed by nature but cursed by politics. Journalist Alexandra Ulmer joins Amit Varma in episode 110 of The Seen and the Unseen to share her insights from her years as a reporter there.

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