The Seen and the Unseen

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

When Gandhi Was Mohandas

Mahatma Gandhi is one of the most fascinating characters in history: complex, misunderstood, deeply impactful. Ramachandra Guha, author of two acclaimed biographies of the man, joins Amit Varma in episode 104 of The Seen and the Unseen to discuss the first 45 years of Gandhi's life, before he returned to India to catalyse the Indian freedom struggle.

Read More

The Emergency and the Indian State

The Emergency of 1975 was not an aberration, but was written into the DNA of the Indian state. Historian Gyan Prakash joins Amit Varma in episode 103 of The Seen and the Unseen to shed light on why the framers of the constitution gave such draconian powers to the state -- and why we may not have become so free in 1947 after all.

Read More

The Paradox of Narendra Modi

Shashi Tharoor, author of The Paradoxical Prime Minister, joins Amit Varma in episode 102 of The Seen and the Unseen to talk about the many faces of Narendra Modi, as well as the nature of politics, the idea of India and his own journey as a politician.

Read More

The World is Getting Better

We tend to take progress for granted, and are wired to focus on bad news instead of good. Steven Pinker joins Amit Varma in episode 101 of The Seen and the Unseen to talk about why the world is getting better, and why Enlightenment values are essential for ensuring that the trend continues.

Read More

The 100th Episode Ramble

The Seen and the Unseen reaches 100 episodes! Yea! Economist Shruti Rajagopalan, the most frequent guest on the show, joins host Amit Varma as they shoot the breeze about the 99 episodes before this, the horrors of 2018, and the further horrors of 2019.

Read More

The Importance of Rules and Institutions

A democracy is not merely about voting. Those who are voted into power need to be kept in check, and Rules and Institutions are essential for this. Foreign policy analyst Ameya Naik joins Amit Varma in episode 99 of The Seen and the Unseen to elaborate -- and to explain the danger that Donald Trump poses.

Read More

The Deccan Before Shivaji

When people think of the Deccan, they think Shivaji vs Mughals. But the history of the Deccan is far richer than that -- and far racier. It's full of lust and laughter, murder and madness, sex and senselessness. Historian Manu S Pillai joins Amit Varma in episode 98 of The Seen and the Unseen to tell that fascinating story.

Read More

The Evolution of Cricket

In his three-decade career covering cricket, Harsha Bhogle has had an inside view on the transformation of the game. He joins Amit Varma in episode 97 of The Seen and the Unseen to talk about how cricket has changed – and why it gives him hope.

Read More

The Evolution of Everything

The world evolves in a bottom-up way, despite the top-down beliefs of those who have blind faith in either God or Government. Matt Ridley joins Amit Varma in episode 96 of The Seen and the Unseen to describe the evolution of the universe, life, culture, language, cities, the economy, our minds, our future and more.

Read More

The Indianness of Indian Food

What does it mean when we say that something is 'Indian'? Does origin matter? Food writer Vikram Doctor joins Amit Varma in episode 95 of The Seen and the Unseen to talk about how most of what we think of as Indian food originated elsewhere -- and why it doesn't matter.

Read More

Rajesh Jain’s Journey to Dhan Vapasi

Rajesh Jain was one of the architects of Narendra Modi's win in 2014 -- and then got buyer's remorse and turned against the BJP. Now, he has launched Dhan Vapasi, an insanely ambitious and innovative attempt at disrupting Indian politics. He joins Amit Varma in episode 94 of The Seen and the Unseen to explain where he's coming from. 

Read More

Uncle Sam in South Asia

For over 200 years, America has been interested in South Asia across three separate axes: power, ideology and culture. Historian Srinath Raghavan joins Amit Varma in episode 93 of The Seen and the Unseen to provide a guided tour of this fascinating history.

Read More

An Economist Looks at #MeToo

Will the #MeToo movement change behaviour by changing incentives? Economist Shruti Rajagopalan joins Amit Varma in episode 92 of The Seen and the Unseen to talk about Criminal Economics in the context of crimes on women in India.

Read More

The Rot That IL&FS Reveals

The crisis at IL&FS reveals just how rotten India's financial system is. Vivek Kaul and Ashutosh Datar join Amit Varma in episode 91 of The Seen and the Unseen to demystify the problem.

Read More

The Importance of #MeToo

#MeToo is the most important cultural moment of our lifetimes. Supriya Nair and Nikita Saxena join Amit Varma in episode 90 of The Seen and the Unseen to share their insights.

Read More

The Crisis in the Media

Are journalists redundant in a world where no one cares about facts any more? Are we to cater to people's imagined realities? And when money and power come together, how are Independent journalists to resist? Sidharth Bhatia of The Wire and Peter Griffin of The Hindu join Amit Varma in episode 89 of The Seen and the Unseen.

Read More

Metrics of Empowerment

The lives of women in India must be gradually getting better, right? How do we measure this? Devika Kher, Nidhi Gupta and Hamsini Hariharan join Amit Varma in episode 88 of The Seen and the Unseen to discuss a range of possible metrics.

Read More

Where Are the Jobs?

India has entered a massive jobs crisis, with more than a million people coming into the workforce every month -- and not enough jobs. Will our Demographic Dividend be a Demographic Disaster? Yazad Jal of the 20 Million Jobs project joins Amit Varma in episode 87 of The Seen and the Unseen to give insight on the scale of the problem.

Read More

The State of Our Farmers

India's agricultural crisis has been caused by the state. Farmer leader Gunvant Patil of the Shetkari Sanghatana joins Amit Varma in episode 86 of The Seen and the Unseen to explain the many ways in which Big Government has created our agricultural crisis.

Read More

DeMon, Morality and the Predatory Indian State

Episode 85 of The Seen and the Unseen is about Demonetisation -- and a lot else. First, host Amit Varma launches into an angry monologue about how economic benefits can never justify moral costs. Then he is joined by economist Shruti Rajagopalan, who elaborates on all the things wrong with DeMon. They discuss the predatory Indian state, how Indians are forced into jugaad to cope with it, and that...

Read More