The Seen and the Unseen

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

Plato (or Why Philosophy Matters)

Should we care about philosophy in these modern times? Philosopher Rebecca Goldstein joins Amit Varma in episode 109 of The Seen and the Unseen to argue that we should -- and Plato's Dialogues illustrate why.

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The Importance of Cities

India is rapidly urbanizing – and the Indian state seems to be in denial about it. Reuben Abraham and Pritika Hingorani join Amit Varma in episode 108 of The Seen and the Unseen to discuss what India needs to do to prepare for its urban future.

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An Economics Ramble

Host Amit Varma is joined by Vivek Kaul and Kumar Anand in episode 107 of The Seen and the Unseen to talk about the economic landscape of the day. Subjects discussed include the interim budget, the minimum income guarantee, the jobs crisis and how good politics leads to bad economics.

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The Stubborn Attachments We Must Have

In his latest book, Stubborn Attachments, Tyler Cower lays out a moral vision for the future. He joins Amit Varma in episode 106 of The Seen and the Unseen to explain why future lives matter as much as present ones, and why our priorities should be centered around sustainable economic growth constrained by negative rights.

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Being Mahatma

In the second of a two-part series, historian Ramachandra Guha joins Amit Varma in episode 105 of The Seen and the Unseen to talk about Mohandas Gandhi's transformation into Mahatma Gandhi -- and how that changed the world. Among the subjects discussed: caste, misogyny and Gandhi's personal obsessions.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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