The Seen and the Unseen

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

Why We Must Intervene in Maldives

There is turmoil in the Maldives, as a tyrant unfriendly to India cozies up to China. Do we need to intervene? Foreign policy expert Pranay Kotasthane joins Amit Varma to give his point of view in episode 57 of The Seen and the Unseen.

Read More

The Age of Easy Money

The turbulence in the world economy today is enabled by the same phenomenon that caused the 2008 financial crisis, and was perversely also a response to that crisis: Easy Money. Vivek Kaul, author of the 'Easy Money' trilogy, joins Amit Varma in episode 56 of The Seen and the Unseen to explain the damage irresponsible governments can do to the economy.

Read More

Defending the Indefensible

It is important to always question received wisdom. In episode 55 of The Seen and the Unseen, libertarian thinker Yazad Jal joins Amit Varma to challenge the commonly held view on five subjects. Listen in and see if you agree with him.

Read More

Another Failed Ritual

The Budget presented by the government of India is an annual ritual that millions of people tune in to. What was the 2018 budget like? Pavan Srinath and Pranay Kotasthane, staff writers of Pragati, join Amit Varma to offer their quick analysis, and to supplement the budget coverage at Pragati.

Read More

A Deep Dive Into Pakodanomics

Narendra Modi famously invoked a pakoda seller last week when he spoke about job creation in India. How apt is that invocation? Columnist Vivek Kaul, who coined the term ‘Pakodanomics’, and economist Shruti Rajagopalan join Amit Varma in episode 53 of The Seen and the Unseen to discuss the prime minister, the pakoda seller and India’s job problem.

Read More

How We Messed Up Our Caste Problem

Modern India's greatest shame is that even after 70 years of Independence, we still haven't solved the problem of caste. Shruti Rajagopalan joins Amit Varma in episode 52 of the Seen and the Unseen to shed light on some of the ways in which we have messed up at an institutional level.

Read More

Why Alpha Zero is Such a Big Deal

The chess program Alpha Zero made waves recently when it taught itself chess in four hours -- and then thrashed the strongest chess engine in the world, Stockfish. This illustrated a dramatic advance in Artificial Intelligence. Devangshu Datta joins host Amit Varma in episode 51 of The Seen and the Unseen to talk about its impact for both chess and AI.

Read More

The State of Indian Politics

Indian politics is complex to the point of being almost unfathomable. JP Narayan, that rare public intellectual who also embraced electoral politics, joins Amit Varma in episode 50 of The Seen and the Unseen to share his learnings.

Read More

The Problem With Our Political Discourse

Social media has enabled everyone to have a voice -- but no one listens any more. In episode 49 of The Seen and the Unseen, Amit Varma examines why our political discourse is so polarised. One particular bugbear of his is the tendency to shift the focus from the argument to the person, and he outlines a few different ways in which people personalise arguments.

Read More

The Patron Saint of Lost Causes

For almost two decades, V Ravichandar has been "a civic evangelist and a patron saint of lost causes" fighting to reform local government in our cities. He joins Amit Varma in episode 48 of The Seen and the Unseen to talk about the lessons he has learnt, and what keeps him going.

Read More

Poker and Stock Markets

Poker and stock markets are very similar -- and both holds lessons for life. Ace investor Mohit Satyanand joins former poker pro Amit Varma in episode 47 of The Seen and the Unseen to discuss how both disciplines reveal the flawed machinery of the human brain.

Read More

The State of the Media

We live in times when media is fragmented and there is no consensus on the truth any more. Journalism has become a race to give people what they want to believe. What are we to do? Prem Panicker joins Amit Varma in episode 46 of The Seen and the Unseen to discuss the State of the Media.

Read More

The BJP’s Magic Formula

Over the last few years, the BJP has built the most formidable election machine in human history. Prashant Jha, author of the book 'How the BJP wins', joins Amit Varma in episode 45 of The Seen and the Unseen to break down the elements behind their success.

Read More

There’s Something in the Air of Delhi Tonight

It is well known that the key cause of Delhi's smog is the 'stubble' burnt every year by Punjab's farmers. Vivek Kaul joins Amit Varma in episode 44 of The Seen and the Unseen to discuss the bad incentives in play, how government sops might have caused this problem, and what can be done about it.

Read More

Stumbling Through Parenthood

Natasha Badhwar, the author of a celebrated parenting column, recently released her moving book, My Daughter's Mum. In episode 43 of The Seen and the Unseen, she joins Amit Varma to discuss the process of parenting, writing about it, and the Seen and Unseen Effects of Parenthood.

Read More

The Biases That Drive Us

To celebrate Richard Thaler's Nobel Prize, behavioural econ geek Nidhi Gupta joins Amit Varma in episode 42 of The Seen and the Unseen to discuss key concepts from the field -- all of which explain many of the Unseen Effects of our actions, and the way we're wired.

Read More

How Money Changed Cricket

Cricket has been transformed in the last four decades, first because of Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket, and then recently by the IPL. Noted cricket writers Gideon Haigh and Prem Panicker join Amit Varma in episode 41 of The Seen and the Unseen to discuss the enormous impact of this commercialisation.

Read More

The State of the Economy

Many of the things wrong with India's economy today are Unseen Effects of Demonetisation and the botched design of GST. Vivek Kaul join joins Amit Varma in episode 40 of The Seen and the Unseen to take stock.

Read More

The Nation That Eats at Home

Why don't Indians eat out as much as people in other countries do? Karthik Shashidhar joins Amit Varma in episode 39 of The Seen and the Unseen to explain how we landed up in an equilibrium in which our restaurants prefer 'tasty' to 'healthy'.

Read More