The Literary City

The Literary Life Of Ramachandra Guha

February 21, 2024 Explocity Podcasts Season 4 Episode 73
The Literary City
The Literary Life Of Ramachandra Guha
Show Notes Chapter Markers

My guest today is a titan of Indian history, Ramachandra Guha.

He is known for his monumental works on Gandhi and Indian history, but today we're taking a detour into the realm of literature.

We'll be diving into his latest book, "The Cooking Of Books," a slice-of-life memoir that offers a poignant glimpse into his relationship with his first editor, Rukun Advani. It also offers us a look into Ram's literary side and the bonds that have shaped his writing journey.

My first encounter with Ram Guha’s writing—and I have probably read every book he has written, other than his books on cricket—was what could have been the start of his own intellectual odyssey, "Savaging the Civilized". I was carrying a freshly purchased copy of it into our favourite cafe in Bangalore, Koshy’s, and Ram jabbed approvingly at it.

That book captures him, beyond his geographical roots and into a profound intellectual depth—a passion for colonial critiques, insightful biographies, and an unwavering commitment to social justice.

It is refreshing not to have to interview Ram Guha about Gandhi, or any other history, sociology or politics but rather about his prodigious output— in books, columns in newspapers and publications—and what must constitute a lifetime of learning.
And it begs the question: what drives him as a historian? Is it the solitary pursuit of knowledge, the quiet contemplation he once described as "staring out of the window with a blank piece of paper in front of him"?

This ethic is wonderfully captured in his latest book, "The Cooking Of Books". The title hints at the profound collaboration in editing a manuscript, a process he celebrates through his long-standing association with Rukun Advani.

And now to the conversation.

ABOUT RAMACHANDRA GUHA
Ramachandra Guha is a distinguished historian and author of several acclaimed books, including "India After Gandhi" and "The Unquiet Woods." He has received numerous awards, including the Leopold-Hidy Prize and the Fukuoka Prize for contributions to Asian culture. Currently a Distinguished University Professor at Krea University, Guha's intellectual breadth spans environmental history, biographies, and socio-political commentary.

Buy The Cooking of Books: A Literary Memoir here: https://amzn.to/42N3afA

WHAT'S THAT WORD?!
Co-host Pranati "Pea" Madhav joins Ramjee Chandran in the fun etymology segment, "WHAT'S THAT WORD?!" where they discuss the word “HISTORY”.

CONTACT US
Reach us by mail: theliterarycity@explocity.com or simply, tlc@explocity..com
Or here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/theliterarycity
Or here: https://www.instagram.com/explocityblr/

WHAT'S THAT WORD?!