Guha in 2010
29 April 1958 |
Dehra Dun, Uttar Pradesh (now in Uttarakhand)
|Alma mater||The Doon School
University of Delhi
|Employer||London School of Economics and Political Science|
|Notable work(s)||India after Gandhi|
Ramachandra Guha (born 29 April 1958 in Dehra Dun) is an Indian historian and writer whose research interests include environmental, social, political and cricket history. He is also a columnist for The Telegraph and Hindustan Times. A regular contributor to various academic journals, Guha has also written for The Caravan and Outlook magazines. For the year 2011–2012, he held a visiting position at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), the Philippe Roman Chair in History and International Affairs. His newest book is Gandhi Before India (2013), the first part of a planned two-volume biography of M. K. Gandhi. His large body of work, covering a wide range of fields and yielding a number of rational insights has made him a significant figure in Indian historical studies, and Guha is valued as one of the major historians of the late twentieth and early twenty first centuries.
Early life and education
Guha was born on 29 April 1958 at Dehra Dun, Uttarakhand, where his father Ram Das Guha was a director at the Forest Research Institute. He is a Tamilian Brahmin who was brought up in Uttarakhand. Ramachandra Guha studied at The Doon School where he was an editor of The Doon School Weekly. He graduated from St. Stephen's College, Delhi with a BA in economics in 1977 and completed a Master's from the Delhi School of Economics. He then enrolled at the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, where he did a fellowship programme (equivalent to a PhD) on the social history of forestry in Uttarakhand, focusing on the Chipko movement. It was later published as The Unquiet Woods.
Between 1985 and 2000, he taught at various universities in India, Europe and North America, including the University of California, Berkeley, Yale University, Stanford University and at Oslo University (Arne Naess chair, 2008), and later at the Indian Institute of Science. During this period, he was also a fellow of Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin in Germany (1994–95).
Guha then moved to Bangalore, and began writing full time. He served as Sundaraja Visiting Professor in the Humanities at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, in 2003. He is managing trustee of the New India Foundation, a nonprofit body that funds research on modern Indian history.
He is the author of India after Gandhi, published by Macmillan and Ecco in 2007. This book has been translated into Hindi in two volume namely Bharat:Gandhi Ke Baad" and "Bharat: Nehru Ke Baad" and published by Penguin.
In 2000, Guha penned an essay critiquing an article written by writer and activist Arundhati Roy opposing the Narmada Dam. Roy espoused the cause of the Narmada Bachao Andolan, a cause Guha is also a supporter of. However, he questioned her expertise in the relevant field and argued that her activities and writings undermined rather than helped the cause. Roy responded in an interview, saying that Guha was a cricket historian who had missed the boat.
In October 2013 he published Gandhi Before India, the first part of a planned two-volume biography of Mahatma Gandhi which describes life from his childhood to the two decades in South Africa.
Awards and recognition
- His essay, "Prehistory of Community Forestry in India", was awarded the Leopold-Hidy Prize of the American Society for Environmental History for 2001.
- "A Corner of a Foreign Field" was awarded the Daily Telegraph Cricket Society Book of the Year prize for 2002.
- He won the R. K. Narayan Prize at the Chennai Book Fair in 2003.
- The US magazine Foreign Policy named him as one of the top 100 public intellectuals in the world in May 2008. In the poll that followed, Guha was placed 44th.
- Padma Bhushan for 2009, India's third highest civilian award.
- 2011 Sahitya Akademi Award for India after Gandhi.
- In 2014, Guha was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humanities by Yale University
- The Unquiet Woods: Ecological Change and Peasant Resistance in the Himalaya (University of California Press, Berkeley; Oxford University Press (OUP)) (1989)
- This Fissured Land: An Ecological History of India (OUP) (with Madhav Gadgil, 1992)
- Wickets in the East (OUP) (1992)
- Social Ecology (OUP) (Editor, with T.N. Madan, 1994)
- Spin and Other Turns (Penguin) (1994)
- An Indian Cricket Omnibus (OUP) (Editor, with T.G. Vaidyanathan, 1994)
- Ecology and Equity (with Madhav Gadgil, 1995) (Penguin)
- Varieties of Environmentalism: Essays North and South (with Joan Martinez-Alier, 1997)
- Savaging the Civilized: Verrier Elwin, his tribals and India (University of Chicago Press; OUP) (1999)
- An Anthropologist Among the Marxists, and other essays (Permanent Black) (2000)
- Environmentalism: A global history (OUP) (2000)
- The Picador Book of Cricket (Picador) (Editor, 2001)
- A Corner of a Foreign Field: An Indian history of a British sport (Picador) (2001)
- An Indian cricket century (Editor, works of Sujit Mukherjee, 2002)
- The Last Liberal and Other Essays (Permanent Black, 2004)
- The States of Indian Cricket (Permanent Black) (2005)
- How Much Should a Person Consume?: Thinking Through the Environment (University of California, Berkeley Press; Permanent Black) (2006)
- India after Gandhi: The history of the world's largest democracy (Ecco) (2007)
- Makers of Modern India (Viking/Penguin) (Editor, 2010)
- Institutions and Inequalities: Essays in Honour of Andre Beteille (with Jonathan P. Parry)
- Nature's Spokesman: M. Krishnan and Indian Wildlife (editor, works of M. Krishnan)
- Nature, Culture, Imperialism: Essays on the Environmental History of South Asia (with David Arnold)
- Patriots & Partisans (Penguin) (2012)
- Gandhi Before India (Penguin) (2013)
- India Together – article by Ramachandra Guha
- "Dr. Ramachandra Guha". London School of Economics and Political Science. 2011. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
- Doon School product Seth to turn 60 today
- 'History of the Weekly' published by The Doon School (2009) p.36
- Roy, Arundhati. "The Greater Common Good". Retrieved 18 September 2006.
- Guha, Ramachandra (26 November 2000). "The Arun Shourie of the left". The Hindu (Chennai). Retrieved 18 September 2006.
- Ram, Narasimhan. "Scimitars in the Sun". Frontline. Retrieved 18 September 2006.
- Peer, Basharat (21 October 2013). "A Conversation With: Historian Ramachandra Guha". The New York Times.
- Business Standard: Lunch with Ramachandra Guha
- Foreign Policy: Top 100 Intellectuals
- "Padma Bhushan for Shekhar Gupta, Abhinav Bindra". Retrieved 26 January 2009.
- "POETS DOMINATE SAHITYA AKADEMI AWARDS 2011" (Press release). Sahitya Akademi. 21 December 2011. Retrieved 21 December 2011.
- "Guha wins it for narrative history". Chennai, India: The Hindu. 21 December 2011.
- "Yale Awards 12 Honorary Degrees at 2014 Graduation". New Haven, Connecticut: YaleNews. 19 May 2014.