ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles By Ramachandra Guha

The Last Polymath

Benedict Anderson was among the most influential intellectuals of our times. His seminal book Imagined Communities has changed the way the world understands nationalism and the nation state. Its influence permeates across disciplines and beyond the academia. Yet, Imagined Communities was only one part, even if the most visible, of Anderson's intellectual travels and engagements. A personal account of Anderson--the scholar, the traveller and the raconteur.

Democracy and Violence in India and Beyond

India and Sri Lanka are the two Asian nations with a long, continuous history of regular, multiparty, elections. Interestingly, both countries have witnessed a long-standing insurgency, that of the Kashmiris in India and of the Tamils in Sri Lanka. In both countries, peace and stability in most of the nation have coexisted uneasily with struggle and strife along the borderlands. This paradox is at the heart of this essay, which uses the juxtaposition of democracy and violence in south Asia to complicate our understanding of political ideas which had their origins in (and are still frequently identified with) the west.

The Brilliance and Dogmatism of Hobsbawm

Eric Hobsbawm was a pioneer in introducing new methods and perspectives in the historian's craft and breaking the bounds of the discipline. His intellectual contributions to our understanding of the world, even in contexts far removed from what he studied and wrote about, are exceptional. However, his academic brilliance was scarred by his unquestioning loyalty to the Communist Party of Great Britain, which made him compromise academically when writing on the history of the 20th century. Yet, despite this fl aw, his intellectual achievements are staggering.