Born In: 1958, Dehradun
Career: Historian, Writer and Columnist
Ramachandra Guha is a prominent Indian writer who has written on different topics such as social, political, historical, and environmental, also on the history of cricket. Besides this, he is a well-known columnist who writes for The Telegraph, The Hindu and The Hindustan Times and is also an Indian historian. His books and essays have been translated in around twenty different languages. He has been described as the best among Indian non-fiction writers by the New York Times and 'Indian Democracy's Pre-eminent Chronicler' by the Time Magazine. Mr. Guha received the inspiration for writing from various Indian and foreign writers including the essayists George Orwell and H. L. Mencken, the historians Marc Bloch and E. P. Thompson and the nature writer M. Krishnan. According to him, universities that promote advanced research and teaching all together in the field of sciences, social sciences, humanities and in professional studies such as medicine and law help in creating a nation with flourishing intellectuals.
Ramachandra Guha was born in Dehradun, in 1958. Ramachandra Guha is the grandson of Mysore's S. Ramaswamy Iyer, the first Advocate-General of Mysore. He completed his primary education at The Doon School, Dehradun. He pursued his graduation in Economics at the St. Stephen's College, New Delhi, in 1977 and Masters from the Delhi School of Economics. Later on, he practiced a fellowship on the social history of forestry of Uttaranchal from the ndian Institute of Management, Kolkata, which laid emphasis on the Chipko Movement. He got married to Sujata Keshavan, a graphic designer. The couple have two children named Keshava and Iravati.
In the time span of 1985-2000, Ramachandra Guha delivered lectures at several universities such as University of California, Berkeley, Yale University, Stanford University and Oslo University, afterwards at the Indian Institute of Science. From 1994-95, he was a researcher at Wissenschaftskollegzu Berlin in Germany. He later on shifted to Bangalore and devoted himself to writing. It was in 2000, when he wrote an essay criticizing an article of Arundhati Roy, opposing the Narmada Dam.. In 2007, he penned the book 'India after Gandhi: The History of the World's Largest Democracy'. It was published by Macmillan and Ecco. In 2009, he united with various famous historians for signing a petition criticizing the working of the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (NMML), Delhi which is very significant. He wrote the biography of Verrier Elwin, who was a famous anthropologist, ethnologist and a tribal activist. It was by going through the works of Verrier Elwin, that Ramachandra Guha moved to Sociology from Economics. He was very impressed by Elwin's ethnographies of people living in the forest of Central India and thus decided to write his biography. Ramachandra Guha is a management trustee of the New India Foundation, a nonprofit organization that sponsors researches on modern Indian history.
Awards and Accolades
In 2001, Guha's essay on the 'Prehistory of Community Forestry in India' received the Leopold-Hidy Prize of the American Society for Environmental History. In 2002, his book 'A Corner of a Foreign Field' won the Daily Telegraph Cricket Society Book of the Year prize. He also received the Malcolm Adiseshiah Award for excellence in social science research, the Ramnath Goenka Prize for excellence in Journalism and Mac Arthur Research and Writing Award. In 2003, Ramachandra Guha was honored with the R. K. Narayan Prize at the Chennai Book Fair. 'India after Gandhi : The History of the World's Largest Democracy' (2007) was selected as a book of the year by the Economist, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the San Francisco Chronicle, Time Out and Outlook and along with this, as a book of an era in the Times of India, the Times of London, and The Hindu. In May 2008, he was entitled as one of the top 100 public intellectuals in the world by the Prospect and Foreign Policy magazines. It was in 2009, when Mr. Guha was honored with the Padma Bhushan.
Ramachandra Guha has contributed a lot by writing on environment, history and other aspects such as cricket, social and political conditions of the country. He has written a lot on India's democracy, Indian society and also about the past and present of India in his books and essays.
1958: Born in Dehradun.
1977: Completed his graduation from St. Stephens College, New Delhi.
1985-2000: Worked as a professor in several universities of California, Oslo, Berkley, Stanford and then in Indian Institute of Science.
1994-95: Researcher at Wissenschaftskollegzu, Berlin in Germany.
2000: Wrote an essay criticizing an article of Arundhati Roy.
2001: Essay on the 'Prehistory of Community Forestry in India' received the Leopold-Hidy Prize of the American Society for Environmental History.
2002: 'A Corner of a Foreign Field' won the Daily Telegraph Cricket Society Book of the Year prize.
2003: Worked as a Visiting Lecturer of Humanities at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.
2007: Wrote the book 'India after Gandhi: The History of the World's Largest Democracy' and was honored with the R. K. Narayan Prize at the Chennai Book Fair.
2008: Entitled as one of the top 100 public intellectuals in the world by the Prospect and Foreign Policy magazine.
2009: Honored with the Padma Bhushan.