Distinguished Global Fellow

Ramachandra Guha

Ramachandra Guha is a historian and biographer based in Bangalore. Now a full-time writer, he has previously taught at the universities of Yale and Stanford, held the Arné Naess Chair at the University of Oslo, and been the Indo-American Community Visiting Professor at the University of California at Berkeley. In the academic year 2011-2 he will be the Philippe Roman Professor in History and International Relations at the London School of Economics.

Ramachandra Guha’s books include a pioneering environmental history, The Unquiet Woods (University of California Press), and an award-winning social history of cricket, A Corner of a Foreign Field (Picador). Guha’s books and essays have been translated into more than twenty languages. His awards include the Leopold-Hidy Prize of the American Society of Environmental History, the Daily Telegraph/Cricket Society prize, the Malcolm Adideshiah Award  for excellence in social science research, and the R. K. Narayan Prize. The New York Times has referred to him as ‘perhaps the best among India’s non fiction writers’; Time Magazine has called him ‘Indian democracy’s preeminent chronicler’. 

In 2007, Ramachandra Guha’s India after Gandhi: The History of the World’s Largest Democracy was published by Picador in India, Macmillan in the U. K., and Ecco Press in the U. S. A. The Financial Times hailed that book as ‘a magisterial work… a sweeping and compendious book by one of India’s foremost writers’. The Independent  called India after Gandhi a ‘brilliant and beautifully balanced book’. Writing in the Spectator, the eminent biographer and historian Philip Ziegler said that the book was ‘as comprehensive, balanced and elegantly crafted as any reasonable reader could expect’. In the Washington Post, the foreign policy specialist George Percovich noted that ‘the Indian story rarely has been told and is practically unknown in America’. Then he added: ‘India after Gandhi masterfully fills the void. India needs a wise and judicious narrator to convey its scale, diversity and chaos—to describe the whirlwind without getting lost in it. It needs a biographer neither besotted by love or enraged by disappointment. Ramachandra Guha… has given democratic India the rich, well-paced history it deserves’. 

India after Gandhi was a finalist for the Mark Lytton History Prize and the Kiriyama Prize. It won the Ramnath Goenka Award for the best work of non-fiction published in India in 2007-8. It was chosen as a Book of the Year by the Economist, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the San Francisco Chronicle, Time Out, and Outlook. It was also chosen as a Book of the Decade by the Times of India and The Times.

Ramachandra Guha’s most recent book is book is Makers of Modern India, an anthology of political thought co-published by Penguin India and Harvard University Press.  Guha is now working on a major two volume biography of Mohandas K. Gandhi.

 In May 2008, Prospect and Foreign Policy magazines nominated Ramachandra Guha as one of the world’s one hundred most influential intellectuals. In January 2009, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan, the Republic of India’s third highest civilian honour. Also in 2009, both India Today and BusinessWeek chose him as one of the fifty most influential people in India. In 2010, India Today once more placed him on their most influential people list; as in 2009, he was the only scholar or writer so chosen.