Ramachandra Guha

Ramachandra Guha (born 29 April 1958) is an Indian historian whose research interests include environmental, social, economics political, contemporary and cricket history.[1] He is also a columnist for The Telegraph, Hindustan Times and Hindi Daily Newspaper Amar Ujala. [2][3][4]

Ramachandra Guha
Guha in 2017
Born (1958-04-29) 29 April 1958
ResidenceBengaluru, Karnataka
Alma materUniversity of Delhi (BA, MA)
IIM Calcutta
Notable work
India after Gandhi
Spouse(s)Sujata Keshavan

A regular contributor to various academic journals, Guha has also written for The Caravan and Outlook magazines. For the year 2011–12, he held a visiting position at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), the Philippe Roman Chair in History and International Affairs.[5] His latest book is Gandhi: The Years That Changed the World (2018), the second part of his two-volume biography of M. K. Gandhi. It is a follow-up to the acclaimed Gandhi Before India (2013). 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 20th and early 21st centuries.The American Historical Association (AHA) has conferred its Honorary Foreign Member prize for the year 2019 on Ramchandra Guha. He is the third Indian historian to be recognised by the association, joining the ranks of Romila Thapar and Jadunath Sarkar, who received the honour in 2009 and 1952 respectively.

He was appointed to BCCI's panel of administrators by the Supreme Court of India on 30 January 2017, only to resign in July of the same year.[6]

Early life and education

Guha was born on 29 April 1958 at Dehradun, Uttar Pradesh (now in Uttarakhand) in a Tamil Brahmin family.[7] He was brought up in Dehradun, where his father Subramaniam Ramdas Guha worked at the Forest Research Institute,[8][9] and his mother was a high-school teacher. While he should have been named Subramaniam Ramachandra in keeping with Tamil name-keeping norms, his teachers at school, presumably while registering his name during admission, were not familiar with these and he came to be called Ramachandra Guha.[8] He grew up in Dehradun, on the Forest Research Institute campus.[10][11]

Guha studied at Cambrian Hall and The Doon School.[12][13] At Doon, he was a contributor to the school newspaper The Doon School Weekly, and edited a publication called History Times along with Amitav Ghosh, later to become a noted writer.[14][15] He graduated from St. Stephen's College, Delhi with a bachelor's degree in economics in 1977,[16] and completed his master's in economics from the Delhi School of Economics.[17] He then enrolled at the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, where he did a fellowship programme 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.

Guha was appointed the Philippe Roman Chair of International Affairs and History at the London School of Economics for 2011–12, succeeding Niall Ferguson.

He regularly contributes to newspapers like The Telegraph, Hindustan Times and The Indian Express. He also writes for such journals and magazines as Economic and Political Weekly, Outlook, Seminar and The Caravan.


Guha has authored the chapter The VHP Needs To Hear The Condemnation Of The Hindu Middle Ground in the book Gujarat: The making of a tragedy, which was edited by Siddharth Varadarajan and published by Penguin. The book is about the 2002 Gujarat riots.

Guha is the author of India after Gandhi, published by Macmillan and Ecco in 2007. This book has been translated into Hindi in two volumes as Bharat: Gandhi Ke Baad and Bharat: Nehru Ke Baad and published by Penguin. The Tamil version of the book is published in the name "இந்திய வரலாறு காந்திக்குப் பிறகு ( பாகம் 1 & 2)" ("Indhiya varalaaru Gandhikku pin - Part 1 & 2") by Kizhakku and translated by R. P. Sarathy. The Bengali version of the book is published in the name "গাঁধী-উত্তর ভারতবর্ষ" by Ananda Publishers Private Limited and translated by Ashish Lahiri.

Guha also published a collection of essays titled Patriots and Partisans[18] in November 2012.

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.[19][20] Another collection of essays under the title Democrats and Dissenters was released in September 2016. Guha has authored books on a diverse range of subjects including Cricket, Environment, Politics, History, etc.[21]

In 2018, Guha published Gandhi: The Years That Changed the World, 1914-1948, completing his three-volume history of modern India.


Guha has written extensively on cricket in both his capacity as a journalist and historian. His research into the social history of Indian cricket culminated in his work A Corner of a Foreign Field: The Indian history of a British Sport in 2002.[22] The work charts the development of cricket in India from its inception during the British Raj to its position in contemporary India as the nations favourite pastime.

A self-confessed 'cricket tragic', Guha is also an outspoken commentator on the Indian national cricket team, being particularly vociferous in his opinions on current captain, Virat Kohli.

In July 2017 Guha stepped down from his position as a BCCI administrator, citing personal reasons.

Personal life

Guha is married to the graphic designer Sujata Keshavan and has two children. On December 10, 2018, Guha took down a post on Twitter of him eating beef. He tweeted: "I have deleted the photo of my lunch in Goa as it was in poor taste. I do wish however to again highlight the absolute hypocrisy of the BJP in the matter of beef, and to reiterate my own belief that humans must have the right to eat, dress, and fall in love as they choose." [23]

Awards and recognition


  • Guha, Ramachandra (2016). The First Vijay Tendulkar Memorial Lecture by Dr. Ramchandra Guha (Speech). Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  • Guha, Ramachandra (2015). Use the past to illuminate the present (Speech). Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  • Guha, Ramachandra (2015). Eight Threats to Freedom of Expression — Ramachandra Guha (Speech). Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  • Guha, Ramachandra (2015). An Interaction with Dr. Ramachandra Guha (Speech). Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  • Guha, Ramachandra (2015). Waiting for the Mahatma — Gandhi & India in 1915 (Speech). Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  • Guha, Ramachandra (2014). Gandhi's enduring legacy: Ramachandra Guha at TEDxMAIS (Speech). TEDxMAIS. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  • Guha, Ramachandra (2014). Why India is Most Interesting country in the world? (Speech). Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  • Guha, Ramachandra (2013). Ten reasons why India will not and must not become a superpower (Speech). Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  • Guha, Ramachandra (2013). Ramachandra Guha: Indian Democracy's Mid-Life Crises (Speech). Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  • Guha, Ramachandra (2013). Ramachandra Guha: Indian Democracy's Mid-Life Crises (Speech). Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  • Guha, Ramachandra (2011). Asian Varieties of Socialism: China, India, Vietnam (Speech). Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  • Guha, Ramachandra (1992). Wickets in the East. India: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195628098.
  • Guha, Ramachandra (2000). Spin and Other Turns. India: Penguin India. ISBN 9780140247206.
  • Guha, Ramachandra; Vaidyanathan, T.G. (1994). An Indian Cricket Omnibus. India: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195634273.
  • Guha, Ramachandra (2001). The Picador Book of Cricket. India: Pan Macmillan. ISBN 9780330396134.
  • Guha, Ramachandra (2004). A Corner of a Foreign Field: An Indian history of a British sport. Picador. ISBN 978-0330491174.
  • Guha, Ramachandra (2005). The States of Indian Cricket: Anecdotal Histories. Permanent Black. ISBN 9788178241081.
  • An Indian cricket century (Editor, works of Sujit Mukherjee, 2002)
  • Guha, Ramachandra (1989). The Unquiet Woods: Ecological Change and Peasant Resistance in the Himalaya. Berkeley; Oxford University Press (OUP): University of California Press. ISBN 9780520222359.
  • Guha, Ramachandra; Gadgil, Madhav (1993). This Fissured Land: An Ecological History of India. Berkeley; Oxford University Press (OUP): University of California Press. ISBN 9780520082960.
  • Guha, Ramachandra; Gadgil, Madhav (1995). Ecology and Equity: The Use and Abuse of Nature in Contemporary India. India: Penguin India. ISBN 9780415125246.
  • Guha, Ramachandra; Alier, Joan Martinez (1997). Varieties of Environmentalism: Essays North and South. India: Penguin India. ISBN 9781853833298.
  • Guha, Ramachandra (1998). Social Ecology. India: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195644548.
  • Guha, Ramachandra; Arnold, David (1998). Nature, Culture, Imperialism: Essays on the Environmental History of South Asia. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195640755.
  • Guha, Ramachandra (1999). Savaging the Civilized: Verrier Elwin, his tribals and India. Berkeley; Oxford University Press (OUP)): University of California Press. ISBN 9780195647815.
  • Guha, Ramachandra; Krishnan, M (2001). Nature's Spokesman: M. Krishnan and Indian Wildlife. Picador. ISBN 9780195659115.
  • Guha, Ramachandra (2006). How Much Should a Person Consume?: Thinking Through the Environment. Berkeley; Oxford University Press (OUP)): University of California Press. ISBN 9789350092590.
  • Guha, Ramachandra (2014). Environmentalism: A Global History. United Kingdom: Penguin UK. ISBN 9780321011695.
  • Guha, Ramachandra (2012). Makers of Modern India. India: Penguin India. ISBN 9780143419242.
  • Guha, Ramachandra (2007). India after Gandhi: The history of the world's largest democracy. Picador. ISBN 9780330505543.
  • Guha, Ramachandra (2012). Patriots & Partisans . Penguin. ISBN 9780670083862.
  • Guha, Ramachandra (2013). Gandhi Before India . Penguin. ISBN 978-0670083879.
  • Guha, Ramachandra (2000). An Anthropologist Among the Marxists, and other essays. New Delhi, India: Orient Blackswan. ISBN 9788178240015.
  • Guha, Ramachandra (2004). The Last Liberal and Other Essays. Permanent Black. ISBN 9788178240732.
  • Guha, Ramachandra; Parry, Jonathan P (2011). Institutions and Inequalities: Essays in Honour of Andre Beteille. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780198075523.
  • Guha, Ramachandra (2018). Gandhi: The Years that Changed the World, 1914-1948. Knopf. ISBN 978-0385532310.


  1. Ramachandra Guha (9 February 2017). "Why there's no need to be nostalgic for an undivided India". Hindustan Times.
  2. "Not the Emergency by any stretch of the imagination". Hindustantimes.com.
  3. "India Together: A managed mediaRamachandra Guha - 20 May 2006". Indiatogether.org. Retrieved 20 April 2019.
  4. "Dr. Ramachandra Guha". London School of Economics and Political Science. 2011. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  5. "Ramachandra Guha accepts SC’s nomination to BCCI’s panel of administrators", Hindustan Times, 30 January 2017.
  6. Tejas Harad (14 June 2017). "Does Ramachandra Guha have a caste?". News Laundry.
  7. Bhandari, Bhupesh (8 May 2007). "Lunch with BS: Ramachandra Guha". Business Standard India. Retrieved 19 July 2018.
  8. Gadgil, Madhav (9 April 2018). "Ram Guha: A Radical Progressive". Outlook India. Retrieved 19 July 2018.
  9. Guha, Ramachandra (19 November 2012). "Who Milks This Cow?". Outlook India. Retrieved 19 July 2018.
  10. Guha, Ramachandra (27 October 2007). "A Unique Trail - Twist in the tale of the search for an elusive book". The Telegraph. Retrieved 19 July 2018.
  11. Guha, Ramachandra (30 January 2016). "Why the Dalai Lama may be India's noblest resident". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 20 July 2018.
  12. Chopra, Jaskiran (12 July 2016). "'Dosco' Amitav Ghosh celebrates his 60th Birthday". The Pioneer. Retrieved 20 July 2018.
  13. Chopra, Jaskiran (29 October 2017). "Of nature, cricket, literature and history". The Statesman. Retrieved 20 July 2018.
  14. 'History of the Weekly' published by The Doon School (2009), p. 36.
  15. "The shrinking of St. Stephen's".
  16. Guha, Ramachandra (25 June 2007). "St Stephen's: Murder In The Cathedral?". Outlook India. Retrieved 20 July 2018.
  17. "Patriots And Partisans". Penguin India. ISBN 978-0-1434-2114-6. Retrieved 20 April 2019.
  18. "Gandhi Before India". Penguin India. ISBN 978-0-1434-2341-6. Retrieved 20 April 2019.
  19. Peer, Basharat (21 October 2013). "A Conversation With: Historian Ramachandra Guha". The New York Times.
  20. "Ramachandra Guha". Goodreads.com. Retrieved 20 April 2019.
  21. Guha, Ramachandra (2003). A Corner of a Foreign Field: The Indian History of a British Sport. Picador. ISBN 9780330491174.
  22. "Beef Tweet from Goa earns Flak, Guha apologises". The Goan Everyday. 11 December 2018. Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  23. Foreign Policy: Top 100 Intellectuals Archived 25 January 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  24. "Padma Bhushan for Shekhar Gupta, Abhinav Bindra". Retrieved 26 January 2009.
  25. "POETS DOMINATE SAHITYA AKADEMI AWARDS 2011" (PDF) (Press release). Sahitya Akademi. 21 December 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 May 2012. Retrieved 21 December 2011.
  26. "Guha wins it for narrative history". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 21 December 2011.
  27. "Yale Awards 12 Honorary Degrees at 2014 Graduation". YaleNews. New Haven, Connecticut. 19 May 2014.
  28. "Historian Ramachandra Guha Selected for Japan's Fukuoka Prize". NDTV. Retrieved 21 June 2015.
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