Monday, Jan 24, 2022
Outlook.com
PROFILE

Turn Of The Pen

With a masterly biography, itinerant scholar-writer Ramachandra Guha spins into a higher orbit

Turn Of The Pen
Turn Of The Pen
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

It isn’t easy to toss one up to Ramachandra Guha. Try something on the pros of a mega-hydel dam, try something with a looping trajectory about Chipko being a localised protest revolving on timber politics, a sharp turner on Gandhi’s hypocrisy, he’ll play it all with panache. Endless polemic, restless discoursing, constantly bouncing off book and column ideas, animatedly talking of a rejoinder to a newspaper article that has to be written, in Guha one can see a perennial uncoiling of ideas.

OK, his ganglia are wired up that way. Maybe that explains why Guha, 41, environmentalist, historian, social anthropologist, cricket freak, columnist, visiting professor and writer of eight books, should be so childishly fascinated with everything he dabbles in. He’ll tell you the names of four other Christians who played cricket for Pakistan before Yousuf Youhana and then perhaps go on to elucidate the role of minorities in shaping subcontinental cricket. Guha is now passing through mid-life euphoria. He is on the verge of releasing his eighth book, Savaging the Civilised: Verrier Elwin, his Tribals and India ( Oxford), a wrenching and grand biography in the classical mould, which sounds the gong for the coming of age of the modern Indian biography. In the largeness of the theme, in the writer’s tireless effort to get into the mind and soul of his subject, in the way he contextualises a forgotten British intellectual who loved India and its tribals more than his religion, in the ease with which he straddles disciplines to grasp a prolific, difficult persona, in the finesse of language and execution, this book is beyond all other Indian attempts at life-sketching.

Outlook Newsletters

Read More from Outlook

Lament Of Separation: Songs Of Habba Khatun, Last Queen Of Kashmir, Still Echo In Valley

Lament Of Separation: Songs Of Habba Khatun, Last Queen Of Kashmir, Still Echo In Valley

In happy times and sad, Habba Khatun’s sensuous songs make both young and old emotional. With the never-ending conflict bringing tragedies to every doorstep, Habba’s lyrics of separation amplify their mourning.

How Indian Laws Govern People’s Right To Love And Live

How Indian Laws Govern People’s Right To Love And Live

In India, only those relationships between a man and a woman are considered to be legitimate when there is a marriage between the two.

Kohli Quits Test Captaincy, Leaves Leadership Vacuum

Kohli Quits Test Captaincy, Leaves Leadership Vacuum

Virat Kohli, 33, had recently stepped down as India's T20I captain and was subsequently removed as the ODI captain.

UP Elections 2022: How Congress Is Harnessing Power Of 'Persecuted' Women To Counter BJP

UP Elections 2022: How Congress Is Harnessing Power Of 'Persecuted' Women To Counter BJP

A Mahila Congress leader, who is the face of the ‘Ladki Hoon, Lad Sakti Hoon’ campaign, however, has accused the party of anti-women bias after she was denied a ticket.