In April I wrote a piece for The Wire, titled ‘India’s Tumultuous History of Epidemics, Religion and Public Health Policy.’ Find the full article here. Some excerpts below: In a racialised phrasing similar to the ‘Chinese virus’, cholera in the 1800s was called, in Europe and America, either ‘Asiatic cholera’ or ‘Indian cholera’. The… Continue reading Covid-19 in India – Religion and epidemics in Indian history
[In this series I attempt to inform readers of the excellent scholarship that exists on the history of Ayurveda, which is one among several of the premodern medical traditions of South Asia. Click here for the next post.] In this first installment we will look at the work of two important historians: Kenneth Zysk and… Continue reading Notes on the history of Ayurveda – 1: Zysk, Chattopadhyaya, and the origins of Ayurveda
This was published in thewire.in on 13 January 2019. Here is the link, and below is an excerpt. All such developments from the 1800s gave rise to a trend that we sadly never fully abandoned. Faced with constant assaults on their traditions, the then-elite Hindus found solace and self-respect in ancient texts, and maybe didn’t… Continue reading The British colonial origins of gravity-defying ancient Indian science
I wrote the following as an answer to the question on Quora What were some of the global events that had the greatest impact on the history of India? I will write about a very obvious global event and its very under-appreciated impacts on India’s history. The event is British colonialism. The underappreciated impacts are… Continue reading Why do some Indians like to obsessively make outrageous claims about ‘ancient Indian science’?
Over the next few weeks I will be reproducing some important passages from Urvashi Butalia’s landmark 1998 book about the human side (as against the political/social side) of the partition of British India in 1946-47: The Other Side of Silence: Voices from the Partition of India. (Please read here the introduction to this book.) Today we… Continue reading Butalia’s ‘The Other Side of Silence’ – Human stories from the Partition of British India
This was published in HuffPost India on Feb 8 2017. Here is the link. Below is an excerpt. “These emotions are so subjective and varied that often even members of the same family are at opposite ends on whether, for example, a particular statement is offensive or not. In the Padmavati case also, while the… Continue reading Bhansali Attack: ‘Hurt’ Feelings Are No Justification For Violence
This was published in theWire.in on 14 January 2017. Here is the link. Below is an extract: In the 1918 speech, Bhandarkar expressed exasperation over “persons who find in the Rgveda allusions to X-rays, railways and what not.” While he urges us not to consider the great epics and the Puranas etc. as strict historical… Continue reading How the Grand Old Bhandarkar Urged Indian Historians to Rein in Their ‘Glorious Past’ Fantasies
As an Indian citizen, the present times give me much cause for worry. Just when we thought Indian society is on the way to getting more mature in terms of prioritizing issues, there has been an unfortunate rise of low-level politics and intolerant societal attitudes. The ‘idea of India’ has suffered from numerous setbacks. It is… Continue reading Ram Guha and the Idea of India