Episode 99: The Importance of Rules and Institutions

A democracy is not merely about voting. Those who are voted into power need to be kept in check, and Rules and Institutions are essential for this. Foreign policy analyst Ameya Naik joins Amit Varma in episode 99 of The Seen and the Unseen to elaborate -- and to explain the danger that Donald Trump poses.

Also check out:
Why Both Modi and Trump are Textbook Populists -- Amit Varma
Ek Baar Jo Maine Commitment Kar Di -- Amit Varma
Trade Deficits (and Trumpism) -- Episode 73 of The Seen and the Unseen
Immigration and Outsourcing -- Episode 69 of The Seen and the Unseen

Episode 98: The Deccan Before Shivaji

When people think of the Deccan, they think Shivaji vs Mughals. But the history of the Deccan is far richer than that -- and far racier. It's full of lust and laughter, murder and madness, sex and senselessness. Historian Manu S Pillai joins Amit Varma in episode 98 of The Seen and the Unseen to tell that fascinating story.

Also check out:
Manu S Pillai's book Rebel Sultanson Amazon and on Juggernaut.
The Indianness of Indian Food -- ep 95 of The Seen and the Unseen

Episode 97: The Evolution of Cricket

In his three-decade career covering cricket, Harsha Bhogle has had an inside view on the transformation of the game. He joins Amit Varma in episode 97 of The Seen and the Unseen to talk about how cricket has changed – and why it gives him hope.

Also check out:
How Money Changed Cricket -- Ep 41 of The Seen and the Unseen
Opportunity, Choice and the IPL (2008) -- Amit Varma
The Tamasha All Purists Should Love -- Amit Varma
Purists, keep quiet. Cricket is changing, not dying -- Amit Varma
Test Cricket Is Dying, but Cricket Is Not -- Amit Varma

Episode 96: The Evolution of Everything

The world evolves in a bottom-up way, despite the top-down beliefs of those who have blind faith in either God or Government. Matt Ridley joins Amit Varma in episode 96 of The Seen and the Unseen to describe the evolution of the universe, life, culture, language, cities, the economy, our minds, our future and more.

Also check out:
The Evolution of Everything -- Matt Ridley
Other books by Matt Ridley: The Rational OptimistGenomeThe Origins of Virtue 
Matt Ridley's Homepage
What Does It Mean to Be Libertarian? -- Ep 64 of The Seen and the Unseen
The Fraud of Indian Education -- Ep 77 of The Seen and the Unseen
The Profit Motive in Education -- Ep 9 of The Seen and the Unseen

Episode 94: Rajesh Jain and Dhan Vapasi

Rajesh Jain was one of the architects of Narendra Modi's win in 2014 -- and then got buyer's remorse and turned against the BJP. Now, he has launched Dhan Vapasi, an insanely ambitious and innovative attempt at disrupting Indian politics. He joins Amit Varma in episode 94 of The Seen and the Unseen to explain where he's coming from. 

Note: The first half of the show is about Jain's political journey before this: supporting Modi, changing his mind etc. The conversation about Dhan Vapasi starts at 1:03:25.

Also check out:
The Dhan Vapasi website
The Dhan Vapasi Manifesto
The Dhan Vapasi Bill
Rajesh Jain's website
DeMon, Morality and the Predatory Indian State -- Episode 85 of The Seen and the Unseen (on Demonetisation)
Why Are Our Cities So Messed Up? -- Episode 31 of The Seen and the Unseen (on Urban Governance)
The State of Our Farmers -- Episode 86 of The Seen and the Unseen (on Agriculture)
Reclaim the Sky -- Episode 11 of The Seen and the Unseen (on FSI)
Shruti Rajagopalan's talk on the many changes to our constitution

Episode 92: An Economist Looks at #MeToo

Will the #MeToo movement change behaviour by changing incentives? Economist Shruti Rajagopalan joins Amit Varma in episode 92 of The Seen and the Unseen to talk about Criminal Economics in the context of crimes on women in India.

Also check out:
Changing the Costs for the Rational Sexual Predator: Shruti Rajagopalan in Mint
Men Must Step Up Now: Amit Varma's ediotrial in Pragati 
The Importance of #MeToo: Episode 90 of The Seen and the Unseen
Metrics of Empowerment: Episode 88 of The Seen and the Unseen
Fixing Our Judicial System: Episode 62 of The Seen and the Unseen


Episode 91: IL&FS and the Indian Financial System

The crisis at IL&FS reveals just how rotten India's financial system is. Vivek Kaul and Ashutosh Datar join Amit Varma in episode 91 of The Seen and the Unseen to demystify the problem.

Also check out:
DeMon, Morality & the Predatory Indian State -- Episode 85 of The Seen and the Unseen
The DNA of the NPA -- Episode 32 of The Seen and the Unseen
It's Time to Stop Buying LIC Policies -- Vivek Kaul
LIC Should Not Rescue IL&FS -- Vivek Kaul
Slay This Indian Hydra -- Andy Mukherjee
How IL&FS Was Enriching Itself at Public Cost -- Sucheta Dalal
IL&FS: The debt pyramid -- Samar Srivastava

Episode 90: The #MeToo Movement

#MeToo is the most important cultural moment of our lifetimes. Supriya Nair and Nikita Saxena join Amit Varma in episode 90 of The Seen and the Unseen to share their insights.

Also check out:
Hostile Climate: Nikita Saxena (Feature on RK Pachauri)
#MeToo is anarchic, and that’s a good thing: Supriya Nair
Metrics of Empowerment: Episode 88 of The Seen and the Unseen
Claiming Your Space: Episode 76 of The Seen and the Unseen
One Bad Law Goes, but Women Remain Second-Class Citizens: Amit Varma
I am a Feminist. You should be too: Amit Varma

Episode 89: The State of the Media 2

Are journalists redundant in a world where no one cares about facts any more? Are we to cater to people's imagined realities? And when money and power come together, how are Independent journalists to resist? Sidharth Bhatia of The Wire and Peter Griffin of The Hindu join Amit Varma in episode 89 of The Seen and the Unseen.

Also check out:
The State of the Media: Episode 46 of The Seen and the Unseen, with Prem Panicker
The Facts Do Not Matter -- Amit Varma

Episode 88: Metrics of Empowerment

The lives of women in India must be gradually getting better, right? How do we measure this? Devika Kher, Nidhi Gupta and Hamsini Hariharan join Amit Varma in episode 88 of The Seen and the Unseen to discuss a range of possible metrics.

Also check out:
Where Are the Jobs? -- Episode 87 of The Seen and the Unseen, with Yazad Jal
Claiming Your Space -- Episode 76 of The Seen and the Unseen, with Aditi Mittal & Swati Bakshi
Take Cities to the Women -- Devika KherFrailty, Thy Name is Public Policy -- Devika Kher
We Should Celebrate Rising Divorce Rates -- Amit Varma 
Misogyny is the Oldest Indian Tradition -- Amit Varma
Namita Bhandare’s series on IndiaSpend

Episode 87: Where Are the Jobs?

India has entered a massive jobs crisis, with more than a million people coming into the workforce every month -- and not enough jobs. Will our Demographic Dividend be a Demographic Disaster? Yazad Jal of the 20 Million Jobs project joins Amit Varma in episode 87 of The Seen and the Unseen to give insight on the scale of the problem.

Also check out:
The Jobscape -- Yazad Jal
20 Million Jobs: Episode 48 of The Pragati Podcast
The Coming Jobs Crisis: Episode 20 of The Seen and the Unseen
Namita Bhandare's series on IndiaSpend  
Why India has a Jobs Crisis -- Vivek Kaul
The Agricultural Crisis is a Jobs Crisis -- Nitin Pai
But What About the Jobs Crisis? -- Anupam Manur

Episode 86: The State of Our Farmers

India's agricultural crisis has been caused by the state. Farmer leader Gunvant Patil of the Shetkari Sanghatana joins Amit Varma in episode 86 of The Seen and the Unseen to explain the many ways in which Big Government has created our agricultural crisis. (Note: This episode is in Hindi.)

Also see:
'We Must Save Our Farmers' -- Amit Varma
'Free the Farmers' -- Barun Mitra
'The Crisis in Indian Agriculture' -- Brainstorm discussion on Pragati
'Entry and Exit in Agriculture' -- Episode 1 of The Seen and the Unseen
'The Farmer Rolls the Dice' -- Episode 12 of The Seen and the Unseen
'The Unseen Effects of Farm Loan Waivers' -- Episode 25 of The Seen and the Unseen
Down to Earth -- The collected writings of Sharad Joshi

Episode 85: DeMon, Morality and the Predatory Indian State

Episode 85 of The Seen and the Unseen is about Demonetisation -- and a lot else. First, host Amit Varma launches into an angry monologue about how economic benefits can never justify moral costs. Then he is joined by economist Shruti Rajagopalan, who elaborates on all the things wrong with DeMon. They discuss the predatory Indian state, how Indians are forced into jugaad to cope with it, and that this jugaad might seem to be a good thing, but represents the enormous cost that all of us pay.

Also see:
1. Most of Amit Varma's writing on DeMon, collected in one Twitter thread.
2. 'Narendra Modi Takes a Great Leap Backwards' -- Amit Varma
3. 'The Landscape of Freedom in India' -- Amit Varma
4. 'The Humanitarian Cost Trumps Any Economic Argument' -- Amit Varma
5. 'What the RBI data on demonetization tells us' -- Shruti Rajagopalan
6. 'Demonetisation and Welfare' -- Shruti Rajagopalan and Larry White
7. 'Formalization of the economy is a form of coercion' -- Shruti Rajagopalan
8. Episode 2 of The Seen and the Unseen, on Demonetisation, with Suyash Rai
9. Episode 18 of The Seen and the Unseen, on restaurant regulations, with Madhu Menon

Episode 84: Being Gay in India

What is it like to grow up gay in a deeply homophobic country? Writer and stand-up comedian Navin Noronha joins Amit Varma in ep 84 of The Seen and the Unseen to talk about his experience growing up gay in Bhayandar, and his insights from his podcast, Keeping it Queer.

Also check out
Keeping it Queer -- Navin Noronha's podcast
How I Met My Daddy -- Navin Noronha
The Matunga Racket -- Amit Varma

Episode 82: Swachh Bharat

The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is short-sighted, and does not achieve its purpose. Why? What can we do? Economist Shruti Rajagopalan joins Amit Varma in episode 82 of The Seen and the Unseen to break it all down.

Also read
India needs sewage systems, not free toilets -- Shruti Rajagopalan
That Which is Seen, and That Which is Not Seen -- Frédéric Bastiat
The Use of Knowledge in Society -- Friedrich Hayek
Public Choice: Politics Without Romance -- James Buchanan
Where India Goes -- Diane Coffey and Dean Spears
Why Are Our Cities So Messed Up -- ep 31 of The Seen and the Unseen
How We Messed Up Our Caste Problem -- ep 52 of The Seen and the Unseen

Episode 81: Chinese Foreign Policy

How does China see its place in the world? What are its foreign policy objectives? Should India be worried? China expert Manoj Kewalramani joins Amit Varma in episode 81 of The Seen and the Unseen.

Also check out
Eye on China: Manoj Kewalramani's weekly column in Pragati.
Inside Xi's China: Takshashila's online course, conducted by Manoj.
Understanding Foreign Policy: Episode 63 of The Seen and the Unseen.