Episode 108: The Importance of Cities

India is rapidly urbanizing – and the Indian state seems to be in denial about it. Reuben Abraham and Pritika Hingorani join Amit Varma in episode 108 of The Seen and the Unseen to discuss what India needs to do to prepare for its urban future.

Also check out:
India’s a Land of Cities, Not Villages -- Reuben Abraham and Pritika Hingorani
How cities, not states, can solve the world's biggest problems -- Robert Muggah and Reuben Abraham
Reclaim the Sky -- Episode 11 of The Seen and the Unseen, on FSI
Why Are Our Cities So Messed Up? -- Episode 31 of The Seen and the Unseen, on Urban Governance
The Gateway to Our Cities -- Episode 21 of The Seen and the Unseen, on Slums
The World is Getting Better -- Episode 101 of The Seen and the Unseen, on Human Progress
Order Without Design -- Alain Bertaud
Triumph of the City -- Edward Glaeser
Young Rural Women in India Chase Big-City Dreams -- Ellen Barry

Episode 107: An Economics Ramble

Host Amit Varma is joined by Vivek Kaul and Kumar Anand in episode 107 of The Seen and the Unseen to talk about the economic landscape of the day. Subjects discussed include the interim budget, the minimum income guarantee, the jobs crisis and how good politics leads to bad economics.

Also check out:
Here Is Why the Indian Voter Is Saddled With Bad Economics -- Amit Varma
Politics = Bribery -- Amit Varma and Kumar Anand
Show us the money: Will Rahul Gandhi’s MIG-19 fly? -- Vivek Kaul
Budget or Fudget?: Read This and Decide -- Vivek Kaul
India budget: Will India buy Narendra Modi's story of hope again? -- Vivek Kaul
The Indian State Is the Greatest Enemy of the Indian Farmer -- Amit Varma
The Business of Doing Business -- Reshu Natani and Kumar Anand
DeMon, Morality and the Predatory Indian State -- ep 85 of The Seen and the Unseen
Rajesh Jain's Journey to Dhan Vapasi -- ep 94 of The Seen and the Unseen  
The State of Our Farmers -- ep 86 of The Seen and the Unseen

Episode 106: Stubborn Attachments

In his latest book, Stubborn Attachments, Tyler Cower lays out a moral vision for the future. He joins Amit Varma in episode 106 of The Seen and the Unseen to explain why future lives matter as much as present ones, and why our priorities should be centered around sustainable economic growth constrained by negative rights.

Do check out: 
Stubborn Attachments by Tyler Cowen.
Marginal Revolution.
The Marginal Revolution University.
Reasons and Persons by Derek Parfit.
The Odyssey by Homer, translated by Emily Wilson

Episode 105: Understanding Gandhi. Part 2: Mahatma

In the second of a two-part series, historian Ramachandra Guha joins Amit Varma in episode 105 of The Seen and the Unseen to talk about Mohandas Gandhi's transformation into Mahatma Gandhi -- and how that changed the world. Among the subjects discussed: caste, misogyny and Gandhi's personal obsessions.

Also check out: Ramachandra Guha's books on Gandhi, Gandhi Before India and Gandhi: The Years That Changed the World.

Episode 104: Understanding Gandhi. Part 1: Mohandas

Mahatma Gandhi is one of the most fascinating characters in history: complex, misunderstood, deeply impactful. Ramachandra Guha, author of two acclaimed biographies of the man, joins Amit Varma in episode 104 of The Seen and the Unseen to discuss the first 45 years of Gandhi's life, before he returned to India to catalyse the Indian freedom struggle.

Do check out: Ramachandra Guha's books on Gandhi, Gandhi Before India and Gandhi: The Years That Changed the World.

Episode 103: The Emergency

The Emergency of 1975 was not an aberration, but was written into the DNA of the Indian state. Historian Gyan Prakash joins Amit Varma in episode 103 of The Seen and the Unseen to shed light on why the framers of the constitution gave such draconian powers to the state -- and why we may not have become so free in 1947 after all.

Also check out:
Emergency Chronicles by Gyan Prakash, on Amazon. 
Shruti Rajagopalan on our constantly changing constitution (Aug 2015).
The Evil of Family Planning (Dec 2014) -- Amit Varma
Lessons From 1975 (Sep 2015) -- Amit Varma

Episode 102: The Paradox of Narendra Modi

Shashi Tharoor, author of The Paradoxical Prime Minister, joins Amit Varma in episode 102 of The Seen and the Unseen to talk about the many faces of Narendra Modi, as well as the nature of politics, the idea of India and his own journey as a politician.

Also read:
The Paradoxical Prime Minister on Amazon, as well as Shashi Tharoor's other books.
The Facts Do Not Matter -- Amit Varma
No Free Trade For Horses -- Ep 13 of The Seen and the Unseen, on the Anti-Defection Law.

Episode 101: The Progress of Humanity

We tend to take progress for granted, and are wired to focus on bad news instead of good. Steven Pinker joins Amit Varma in episode 101 of The Seen and the Unseen to talk about why the world is getting better, and why Enlightenment values are essential for ensuring that the trend continues.

Also check out:
Enlightenment Now and The Blank Slate by Steven Pinker.
It is Daft to Worry About Inequality --Amit Varma.

Episode 100: The 100th Episode Ramble

The Seen and the Unseen reaches 100 episodes! Yea! Economist Shruti Rajagopalan, the most frequent guest on the show, joins host Amit Varma as they shoot the breeze about the 99 episodes before this, the horrors of 2018, and the further horrors of 2019.

Also check out:
These past episodes with Gunvant Patil, Vikram Doctor, Harsha Bhogle, Gideon Haigh+Prem Panicker, Rajesh Jain, Vishwanath S, Parth Shah, Amit Chandra, Alex Tabarrok, Naveen Noronha, Kumar Anand, Vivek Kaul, Ashok Malik, Nikita+Supriya (on #MeToo), Devika+Nidhi+Hamsini and Matt Ridley.

And also with Shruti on the Right to Property, DeMon, GST, #MeToo and Caste.

And ah, The Matunga Racket.

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