Making sense of the anarchic reality of India is a daunting task, for which the lay person and specialist alike, need some aides. Most historians, sociologists and others are able to shine light on only a narrow corner of the landscape. Ramachandra Guha, however, has been an astute and lucid guide to Indian history, with an ability to paint both the broad canvas as well fill in the minute details. Most people know him as a columnist – sometimes controversial, but always insightful and engaging. But there is another side to him, that of the scrupulous historian and scholarly path breaker – in the field of environmental history, the social history of Indian cricket, the history of the Indian republic, and in biographies of lesser-known figures like Verrier Elwin and very public figures like Gandhi.
A Functioning Anarchy is a collection of essays by historians, social scientists, ecologists and journalists to honour the scholar in Guha. The conversation will draw on Guha’s contributions in the field, new paths being taken and what remains to be done to chart the intellectual history of India.