Dr Guha speaks about the phase of transition when Gandhiji moved from South Africa to India. He talks about how Gandhiji was advised (by Gopal Krishna Gokhale) to spend about a year understanding the nuances of the country before embarking on a journey of change. He also speaks about Gandhiji’s open-mindedness and willingness to listen which enabled him to absorb the complexity of the country without bringing his biases.
Ramachandra Guha is a historian and biographer based in Bangalore. He has taught at the universities of Yale and Stanford, held the Arné Naess Chair at the University of Oslo, and been the Indo-American Community Visiting Professor at the University of California at Berkeley. In the academic year 2011-2 he served as the Philippe Roman Professor of History and International Affairs at the London School of Economics.
Guha’s books include a pioneering environmental history, The Unquiet Woods (University of California Press, 1989), and an award-winning social history of cricket, A Corner of a Foreign Field (Picador, 2002). India after Gandhi (Macmillan/Ecco Press, 2007) was chosen as a book of the year by the Economist, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the San Francisco Chronicle, Time Out, and Outlook, and as a book of the decade in the Times of India, the Times of London, and The Hindu. Gandhi Before India (Knopf, 2014) was chosen as a notable book of the year by the New York Times. His latest book, Gandhi: The years that changed the world (Penguin Allen Lane, 2018) is widely considered as one of the most comprehensive biographies of Mahatma Gandhi. It was shortlisted by The Economist as one of the Books of the Year. Apart from his books, Guha also writes a syndicated column, that appears in six languages in newspapers with a combined readership of some twenty million. Guha’s books and essays have been translated into more than twenty languages.
In our conversation, we first spoke about Dr Guha’s journey as a historian and then went onto discussing his insights on Gandhiji given he has spent a significant portion of his life studying Gandhiji. For ease of listening, the full conversation only contains the discussion around Gandhiji. If you wish to get some context behind Dr. Guha’s career, some his early choices and his insights on history as a career option, please click on the appropriate nugget.
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Published in Jan 2019.
Deepak is a Leadership Advisor and an Executive Coach. He works with leaders to improve their effectiveness and in helping them make better decisions specifically around organizational and career transitions. He currently runs Transition Insight (www.transitioninsight.com) and works with leaders to handle phases of transition thoughtfully. He has worked as an Operations Consultant with KPMG in UK, Strategy Consultant with McKinsey in the US and as a Leadership Consultant with EgonZehnder (a Swiss Leadership Advisory firm) where he helped companies recruit CEOs, CXOs and Board Members and worked on Leadership Development. Deepak is a certified CEO Coach and is an alumnus of IIT Madras, IIM Ahmedabad and London Business School. His detailed profile can be found at https://in.linkedin.com/in/djayaraman
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