Unmaking of Modern India, and of democracies everywhere?

Something to ponder, at the end of this interview with historian (eclectically, of cricket, environmentalism, Gandhi and democracy in modern India, among other things) Ramachandra Guha, on the subjects of his new book Makers of Modern India, about the increasingly forgotten intellectual antecedents who shaped our nation:

Q It seems that this robust intellectual tradition in the sphere of politics has vanished today. What happened?

A The period from 1820 to 1970 was exceptional, but now our democracy, like most democracies, has become routine and polemical. The thinking on such questions has shifted to universities and the media. A thinker-politician like Barack Obama is a rare exception; you cannot find his equivalent anywhere else. This is the general trend in democracies.

Q Do you see a politician today who could figure in the list if this book were updated 20 years on?

A (Laughs).

I’ll have to look for the book.

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