Penguin Random House has announced the acquisition of Democrats and Dissenters, a major new collection of essays by Ramachandra Guha. This is a work of rigorous scholarship on topics of compelling contemporary interest, written with elegance and wit. Each essay takes up an important topic, or an influential intellectual, as a window to explore major political and cultural debates in India and the world.
The book covers a wide range of themes: from the varying national projects of India’s neighbours to political debates within India itself, from the responsibilities of writers to the complex relationship between democracy and violence. It has essays critically assessing the work of Amartya Sen and Eric Hobsbawm, essays on the tragic predicament of tribals in India (who are, as Guha demonstrates, far worse off than Dalits or Muslims, yet get a fraction of the attention), and on the peculiar absence of a tradition of conservative intellectuals in India.