225 episodes

The Seen and the Unseen, hosted by Amit Varma, features longform conversations that aim to give deep insights into the subjects being discussed. Timeless and bingeworthy.

The Seen and the Unseen - hosted by Amit Varma Amit Varma

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    • 5.0 • 6 Ratings

The Seen and the Unseen, hosted by Amit Varma, features longform conversations that aim to give deep insights into the subjects being discussed. Timeless and bingeworthy.

    The Economics and Politics of Vaccines

    The Economics and Politics of Vaccines

    The second wave in India could have been avoided. We should not have been suffering like this. Vaccines were the answer. Ajay Shah joins Amit Varma in episode 223 of The Seen and the Unseen to discuss how our thinking about vaccines was fundamentally flawed -- and what we should do now. Also discussed: why Indian healthcare is in such a mess.

    Also check out:
    1. Indian Health Policy in Light of COVID-19 -- Ajay Shah's paper from July 14, 2020. 
    2. How the Vaccine Story Will Play Out -- Ajay Shah (Nov 30, 2020).
    3. SARS-Cov-2 Vaccines for India -- Ajay Shah's presentation from December 29, 2020.
    4. Price Controls for Vaccines? -- Ajay Shah (March 8, 2021).
    5. Responding to the Second Wave -- Ajay Shah (April 5, 2021).
    6. An Important Change of Course by Policy in Indian Covid-19 Vaccination -- Amrita Agarwal & Ajay Shah.
    7. Vaccination in India: How Will Demand Change When Persons Above Age 18 Are Eligible? -- Renuka Sane & Ajay Shah.
    8. The Best Way to Vaccinate Most Indians in the Least Time -- Shruti Rajagopalan (Sep 14, 2020).
    9. Vaccinating India: What Next? -- Naushad Forbes (March 16, 2021).
    10. India’s Covid Crisis Has a Familiar Culprit -- Mihir Sharma (April 13, 2021).
    11. Biden Admin Remakes Vaccine Strategy -- Erin Banco (March 29, 2021).
    12. NYT Covid Vaccinations Tracker.
    13. Previous episodes of The Seen and the Unseen on Covid-19: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.
    14. In Service of the Republic -- Vijay Kelkar and Ajay Shah.
    15. The Art and Science of Economic Policy — Episode 154 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Vijay Kelkar and Ajay Shah)  
    16. The Tragedy of Our Farm Bills -- Episode 211 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Ajay Shah).
    17. Other episodes of The Seen and the Unseen with Ajay Shah: 1, 2, 3.
    18. We Are Fighting Two Disasters: Covid-19 and the Indian State -- Amit Varma.
    19. Capital -- Rana Dasgupta.
    20. Fixing Indian Education -- Episode 185 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Karthik Muralidharan). 
    21. Other episodes of The Seen and the Unseen on Education: 1, 2, 3.
    22. Episodes of The Seen and the Unseen on Agriculture: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.
    23. The Geopolitics of the Bangladesh War -- Episode 113 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Srinath Raghavan). 
    24. Building State Capability -- Matt Andrews, Lant Pritchett and Michael Woolcock.
    25. Taxes Should Be Used for Governance, Not Politics -- Amit Varma. 
    26. The Man of System -- From Adam Smith's The Theory of Moral Sentiments.
    27. The Fatal Conceit -- Friedrich Hayek.
    28: How the BJP Wins -- Prashant Jha.
    29. The BJP’s Magic Formula -- Episode 45 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Prashant Jha).
    30. The First Assault on Our Constitution -- Episode 194 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Tripurdaman Singh).
    31. Price Controls Lead to Shortages and Harm the Poor -- Amit Varma.

    Please subscribe to The India Uncut Newsletter. It’s free!

    And check out Amit’s online course, The Art of Clear Writing.

    • 2 hrs 31 min
    The Saffron Trail

    The Saffron Trail

    Trained as a medical doctor, Nandita Iyer has blazed a trail in the last 15 years creating content about food in media as diverse as blogs, Instagram, YouTube and even good old-fashioned columns and books. She joins Amit Varma in episode 222 of The Seen and the Unseen to discuss her journey in food, what we can learn from our grandparents and the fine art of dissecting cadavers.

    Also check out:
    1. Everyday Superfoods -- Nandita Iyer.
    2. The Everyday Healthy Vegetarian -- Nandita Iyer.
    3. Nandita Iyer's website, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube channel and Substack newsletter.
    4. Memories and Things -- Episode 195 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Aanchal Malhotra).
    5. The Sharda Ugra Files -- Episode 220 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Sharda Ugra).
    6. Luis Buñuel on IMDB and Wikipedia.
    7. The last scene of Hostel 2. (Trigger warning: extreme violence.)
    8. The Case Against Sugar -- Gary Taubes.
    9. The Big Fat Surprise: why butter, meat, and cheese belong in a healthy diet -- Nina Teicholz.
    10. The Obesity Code -- Jason Fung.
    11. Nina Teicholz on The Joe Rogan Experience.
    12. Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body's Most Under-Rated Organ -- Giulia Enders.
    13. The Way We Eat Now -- Bee Wilson.
    14. Steve Jobs and his Black Turtleneck -- Amit Varma.
    15. Atomic Habits -- James Clear.
    16. Behave -- Robert Sapolsky.
    16. Nandita Iyer's Covid Nutrition Tips on Twitter and Instagram.

    This episode is sponsored by The Great Courses Plus. Check out their course, Biology and Human Behavior, taught by Robert Sapolsky. For free unlimited access for a month, click here.

    Please subscribe to The India Uncut Newsletter. It’s free!

    And hey, registration is now open for Amit’s online course, The Art of Clear Writing.

    • 2 hrs 51 min
    Science and Covid-19

    Science and Covid-19

    These are difficult times. How do we make sense of what is happening around us? Well, there is science. Anirban Mahapatra joins Amit Varma in episode 221 of The Seen and the Unseen to share his insights on the science of Covid-19 -- and on the state of science and scientific writing in general.

    Also check out:
    1. Covid-19: Separating Fact from Fiction -- Anirban Mahapatra.
    2. Anirban Mahapatra on Twitter and Google Scholar.
    3. The Age of Pandemics -- Chinmay Tumbe.
    4. India's Tryst With Pandemics -- Episode 205 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Chinmay Tumbe).
    5. Other episodes of The Seen and the Unseen on the pandemic: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.
    6. Publish and Perish -- Agnes Callard.
    7. The Tragedy of Our Farm Bills -- Episode 211 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Ajay Shah).
    8. A Scientist in the Kitchen -- Episode 204 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Krish Ashok).
    9. Gell-Mann Amnesia.
    10. The Prem Panicker Files -- Episode 217 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Prem Panicker).
    11. How Zeynep Tufekci Keeps Getting the Big Things Right -- Ben Smith.
    12. Zeynep Tufekci's newsletter, Twitter and column archive.
    13. Mendelay.
    14. Marginal Revolution.
    15. Human and Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare -- Episode 4 of Brave New World (Vasant Dhar in conversation with Eric Topol.)
    16. Deep Medicine: How Artificial Intelligence Can Make Healthcare Human Again -- Eric Topol.
    17. Calling B******t: The Art of Scepticism in a Data-Driven World -- Jevin West and Carl Bergstrom.
    18. The Rules of Contagion: Why Things Spread - and Why They Stop -- Adam Kucharski.
    19. Eric Topol, Dr Angela Rasmussen, Natalie Dean, Carl Bergstrom, Adam Kucharski, Ed Yong, Carl Zimmer, Helen Branswell, News From Science and Nature News & Comment on Twitter.
    20. The Nature Newsletter.
    21. The Scientist.
    22. The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark -- Carl Sagan.
    23. The World According to Physics -- Jim Al-Khalili.
    24. Brian Greene, Michio Kaku and Michael Benton on Amazon.
    25. Feeding the Hungry in the Pandemic -- Episode 210 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Ruben Mascarenhas).
    26. We Are Fighting Two Disasters: Covid-19 and the Indian State -- Amit Varma.
    27. A Meditation on Form -- Amit Varma.
    28. The Selfish Gene -- Richard Dawkins.
    29. Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett on Amazon.
    30. Early Indians -- Episode 112 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Tony Joseph). 
    31 Early Indians: The Story of Our Ancestors and Where We Came From -- Tony Joseph.
    32. Beware of Quacks. Alternative Medicine is Injurious to Health -- Amit Varma.
    33. Self-Esteem (and a Puddle) -- Amit Varma.
    34. Unlikely is Inevitable -- Amit Varma. 

    Please subscribe to The India Uncut Newsletter. It’s free!

    And check out Amit’s online course, The Art of Clear Writing.

    • 3 hrs 9 min
    The Sharda Ugra Files

    The Sharda Ugra Files

    India has changed so much in the last 30 years -- and so has Indian sport. One of our finest chroniclers, Sharda Ugra, joins Amit Varma in episode 220 of The Seen and the Unseen to talk about sports journalism, cricket, other Indian sports, and how she has embraced both the sublime and the shady. Also discussed: the eternal charm of Sion, Atul Bedade, gorillas and paagal kuttas. 

    Also check out:
    1. Sharda Ugra at ESPN Cricinfo (1, 2) and India Today.
    2. Sharda Ugra's books for John Wright and Yuvraj Singh.
    3. A Cricket Tragic Celebrates the Game -- Episode 201 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Ramachandra Guha).
    4. Building Sports Ecosystems -- Episode 126 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Joy Bhattacharjya).
    5. The Evolution of Cricket -- Episode 97 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Harsha Bhogle).
    6. Money in Cricket -- Episode 41 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Gideon Haigh and Prem Panicker).
    7. Summertime -- The Miles Davis version. (Other iconic versions here.)
    8. Ghachar Ghochar -- Vivek Shanbhag, translated by Srinath Perur.
    9. Amit Varma talks about Ghachar Ghochar in episode 13 of The Book Club on Storytel.
    10. Anil Kumble delivers the second Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi Memorial lecture.
    11. Rahul Dravid's guide for haters to enjoy the IPL -- Sharda Ugra.
    12. The Prem Panicker Files -- Episode 217 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Prem Panicker).
    13. A Meditation on Form -- Amit Varma.
    14. The Tamilian Gentleman Who Took on the World -- Amit Varma.
    15. The Girl From Haryana -- Amit Varma.
    16. The Connell Guide to How to Write Well -- Tim de Lisle.

    This episode is sponsored by The Great Courses Plus. Check out their course, The Psychology of Performance. For free unlimited access for a month, click here.

    Please subscribe to The India Uncut Newsletter. It’s free!

    And check out Amit’s online course, The Art of Clear Writing.

    • 2 hrs 57 min
    Keeping India Safe

    Keeping India Safe

    There are many things that threaten our nation, both internal and external, both seen and unseen. Our armed forces protect us from some of them. Sushant Singh joins Amit Varma in episode 219 of The Seen and the Unseen to discuss the state of our military, his experiences in Kashmir, the threats from Pakistan and China, and the danger of politics to national security.

    Also check out:
    1. Sushant Singh at CPR and Indian Express.
    2. Kashmir and Article 370 -- Episode 134 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Srinath Raghavan).
    3. The India-Pakistan Conflict -- Episode 111 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Srinath Raghavan).
    4. The Citizenship Battles -- Episode 152 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Srinath Raghavan).
    5. The Indian Armed Forces -- Episode 175 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Lt Gen Prakash Menon).
    6. India in the Nuclear Age -- Episode 80 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Lt Gen Prakash Menon).
    7. The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew and Enid Blyton on Amazon.
    8. The Gita Press and Hindu Nationalism -- Episode 139 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Akshaya Mukul).
    9. Political Ideology in India -- Episode 131 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Rahul Verma).
    10. Being Muslim in India -- Episode 216 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Ghazala Wahab)
    11. Memories and Things -- Episode 195 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Aanchal Malhotra).
    12. The Burden of Democracy -- Pratap Bhanu Mehta.
    13. What Have We Done With Our Independence? -- Episode 186 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Pratap Bhanu Mehta).
    14. The BJP Before Modi -- Episode 202 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Vinay Sitapati).
    15. A Call to Honour -- Jaswant Singh.
    16. We Won’t Need To Fight A War If We Can Win The Peace -- Amit Varma.
    17. Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice -- David Galula.
    18. Seven Pillars of Wisdom -- TE Lawrence.
    19. The Insurgents -- Fred Kaplan.
    20. The Generation of Rage in Kashmir -- David Devadas.
    21. The Lost Rebellion: Kashmir in the Nineties -- Manoj Joshi.
    22. First They Came... --  Martin Niemöller.
    23. Army and Nation: The Military and Indian Democracy -- Steven I Wilkinson.
    24. The Strategy Trap: India and Pakistan Under the Nuclear Shadow -- Lt Gen Prakash Menon.
    25. Thoughts on Pakistan -- BR Ambedkar.
    26. The Promise of Power -- Maya Tudor.
    27. War and Peace in Modern India -- Srinath Raghavan.
    28. The Battle for Money -- Sushant Singh.
    29. The World of Yesterday -- Stefan Zweig.
    30. The End of History? -- Francis Fukuyama.
    31. Why China Is Winning Against India -- Sushant Singh.
    32. Guns Fall Silent on the LoC -- Sushant Singh.
    33. Line of Narrative Control -- Sushant Sngh.
    34. Looking Ahead After the Ladakh Walk Back -- Sushant Singh.
    35. Why China Is Winning Against India -- Sushant Singh.
    36. India Can’t Say It Wants U.S. Help Against China -- Sushant Singh.
    37. India's China Challenge -- Ananth Krishnan.
    38. The Dragon and the Elephant -- Episode 181 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Hamsini Hariharam & Shibani Mehta).
    39. What Does China Want? -- Episode 143 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Manoj Kewalramani).
    40. Foreign Policy is a Big Deal -- Episode 170 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Pranay Kotasthane & Manoj Kewalramani).
    41. Understanding Foreign Policy -- Episode 63 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Nitin Pai).
    42. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy -- Douglas Adams.
    43. China’s Influence in South Asia -- Episode 22 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Pranay Kotasthane).

    Check out Amit’s online course, The Art of Clear Writing.

    And subscribe to The India Uncut Newsletter. It’s free!

    • 2 hrs 37 min
    A Creator of the Floating World

    A Creator of the Floating World

    The world of creators has changed in the last few years -- and maybe advertising is dead? Varun Duggirala joins Amit Varma in episode 218 of The Seen and the Unseen to describe his journey as a creator in the world of advertising -- and the time he kidnapped people for reality television.

    Also check out:
    1. Varun Duggirala's website, Linktree, Instagram and Twitter.
    2. Advertising is Dead -- Varun Duggirala.
    3. The Varun Duggi Show.
    4. Unschooled by Varun Duggirala.
    5. Amit Varma on Podcasting on The Varun Duggi Show.
    6. Flipped Script -- Episode 112 of Advertising is Dead (w Pooja Jauhari).
    7. The Jungle Book (1967 film).
    8. This Be The Verse -- Philip Larkin.
    9. Small Town Mindset -- TEDx talk by Varun Duggirala.
    10. How Social Media Threatens Society -- Episode 8 of Brave New World (Jonathan Haidt speaking to host Vasant Dhar).
    11. The Prem Panicker Files -- Episode 217 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Prem Panicker).
    12. An Adman Reflects on Society & the Self -- Episode 199 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Ambi Paramaeswaran).
    13. Success, Legacy, Our Moral Compass & Taking the Plunge -- Varun Duggirala.
    14. Frameworks, Tough Decisions and the Force -- Varun Duggirala.
    15. Conversation and Society -- Episode 182 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Russ Roberts).
    16. The Seen and the Unseen with Ghazala Wahab and Tamal Bandyopadhyay.
    17. How it Feels to Reach 1 MILLION Subscribers -- Ali Abdaal.
    18. Staying Ahead of the Content Curve -- Episode 85 of Advertising is Dead (w Tanmay Bhatt).
    19. Future Focus: The Intimate Content Ecosystem -- Varun Duggirala.
    20. Pivot -- Kara Swisher and Scott Galloway.
    21. 1000 True Fans — Kevin Kelly.
    22. 1000 True Fans? Try 100 — Li Jin.
    23. The Balanced Information Diet -- Varun Duggirala.
    24. Stillness is the Key -- Ryan Holiday.
    25. The Ride of a Lifetime -- Robert Iger.
    26. Inside Voices.
    27. Blockbuster.
    28. The Defiant Ones on Netflix.
    29. The Minimalists.

    Check out Amit's online course, The Art of Clear Writing.

    And subscribe to The India Uncut Newsletter. It's free!

    • 3 hrs 15 min

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