359 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

    • News
    • 4.8 • 220 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.

    Seema Sirohi and the View From Washington

    Seema Sirohi and the View From Washington

    She's covered US-India relations as a foreign correspondent for more than 30 years -- and now she's told that momentous story in a book. Seema Sirohi joins Amit Varma in episode 357 of The Seen and the Unseen to talk about her life as a journalist -- and the love-hate relationship between countries that she saw at close quarters.

    (FOR FULL LINKED SHOW NOTES, GO TO SEENUNSEEN.IN.)

    Also check out
    1. Seema Sirohi on Twitter, Economic Times, India Today and Amazon.
    2. Friends with Benefits: The India-US Story -- Seema Sirohi.
    3. The Luxury Travel Expert on YouTube.
    4. The Front Page -- Billy Wilder.
    5. The Bhopal Gas Tragedies -- Episode 35 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Shruti Rajagopalan).
    6. Playboy Stories: The Best of Forty Years of Short Fiction -- Edited by Alice K Turner.
    7. Marginal Revolution -- Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrok.
    8. Persuasion -- Founded and edited by Yascha Mounk.
    9. 9/11 and Pakistan’s economy (2006) -- Amit Varma on the Al Faeda nickname.
    10. Government’s End: Why Washington Stopped Working — Jonathan Rauch.
    11. Kicking Schoolbags (2006) -- Amit Varma.
    12. The Three Globalizations -- Episode 17 of Everything is Everything.
    13. Dawn of the third globalisation? -- Ajay Shah.
    14. Caste -- Isabel Wilkerson.
    15. A People's History of the United States -- Howard Zinn.
    16. A Tale of Love and Darkness -- Amos Oz.
    17. The Bureau, The Americans, Kohrra and Made in Heaven.
    18. To Sir, With Love (the book) -- ER Braithwaite.
    19. To Sir, With Love (the film) -- James Clavell..
    20. Doctor Zhivago -- David Lean.
    21. A Dry White Season -- Euzhan Palcy.
    22. Cry Freedom --  Richard Attenborough's film on Steve Biko.

    Amit Varma and Ajay Shah have launched a new video podcast. Check out Everything is Everything on YouTube.

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

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

    Episode art: ‘Foreign Correspondent’ by Simahina.

    • 3 hr 40 min
    Santosh Desai is Watching You

    Santosh Desai is Watching You

    What is this world we live in, and how did we get here? One of the finest thinkers on this subject is in the house. Santosh Desai joins Amit Varma in episode 356 of The Seen and the Unseen to discuss Indian society and this changing world.

    (FOR FULL LINKED SHOW NOTES, GO TO SEENUNSEEN.IN.)

    Also check out:
    1. Santosh Desai on Twitter, the Times of India, LinkedIn, Futurebrands and his own website.
    2. Mother Pious Lady: Making Sense Of Everyday India -- Santosh Desai.
    3. Indian Society: The Last 30 Years — Episode 137 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Santosh Desai).
    4. The Slimfit Conspiracy -- Santosh Desai.
    5. Pushpesh Pant Feasts on the Buffet of Life — Episode 326 of The Seen and the Unseen.
    6. The Great Indian Rope Trick? -- Santosh Desai.
    7. We Are All Amits From Africa — Episode 343 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Krish Ashok and Naren Shenoy).
    8. Subhashish Bhadra on Our Dysfunctional State — Episode 333 of The Seen and the Unseen.
    9. Nothing is Indian! Everything is Indian! — Episode 12 of Everything is Everything.
    10. Nick Carter, PG Wodehouse and Arthur Hailey on Amazon.
    11. Roland Barthes and Umberto Eco on Amazon.
    12. The Wisden Book of Test Cricket (1877-1977) — Compiled & edited by Bill Frindall.
    13. Lessons from an Ankhon Dekhi Prime Minister — Amit Varma’s column on reading.
    14. Dom Moraes on Amazon, Wikipedia, Britannica and Poem Hunter.
    15. The Indianness of Indian Food — Episode 95 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Vikram Doctor).
    16. Films, Feminism, Paromita — Episode 155 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Paromita Vohra).
    17. The Poetic Feminism of Paromita Vohra — Episode 339 of The Seen and the Unseen.
    18. Episodes of The Seen and the Unseen with Ramachandra Guha: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
    19. A Meditation on Form — Amit Varma.
    20. Dreamers: How Indians are Changing the World -- Snigdha Poonam.
    21. Young India — Episode 83 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Snigdha Poonam).
    22. The Loneliness of the Indian Man — Episode 303 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Nikhil Taneja).
    23. India Moving — Chinmay Tumbe.
    24. India = Migration — Episode 128 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Chinmay Tumbe).
    25. The Guilty Pleasures of Digital Dawdling -- Santosh Desai.
    26. 30 years on, you can get what you want but don’t know what you need -- Santosh Desai.
    27. How traditions give meaning to our lives -- Santosh Desai.
    28. The Median Voter Theorem.
    29. Mohammad Zubair’s Twitter thread on the Dharam Sansad.
    30. Inverting the Behaviour Change Paradigm? -- Santosh Desai.
    31. A Life in Indian Politics — Episode 149 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Jayaprakash Narayan).
    32. Jayaprakash Narayan Wants to Mend Our Democracy -- Episode 334 of The Seen and the Unseen.
    33. India’s Lost Decade — Episode 116 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Puja Mehra).
    34. Living Two Lives in Digital India -- Santosh Desai.
    35. Kashi Ka Assi — Kashinath Singh.
    36. The Experience Machine.
    37. Anarchy, State and Utopia — Robert Nozick.
    38. Song of Myself — Walt Whitman.
    39. Baaba Maal and Advaita on Spotify..
    40. Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Henri Rousseau, Paul Cézanne, Krishen Khanna, Jayasri Burman and Gogi Saroj Pal.
    41. Sudhir Kakar, Ashis Nandy, Roland Barthes, Marshall McLuhan, Walter Ong and John Berger on Amazon.
    42. Ways of Seeing -- John Berger.

    Amit Varma and Ajay Shah have launched a new video podcast. Check out Everything is Everything on YouTube.

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

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

    Episode art: ‘He Sees Everything’ by Simahina.

    • 3 hr 26 min
    The Life and Times of KP Krishnan

    The Life and Times of KP Krishnan

    India has travelled a long way in the last few decades -- and one man had an inside view of the whole process, shaping policy and trying to fix the nation. KP Krishnan joins Amit Varma in episode 355 of The Seen and the Unseen to talk about his extraordinary life and learnings.

    (FOR FULL LINKED SHOW NOTES, GO TO SEENUNSEEN.IN.)

    Also check out:
    1. KP Krishnan at Centre for Policy Research..
    2. KP Krishnan interviewed in CPR Perspectives by Rohan Venkat: Part 1, Part 2.
    3. Episodes of The Seen and the Unseen with Ajay Shah: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13.
    4. The Importance of the 1991 Reforms — Episode 237 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Shruti Rajagopalan and Ajay Shah).
    5. India’s Lost Decade — Episode 116 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Puja Mehra).
    6. The Forgotten Greatness of PV Narasimha Rao — Episode 283 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Vinay Sitapati).
    7. The Life and Times of Montek Singh Ahluwalia — Episode 285 of The Seen and the Unseen.
    8. India’s Massive Pensions Crisis -- Episode 347 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Ajay Shah & Renuka Sane).
    9. Taking Stock of Our Economy (May 2021) — Episode 227 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Ila Patnaik).
    10. What a Long Strange Trip It’s Been — Episode 188 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Arvind Subramanian).
    11. Josh Felman Tries to Make Sense of the World -- Episode 321 of The Seen and the Unseen.
    12. The Tragedy of Our Farm Bills — Episode 211 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Ajay Shah).
    13. The Art and Science of Economic Policy — Episode 154 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Vijay Kelkar & Ajay Shah).
    14.  In Service of the Republic — Vijay Kelkar & Ajay Shah.
    15. The Steady Determination of Yamini Aiyar — Episode 341 of The Seen and the Unseen.
    16. The Lost Decade -- Puja Mehra.
    17. Why Freedom Matters — Episode 10 of Everything is Everything, hosted by Amit Varma and Ajay Shah.
    18. Episodes of The Seen and the Unseen with Ramachandra Guha: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
    19. Ivan Menezes (1959-2023): A personal recollection of his journey -- Arvind Subramanian.
    20. College pedigree, daddy’s name, BBC accent no longer golden ticket. India has a growing new elite -- Shekhar Gupta.
    21. Memoirs of a Maverick -- Mani Shankar Aiyar.
    22. Why Talent Comes in Clusters -- Episode 8 of Everything is Everything, hosted by Amit Varma and Ajay Shah.
    23. KM Nanavati v. State of Maharashtra.
    24. Rustom -- Tinu Suresh Desai.
    25. Kesavananda Bharati v. The State of Kerala Who Wins? -- PK Tripathi.
    26. The Rooted Cosmopolitanism of Sugata Srinivasaraju — Episode 277 of The Seen and the Unseen.
    27. The China Model is Broken -- Episode 16 of  Everything is Everything, hosted by Amit Varma and Ajay Shah.
    28. Early Indians — Episode 112 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Tony Joseph).
    29. Early Indians — Tony Joseph.
    30. Who We Are and How We Got Here — David Reich.
    31. The Incredible Insights of Timur Kuran -- Episode 349 of The Seen and the Unseen.
    32. The Gita Press and Hindu Nationalism — Episode 139 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Akshaya Mukul).
    33. Gita Press and the Making of Hindu India -- Akshaya Mukul.
    34. Hindi Against India: The Meaning of DMK -- Mohan Ram.
    35. Governments across the world are discovering “homeland economics” -- Callum Williams.
    36. Living Two Lives in Digital India -- Santosh Desai.
    37. Rahul Matthan on Twitter, Amazon, LinkedIn and Trilegal.
    38. Climate Change and Our Power Sector — Episode 278 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Akshay Jaitley and Ajay Shah).
    39. Ashutosh Salil and the Challenge of Change — Episode 312 of The Seen and the Unseen.
    40. Vishnu Sahasranamam - MS Subbulakshmi.
    41. Foyle's War -- Created by Anthony Horowitz.
    42. Fixing Indian Education — Episode 185 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Karthik Muralidharan).
    43. Understanding Indian Healthcare — Episode 225 of The Seen an

    Figuring Out Motherhood

    Figuring Out Motherhood

    Motherhood is a terrifying condition that changes a woman's life forever. Forget coping with it -- how do you even understand it? Priya Mathews and Gunjan Grover Gupta join Amit Varma in episode 354 of The Seen and the Unseen to discuss all they have learnt from being mothers, processing the experience, and their cult podcast, The Mommy Mix Tape.

    (FOR FULL LINKED SHOW NOTES, GO TO SEENUNSEEN.IN.)

    Also check out:
    1. Priya Mathews and Gunjan Grover Gupta on Instagram..
    2. The Mommy Mix Tape -- The most awesome parenting podcast ever by Priya Mathews, Bakul Dua and Gunjan Grover Gupta.
    3. The Mommy Mix Tape on Instagram.
    4. A Life's Work -- Rachel Cusk.
    5. Of Woman Born -- Adrienne Rich.
    6. The Child, the Family, and the Outside World -- Donald Winnicott.
    7. Select episodes on The Seen and the Unseen that touched on feminism & gender with Paromita Vohra (1, 2), Kavita Krishnan, Mrinal Pande, Kavitha Rao, Namita Bhandare, Shrayana Bhattacharya, Mukulika Banerjee, Manjima Bhattacharjya, Nilanjana Roy, Urvashi Butalia, Mahima Vashisht, Alice Evans, Ashwini Deshpande, Natasha Badhwar, Shanta Gokhale, Arshia Sattar, Rohini Nilekani and Shaili Chopra.
    8. In a Silent Way — Episode 316 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Gaurav Chintamani).
    9. Gaurav Chintamani on Instagram.
    10. What Is It Like to Be a Bat? — Thomas Nagel.
    11. Wanting — Luke Burgis.
    12. Luke Burgis Sees the Deer at His Window — Episode 337 of The Seen and the Unseen.
    13. René Girard on Amazon and Wikipedia.
    14. Womaning in India With Mahima Vashisht — Episode 293 of The Seen and the Unseen.
    15. Womaning in India — Mahima Vashisht’s newsletter.
    16. Pallavi Aiyar Has Seen the World -- Episode 351 of The Seen and the Unseen.
    17. Babies and Bylines — Pallavi Aiyar.
    18. India = Migration — Episode 128 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Chinmay Tumbe).
    19. India Moving — Chinmay Tumbe.
    20. The Loneliness of the Indian Woman — Episode 259 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Shrayana Bhattacharya).
    21. The Loneliness of the Indian Man — Episode 303 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Nikhil Taneja).
    22. Murali Neelakantan Looks at the World — Episode 329 of The Seen and the Unseen.
    23. The Nurture Assumption -- Judith Rich Harris.
    24. This Be The Verse — Philip Larkin.
    25. The Importance of the 1991 Reforms — Episode 237 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Shruti Rajagopalan and Ajay Shah).
    26. Happiness Class: A Film by Samina Mishra.
    27. Natasha Badhwar Lives the Examined Life — Episode 301 of The Seen and the Unseen.
    28. Our Unlucky Children (2008) — Amit Varma.
    29. Hold on to Your Kids -- Gordon Neufeld and Gabor Maté.
    30. The Breeders on Disney Hotstar.
    31. My Daughter's Mum -- Natasha Badhwar.
    32. I Will -- The Beatles.
    33. All You Need is Love -- Shelja Sen.
    34. The Whole-Brain Child -- Daniel J Siegel & Tina Payne Bryson.
    32. Frances Ha -- Noah Baumbach.
    33. The Lost Daughter -- Maggie Gyllenhaal.
    34. How to Apologize -- David LaRochelle & Mike Wohnoutka.
    35. I Talk Like a River -- Jordan Scott & Sydney Smith.
    36. Cry, Heart, But Never Break --  Glenn Ringtved & Charlotte Pardi.
    37. A Stone For Sascha -- Aaron Becker.
    38. Journey -- Aaron Becker.
    39. How War Changed Rondo -- Romana Romanyshyn & Andriy Lesiv.
    40. The Wanderer --  Peter Van den Ende.
    41. Cicada -- Shaun Tan.
    42. The Arrival -- Shaun Tan.

    Amit Varma and Ajay Shah have launched a new video podcast. Check out Everything is Everything on YouTube.

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

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

    Episode art: ‘Mother Looking Out, Looking In’ by Simahina.

    • 3 hr 2 min
    Apar Gupta Fights the Good Fight

    Apar Gupta Fights the Good Fight

    How does technology affect our rights? Do we need protection from the state and Big Tech? Apar Gupta joins Amit Varma in episode 353 of The Seen and the Unseen to discuss his battle for digital rights in India.

    (FOR FULL LINKED SHOW NOTES, GO TO SEENUNSEEN.IN.)

    Also check out
    1. Apar Gupta on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, IFF and YouTube.
    2. Internet Freedom Foundation. (Donate to it!)
    3. Apar Gupta's application to the Ashoka Fellowship (effectively a mini-autobiography).
    4. IFF Wrapped, Unwrapped -- 2022 year-end event.
    5. The Fine Line of Free Speech in India -- Apar Gupta.
    6. When lawyers speak, they argue -- Apar Gupta.
    7. I Don't Know -- Apar Gupta.
    8. The archives of India Law and Technology Blog.
    9. Aakar Patel Is Full of Hope — Episode 270 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Aakar Patel).
    10. The Life and Times of Teesta Setalvad — Episode 302 of The Seen and the Unseen.
    11. Amartya Ghosh on Spotify.
    12. Neighbours Envy, Owners Pride -- Onida commercial.
    13. Mungerilal Ke Haseen Sapne.
    14. Permanent Record -- Edward Snowden.
    15. Nehru's India -- Taylor Sherman.
    16. The Life and Times of Vir Sanghvi — Episode 236 of The Seen and the Unseen.
    17. India’s Problem is Poverty, Not Inequality — Amit Varma.
    18. The Shallows -- Nicholas Carr.
    19. The Incredible Curiosities of Mukulika Banerjee — Episode 276 of The Seen and the Unseen.
    20. Why India Votes— Mukulika Banerjee.
    21. Vlogbrothers, Tom Scott and Hardcore History.
    22. The Techno-Optimist Manifesto -- Marc Andreeson.
    23. Zero to One -- Peter Thiel.
    24. Narendra Modi interviewed by Rajeev Shukla.
    25. Sacred Games.
    26. The Road Ahead -- Bill Gates.
    27. The Prem Panicker Files — Episode 217 of The Seen and the Unseen.
    28. Vladimir Nabokov on Wikipedia and Amazon.
    29. The Great Gatsby -- F. Scott Fitzgerald.
    30. Ruth Bader Ginsberg on Wikipedia and Amazon,
    31. The Notebook Trilogy — Agota Kristof.
    32. Episodes of The Seen and the Unseen with Ramachandra Guha: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
    33. Jinnah -- Jaswant Singh.
    34. Gujarat High Court lifts ban on Jaswant's book on Jinnah -- Saeed Khan.
    35. Shreya Singhal v. Union of India.
    36. Charges dropped against girls held for Facebook post -- PTI.
    37. Nikhil Pahwa on Twitter, LinkedIn, MediaNama and his own site.
    38. Episodes of The Seen and the Unseen with Nikhil Pahwa: 1, 2, 3.
    39. Chandrahas Choudhury on Instagram, Amazon and The Middle Stage.
    40. Chandrahas Choudhury’s Country of Literature -- Episode 288 of The Seen and the Unseen.
    41. Kiran Jonnalagadda on Twitter and Hasgeek.
    42. Sedition charges dropped against Aseem Trivedi -- PTI.
    43. Justice K.S.Puttaswamy(Retd) vs Union Of India.
    44. Hello world - and happy Independence Day! (2016) -- Apar Gupta.
    45. IFF on Reddit.
    46. Twitter and Tear Gas — Zeynep Tufekci.
    47. Radically Networked Societies — Episode 158 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Pranay Kotasthane).
    48. Anushka Jain's thread on SRK and digital rights.
    49. IFF's Aarogya Setu Infographic.
    50. The AgriStack: A Primer -- Rohin Garg.
    51. Naushad Forbes Wants to Fix India — Episode 282 of The Seen and the Unseen.
    52. The Struggle And The Promise -- Naushad Forbes.
    53. Shruti Rajagopalan on our constitutional amendments.
    54. The Right to Property — Episode 26 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Shruti Rajagopalan).
    55. The Ideas of Our Constitution — Episode 164 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Madhav Khosla).
    56. Emergency Chronicles — Gyan Prakash.
    57. Gyan Prakash on the Emergency — Episode 103 of The Seen and the Unseen.
    58. The Importance of the 1991 Reforms — Episode 237 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Shruti Rajagopalan and Ajay Shah).
    59. India’s Lost Decade — Episode 116 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Puja Mehra).
    60. The Life and Times of Montek Singh Ahluwalia — Episode 285 of The Seen and the

    • 4 hr 44 min
    The Bankable Wisdom of Harsh Vardhan

    The Bankable Wisdom of Harsh Vardhan

    He's been a consultant, an expert on the financial sector, and now lives a life of the mind. Harsh Vardhan joins Amit Varma in episode 352 of The Seen and the Unseen to discuss his life and learnings.

    (FOR FULL LINKED SHOW NOTES, GO TO SEENUNSEEN.IN.)

    Also check out:
    1. Harsh Vardhan on The Leap Blog, Ideas for India, Money Control and Bloomberg Quint.
    2. Episodes of The Seen and the Unseen with Ajay Shah: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13.
    3. Gabriel García Márquez, Isabel Allende, Mario Vargas Llosa and VS Naipaul on Amazon.
    4. BS Mardhekar on Wikipedia and Amazon.
    5. Vijay Tendulkar (Wikipedia, Amazon) and Mahesh Elkunchwar (Wikipedia, Amazon).
    6. Mirza Ghalib on Wikipedia and Rekhta.
    7. The Life and Times of Abhinandan Sekhri — Episode 254 of The Seen and the Unseen.
    8. What Really Happened? — Lawrence H White on the 2008 Financial Crisis.
    9. Fragile by Design -- Charles Calomiris and Stephen Haber.
    10. The post-pandemic credit landscape in India -- Rajeswari Sengupta and Harsh Vardhan.
    11. ‘Consumerisation’ of banking in India: Cyclical or structural? --  Rajeswari Sengupta and Harsh Vardhan.
    12. A decade of credit collapse in India -- Harsh Vardhan.
    13. Thinking about financial sector reforms in India -- Rajeswari Sengupta and Harsh Vardhan.
    14. The Metamorphosis -- Franz Kafka.
    15. Lord of the Flies -- William Golding.
    16. Human -- Michael Gazzaniga.
    17. The Blank Slate -- Steven Pinker.
    18. Thinking, Fast and Slow -- Daniel Kahneman.
    19. Murali Neelakantan Looks at the World -- Episode 329 of The Seen and the Unseen.
    20. Who Is Bharat Mata? -- Edited by Purushottam Agrawal.
    21. Kishori Amonkar and Kumar Gandharva on Spotify.
    22. The Wonder That Was India -- AL Basham.
    23. Romila Thapar on Amazon.
    24. Desert Island Discs on BBC.

    Amit Varma and Ajay Shah have launched a new video podcast. Check out Everything is Everything on YouTube.

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

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

    Episode art: ‘Bank on Him’ by Simahina.

    • 3 hr 4 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
220 Ratings

220 Ratings

Rita Mishra ,

Timeless

Amit Varma redefines the podcast experience. It’s special to find someone who is both intelligent and able to touch humanity from the inside. And his voice stays with you.

uppercrusttrophy ,

Great

Always interesting to listen to - sometimes just parts and sometimes the whole thing at double speed

Jinimeany ,

Sheer bliss

Found this my happen stants. What a beautiful listen. Allowing each peron to speak their point of view without interruption. An in depth understanding of todays society. I am an Indian living in US who crave to find a way to connect with home that relates. I find that this is a mordern India that I connects with. This is a refreshing podcast. Thank you.

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