The Gentle Colossus

An interesting essay by Indian historian Ramachandra Guha in the Caravan magazine about the venerable journal, the Economic and Political Weekly (EPW), mainly known in the academic circles for its thought provoking scholarly work.

THE BRITISH HISTORIAN EP THOMPSON once remarked that “India is not an important country, but perhaps the most epw-october-28-1989important country for the future of the world. Here is a country that merits no one’s condescension. All the convergent influences of the world run through this society: Hindu, Moslem, Christian, secular; Stalinist, liberal, Maoist, democratic socialist, Gandhian. There is not a thought that is being thought in the West or East which is not active in some Indian mind.”

Thompson may have been reading the Economic and Political Weekly (EPW), the Bombay journal where these thoughts and influences converge and meet. Rich in information and glowing with polemic, its pages are an index to the life of India. On subjects as varied (and important) as the economy, caste politics, religious violence, and human rights, the EPW has consistently provided the most authoritative, insightful, and widely cited reports and analyses. Among the journal’s contributors are scholars and journalists, but also activists and civil servants—and even some politicians.

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