Grand Tamasha

Jerry Rao on The Past, Present, and Future of Conservatism in India

Episode Summary

What's the intellectual foundation for Indian conservatism?

Episode Notes

In 2015, the historian Ramachandra Guha wrote an essay in the Indian magazine Caravan that ruffled a lot of feathers. Guha remarked that while India had a right-wing party in power, the country lacked a serious right-wing intellectual ecosystem.

A new book by the author and entrepreneur Jerry Rao argues that India in fact has a long, ancient tradition of right-wing thought. Rao’s book, The Indian Conservative: A History of Indian Right-Wing Thought, examines the contribution conservative ideas have made—and could make in the future—to the economy, politics, culture, society, and aesthetics of India.

On this week’s episode, Milan and Jerry sit down to talk about the roots of conservative thought in India, the connection between Hindu nationalism and conservative tradition, and what the future holds for Indian secularism.