Home | Talks | Forty Years An Archive Rat In Five Continents: Ramchandra Guha

Forty Years An Archive Rat In Five Continents: Ramchandra Guha


Sep 23 2022 to Sep 23 2022 5 p.m.



National Center For Biological Sciences

Rajiv Gandhi Nagar, Kodigehalli 560065

Event Description

Trained in economics and sociology, Ramachandra Guha became a historian by chance, after a village elder in Uttarakhand told him an unlikely tale of peasant protest that he found confirmation of in the archives. This was in 1982. For the next four decades, Guha has scoured archives around the world, in search of materials for his books and essays. He has done research in archival repositories in different parts of India, the UK, and the USA, and in Israel, South Africa, and Australia. He has worked in government archives, university manuscript collections, company record rooms, and newspaper offices, and consulted personal collections held in private hands.

This talk will recall some professional and personal highlights from those journeys. Guha will speak of different kinds of primary sources; government documents, personal letters, diaries, court records, fugitive newspaper reports, etc, providing illustrations of the insights each can provide into our past. Much of this work was done before the invention of the World Wide Web, when one had to go physically to an archive to know what it contained, and when one had to take notes by hand. He will end his talk with reflections on how the digital age simultaneously makes the historian’s job easier as well as less enjoyable.

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