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[00:00:06]

When I think about the battle for India's independence, I have to sometimes remind myself of the shifting meaning of both those words. For much of our freedom struggle, the word India would have had a shifting, nebulous meaning without the firm shape of the nation state that we know by that name today. And equally, what was independence. Our early freedom fighters cared about the well-being of our people and negotiated for greater rights. But independence in the specific shades of meaning of 1947 took shape pretty late in the game.

[00:00:39]

This is especially so when I think of our 19th century leaders who had the harsh reality of the British Empire to work with the reality. They could not wish we went. That not only fought for his fellow Indians, what exactly was he fighting for?

[00:00:56]

Welcome to the Scene and The Unseen, our weekly podcast on economics, politics and behavioral science. Please welcome your host of Vardaman. Welcome to the scene in The Unseen, today's episode is about Broadway now Ruggie, known in our popular culture as a grand old man of India, a man who Mohandas Gandhi once called father of the nation. Now, Rajiv was an inspiration not just for Gandhi, but an entire generation of freedom fighters. And he epitomized what is known as a moderate school within the Congress party.

[00:01:31]

He wanted peaceful change from within the system, so much so that he became the first Indian to win election into the British parliament so that he could push for change from within. He was 67 years old at the time with a lifetime of activism behind him and in his last years, having failed in his moderate ways, he turned towards a so-called extremist wing of the Congress party. Men like Bogon gathered and gave them reason to be inspired. By the way, no, Ruggie lived into his 90s.

[00:01:59]

And when a man spent so many decades in public life, beginning with fighting for the education of girls and ending with the battle against Empire, it's hard to build a simple narrative around him. Like so many other great figures in our freedom struggle. Now, Ruggie contained multitudes. My guest today on the show is Danya Patil, whose outstanding biography of neurology simply titled Now Energy Pioneer of Indian Nationalism is on the stands now. It's a rich and nuanced look at analogy's life, not just giving a sense of the interior life of this complex man, but also painting a vivid picture of Indian society and British politics.

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I had been hearing rave reviews of the new book for a while now, and I was delighted to get him onto the show. Before we begin our conversation, though, let's take a quick commercial break. Are you one of those people who not only loves to read, but also wants to write better? If so, I have something for you. Since April this year, I've been teaching an online course called The Art of Writing for Webinars spread out over four Saturdays in which I share whatever I've learned about the craft and practice of writing over 25 years as a professional writer.

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The course also contains many writing exercises, discussions on email and WhatsApp and much interactivity. It goes through these ten thousand or a hundred and fifty dollars. You can check out the details at India. Uncute dot com slash clear writing. This link will be in the señores. If you want to bridge the gap between the thoughts in your head and the words on the page, then the art of clear writing might be just what you need. September matches begin on Saturday, September 5th.

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So hurry and register before then. India uncute dot com slash your writing. Danielle, welcome to the scene in The Unseen, thank you. It's good to be here, Dinara. I love reading your book and I know that you especially because despite my deep interest in Indian history, I hadn't really read much about him. You know, he was a peripheral figure in all the other books I read on Gockley and the 19th century food and struggle and so on.

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And part of the reason, of course, is that your book is really the first comprehensive biography out there. But before we get started on the book, which, you know, had so many powerful moments for me and I enjoyed reading so thoroughly, I know a little bit about yourself. You know, what has your journey been like? Not just, you know, bare bones, kuduro academic journey to getting a history in history and at Harvard and writing the book and so on.

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But in general, your intellectual history, who are the sort of thinkers who influenced you, the books that made a big difference to your life? What drew you to history? What drew you to that?

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Yeah, so I have I was born and raised in the US, actually. I was I was born in Houston and I grew up in a relatively small town in California called Bakersfield, which is unlike most of California in the sense that it's quite conservative and it's the type of place that that voted for Trump quite solidly in the last election. So keeping in mind where I grew up, it's a little bit of an unusual trajectory to, first of all, land up in Mumbai and also be studying Indian history.

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But I think there are a few things, again, growing up that kind of haunted me in this direction, studying kind of the world around you when at least I was in school again, obviously before the Internet and such. I you know, while other people are reading teenage novels or whatnot, I would pick up books from a series that our library had on countries around the world. And I just got very interested in geography in the US, at least as a geography bee that takes place to take part in that every year.

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And so I just I think also just growing up in a relatively small town, you naturally become much more interested in the world around you. And the little bit of experience I had traveling before college kind of solidified that that experience. I remember going with my my mother to to visit relatives in Calcutta when I was about 10 years old. And that was kind of the first trip to India, which I really remembered and kind of left an impression on me.

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And also traveling through different parts of Asia on the way to get there between Los Angeles and through Bangkok and Tokyo. So once I got to college, at least I was deciding between two different trajectories. I've always been quite interested in architecture and urban planning. And still to this day, I kind of wonder if maybe I should have done that instead. But the other trajectory was doing something with international relations or history. And so in college, I went to college in Stanford.

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I started taking a lot of international relations courses and history courses, and I eventually studied abroad or worked abroad for the equivalent of about one and a half years. And that really was a very formative experience for me. I mean, just kind of living outside of one's comfort zone. And I studied in China for a long time, actually. I learned Chinese in college and eventually gave it up. Once I realized that I just could not I just could not do the language.

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It's a very complex process. But nevertheless, that allowed me the opportunity to live in China for a few months. And I think the year 2002 is a fascinating time to be there. Just do it all the breakneck change. I got to see the Three Gorges Dam being under construction go to parts of China that were just opening up to kind of foreign foreign investors and signs of economic development around you. And slowly, I got drawn more and more towards Indian history in college.

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And I worked for a few years after college. And while working, I decided I wanted to do a Ph.D. in history and Indian history specifically. But I did not anticipate becoming an academic after doing a Ph.D.. So even when I was admitted to my program in Harvard, I told my advisor, look, I probably won't become an academic historian after this. I'll probably go into more of a policy world type job. And I was looking at programs at MIT, for example, that had programs on on Iara and such.

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And as happens, inevitably, I guess when you're on a program, you get sucked into it so you don't really have a choice. So here I am so many years afterwards in an academic career. And when I began my academic career, at least in in Harvard, when I started my PhD, you know, I was very struck by certain things about the discipline of Indian history. I mean, when you when you study 19th and 20th century history in India, you notice that there's a great deal of focus on certain things and the rest is oftentimes just a blank slate.

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So there's a great deal of work on Bengal, specifically in the 19th century. You have the subalterns studies perspective on kind of this bottom up approach of history. You have a great deal of of writing on a few characters. But again, there was hardly anything on anyone else. So this struck me, especially for early Indian national leaders. I mean, where were good up to date book? Some writings on figures like Nyiragongo, Araneta, or those other characters, or even later on, I mean people like Adele, Azad or others where there was a scholarship.

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And so I got attracted to writing something on narrative for that reason. And the other reason was that I always had a longstanding interest in family history. I'm a partially myself. And so it was a good excuse to kind of find out more about your community and your family and now you kind of fit the bill. I mean, since he was a party leader, in addition to being a nationalist, he was kind of a natural choice for investigating and researching.

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But again, when you are in a program in the US in history and you propose to write on someone like you, you oftentimes will get a lot of stares or, you know, people ask you, what are you doing? Because at least 10 years ago, that was not the type of situation people expected you to do. You're supposed to do something kind of, I guess, to use the word more fashionable, more in keeping with some of the political orientations of the field, maybe something a bit more narrow, definitely not something on a political elite.

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So I definitely got a lot of question marks from people. Why are you doing this? Why are you researching this boring elite who has very little to do with where the rest of the field is going? And I was very lucky at this in the sense that my advisor was very supportive, first of all. And I got to meet other people who were, you know, again, slowly changing the parameters of the field. So I met Ramachandra Guha when I was probably in my third or fourth year, I think.

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But I think third year of my program. And again, I found someone who is extremely supportive and who has supported me ever since then and has again really helped shape the direction in history where now we are taking biographies more seriously. So I was very fortunate to have that particular source of help and through and through others. I've met so many others who again are kind of pushing the boundaries and helping diversify the field of history beyond kind of the ideological frames that it's been oftentimes kind of channeled it over the past few decades.

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In fact, that that's something that, you know, Annon historians don't often realize looking from the outside in that so much of history writing is driven by ideology, like you pointed out, that it became unfashionable at one point to, you know, do biography's to focus on the lives of men, especially elite men. There's no obviously wars. And you instead want to follow other narratives and look at bottom up currents of history and all of that. And so is that something that was a strain to fight against India, Kaddoumi, or did you find that meeting?

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Professional historians who don't take that approach, like Iran, for example, is something that helped you kind of work past it. And what do you feel about that? Is that a problem? Does it color the way we view history or write history? It definitely is a problem. I mean, now I think that we're seeing a bit more of a diversity in history, but I mean, when we think of the current political moment we're in right now, I mean, obviously politics and the way history has been politicized.

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If you think of, again, the whole principle of action and reaction, I mean, you can understand why we're in a particular moment right now when history has been so deeply coloured by political perspectives from the other side, from the left side. So, you know, I mean, when we have this particular narrow perspectives for studying history and, you know, India is no different and in many cases from other parts of the world which have had these ideological straightjackets, it has a knock off effect.

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And it was difficult a little bit while writing and researching the book to kind of justify my project. But with the help of people like Rahm and and others. And you meet people along the way who kind of take on a supportive role. And and I think as I started to write a bit more about what I was finding, I was I was looking at a series of papers in the National Archives in Delhi, which really had not been looked at by more than three or four historians ever since you passed away.

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Those those tons of interesting new material that one finds in such such a collection. And once you start writing about that, people tend to kind of latch on and realize that what you know, what you're going after. So even though I've always been very skeptical about theory, I've never really enjoyed it. I found it very frustrating to read in graduate school and maybe I wasn't a very popular grad student on account of that. I do think that I do believe very, very strongly in these strongly empirical groundings and methods that historians have have used and the really good historians have known to make sure to read everything that's out there as much as you possibly can.

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And that's really the example that I had from people like Rahm or others like the senior professor Asami. Mehrotra really made a very big difference in kind of providing a source of encouragement.

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And one of the things that I really liked about the book is, you know, when I get historians on the show and if you're talking about the 17th century or the 16th century or whatever century, which is not the current time, you know, I often ask things like, what did they eat in those days? You know, what was the day like? Give me a sense of the texture of their day and all of that. And they kind of blank about that.

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And and one of the things I enjoyed about the book is, of course, you said that there are a lot of papers which cover especially his London years. They don't do, you know, little quotidian bills and small memos and all of that. But from all of that, you could actually also draw a picture for the reader of the kind of clothes he wore, how that change, depending on the occasion and the thinking behind it, the kind of food aid I mean, I was fascinated by, you know, he wakes up, he doesn't have breakfast.

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He has three raw eggs for lunch while standing and all of that. And those I thought were excellent details which other historians may have just chosen to ignore because they are so mundane and banal that you. But I'm glad that you put them into. So tell me a little bit about your process. And that's really a two part question. One is the process for the project. How do you approach the project? Where are the papers located? What kind of condition are they in?

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What do you do? Do you know like if they entered an archive, you go, you take them out, you photograph them all. How do you handle them? How are they kept? And then secondly, just the mental process of then working on the narrative that obviously you go in knowing a lot of facts about which are in the popular domain. But, you know, do you kind of have to ignore them and pretend that you have a blank slate in your mind and you're discovering everything all over again?

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Given that, you know, we all suffer from the hindsight bias. We know everything that has happened intimately. We feel it was inevitable. And your book doesn't seem to sort of make that mistake at all, you know, reflected, for example, in the way that someone like Candy play such a small peripheral part in it, too. I can easily imagine other approaches to the history making because of what he went on to become giving more importance to his connection with Rugy.

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But he was a peripheral figure for India. And now Ruggie and that kind of comes across. So, yeah. So these two, you know, one is what is a process in terms of physically what you have to do. How long did it take you? What is the work like to get this out? And then and then mentally, how do you approach it? So if you are studying Indian history and the 19th or the 20th century and to a certain degree the 18th century, chances are you're going to be in one of two or three places, including the National Archives of India or the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library in Delhi.

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And I was in both places because not just papers. So when you died, there was a collection of probably maybe 50 thousand documents in this collection. And there's a very kind of long history of what happens to those papers after he dies, the captain Bombay and they rot away. And every 10 years or so, someone will fish them out and see what's there and make a catalogue. And there's a there's an attempt to catalogue and publish the papers, but it ultimately falls through.

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Eventually they move to to Poona. And those a have called on people who are done, who spends his he's told by someone who is now his first biography, was told by Masami that, look, it'll take you a few years. Just go through the papers, show me tell me what is good to publish in a selected volume. And it took the rest of our I tried it took him 20 odd years to go through the papers and collect collections for publication and eventually from Botswanans residents that got transported to the National Archives in Delhi in the 1960s.

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And by this point in time, what had originally been a collection of about fifty thousand documents when Roger died had whittled down to maybe around forty to thirty thousand documents. And by the time I got there, probably thirty thousand, maybe a little bit more. So what we have over here is a very clear track record of loss, which is true across the board in Indian archives and records because of the climate, because of bad record keeping, because of people just throwing away the collections.

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A lot of stuff gets lost. And Naruto is actually one of the best cases of preservation that we have, because at least here, the collection is in the order of tens of thousands. If you look at someone like that today, we have a handful of his letters. If you look at the images of the first president of the Congress, we have basically nothing. I mean, someone someone had these letters up until 1940, published a few and not terribly good book.

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And that's it. We never hear anything after that. What happened? So so it had a very shoddy track record of archival preservation. And at least with the narrow papers, that record was much better. So a lot have been lost. Yes, but the vast majority had been preserved. It was not in a very good state of preservation. So when I got to the National Archives and I think that was the year 2011 to start my research, I was taken to a room and said, here's the catalogue.

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Tell me what you want, basically. So only when I got to the archives to discover that these 30000 documents. Right, I thought I might be in the National Archives for a few months. I ended up being there for about two years and I only got through about half of the collection. So there's another half that I haven't even seen. But I mean, one of the nice things about doing archival work in India, which you do not get at, say, like a British library or archives in America, is that if you show to the archives that you're there for the long run and you are an honest and committed scholar, they give you certain privileges that you would not otherwise enjoy in other facilities.

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So I started working very closely with some of the archives and saying I found this document. Can you make sure it gets preserved properly because otherwise it would fall apart. And over time at least, I was lucky enough to build up a relationship of trust with them, that they allowed me to actually go into the back room and get material myself. So I don't have to worry about waiting for someone to deliver the papers for me. I could go in the back and get the material myself.

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And and that definitely helped me in the sense of understanding what the papers were like, what it's like to go through someone's life collection and how it's organised and where there are discrepancies and where there's too much material, where there's too little material. So, I mean, to answer your question, at least of methodology, I, I think the author, Robert Caro, was onto something when he said you have to go through everything, you have to turn every page.

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And of course, in a program, you don't necessarily have that luxury because you eventually have to graduate. And I definitely took much longer than I should have. I took eight years and I should not have taken that long. But I tried to get as close to that as possible. And I think at the ultimate end, it was very helpful. I mean, perhaps 80 percent of the material I collected, I never use in the book, but it helped me kind of create an overall structure of where this individual's life was going.

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And it ultimately will help me as I write my next books as well.

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And Cairo, of course, has taken more than 40 years of what is Lyndon Johnson biography, which I think the sixth volume will be out. So that I'm glad you didn't follow his example that seriously, the book and the second part of the question then, you know, when you begin how. You sort of approach you do have a preset narrative in your mind that kind of changes as you go along, or do you try to just sort of put yourself in the moment that a document is from and try to figure it out from there?

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How did the book mutate and take shape in your head? So when I started the project, you know, I read the the little material that was around beforehand. I mean, the first biography, as I mentioned, Phonology, was written by Rustum and it was written in nineteen thirty nine. And it's a great book in the sense that it's far more comprehensive than mine in terms of wanting to know about not just life. It's four hundred odd pages.

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He had access to material that was gone and lost by the time I had the chance to to look at the material. But it is ultimately colored by the politics of the time. I mean, Masani was a moderate and he was writing in a way to try to show Narok as kind of a moderate loyalist leader, in that sense, somewhat separate from Gandhi. And try to hold up now as a model of what nationalism was like before I took this kind of break from some sense of British loyalism.

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The difference that took place after the poor and Swaraj declaration was made by the Congress in 1929, 1930. And so I went into the archives with kind of this literature showing which has being quite a moderately to ultimately a loyalist, not a terribly radical leader. And again, I think the most important thing I gain from reading his private correspondence was helping me get away from that narrative. I mean, ultimately, yes. Now, during the course of his life, made several declarations talking about how he was loyal to British rule.

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He was a proud member of the British Empire. But at the same time, he was making completely contradictory statements. He was talking about British rule being evil. If you read his private correspondence with certain people, he's talking about British rule and quite condemnatory tone. I mean, he was talking about how British rule was responsible for mass famine and people were being killed in the millions because of the policies that were being pursued or not pursued by the British.

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So, you know, it kind of evolved in my sense of this question of what does it mean to be loyal? So you can say that you are a loyal member of the empire, you're loyal to the queen or the king or whatever. But what does that mean? And ultimately, I kind of understood now loyalism as a bit of a tactic and a way to kind of undercut a lot of the elements of nefarious colonial policy, he said.

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He and other early nationalist kind of built up this narrative of British rule should be that it should be X-Rite. But in reality we have white British rule should be something about equality, democratic rights, some sort of progressive impulse. But in reality, what you had in India was this very reactionary, undemocratic, fiercely authoritarian rule where progressive, any sense of progressive progressive policy was completely absolute. Right. I mean, it was a very derogatory towards Indians.

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It didn't really support education. So the idea of British rule was ultimately not British rule. It was it was some kind of idealized conception that involved separating yourself 99 percent from actual British rule. So in many ways, it was kind of a tactic. And that that helped me kind of separate my particular view, a narrow view from, say, what MASANI or others had written about beforehand. And this is important, at least from the standpoint of writing history.

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Whenever you investigate an individual, what someone writes and publishes in public is obviously very different from what they're saying in private or writing in private. And this only really comes across when you're able to do a sustained archival research. I mean, again, not something like what Carol has done. I can't afford to take 40 years, but if you put several months or perhaps years into it, you you gain a familiarity with someone's life and you're able to discern what the real meanings were.

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One of the things that strikes me, especially about how you view history today, is that we look for simplistic narratives. We and especially we make these harsh binaries. Well, the fact is that someone who's been in public life for decades is not what he was, will inevitably contain multitudes. And also what seems to happen and what you've trotted out very well in your book is that at different stages of his life and you, of course, divided his career into sort of three broad stages, but at different stages of his life.

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He's responding to incentives. And a lot of the moderating statements come from that. In that initial theoretical phase where he comes up with the green theory and because he needs to be taken seriously, he can't take a radical tone. So he's got to sort of be monitored. Similarly, when he's standing for parliament, of course, he's got to again and again proclaim his loyalty. And once that is done, of course, he's, you know, towards the end of his life, he's a little more radicalised.

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Let's let's start by sort of talking about, at this point, the early phase of his life, which was quite interesting to me, because even his early years, like, of course, he leaves Bombay when. Certainly when he goes further, when he goes to London, but even in that time, he seems to have live a fairly rich life being a community leader, you know, especially in something like speaking of feminism, starting those schools, all of that, it's tell me a bit about those early days in Bombay and what his background is like.

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He is, of course, from this Pakistani family, which had once seen much better days, but is relatively impoverished when he comes and he is expected to join the priesthood. And you've spoken about how, you know, when he's three, his father dies and that probably saves him from a life of priesthood. And even though he does a little bit of early training. But otherwise, you know, to tell me a bit about the Bombay of those days and now Ruggie growing up in what was a sort of environment around him which shaped him and which shaped his thinking about the empire.

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So if we want to talk about Bombi in the early eighteen hundreds, we automatically have to think about the places where people were coming from. I mean, Bombay, as this immigrant center was drawing and people from all across western India and in this case, the place this family came from was Sari Nusseibeh was a very old settlement. There still is a relatively large population there, and Perugia's family was from a priestly life. They could they could actually trace the descent right back to the first priest, the Zoroastrian priest who settled in Nazareth.

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And so it's kind of funny, the people in Nazareth who still believe that Jesus was born there. And if you go to an observatory today, you will see a birth place. It's a very old house. And ever since the nineteen early nineteen hundreds, people have believe that a Jew was born. Even Gandhi thought that not was born. And he went and paid the pilgrimage to that site in the nineteen twenties during non-cooperation. Noted he wasn't. But he was.

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He was born in Bombay and he was, he was born out of this kind of poor migrant perspective. I mean his parents had left Gujarat then probably the 1820 for eighteen, twenty three. And at that moment in time there was a famine in parts of Gujarat. So there's a good chance that his family was impelled to move because of the real spectre of poverty. And that was the same reason that was pushing people by cities. Gujarat, these monasteries, Concordia's from all across western India into this new commercial entrepreneur.

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So Bombay was growing by leaps and bounds in the year that was born in twenty five. The Maidan, what is now Azad Maidan, was covered with tents of people who were living there, who had just migrated from famine. So it's a city that's growing every day and you get the sense of a city that's that's really kind of information. It was also a very kind of rough and tumble place at this point in time. I mean, this is before the grand colonial buildings that were constructed that we think of when we associate that particular area of Bombay.

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So it was not an easy place to live. I mean, if you read descriptions of Bombay from this era, people talk about wide sewers that basically would lap up on the doorsteps of people. Trash was a huge problem. The water that you drank was muddy and there's a good chance that it would it would kill you. So it's not a great place to live it from the standpoint of the vast majority of people. But I think the important thing for me and many others in his generation who grew up to be important political leaders is that they recognize the power of the diversity of the city.

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I mean, unlike any other city in India at this point in time, you had people coming from all walks of life and they were all living right next to each other. So the region of Bombay that he grew up in, an area called Cuttack, is located right next to an area called Israeli border, which is where, you know, members of the Israeli community lived. It's next to a very large Muslim district. It is Vendy Bazaar.

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And just to the north of it, you have very rich Anglo Indians, spices, Jews, British individuals living in places like Bikila, which were fashionable in that day. So you've got a very strong flavor of kind of this cosmopolitan diversity. And this played a really important role in this is his early activities. I mean, he was admitted into a school at a very young age. And as you mentioned, the fact that his father passed away soon probably saved him from a priestly career and he instead goes into a free school.

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That was a quite novel experiment in this in this era, free schooling was not common anywhere in the world, really at this point in time. Eighteen, eighteen thirties. And that really commits him to a life of public service because he realizes at least he says so later on when he writes about later in life, he realized from a very early age that he owed something to the general public. They had paid for him getting as good an education as you possibly could in Bombay at the time.

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And he was learning from British teachers who was learning from Indian teachers. He was reading Shakespeare. He was reading the latest science and philosophy coming from Europe. So he received a very well-rounded education and as importantly, it was in the English language. So he grew up speaking English fluently and being able to write of English fluently. In addition to Ghodrat, he probably knew some Hindustani in Marathi as well. So that really set him on kind of this course of needing to pursue a public career.

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And so he attends Elphinston College. He kind of widens as intellectual horizons more at this point in time because the professors there are quite progressive in this area, even though the British people who are teaching a very forward looking and kind of freely associate with Indians and support the reformist efforts. And ultimately, after he leaves college, he decides to join Elphinstone as a teacher and. Rises through the ranks quite quickly and becomes the first ever Indian appointed to the rank of full professor in a colonial college in India.

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So, you know, from this very early age, he is already marked out for success and kind of is is a symbol of change in many ways because this very poor individual who's now at the very top of the Indian society and this impels him, you know, this whole experience of getting a kind of a very liberal education, feeling responsible to the public, pushes them to to adopt progressive causes. And one of them, again, was female education.

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In the 50s, no Indian community had a strong suit with female education, including the past. The past is almost as reactionary as any other community in India at this point in time. And to his credit, gets a group of fellow Indians, not just Feiss, but also Gujaratis and Russians also gets them together, forms a network of indigenous schools for girls and persists in getting their parents to send girls to schools in spite of threats, in spite of editorials against verbal abuse.

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And what starts as a very unpromising venture grows into an experiment with hundreds and hundreds of Indian girls are being educated by the mid 50s. And this is an unqualified success. So you really kind of helps tones that turn the table on orthodox part at this point in time.

[00:33:20]

Yeah, I was struck by a couple of friends who one was whose passion for education, not just self education. And you've actually done another really interesting thing that I liked in your book where when I read the biographies of people, I want to know what other kind of books that they read. And, you know, you've got a little list of that. And obviously they're all freely available on the Internet because they're you know, so I kind of looked up a couple of them and it was quite sort of interesting to try and figure out what those strands might have been.

[00:33:47]

And he takes education so seriously that at one point towards the end of his life, you quote him as saying, quote, Several honors came to me during my lifetime, but no other title created in me, that sense of pride, which I felt in being known as a Professor Stockwood. And as you point out, he was, of course, you know, the first Indian to be made a full professor, even though sort of the two people he really admired.

[00:34:11]

You pointed out at Elphinston Bogon, the other shows which Umberger and you felt you were assistant professors at the time. So he was sort of the first the other strand that struck me. And, you know, very often I think what happens is that when men get into women's rights, they get into women's rights, but they get into it looking at women as instrumental to the world of men. And now Ruggie actually went beyond that. So you've got a passage which I could go like I could almost see.

[00:34:42]

Now, Ruggie believed that good, good and educated mothers only will raise good and educated sons stopcock. But he also possessed notability progressive views on female education, arguing that it was a fundamental pillar for establishing gender equality. Indians', he argued, would one day go together and produce, would understand that women had as much right to exercise and enjoy all the rights, privileges and duties of this world as men, each working towards the common good stuccoed. And then this seems remarkably sort of progressive.

[00:35:13]

And it was clearly a cause he cared about because, like you said, he started school for first party girls and then Marussia and Hindu girls and then Muslim girls. And it was something that he cared deeply about. Also, give me a sense of you know, he founded many organisations. He was part of many organisations, notably what you call as young Bombay. Tell me a bit about young Bombay and his other community work. He also founded a newspaper called Dog for which you continued sending dispatches even when he was abroad and all of this before he turned 40, because he he lives one way when he's turned 30.

[00:35:49]

So what's going on? How is such a young man so incredibly active and already a leader in this community at such a young age? So what you said about education really being kind of a hallmark of his career, I think can be applied to pretty much all the nationalist leaders of this earlier, this kind of propaganda, Deianeira. It's written all throughout the narratives of anyone you can pick to go all the way down to people who are less known.

[00:36:17]

I mean, recently in my research, I've been coming across articles written in modern review by a lot of people who are not very familiar to us nowadays. And education is always a team and education is the key for uplifting Indian society. And, you know, I think the reason why education was so important for both now and these other leaders is that there was a general understanding that India was at a very low point in its history. I mean, most people, of course, would have no point of reference.

[00:36:43]

They would not be able to understand how rich the rest of the world was in comparison to India. But they understood a sense of what the type of poverty India was experiencing through oral narratives of parents of. Talking about how at one point in time, there was this very prosperous trade and cotton and cotton goods, through understanding that poverty was increasing dramatically just through the spate of famines, just through the fact that so many people were pouring into the city of Bombay due to terrible conditions in the countryside.

[00:37:17]

So so at this point in time, with so much evidence of poverty around you, education was really the one tool you had for betterment. And it was also one of those areas which the colonial government obviously exercised control. But you had enough space to do all to exercise your own agency. So the British officials at this time would talk a lot about how Indians need to embrace Western education and so ignorant and so backward. But they wouldn't really lift a finger for that, right?

[00:37:45]

I mean, if you look at the amount of money that the government of Bombay was paying for Indian education, at this point in time, it's a few hundred rupees. It's not much it's terribly low. So so Indians kind of fill the gap. And so I think there are many reasons why she was motivated to take on these educational activities just by serving the condition of people around them and realizing that he himself had grown up in such an impoverished background.

[00:38:11]

So there was a struggle makes people all the more motivated to to undertake such work. And this team of betterment and reform through education was something that, again, just propelled young Bombay from its very start and very similar dynamic, worked in Bengal with young Bengal one or two decades beforehand. So there really was an idea that something was wrong. The best way to help India to provide some sort of self help was education. And education could provide reform in three crucial aspects religious reform, social reform and finally, political reform.

[00:38:50]

And these three spheres of reform are completely linked. It was impossible to think of one type of reform throughout the other. And these three pillars of reform therefore became kind of the foundation upon which all these different organizations that helped to found in Bombay in the 40s and 50s come into life. So he helps establish Nonet societies, as you mentioned, he helps establish a Gujarati language newspaper, which is explicitly for the purpose of disseminating education and talking about the need for reform, not just within the policy community, but within the wider Gujarati reading public.

[00:39:30]

He takes part in the first formal political organization, the Bombay Association. Eighteen fifty one, eighteen fifty two. So it's a very well rounded attempt to kind of think about how Indian society needed to be reformed and changed in reference to impetus from the West, but also in reference to what Indians themselves thought about what was wrong and and what the situation was like under colonialism. And that definitely was a very radical streak. And all of this also I mentioned in my book how people like you were influenced by a generation of radical Marussia and thinkers from the eighteen forties who talked about colonialism being terrible and wrote about it publicly and talked about something like a drain of wealth well before Ruggie popularized the term.

[00:40:14]

So all these different forms of impetus explain how young Bombay took place and why it took place at that particular point in time.

[00:40:22]

And, you know, just on a tangent, to use a phrase which is possibly become overused these days. But is it a sense of what is the idea of India if there is an idea of India or what are the ideas of India floating around in the ether, which, you know, now you can sort of imbibe and take further? Absolutely, yeah.

[00:40:44]

I mean, depending on what sources you're looking at, India still could be it still could include Afghanistan. It could include Singapore. It could include what what was called the East. India is in the sense of what we now know is Indonesia and Malaysia. And certainly since there were Indian populations in all of these places, there was an understanding of India validly being a part of these regions. But that definitely is a sense that the subcontinent, as we think of it, everything south of the the Himalayas and the and the Hindu Kush being India, that's that sense is definitely coming into play.

[00:41:19]

I mean, when you when you read the newspapers from this era, people are talking about what's going on in Bengal, what's going on in Madras. We're also talking about what's going on in Ceylon. And eventually, by the time of the mutiny, the parts of North India gather people's interest. But there definitely is a sense that there is this kind of continuous unit. I mean, yes, there's a great degree of diversity in it, but there's a certain commonality.

[00:41:43]

And the alternative is the idea that we should think about what Bengalis are thinking about, because ultimately we're part of the same M.O. We should exchange letters with whatever political association is taking place in. Because ultimately, their concerns are very similar to what we're talking about also. So, you know, there was, I think, a certain sense of cultural cohesion happening and we can't discredit the role of at least British colonial administration in this process. I mean, the fact that all of these places were under British colonial administration obviously got people talking about how they could jointly together campaign for better rights towards the same government and just looking at what sort of shapes and outrages of personality and his approach to dealing with the British or the famous moderate approach, quote unquote.

[00:42:33]

So to say you, how big a role did the contingency of just the environment around him in Bombay play in that? Because it strikes me like there's one passage where you write, quote, As a student, biology was exposed to a constant tussle between a miserly government and Indian stakeholders demanding more resources and better funding. He did not have to look far beyond the classroom walls to observe the many yawning gaps between imperial rhetoric and reality. Stockwood and what the sense that I got from your chapter on this phase of his life is that no one, whatever empire, might be at a personal level.

[00:43:11]

Like you said, the teachers or the British teachers he encounters are Elphinstone are very progressive and, you know, different from what the establishment is like. Plus, there are other British people in power who take an interest in him or try to help him out in various ways, which to some extent could explain the fact that he is into radical thinking in terms of breaking away. Instead, he wants to continue doing and he does for the rest of his life what he's learned to do in these early years in Bombay, that if you want to change something, see if you want more funding for schools, you petition, you know, you try to take legal ways.

[00:43:46]

You send a petition, you try to talk to sort of all of these people, you know, how contingent is the background of, you know, how you grow up in these sort of influences and what you later on go on to do? Like, obviously, you've also looked at other historical figures like HauteLook or between 10 people on one end and, you know, maybe a nuclear Iran or the more moderate and, you know, his fellow parts of Russia, for example.

[00:44:13]

Does that make does that kind of background and all of that sort of make a difference in what you do for the rest of your life, you think? I think it plays a very large role. Towards the end of his life, analogy was rightly criticized by many radical nationalists as being too unwilling to give up this idea that the British people themselves were beneficent. Ultimately, they were on the side of justice. And only if you tried hard enough, you would you would get what you what you deserved and what you demanded.

[00:44:43]

And that sentiment, I think, stems to a large degree from what you said, his his upbringing in Bombay. He was around a lot of relatively progressive minded Britons, people who you believed in, obviously the British Empire, but at the same time were critical of it and did make an honest attempt to to help people like you. So there was a definite sense that the system, as it was in Bombay, had certain advantages. And under and the British British ruled, even though it had all these terrible flaws, at least that progressive impulse was there.

[00:45:19]

And if you if you just if you pushed and prodded enough and if you tried to convince people enough, they'd come around to your viewpoint. And that was something very difficult for you to let go of. I mean, by the time he's 80, he's just about wrestling with this idea that maybe all of this is wrong. And ultimately, something like Swaraj, where you're completely separate from the British Empire might be a possibility. And again, for someone like Delacour Weapons under APOL or others, this idea they had thrown out the window of many decades ago, I mean, they had already realised that that the sense of British justice was more illusion than fact.

[00:45:57]

And so it was much easier. They had made this realisation much earlier in life. Now, largely since he had a relatively positive experience with many of these figures and since the figures in his life were British, were more progressive in many ways, did not have this opportunity. So I think that's that's one round which we can definitely criticise analogy for not seeing a more holistic perspective on what the British public was like or interrogating this idea of what British justice.

[00:46:24]

So, you know, I totally sodeto there have been sort of these two strands that are, as you noted, useless. One is that he's intensely into education and he's a math whiz. You know, he was alive today. He'd be a quantitative, serious economist. I mean, absolutely. You know, some of that work is just remarkable. And that's on the one hand where he's on the track and a massive academic success because his first Indian professor and all of that, the other track is he's doing things within society started all these.

[00:46:55]

Those. And as part of these organizations, he started this, which started newspaper and then told he gives it all up or not, gives it all up, but leaves it for the moment and decides to go to England to basically work in a corporate job for the comers, you know, and strikes out on his own a couple of years later. But essentially, he ends up spending decades in England. Give me a sense of what's going through his head at this time.

[00:47:20]

What does he want? Ways. But, you know, these two things are so important to him being everything that he's doing in Bombay as part of young women outside dirt and equally as an academic, you know, he's making such a difference here in Bombay and yet he goes there and this is, in fact, the criticism that will come to him even later when he's settling down and wants to run for parliament after losing the first time. And you point out in your book how all his friends, including people in the Congress, because Congress is supporting him financially and morally and they're sort of with him, but they're like, no, you come back here, we need you here.

[00:47:54]

And he's still the what does he want? This was very sort of interesting to me because it's not like he goes to England and he immediately gets into activism for a better India or whatever. So I was just trying to kind of figure out his motivations here.

[00:48:09]

It's very tough to understand and figure out those motivations because so much of the source material is lost amongst those thousand documents that I talked about. There's nothing for the most of most of the 30000 documents come from after the eighteen eighty six and eighteen fifty five when he decides to go out to to England. So it's very tough to reconstruct what his motives are. But we do know that his his announcement to sail and go off to England and give up everything that he had done in Bombay came as a complete shock to everyone.

[00:48:42]

So when his superiors at Elphinston College learn that he has decided to quit and join a commercial firm that so caught off guard, I mean, apparently the school principal said to not want to fall. You know, what have you done? There are other officials in the government who are so panicked by this that they actually use the Telegraph to contact the governor. And this is the Telegraph had just been introduced into India at this point. So they're using this new fangled technology because it's really urgent.

[00:49:11]

What do we do? The this teacher is now leaving and he's been such an important part of the urban fabric in Bombay. What do we do? What we do know is that narrative was only expecting to be in the United Kingdom for a few years. He wanted about two or three years leave from Elphinston and that he wanted to come back and teach. That, of course, never happened. He ended up staying on in Great Britain and he pursued a career as a as a businessman.

[00:49:36]

But if we if we tried to think of what's going on inside his mind, a few things come to mind. I mean, first of all, by eighteen fifty five, he's getting much more involved in political activities and political activities in the direction of criticising colonial rule. By this point in time, the Bombay Association was established as kind of a a more forward looking wing within the Bombay Association, where people like Baudrillard or Narrative are participating. They're much more vocal in their criticism of British rule.

[00:50:06]

So what can you do then to go to the heart of Empire and see for yourself what's going on there? What what what is the heart of Empire like and how does the the whole political process work over there? And the second reason, again, of why this would have been an attractive thing for now is that when he joins the company, he's specifically going that to work in the cotton trade. And in this area, the cotton trade was the big business for Bombay.

[00:50:32]

I mean, opium has just started to fade as being kind of this important component of the economy. And cotton was really coming in. And by being an Indian in Great Britain, you were kind of, again, going against the tide. You are cotton was flowing out of India and enriching Great Britain. Here you were an Indian going out to Great Britain in order to kind of reverse that direction and help Indians acquire machinery by which they can eventually build their own cotton and maybe take a chunk out of those profit.

[00:51:01]

So I think it was exciting in that aspect also from him. And the last component where I think it really plays an influential an idea that really plays an influential role in religious thought in this decision to go out to England is that at this time there is discussion about Indians being allowed to join the Indian civil service and the Indian civil service. Was this elite cadre. You kind of the, you know, the origins of what is now the IRS and ninety nine point nine percent?

[00:51:30]

It was it was one hundred percent at this point in time. It was British, the people working at all rungs of power of importance and the British and through a system of civil service examinations, finally there was the possibility that that Indians could be allowed to compete. And so Nyarota went out to England in part in order to kind of help guide the first Indians who came out to. In order to compete for the civil service exam, because, again, in this era, if you as an Indian wanted to join the civil service, you could not take an exam in India.

[00:52:04]

You had to shell out your life savings sale halfway across the world to Great Britain, spend upwards to two years studying in an extremely expensive, cold foreign country with bad food, and only then maybe take the exam and 50 percent chance that you might pass. So if you fail, you lost everything and you have to return to Bombay or Calcutta or whatever, humiliated. So this is not an easy prospect for anyone who wanted to undertake this effort. And now Richard thought, as someone who is interested in political matters, why don't I go out there and as a professor, try to help people and help them get prepared for this exam?

[00:52:42]

And that's initially what he does. I mean, when he goes out to Great Britain, he joins the cotton firm of the common family, but he's immediately distracted. He might have been a very bad businessman in this aspect in the sense that he's immediately distracted by political activities. He starts to campaign for civil service reform. He joins as a professor at University College in London teaching Gujarati. And this puts him in touch with people like Henry Main or other important colonial officials who are sitting as examiners for the civil service exam.

[00:53:13]

So now Rojos is one examiner alongside Henry Mann and other important individuals. And so he is automatically drawn into this political world that he could only see at a distance.

[00:53:23]

But he was sitting in Bombay and found it instructive to remind myself, and your book makes it easy to do so that, you know, going to London in those days wasn't quite what it is today that you just take a flight. I know that it took weeks to get there. And London is a shitty city in those days. It's polluted, is grotty. It's Charles Dickens is London. It's full of disease. It's a it's a mess. Life isn't easy.

[00:53:47]

And you've got various parts in your book where you paint a very vivid picture of sort of the trouble you had in just adjusting that and why he became such a focal point of the community. At this point, it's time to actually sort of begin with what in your book you describe as the three phases of everybody's life, just the beginning of phase one when he lands up in London. So let's take a quick commercial break and then we'll get into the meat and bones of it as soon as we are back.

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[00:55:35]

Welcome back to the scene in The Unseen. I'm chatting with Daniel Patel on his excellent biography of the by analogy. And you know, at this point now Ruggie has reached London and we have reached London within the year 1855 and now begins sort of the first phase, or rather, he moves towards the first phase of his career, which you describe as a theoretical phrase, where he comes up with what is known as a dream theory. And one of the interesting points you made here, as you pointed out, how technology is often considered an economic nationalist.

[00:56:10]

But you point out that economic nationalism and political nationalism for him kind of go together so intimately enmeshed. So tell me a little bit about the kind of work he does during this period. What is his thesis? What is the solution?

[00:56:25]

Economic nationalism and political nationalism, at least in my perspective, at least in in light of religious, where are two sides of the same coin? Ruggie began his interest and began pursuing an interest in Indian poverty. Out of the question of reform, government reform and ultimately poverty becomes the rationale for political reform in India. And I think there are a few reasons why. Again, he starts to think about poverty and reform at the same time. So again, if you are in London in the late 50s and the early 1960s, you are in the biggest city of the world.

[00:57:04]

You are the most powerful city in the world. As you mentioned, you're a terrible city. I mean, its horribly polluted, it's smelly, it's dirty. The Thames smells like sulfur. The food is awful, of course. I mean, so it's a difficult place to be. But it's also it's a fascinating place to be. It's kind of like Bombay today. I mean, it's, you know, it's about, you know, dirty and smelly, but also very exciting and very you know, it's it's an exciting place to be in.

[00:57:31]

And in this era, when O.J. is in London, again, he realizes just how rich, in spite of all these terrible things about London, how rich Great Britain is in comparison to India. You know, the country is booming. It's the world's most prosperous country, the factories everywhere. There's a large working class that's being slowly empowered through political reform that politicians who are talking about democratization. And at this at the same time, being in London and Liverpool, which was the other city he lived in, he was miles away from the places where all the wealth of empire was dumped and distributed across the country.

[00:58:09]

So when we think of the drain of wealth, he was at the very end of the spigot. I mean, he saw the wealth that had been drained out, you know, come to British shores and be disseminated through the banks and bank accounts of various British individuals. So, you know, there's a very vivid kind of understanding of how imperialism works when you're at the very heart of empire. And again, the last reason for why this area is particularly important is what is going on around the empire and globally at this moment.

[00:58:37]

So, of course, in the early sixties, you have the American Civil War, which has an immediate global knock off effects. All of a sudden, in one stroke, the cotton that had been feeding this great industrial machine in Great Britain is cut off. It had come from the American South. And there's this huge part that people would have written about it in his book, Empire of Cotton. What do you do? You know, the cotton that was sustaining your industrial prowess is no longer there.

[00:59:03]

But eventually India became one of those places where cotton was was brought in to to feed these dark satanic mills, so to speak, of of Great Britain and narrative's friends in Bombay and here in London. Get extremely rich during this cotton boom during the American Civil War and as quickly as the cotton boom ends, they all go bankrupt. Now, Roger goes bankrupt because he loans out money to friends who turn out to not have been able to pay him back.

[00:59:32]

It was a bit too honest of a businessman in that regard. But automatically you got this huge slump in Bombay, which eventually which has terrible consequences in the countryside. I mean, it contributes to to famines in places like Condition and Gujarat by the 60s and 70s. So there's one kind of big global shock. Right. That that kind of brings home this idea of how the economy is linked together and how poverty and and prosperity are, again, two sides of the same coin.

[00:59:59]

The other big event that takes place, which again is seen from a distance, is the risk of famine of eighteen sixty seven, eighteen sixty eight, where again, he never stepped foot in Orissa at this point in time. But the reports that were coming out of Orissa at this point were gruesome and terrible. One out of every three people might have died. And as later investigations took place, it was realized that this was largely preventable. I mean, there were boats with grain that could have easily been shipped in.

[01:00:28]

But the colonial officials, for various reasons, did not do it. And the result was one million people dead. And so the very first proper speech that Maruja gives on the drain of wealth, he doesn't call it a grain of salt at this point in time. He doesn't even use the word Drin is kind of in reflection to these two particular moments and especially the risk of famine. I mean, he gives a speech and aged six to seven.

[01:00:49]

So the risk of famine is definitely very much on his mind. And he asks a question, OK, so British rule, we're told, is good. It's provided us with all these benefits, rule of law. It's supposedly better than the chaos that was present in India before British rule. So you have that. But at the same time, you have these terrible famines, whereas the life that's secured through law and peace is ultimately being killed anyway, right through through a terrible famine.

[01:01:17]

So so what gives? What explains this contradiction? And that really is the impetus for understanding Indian poverty and mind. Why is on one hand, British rule being credited with giving these benefits toward India? Get on the other hand, it's very clearly impoverishing the country. Why is it this central contradiction? And as it progresses through about two decades of close economic analysis, he again sheds this view that British rule was beneficent, that it ultimately was doing all of these good things.

[01:01:49]

So so these ideas that he had during his first few speeches, that some of the drain was justified, that the services that the British were rendered were being paid back in part through the drain. He throws these out the window and he realizes that the drain itself is a nefarious process. And he realizes that, you know, the supposed benefits of British rule, like the railways, irrigation systems, et cetera, are actually accelerating the trade with the railways.

[01:02:15]

You get the wealth out of places like Kamdesh or Berowra or Gujrat even quicker and you impoverish the people even quicker. So this is also where this whole idea of radicalization kind of seeps of this kind of ability to kind of discard your previous notions and based on the facts and evidence before you go in a more progressive political direction. Yeah, it kind of strikes me you you you've given an example of how in many of these early speeches he's seen kind of fairly conciliatory things to the British where Stone is extremely moderate, like at one point you write, quote, Somewhat incredibly, he believed that part of the brain was justified in exchange for the supposed political, moral and social benefits of British rule.

[01:02:57]

It was inevitable that India had to sacrifice some of its wealth. And now you could nodoz you. If India is to be regenerated by England, India must make up its mind to pay the price. Stockwood But, you know, as time goes by, these changes, for example, at one point, you know, speaking publicly, he says, good. So far as my inquiries go at present, the conclusion I draw is that wherever the East India Company acquired territory, impoverishment followed the steps stuccoed and is far more scathing in private.

[01:03:29]

You something that he wrote to his friend where he says, quote, These Englishmen cannot understand that the wealth they carry away from this country is a whole and sole cause of misery. They take away our bread and then turn around asking us why we are not eating it. Stock to be Beiping in this private message, we want to be only economic analysis, as you've spoken about is where he tries to calculate what we would today call maybe the, you know, income per capita.

[01:03:57]

And he figures out that every Indian subject to the Empire is getting twenty seven shillings while the average income in the United Kingdom is about thirty three pounds per head and between twenty seven to forty shillings, depending on how you want to cut it. And one of the things that I was fascinated in this chapter by is his incredibly sophisticated use of data. And this also sort of evolves like you've spoken about how, you know, by the time he's finished the last of his papers on the subject, his economic analysis has developed in three distinct stages.

[01:04:36]

I found this incredibly fascinating because each of these stages is one using data generated by the British. And B, the analysis is far more sophisticated than anything the British can do. Tell me a bit about that. So in this era, again, when you are trying to get proper data on India, you are in many ways groping in the dark. It's very hard to get data at all level on data. So what the British would do is at least for economic data, they would you know, there would be different people around the country and each district would tabulate approximately what was being grown, how much revenue was being collected.

[01:05:12]

And then that data was compiled at a national level. But oftentimes it was done in a very sloppy way. So if you wanted to get even the gross domestic product, it was done in a way where lots of inaccuracies were in place. If you wanted to get the average earnings of particular places, oftentimes you just take earnings figures for particular districts and divide by the number of districts. And as you pointed out, that's a flawed process because each district was different.

[01:05:39]

You cannot compare Delhi. You say Panner district or what have you. It's a false comparison. So there were many other people who were, again, critical of the data, but only someone like you who by being in London, had access to all of the data that was at the India office and also simultaneously had friends across the subcontinent who could give them supplementary data on only someone like him, was really able to kind of take a more holistic view.

[01:06:10]

So as you said, he starts off with this original subset of official data and the picture presented is quite rosy. Does there's a surplus of exports? The economy is growing by X percentage. The amount of money that is being generated through various goods being exported like cotton or what have you is is very large. But ultimately, when you put all these different pieces together, you realise that the big components of our economy aren't that big at all anyway, in the first place.

[01:06:40]

I mean, a lot of people by the seventies and eighties technologies economic arguments by saying, how can you say India is growing poorer? Whereas in Bombay you have this huge industry that's that's evolving. And certainly in Bombay that was a very large industry. But ultimately, if you look at the whole economy of India, it wasn't that big, right? I mean, you had 30 or 40 mills. And so it was creating a lot of wealth for a few Indians.

[01:07:08]

But the vast majority of the country was still agricultural and living in rural areas of the country, which were being terribly impoverished. So it was kind of that ability to kind of balance things out and look at the big picture that helps now interrogate the data. And again, as he gains more friends around India and as he himself goes on his own tours throughout parts of Gujarat to western India, he himself collects data. He revises it and he by the.

[01:07:35]

End of his career as an economic thinker in the early 80s presents a picture where he shows Punjab, which was thought to be the most prosperous province of British India. It was also the the part of British India which had British rule for the shortest period of time only since the 40s. He says even that in Punjab, the average person is living at best subsistence levels. I mean, if a if a famine came along, they would be dead.

[01:08:03]

So it's a really striking comparison that he makes between the rows of this rosy pronouncement of official circles of moral and material progress. There were reports that the British government would issue every year on the supposed moral and material progress of India. But the reality, as he discovered, was a very different picture.

[01:08:21]

Know, I was extremely struck by your description of the stages. Again, from the book, quote, It indicates how narrow his economic analysis developed in three distinct stages approximations based on scanty data such as land revenue, as was undertaken in the Wonsan Means of India, estimates based on rigorous analysis of official raw data seen in poverty of India and finally now reduced supplementation of this raw data with his own collective statistics and observations enabling even more nuanced estimates and pointed recitation of government figures.

[01:08:53]

And then you speak about how the Punjab study, the way you pointed out, where you said he could analyse production in Punjab to twenty one key agricultural commodities, 15 types of manufactured goods and other activities such as mining and livestock, even taking into account marginal occupations such as fishing stock. And I can't imagine what he would have made of Indian data today. In many ways, it is as confusing and obfuscatory and scattered as the data back then seems to have been.

[01:09:24]

And now and here's one thing that I find so fascinating about Ruggie that he excels in so many different areas, which combines into one stream of action, but it's not necessarily so. Number one, he is a numbers guy who's actually crunched all this raw data and figured out that the British conclusions are wrong. And he's you know, he's done the rigorous analysis and he's come to his own conclusions to be skilled at rhetoric so he can actually go out and talk about it and presented and frame it in terms everyone can understand.

[01:09:58]

Three, even before he actively enters politics is actually a very good politician in terms of making all the alliances he needs to make to get access to the data and to be able to speak at all these places. And for he's enough of a policy wonk to now go from economic analysis to policy suggestion and say, OK, this is a problem there, bleeding us dry. This is what we need to do. So you do have a comment on how remarkable it is that one man can combine all of these different facets.

[01:10:28]

And and also now tell me about sort of what is after I tell me what is a political conclusion that he then reaches from his economic analysis?

[01:10:37]

It is quite remarkable that someone got this elite individual, somewhat anglicised, quite anglicised individual, I should say, also had knowledge, such a deep knowledge of Indian agriculture that he could identify different types of sugar, different types of soil, and point out where British calculations were wrong because they identified a different type of commodity than what existed in actuality. So he definitely he definitely did his homework. And I think at this point in time, again, he was he was just a complete workaholic.

[01:11:12]

His central focus of his life was understanding this process of impoverishment in India. So so pretty much every activity he undertook was somehow connected with it. Whenever he went back to India, you would obviously spend time with his family that's spend nearly enough. But he would immediately go and talk to officials and then head out to the countryside and go and look and see what's going on on the ground. Now, with regard to the political aspect of the dream theory, if you look at previous scholarship, most scholars have been quite puzzled by this particular frame of mind on the dream theory because he ultimately talks about one source of the dream.

[01:11:53]

I mean, there were many sources of the dream. I mean, in terms of natural natural goods and natural resources being taken out of the country, high land revenue. But he ultimately focuses on one component that that seems on the surface not terribly important, and that's the amount of money that's paid for the civil service. So he calculates that about thirty three million pounds, which of course was a big amount and that day was taken out of India every year and was sent back.

[01:12:24]

But that was the actual number in numerical terms of the drain of wealth and of that initially, he says only a small portion of that is the salaries that are paid to these British officers because. Those British officers retire or even if they stay in India, they send their earnings back to Great Britain to support family members, but there's a reason for why not focused on this because, again, as I said, politics and economics are two sides of the same coin, encourages nationalism of the civil service.

[01:12:54]

Is this this major political issue of this era? It's kind of the linchpin of Indian grievances, because ultimately the civil servants are the ones that are kind of enforcing this these very draconian policies throughout India. So now you and others had this idea that if you open up the civil service to more Indians and if Indians themselves are working for their own government, those policies will change. Indians would not be beholden to the same imperial principles. They would understand the country better.

[01:13:21]

They, of course, spoke the languages. So by focusing on that particular component, just the civil service, you could make your political point very convincingly. And this was something that I think a lot of early, early historians didn't really focus enough on. They asked why, why fix it on this particular small component? And you see throughout his writings that he, by the end of is his career as an economic theorist. He doesn't care any more about what percentage of the vote comes from the civil service paying for the civil service.

[01:13:54]

It doesn't matter. No matter what it is, it is. What needs to be solved in itself is the source of all other aspects of the drain of wealth. Because once you had Indians in power, those other forms of drain the drain would also dry up.

[01:14:08]

You know, it struck me while I was reading the book that I couldn't figure it out at first that OK, I understand the point is made with the data that we are losing so much money. A quarter of our taxes are just going back to England and we are progressively getting impoverished by this, but we fixate on salaries of civil servants. And then it struck me and tell me if this sort of interpretation is correct, that he figures out that politically, what can I achieve?

[01:14:33]

This is a reform that I can achieve politically, and therefore I'm going to make this the focus and I'm not going to focus about all the other diffused things that could solve the problem. And of course, the main thing that would solve the problem is the end of empire itself. He can't go for that. So this is the one achievable thing that he fixates on. But what is then fascinating to me is that he fixates on this for the rest of his life, basically, I mean, till the end of his career in England, that even when he is in parliament, which we'll talk about later, this is the one thing that he wants to do is like for 30, 40 years, he's just fixated on getting Indians into the civil service.

[01:15:14]

And you could argue that now we have an Indian civil service full of Indians and it's not that much of an improvement. But leaving, leaving, leaving that aside, you know, it's kind of a fascinating period. What also I find really interesting here is this little detour it takes where he concludes that, listen, you know, British India is not one monolithic mass. There are places like Bombay and Motherson always to govern themselves. But there are all these princely states all around some three hundred around the area of Bombay alone.

[01:15:46]

And they have less interference. And very often they don't have an English or British civil. So so we're sitting there and therefore there is there is a better scope for comparing what governance across these two places are and figuring out of good governance can actually make a difference. And rather than theorize about it, he actually takes that step and becomes a division of Baroda. You don't for a couple of years, he gets his fellow policy wonks from the young Bombay days in and they they try to do their own thing.

[01:16:15]

And that is crazy politics where the previous cabinet still exists as a shadow cabinet while they are trying to do their things. And there are you know, and there's a British guy there who's fighting with the king and the British and the king tries to poison the British guy and it's mad fun. So tell me a little bit about that kind of period. And what was he trying to do really? I mean, was he trying to sort of prove a point that he, you know, if he can govern Berlin, be if you govern properly, you'll get far better outcomes?

[01:16:41]

Is that the whole thing, that he was on the princely states in this era of extremely interesting in terms of both the intrigues that are going on and also the potential that they held for some sort of reform? I mean, when when you think of princely states nowadays, we think of reactionary old Rajab's who are holding on to power, anti-democratic. But the perspective from the late 19th century was very different. They were recognised as being the last vestiges of indigenous rule.

[01:17:11]

In many cases, the rulers who are on the thrones and places like, say, Gundel, were quite progressive. They took tentative steps towards political reform. So myself, for example, set up a legislative assembly. So so did byroade. States like Grondahl were experimenting and things like compulsory education by the by the very early 20th century. These places were thought of as being almost political laboratories. These were the only places you as an Indian could in your country exercise some real administrative control.

[01:17:46]

And it's for that reason that so many early Indian nationalist gravitate towards a few princely states. I mean, again, that actually served as a villain, not only served as a divine, other individuals in the nationalist movement were constantly advising and constantly in touch with Prinsloo officials from Hyderabad states that are now in Gujarat through Rajput states in eastern India as well. So they really kind of exercise the imagination of the nationalists. And you're right. I mean, when Naruto goes out to Baroda, it is in many ways his attempt and the attempt of his young Bombay crowd, if you will, to kind of put ideas into practice, his inability to actually implement the reforms and see whether we're right about, first of all, a drain of wealth existing in British territories that didn't really exist in the quote unquote, native states because they were under the control of of of our own people and whether or not government could be better when the people in charge were actually Indians.

[01:18:50]

Now, in any other era, in any other place, this might have been a pretty interesting and potentially fruitful experience Baroda in this period of time. Eighteen seventy three through eight. Seventy five. Seventy five is the exact opposite of that place. I mean, it was it was it was ruled by a man called monaural. And as you had mentioned, Muller out of the Gaikwad at this time was in kind of a deadly battle with the British resident, a man called Robert Fair, who was himself no angel.

[01:19:20]

He was kind of this very puritanical British officer who always tried to meddle in the affairs of princely states. He caused chaos when he was pursued and sinned by scheming behind the backs of various people. And when he goes to Baroda, he makes it his life's mission to somehow take down the Gaikwad and what he learns that Maroochy is coming to serve as Dijuana prime minister, his libit he regards as being kind of a seditious traitor who's saying all these terrible things about British rule that he actually says that he will not allow you to enter.

[01:19:55]

I mean, think about this. I mean, a native state, an Indian princely state where the British agent who's not really in power still says, I will not allow your Dubon to come into the territory of the state he's supposed to rule. It's quite incredible. And so for the next one and a half years, when Maroochy serves as the one, he tries on one level to implement these reforms that he has been talking about. And at one level, it's very successful.

[01:20:22]

I mean, he and his colleagues from Bombay clean up the judiciary. They get rid of practices like Martarano, where people basically pay for judicial verdicts in the favour. They come up with a proper civil and penal code. They reformed the economy of the imperial household. They go through the country and revise the land rates, which were quite high up. But ultimately, none of this really sticks because the the Maharajah, the Gaikwad was not fully committed to a programme of reform.

[01:20:57]

He wanted to kind of keep his cronies in power and at the same time kind of play politics against Robert fo the the resident. So now Roger gets trapped right in the middle. And many people at this point in time criticize him rightly for not being politically very savvy. I mean, he is someone who, again, has lived his life for the most part in an ivory tower. And now he's thrown into a very real politic environment where you have these two kind of inflexible foes against each other fighting for political power.

[01:21:25]

And it gets so bad that in the I think November of eighteen seventy four, Robert, the president is actually poisoned. He is poisoned by via some arsenic being slipped into his glass of pomelo juice and those glass shards. And also and it's a huge scandal. And eventually it's discovered that the guy quite a might have been behind this, which is scandalous, right? I mean, things have got that bad. And luckily now Roger resigns just before the things go to the wall and the Gaikwad is removed.

[01:22:00]

But ultimately, it's quite a disappointing experience. I mean, not only at one point kind of validates his his idea that Indians, if they are in power, can, you know, kind of implement their own reforms. And he always had this idea that good government is no excuse for native government, indigenous government. And so in that sense, it's it's validated. But at the same time, he realizes that Indians, when they empower themselves, are not always going to be these these very selfless individuals who are out for helping the fellow countrymen.

[01:22:29]

They have their own motives when they're in power and their own power dynamics and the princely state system. There's a reason why nationless eventually fall out of these princess fall out of favor with nationless, especially by the time of Gandy's and Naruse generation, because ultimately they are one element. They are unrepresentative and undemocratic leaders. I mean, it took a Seijiro to kind of take that step of reforming. But ultimately, at the end of the day, Seijiro still wanted to stay in power.

[01:22:57]

And and by Gandhi on time, Indian nationalism had moved beyond that stage by these principled rulers were very real political use to them.

[01:23:05]

And it's also, like you pointed out, the timing is just crazy that he actually goes in there and gets this great team together and makes a few changes. But the optics are terrible because the Indian guy tried to kill the British guy. So what are you going to talk about this? Yeah, no, no. The interesting thing after this is that at this point, he decides that, you know, he moves on to the second phase like he's done the critical phase.

[01:23:29]

And this is sort of a transition, I guess, between the theoretical phase of the second phase, which is a political phase, where he decides that, OK, I need to now get into British Parliament because it looks like that is the only way I'll be able to make a difference. And there is sort of the concept of this. There is some precedent, like at one point in your book, you write about Rajaram Good in 1828, rather, Mohun dispatch petitions to both houses of Parliament protesting the company's intention to restrict membership in grand juries only to Christians, a matter that he vigilantly pursued in Westminster after selling to Great Britain in 1830, recognising the broad public significance of his agitation against the judicial process and Nechama to go to prominent Calcutta lawyer here, Rangoon as India's unofficial MP Stockwood.

[01:24:17]

And and you talk about how you decided that, OK, it's enough of Terry and of giving policy suggestions. And here the Borodai experiment didn't work. So the only way to really change things is to get into British Parliament. How outlandish is this at the time, like at the time? How do how do people think about this and what is the thinking behind it? And you know, what happens after this is take me a little bit who is thinking?

[01:24:43]

Because just to conceive of something like this seems so audacious.

[01:24:47]

At one level it is quite outlandish. But again, from the perspective of Indian nationalism, at this moment, you are searching for the weakest link, which is the reason why civil service and civil service reform preoccupied Indians so much as well. It was it was the weakest link and the edifice of British imperialism. Now that they were civil service exams, there was a chance for Indians to compete as well. Similarly, parliament, the British Parliament was regarded accurately by the nationalists as being the ultimate source of power.

[01:25:20]

I mean, you had your viceroy, you had the various officials throughout India, but ultimately the people who they looked up to was the British parliament. You know, the parliament would vote on a budget every year. The parliament would occasionally censure of the Indian government if it did some things that it didn't like. The parliament had played a very important role under the company, under the East India Company of being a very vocal critic. So, yes, it was outlandish, but it was the best option you have.

[01:25:52]

There was. Ninety nine out of one hundred chance that you would fail, but at least it was one hundred out of one hundred, which was the case in any other aspect. So at this phase, early internationalism and the Congress to Congress, having just been established in 1880, five looked to Great Britain as the only possible source of hope. And if it meant that an Indian would have to stand to get into parliament, so be it. And now Richard was in many ways the perfect candidate to to to try this venture because he had lived in Great Britain for such a long period of time.

[01:26:27]

He spoke English fluently, maybe because he was a patsy. He might have looked a little bit more good. It might have looked a little bit more fair than that than other Indians. So he probably had the best shots. And when he starts to campaign for parliament or he starts to think about campaigning for parliament, he says, you know, look, again, I've lived in this country, in Great Britain for two or three decades, off and on.

[01:26:50]

I know many of the important political leaders here. I've talked to members of the Liberal Party. I've talked to members of the Conservative Party. And since India is a big political hot button issue, maybe there's a chance it is not the first Indian to run to stand for parliament. That honor goes to a man called Albon Bush. I spent the first month of lockdown researching his activities for the next book I'm writing and he comes very close to winning.

[01:27:19]

It's quite remarkable how he stands in a place called Deputizes by to Greenwich and comes within a few a few dozen votes of winning, but ultimately doesn't win. So the door is already open a little bit. So there are a few people who are starting to think about standing for Parliament and the way that Maroochy thinks that he would have an even better chance of standing for Parliament if he made his parliamentary campaign, not just about India. If you're a Briton living in this era, your vote is not going to be swayed based on what you talk about India.

[01:27:54]

I mean, most people have no clue about what's going on in India. They can maybe identify on a map, maybe the court. But if you link Indian political issues with issues that resonate with the average British individual, whether it was Irish home rule, the idea that Ireland should have some sort of autonomy from Great Britain at this point in time, whether you are talking about labour rights or the rights of people to unionize, the rights of women to vote, then you could catch the attention.

[01:28:23]

And so only starts to do this during his first campaign, which takes place in 1886, I should I should mention that he had started to think about standing for parliament many years before from at least eighteen seventy seven onward. But it's only an eighteen eighty six that he really gets the first opportunity to to stand. And the reason why he chooses that is because parliamentary reform had just taken place in Great Britain. So so Indians were very keenly observing how democratisation was going on in Great Britain and then using that democratisation to their advantage.

[01:28:56]

So in eighty, eighty five, eighty, eighty six, there had been these reform bills that have been passed and automatically now maybe twenty five percent of men had had the right to vote. Maybe it was a bit higher than that. I can't remember. But now more people have the right to vote. And you could you could be more popular in your in your attempts to to to woo the British voter. And so when you stood for parliament for the first time from Halberd close by to the British Museum, he doesn't just talk about it.

[01:29:27]

He talks about the rights of Irishman and Irish women. He talks about labour rights, things like eventually stuff like the eight hour day he talks to a limited degree about the right of women to vote. He talks about local municipal issues, problems with the London municipality, problems with transportation. So he sees very clearly linking together India to a whole myriad of other issues that will capture the attention of the average British voter. And this gives them a bit more of a fighting chance.

[01:29:56]

And eventually, again, he does lose in 1886. He loses by quite a large margin, but he doesn't lose as badly as many people thought that he would have. Yeah, and, you know, and I was kind of fascinated again by this video, because before this you mentioned it earlier, there was this you know, when he goes to Beirut, there is a suspicion that, oh, he's an ivory tower guy and he's going to Baroda.

[01:30:16]

And what does he know? And what I find about is in England goes read from your book, is that he his political skills are remarkable because he realizes that India is not because he is not a celebrity. You know, he knows a lot of people. How does he get ahead? And he forges these three kinds of critical alliances. You know, one, of course, with the Irish where, you know, he adopts Irish home rule as one of his pet causes.

[01:30:45]

And you point out how, in fact, by the time the election comes around, he's asking for electors would support on behalf of the five millions in Ireland and the 250 millions of India Stockwood and the other two sort of constituencies we've also had. One is, of course, the communists. And, you know, he gets more and more drawn to the communists and of course, and that that obviously means the vote base of workers and so on.

[01:31:10]

And the third, interestingly, is women and women can't even vote at that time. Right. But he figures that getting the women on his side will have other knock on benefits, which indeed it does. So tell me a little bit about the sense that we get unities. Another quarter kind of fascinated me is where he gives a speech at Holborn, which you got from where he says during the first campaign, which he loses when he says, quote, I have lived in this country actually for 20 years.

[01:31:39]

And I say that if there is one thing more certain than another that I have learned, it is that the English nation is incompatible with tyranny. Stuccoed. And of course, you know, this is bullshit. I mean, you know, so. Yeah, but what do you say? Is it because it's a means to an end? Now, my other deeper question. One is, I want to know a little bit more about your insights about how he's thinking at this time and how he's doing these alliances.

[01:32:04]

But the other sort of question I have is that one of the things that it has always struck me about politics is that politics corrodes character in the sense that you might be going out with a certain set of principles, but then you compromise so much, so much, so much, so much that you yourself change as a result of that. And those principles which you might have felt so deeply about don't matter anymore. Now, it's very clear from this biography that that didn't happen to Maroochy, that he was passionate about the cause right till the end.

[01:32:37]

In fact, when he loses his last election and at the start of the century, it's almost pitiful his reaction to it because he cares so deeply about getting in there and making change. So it doesn't really happen to him. But at the same time, it's like this is a point where his public persona and his private persona seem so different, you know? So what's kind of going on and what is your sense of how can a person, you know, how is he remaining himself through this period?

[01:33:05]

It all seems so calculated. How can it not affect you? Like one of the things that you do point out, and that does seem to be a genuine shift, is his drift towards communism, where in fact, in 1992 he attends a second international, like you point out, and he becomes more and more communist in his rhetoric as the years go by. And that seems to be a genuine shift, whereas he would not have held those views earlier necessarily.

[01:33:29]

But, you know, what is that whole kind of process like? Because the part that I'm sort of I mean, I know the question is a bit long winded, but what I'm fascinated by is not just the events that he saw cannily putting together these alliances and seeing whatever he needs to and dressing differently for different occasions, as you also point out. But you know what must be the turmoil in his mind as he goes through all of these processes?

[01:33:55]

Give me your sense of that.

[01:33:57]

So I'll just mention just at the outset, so he he was definitely much more attracted to it. He was definitely attracted to socialism. Communism, not not really. Since communism as an ideal is still evolving and the ideas of Marx have not really trickled in to at least the Indian stream of politics as yet. So, I mean, I think it's correct to say that he drifted towards socialism rather than towards communism. But you're right. I mean, towards the end of his life, he was associating with these individuals who eventually will play a role in kind of leading the groundwork for kind of a global the growth of communism globally.

[01:34:34]

Now, with regard to your question about what's motivating him at this point in time. You know, I think the really abiding passion of his life was this belief that so many people in India were being affected by poverty every year. If it was a family of millions, of people would lose their lives. And so he felt kind of a heartfelt commitment to do all that he could to try to change the situation. He knew that everything he did could potentially.

[01:35:05]

Save people from this terrible fate and his ultimate goal was to reach a point whereby the drain of wealth would be stopped and Indian impoverishment, the cycle of Indian impoverishment would be reversed. So I think that was kind of the burning fire and that was the reason why he stayed so true to his core convictions. If you look at all of his close political comrades, they were all people who had this similar kind of fire and made sure that politics did not corrode that that that sense of pure principle.

[01:35:37]

I mean, one of his good friends was Henry Hyndman, who was the founder of the first British Socialist Party. And like Maroochy, Hyndman, grows more radical as as he grows older, he grows far more radical than, of course, in his socialist views. Another friend of his was Michael Davutoğlu. As an Irish Amarula who had gone to jail because of his activities and political views. He was someone who is committed to towards pacifism. He ultimately was not there for the political glory or money.

[01:36:10]

He was there for principle fighting on behalf of his of his fellow Irishmen and Irish women. And so these people were ideologically motivated to such a degree to achieve some concrete evidence that I think they kind of immunize themselves from the corrupting influences of politics. You can argue that analogy was not a very good politician in the sense he did not compromise. In many ways. He, as far as I can tell, was not corrupt. He pursued a very honest and deliberate line in all those activities, and that nearly cost him the election in 1890 to which he won by five votes.

[01:36:48]

But you very nearly lost it because he refused to give in to certain tactics that might have led to some sort of compromise that might have been politically remunerative, but ultimately, what compromises his core beliefs and his principles. So in that sense, I mean, he wasn't necessarily a very good politician. But I think it's important to keep in mind that there were these these people and in this era, just as they are today, of course, who are so committed to doing good and achieving some concrete good, that would have real consequences for lives on the ground that kept them running.

[01:37:25]

There are people like that in this era. You said perhaps a few. I know, but we live in such a cynical era.

[01:37:34]

But I think there's still a few people out there who I want to ask you for names in this particular talking about now. You know, and but also when you talk about is obduracy, I'm struck by what happens during the second election where which finally wins, I think twenty nine, fifty three to twenty nine, forty eight or something like that by five votes, as you said. And what's interesting there is that he gets the candidate of the Liberal Party and then there is this internal rebellion and another liberal candidate says, no, I'm the candidate.

[01:38:07]

And there is for a couple of years tremendous pressure on him to back out of the race. But he is so bullheaded that he just won't do it. And he hangs in there and he somehow gets through and he faces a bunch of racism at this time as well. And one of the reasons that you pointed out might have happened then is that Lord Salisbury referred to him as a black man. And this led to an outpouring of No. One sympathy across England, because you don't see that this is clearly a bit too racist.

[01:38:37]

And the racism of it must have seemed starker because he was essentially like a British liberal, well-spoken, sophisticated, all of that. And besides outrage, it also led to a little bit of fact checking when people point out that actually Lord Salisbury, who is great for the is actually darker than him. And this whole process was kind of fascinating. Tell me about what happens when he finally wins. Like, one of the things that strikes me is that No.

[01:39:08]

One, when he's standing, it's not as if he is standing as an individual. It's like he's standing for all of India across India. The people are raising money for him and sending it to him. And it's saying he's India's guy, you know, so it's almost as if this whole nation is at his back. And then when he finally wins, you point out how when he comes to India, I think he goes to the Lahore Congress.

[01:39:29]

And over there, across the way, he does this railway trip, which is, you know, besieges Gandhi's road trip on the railways and getting more decades later where you have these massive mobs everywhere coming to see him. He you know, he lands up at Lahore and there are tens of thousands of people at the railway station or whatever, and it's just mad. So on the one hand, he is a big hope of India. He is their guy out there.

[01:39:56]

It's almost like he's been elected president of India when he gets the seat as an MP. And yet within the British parliament, he has a really tough game. Tell me a bit about those CEOs, so the two things strike struck me at least about Roger's election, his campaign, rather, I should say the first thing was that his campaign took such a long time. I mean, he was nominated, as you say, and eventually there's a challenge that takes place.

[01:40:24]

He's nominated in 1888 and the election doesn't take place until June of 1890, too. So you have basically a four year long campaign and campaigns for parliament in this area in the span of days and weeks normally. And yet still someone going in every day for for the large part of four years and fighting internal rebellions, as you said, largely based on the question of race. There are two people who challenge him. And at least as far as I could tell from my research, those challenges are to a very large degree based on the fact that he was a foreigner, someone who looked different, someone who had a name that we can't pronounce trying to represent us.

[01:41:04]

And the irony of this was that he was standing in an area called Central Finsbury, which was then and is still today a very radical area. I mean, this is an area that still has, I think, a Lenin library that was there was a statue of Lenin until recently over there. So it had this very long kind of radical political streak. And yet he's facing this terrible racism throughout his campaign. And it's so terrible that he really has to he's encouraged to quit by many people, including many of his friends, to quit.

[01:41:36]

And as you mentioned, the prime minister, at this point in time, Lord Salisbury does kind of an indirect favor to him by calling him a black man, which sets up a sets up a huge debate about racism in Great Britain. Was it acceptable to call an Indian a black? What did that mean? And, of course, there was this whole side debate, as you said, about who actually was Dacko. And that kind of reveals, I guess, a bit more about what racism was like in the Victorian era than what we'd like to to think of it.

[01:42:02]

So he becomes kind of a popular figure in this era, but that still doesn't help him. He still faces challenges after that moment to his campaign. And as you mentioned, he wins by only five votes. He becomes the other by a narrow majority. And that leads me to the the the second kind of really interesting thing for me, at least about this election, if you look at the total electoral figures, about five thousand people are voting.

[01:42:26]

This sounds kind of like a small college election. I mean, this is this is not what you think of as the exercise of democratic power in the beacon of democracy in this area. And that also shows you just how stunted democracy was in the supposedly democratic parts of the world. And this moment, I mean, the franchise, the power to vote was only extended to those men in Great Britain who owned property and who could meet a certain threshold for earnings.

[01:43:01]

And oftentimes the people who voted didn't even live in that particular district they were voting for. So you could be someone who lived in a completely different part of London. But because you own property, you own the store in Central Finsbury, you have the right to vote. So it is a very weird and wacky system. And I learned far too much about Victorian politics and kind of the intricacies of how it worked in this in this in this area than I ever would have wanted to.

[01:43:27]

But, you know, the long and short of it is, yes, at the end of it now, it is elected. He's elected narrowly, but he is nevertheless elected. There's a brief recount effort that's that's put in place where, you know, the conservative candidate tries to disqualify analogy by saying that several of the people who voted for him were immigrants or Italians or they were French and how dare they have the right to vote. But citizenship laws in this area were so vague that, again, even someone like Maroochy had the right to vote in elections almost from the moment that he stepped on.

[01:43:58]

So in Great Britain, because there was no kind of like law of citizenship at this point in time, if you were down the ground and you met your minimum qualifications for income and such, you have the right to vote. So getting to the second part of your question about how narrow is kind of conceptualize, yes, he is conceptualized as being the MP for India, the member for India, and it creates a moment of jubilation across the country.

[01:44:22]

He's flooded with telegrams and letters from not just around the world, but all corners of India. I mean, when I was looking through his papers, I found letters from Kashmir. I found letters from parts of Mysore, Providence, Chickamauga, the place where the coffee is grown from village India, from urban India, from Indians living in Shanghai or Zanzibar or other parts of the diaspora, South Africa. So this really excites not just Indians and India, but Indians all across the world and all Indians, whether they are, you know, an individual living in Mugler or a nilita.

[01:45:04]

Or an indentured worker in South Africa recognize now as being their representative. Finally, they have a voice, right? I mean, finally, there was an Indian in power who claims to speak for Indians and consequently for the next two to three years, four years in parliament, he becomes these people's representatives. So he's dealing with everything from matters of high policy, the civil service and the question of who is being appointed to watch in the government of India to the complaints of Indians living in the diaspora in Madagascar.

[01:45:39]

I mean, up until this point, I didn't even know that there were many Indians in Madagascar. But I found a Gujarati letter from Indians in Madagascar complaining about the treatment. So it's fascinating how you find letters again from Indians living in Guyana who are talking about their grievances and how Narag will hopefully be able to help them. So it's a moment of kind of unification, patriotism, not just across India, but across the Indian diaspora at large. And it creates this huge moment of hope.

[01:46:09]

And I think that really feeds into this idea of, you know, that he's held so close to his heart throughout his life, which is justice know, he's tried this hard, he's worked this hard. He's worked against the odds. And finally, after four terrible years of campaigning, he overcame, he succeeded, and now he would have a chance to make his point. Maybe there was a glimmer of hope of this idea of justice. And ultimately, it all comes crashing down.

[01:46:39]

He loses the election in 1895, and it's a moment of deep and dismal disappointment. It's probably the lowest moment in his political career. And we can go on and talk about that later on.

[01:46:50]

You know, before we get to that, I mean, a couple of strands, which I was I was fascinated by that. You know what you're pointing out about India. You know, him being treated as India's MP in parliament, as India's man out there is actually something, as you describe in your book, something that's been happening over the past couple of decades before this, also in the sense that he becomes this sort of figurehead of the Indian community in London.

[01:47:17]

So whether the parents are sending kids to study there, they'll send them a letter and they'll say, please make sure he doesn't marry a British girl. And, you know, everybody apparently is armed with a letter for now, Ruggie or person X and person Y there with the letter for now reducing. Listen, I don't know him, but it doesn't matter. He's Indian and he'll you know, so he is the dude who's already this massive community figure here.

[01:47:42]

The other thing that struck me is how late in his life all of this is happening. You know, he's sixty seven at the time he wins that election and he's born in eighteen twenty five. This is 80 90 to his sixty seven. He's 70 of the time. It's done and he's not even nearly done. Like his iconic speech of nineteen six is when he's 81 years old and we'll come to that later, which is pretty mind blowing. And just reading about his years in Parliament in your book was so impressive because one, you've described his schedule before that where this is not the age of e-mail.

[01:48:17]

So he's like getting up every day. He's devoting hours to writing letters by hand. He's meeting people constantly, not just when he's in parliament, but, you know, for years and years before that, he's giving speeches. He's doing all of this. And in parliament, you point out about how he finally gets a victory. That is not a victory. He gets a bill passed which will allow Indians into the civil service. But the cabinet, which is from his own party, the Liberal Party, then blocks it and doesn't do anything with it.

[01:48:46]

Tell me a bit about that sort of process and how it affected him, because this is where that other transition happens in his life, where he shifts from being a politician to an agitator and this failure kind of radicalizes him.

[01:49:01]

Tell me a little bit about what this process was like going going to the first part of your question, at least with regard to the Indian diaspora in Great Britain and what he was like to these new students? You know, if I if I were to have written a standalone book on this process, you could almost you could probably of Indian uncle. You know, he served as kind of the uncle for all of these people who came to Great Britain to study, to work, sightseeing everyone and anyone who is coming to Great Britain from India is asking them for help.

[01:49:35]

And this was one of the fun things that I was able to do when I was in the archives. You know, since I kept everything was it was a packrat. He was he was very positive that he kept everything. And I can sympathize being a you read the letters that were written to him and they cover everything. So family disputes my my my son has sailed to to London. He has not paid us remittances. What's going on? My husband has.

[01:50:04]

He is somewhere in London, can you help me all the way down to the most mundane of things? Can you get me tickets to go see a session of parliament? Can you arrange for me to meet the queen? I've been completely absurd, things like that. So everyone is asking him these questions. And most of the letters that I saw, there would be a small little note on top of them indicating the date, he replied. So the incredible thing was, regardless of how absurd the question was, you still had the time.

[01:50:30]

You still made the time to reply. I could have been a one line note saying, Sorry, I can't help you meet the Queen. But in many cases, it was a detailed response saying, you know, I'm trying to get in touch with your long lost son and encouraging him to write to or I'm trying to find your husband or your brother or your son passed away. I'm making arrangements for the funeral and money to be sent back back home.

[01:50:57]

So he was really involved in the nitty gritty of the lives of hundreds, if not thousands of Indians during his time in Great Britain. I mean, he really evolves this kind of his father figure or uncle, if you will, for the for the Indian community. And so as a consequence, you get a snapshot of what Indian life was like, all the troubles that people faced, their complaints about the weather, the food, British people, whether they were friendly or not friendly, and also the good things that they felt they experienced in British society, the friends, the fact that Britain was much more educated society, that socially it was much more liberal.

[01:51:38]

So in that sense, it is important to us for understanding socially how the diaspora develops in a place like Great Britain now with regard to his his his time in parliament and the fact that it has on him. So, as I said, yes, he begins in this moment of rosy optimism. And if you read the speeches he gives in parliament during his first few years, they are very congratulatory towards British rule. He says great things about what British rule has done.

[01:52:06]

It's this force of progressivism. He is a loyal member of the empire, and a very strong and distinct break takes place after he realises that the goal of his his time in parliament getting civil service reform would ultimately be thwarted. So, as you said, he succeeded in getting a non-binding resolution for civil service reform passed in parliament. And he did this against great odds. He did this at at a time when most parliamentarians were at home asleep very late at night.

[01:52:36]

There were only a few stragglers left in the house. But just enough, you mentioned that there were just enough so that you would have a quorum and a vote could take place. And this was significant because it left Batstone, the prime minister at the time, completely, completely red faced. His government was against it. It was the first defeat the government had faced and it was a defeat by a fellow Liberal MP. So it's extremely embarrassing. But, you know, this was all part of a strategy.

[01:53:04]

And when he goes back to India for the first time after being elected to parliament, it's kind of like a victory lap. And he promises that now, having passed this non-binding resolution, the British people and the parliament would be honor bound to commit themselves to this reform. And ultimately, that's not what happened. And when he realizes that this would not happened instantaneously, you see a tone, a change of tone. So he starts talking about the evils of British rule.

[01:53:34]

Again, he starts comparing the fate of Indians to those of slaves in America. He says that Indians were actually probably worse off than slaves in America because at least in America, there had been an incentive to keep the slaves alive. In India, there was no incentive and therefore millions of people died. So again, he becomes very bitter and very radical towards the end of his career. And worse than that, he realizes that not many people are listening.

[01:54:00]

So ultimately, he would have thought that once you got to the stage of being an MP in Parliament, people would listen to you. But you had magazines like Punch making fun of Narod. You saying that he's giving this long speech and no one is listening and people are just making fun of it. So it's a moment of great despondency. And as you said, he's 70 years old at this point in time. He could have thrown in the towel, retired back to India, given up and been a very bitter man, but given up and he doubles down, if you will.

[01:54:30]

He decides to become more radical. He decides to amplify his schedule. So he spends even more hours writing speeches or responding to people's letters, kind of haranguing colleagues to become more radical. And that sets up the last moment of his political career, where he kind of embarks on this much more radical phase of politics. Yeah, and that was almost kind of frightening that and I guess it's a combination of the two, but I was trying to figure out, was this radicalization because of the contingency of this failure, that he was just so frustrated that he lashed out and whatever?

[01:55:05]

Or was he perhaps expressing the radicalism he felt all along because it was now no point in putting a veneer on it that wasn't helping? Or was it simply at this point in his intellectual journey, he realized that these kind of moderate methods, petitioning and blah, blah, blah, are not going to work and therefore you have to try something else. But I also found this poignant because, of course, he misses the nineteen hundred elections because he's ill.

[01:55:30]

And of course he said seventy five at the time, but then he stands in the next elections, loses badly and then is so sad because he, he writes to his Irish friends and almost begs him for safety there and, and he's turned down because of the internal squabbles happening there. And it's like he realizes that this is my last chance I have to get into parliament and do this, get this resolution passed. And eventually that's kind of not happening.

[01:56:00]

And the really interesting thing is you think at this point he's done and dusted, but 19 or six when he's 81 years old is still almost a seminal moment for the Congress party because the extremists are fighting with the moderates. And as a way of stopping to look like you point out, you know, is being intransigent and wants to be president of the Congress. And as a way of stopping that, the Cole analogy and even though the moderates think is too extremist and the extremists think is too moderate, like you say is and they all agree to him and he goes out there and he gives a speech which makes his compadre go read out of it, which is also an interesting tactic.

[01:56:37]

Tell me a little bit about that and why is it so seminal? Why is it such a remarkable moment in Indian politics? What nobody knows is so going back as to why not Oju radicalized at this moment? I mean, I think it's a little bit of the various reasons that you mentioned. So at one point, you you realize that now that he wasn't in parliament and he wasn't immediately standing for parliament, he could afford to be more radical.

[01:57:02]

You know, he talks about self-government for India publicly in the 1884 and then in the 1880 five, all references to self-government disappear. And that's because this is when he starts to talk about standing for parliament. And if you want to stand for parliament in Great Britain, talking about getting self-government from Britain is probably not your most effective strategy. So so he stops talking about it.

[01:57:24]

And it's only and also no one's taking screenshots on Twitter, so it's OK.

[01:57:30]

Exactly. Yeah. This this is this is a much easier moment, I guess, for people's formal statements to kind of pacify and not not be commented upon. So he doesn't talk about self-government, even though it's there in the back of his mind. And if you look at his private correspondence, he's still talking about it with people like Alan Octavian Hume. And after eighty ninety five, the gloves are off. Right. I mean, you can start to talk about more radical views.

[01:57:55]

And so he starts to talk again about kind of the evil nature of British foreign, a foreign government being terrible for for India. He starts to talk about the possibility of a second mutiny because people were just so sick and tired of the terrible effects of imperial rule. And ultimately, he starts talking again about self-government and he makes this public even though he's standing for parliament at the same time. So now, you know, he is he just doesn't care that that contradiction might be there.

[01:58:23]

And I think one reason for why he's able to let the slide is because he realises the fact of mortality, staring at him in the face. As you said, he's in his 70s when he when he loses his his re-election bid in parliament and in his early 70s when he was kind of radicalizing. And he realizes that these are his last chances to kind of make effective change. He struggled all these decades on behalf of ameliorating the condition of India.

[01:58:53]

And during this period of time, again, it's that terrible things happening in India. The government in power is more reactionary and conservative. There's the plague epidemic in western India coupled with a famine. So the news coming out of India is is awful, absolutely terrible. And if you read letters written by people like Cokely or Paramjit Mulberry, you know, they're heartbreaking. When I read them in the archives some one hundred and twenty years after they were written, I really struck by just how awful things were.

[01:59:25]

People's relatives dying from plague, famine camps being set up all around the country, people leaving Bombay in mass to escape the plague. And this very kind of draconian effort on part of the British government to kind of crack down on health and sanitation in order to alleviate the plague. It was an awful moment. And so I think you felt all this more keenly because everything that he had struggled for seemed to be at stake. So a part of it was trying to stand for parliament again, making a last ditch effort to to be elected and as you mentioned, in nineteen hundred, he can't stand for parliament because he's too sick.

[02:00:05]

His doctor actually tells them if you stand for parliament, there's a good chance you will die because you're the, you know, respiratory problems that you are having could lead to influenza and could lead to other diseases that could cause you to die. Seventy five years old at this point in time. He tries again in 1985, 1986, when he's 80 years old and people around him are asking him, good God, what are you doing? Why are you a man of 80 trying to get into parliament?

[02:00:36]

And he still has that fitness of you of being to give multiple speeches a day to address multiple crowds, to write letters. Maybe it's his diet of raw eggs. I don't know. I mean, maybe that keeps them ticking. Who knows? But he still has the energy of someone who is 20 years younger and that kind of propels him in this more radical direction. He knows that time is not on his side yet. He still has the energy.

[02:01:05]

He still has the drive, and he still knows that whatever he is doing, you know, has a chance to to help save people and those in his country from even worse poverty and famine and the plague epidemic. So there's still that drive. And ultimately all of that collapses after his his Congress speech in 1996, his health gives way and all of a sudden this man of eighty one years of age who had been acting like a like a man of fifty or something, now is in his 80s.

[02:01:34]

I mean, he just cannot go any longer. But it's sustained some long enough to do what he needs to do, which is again, give that speech to the Congress in 1996 where he really kind of helps tilt the balance in favor of the extremists. As you said, both the moderates and the extremists kind of saw you as a compromise candidate. You kind of fell in between two stools in the sense that he was too moderate for the extremists, for too radical for the moderates.

[02:02:00]

And the moderates really hoped that he ultimately will help them preserve the basis of power in the Congress through his leadership at the Congress. And the few eyewitness reports that we have of what people like, say, Gokul or Metha or others like Surrender Banerji. And such a thinking after the Congress is a certain feeling of being crestfallen. They felt that nobody has really passed on the baton to the extremists. And we know that. Look after this, after the Congress speech that Maruja gives has taken place here.

[02:02:34]

Again, he criticizes not democracy, but he also says, look, you know, he has agreed with us, us being the extremists, that Swaraj is the way to go forward. We can disagree with him about methods, but he ultimately agrees with us for the end. So the means are different that we have. But the ultimate end of Swaraj and not necessarily Swaraj under British rule is on the same page with us and even feels critics like depends on the appeal.

[02:03:02]

Ultimately realize this as well, that Rogue has done us more good than bad through his Congress speech of 1996.

[02:03:10]

You know, the wording of the speech is fascinating in the sense that before this, as you point out, he's always one. He uses the term Swaraj, which is the long term and, you know, very deliberately. And the other thing that you point out is that before he has always spoken to self-rule in the sense of, you know, like the Dominions, like Australia or Canada or whatever, which are still part of the British Empire. But now he says, like Australia, Canada or the UK, which means, you know, completely independent, and he doesn't need to spell it out.

[02:03:37]

Just saying, like the UK, as you point out, is, you know, a big seminal moment. And you can imagine why you've spoken in your book about how Schumpeter was so upset and crestfallen and all of that. And one can sort of totally imagine and and the shift happens. And he lives still in 92. He dies in 1917. He shows traces of activity in that time. But he doesn't really he's not really too active. After this.

[02:04:03]

Gandhi comes to India and meets him. All of that happens. You know, one of the things which you mentioned you couldn't do much about during the book because there isn't much written on it is, of course, his personal life. He got married at the age of 11 when his wife was seven, of course, which is the kind of classic child marriage thing that you have. Then he had kids with her, many, many grandchildren, all of that.

[02:04:26]

You gave us a sense of his grief. And his son are the shooter is at the age of thirty five and all of that. And one gets a sense of him as a father, even that moment when his daughter died. Stringencies, please come to India for my wedding. And he writes back saying, no, no, the nation is important. You want me to give this up? So I go to kind of a sense of those conflicts, but there's no mention of his wife anywhere.

[02:04:47]

And obviously, as a biographer, you're looking for that. So how. You sort of deal with that, you feel like there's something in. Absolutely. That was the most frustrating aspect of my research. So as you mentioned, Roger was married when he was 11 and his wife was, I believe, seven, and they ultimately were married for 70 years. And his wife apparently was not literate. She apparently had limited interest in learning. At least this is what we know from our personal biography that he wrote in nineteen thirty nine.

[02:05:19]

Masani knew. Then I wrote the family so we would have known family stories and such. There's no way for me to verify this because there's just no material. So when I looked through the papers, there was a collection of family correspondence, but there were no letters from none, which is why she didn't write or she wasn't able to write. And his wife only comes up every once in a while in correspondence. I mean, this was extremely striking for me because he was a man who talks a lot about feminism.

[02:05:46]

Right? I mean, he's consulting with some of the leading feminists in the world throughout his political career. He's talked about female education abuse, acted upon it, and yet his his own wife is such a distant and remote character for the biographer to understand. I mean, a friend of mine, a very good friend of mine, found a picture of her after having dumped through a bunch of old and dusty newspapers and Baroda. And I was shocked to find this picture because I'd never seen it before.

[02:06:14]

I mean, there's just no descriptions of her throughout his correspondence. So I would have loved to have written much more about his family. But ultimately, two things constricted me. One was, of course, would limit. There's only so much you could you could write about it. And the second was that just wasn't that much material about his wife and many of his other children. We know a lot more about his grandchildren. In fact, still to this day, I get emails from people every once in a while who said they knew his grandchildren or they were related to him.

[02:06:48]

So I'm still kind of piecing together a few pictures of stories of his grandchildren. So what I can tell you definitely is that even though his marital relationship we don't know much about and it doesn't seem like it was a marriage of equals in many ways. And on that ground, we can criticize neurology for perhaps not spending more time with his wife or not making more of an effort to kind of integrate them into his his social world. But we do know that amongst his granddaughters, he was extremely supportive of their ambitions with what they did.

[02:07:24]

And his granddaughters included people like the captain's sisters who are important players in the nationalist movement and the Gandhi. They were radical extremists who worked with Madame Khama and even with Sobotka and then ultimately gave this up in favour of Gandhi's political following. Following my favorite character from his his generation of grandchildren was a person called Push Banerjee, and I've written an essay separately on her. She was Naji's youngest granddaughter through his son. So his son, as you mentioned, passed away in eighteen nineteen eighty ninety three.

[02:08:03]

And Khush had been was was born after the son passed away. So born posthumously and she was trained as a classical singer. She was trained in French and she goes and studies in Paris and eventually even spends a bit of time in Greece where she meets a very important figure involved in fight in reviving the Delphic Games in Greece in the early 20th century. And she comes back to India and she gives all of this up in order to join Gandhi and not just join Gandhi in terms of temperance activities and working in Sublimity Ashram and such.

[02:08:41]

She does a completely amazing and courageous thing by deciding in the nineteen thirties to go out to the Northwest Frontier Province and preach nonviolence to us. So she learns Pashto and she goes around to camps of the. And imagine this petite, anglicised, feisty woman who is a classical singer living in Paris up until recently. Her house is on the Sea Road in Bombay and now she's traipsing through Waziristan, talking to dacoits and saying, please stop kidnapping Hindus in order to restore the Muslim unity.

[02:09:12]

Instead, why don't you leave Hodda and learn about Gandhi? It's a completely ballsy thing that she is doing. She, at several points in time, is probably nearly killed. I mean, she she writes to Gandhi about bullets whizzing by her in the desert, the pretty remarkable letters. So, you know, all of this is kind of comes from a political spirit that helps inculcate in his children and grandchildren. So his family legacy, even though it might not have been very well reflected in his relationship with his wife, it's reflected in the political activities of his children and grandchildren.

[02:09:48]

This is so fascinating. And. I totally see this as a grand Bollywood film. So, you know, I've taken a lot of your time to kind of final lines of inquiry. One is towards the end of his life when he himself becomes very embittered with his failure in parliament or what he sees as his failure in parliament and so on. And, you know, you point out how one of his constant enemies in London charmed Obama, who I promise was no relative of mine, her mother, and sort of criticises him and calls him a grand failure and says that he's achieved nothing through all these years.

[02:10:24]

And, you know, when I kind of for me this, you know, looking at that period of Indian history always seems to me really weird because everything seems coherent to the second decade of the 20th century. You have the moderates who are doing the petitioning, who are trying to work with government. You have the extremists, on the other hand, who are gradually moving apart and all narratives are coherent. And then up comes a Black Swan event called Gandhi.

[02:10:47]

And he turns everything around and it's like nothing that happened before that was even required or made any sense or whatever. So on the one hand, because, you know, that's also the decade when the situation matter is, you know, and of course, nowadays it is. But he's already so old anyway. He's basically out of it. So the moderates are out. But then again, it's a completely different strand, which is nothing, which is no continuity, seems to have no continuity with what came before.

[02:11:14]

So, one, looking back at his legacy and the fact that, yes, you know, on the surface of it, it seems like he didn't get much done. So was he a failure? Did he have a legacy beyond that? And perhaps is that legacy his failure in a sense? Because, you know, Gandhi, at one point you point out how Gandhi is telling one of his colleagues in South Africa around 19 or nine or 19, then that, you know, we must not give up because look at the way he's been at it for 40 years.

[02:11:40]

And if you look at all of this, for example, you know, one thing people don't realize when we think about Gandhi, such a mythological figure is that all of Gandhi's satyagraha basically failed, including the ones in South Africa. But he just you know, the last was sort of a half hearted face saving some success. But Gandhi essentially kept failing at failing, kept failing, but he kept at it. And then at some point that. So is that now his legacy or is it a legacy beyond the failure of it?

[02:12:09]

How do you how do we you know, when when we now look back at him besides the mythology of Grand Old Man of India or the Indian, until as you point out of what what do we see? Is it a frustratingly wasted life left with the best intentions with going nowhere? Or is it easy to say that in hindsight and actually move the needle in ways that are not so visible today? That's an excellent question, because these are questions that I'm trying to wrestle with in my next book.

[02:12:40]

Oftentimes, both from our perspective and from the perspective of someone in, say, the 1930s or the 1940s, you could look upon moderate nationalism, this kind of early phase of nationalism as being a bit of a failure. What do they do? Right. I mean, the Congress was this small party that was relatively elite and city based. What reforms were really wrested from the British government? And ultimately, only one Gandhi comes to the scene. You really have a mass based movement where there is significant change on the ground.

[02:13:12]

Now, the thing about this is that even people like Gandhi realized how wrong that perspective was. Gandhi acknowledged himself. He did not come out of he didn't come out of nowhere. I mean, he came out of the particular heritage that India had accumulated in terms of its nationalist history and its political trajectory. And there's a passage in Hinz Farraj where where Gandhi defends not only by saying we are we stand on the shoulders of those who come before us.

[02:13:42]

That whole metaphor, you can see farther because of what people have done beforehand. And he says Perugia's was the person who really kind of laid the foundations. And I think that's what his greatest legacy was. I mean, it was easy for people like Shamsie, Krishna, Obama to call him a failure because ultimately he did not achieve civil service reform. He did not stop the dream of what I mean. India was poorer and more Fabin ridden in the nineteen hundred than it had been when you started his political career in the 60s.

[02:14:11]

And Swaraj, of course, was it was a very distant goal. So on those three particular goals, of course, not only failed on, on, on, on in order to achieve those things, but but ultimately he laid the organizational and the philosophical and kind of political economic foundations upon which Indian nationalism eventually did achieve success. I mean, when we think of any aspect of Indian nationalism, whether it was the organization in terms of the Indian National Congress, whether it was the particular message about how poverty was the kind of the central feature of why British rule was so bad for India, whether it was the international aspects of Indian nationalism.

[02:14:52]

I mean, this is something which I'm trying to talk more about in my next book about how people like you did not make Indian nationalism just about India. It was about much more than just it was it was a much more global campaign for emancipation. Any of these aspects had narrowed at the very core narrative of the people who laid the groundwork for many of these many of these aspects of Indian nationalism. He wasn't alone. I mean, many of the people who were part and parcel of this process, but he was at the very center of all these various networks.

[02:15:23]

So it's it's really impossible to understand Indian nationalism without analogy, because if if you were adopting Gandhi's or delux methods in the 60s, a true pretty much the 80s and 90s, you would have been cut off. There was no way the British government would have would have countenanced your activities. And Gokul himself, this in regards to Alan Octavian, who when when Hume dies in 1912, Gockley delivers this eulogy for Hume, saying no one else could have found the Congress.

[02:15:57]

It had to have been a British official founding the Congress because otherwise it would have been shut down. The government would have shut it down and dissolved the Congress. And indeed, the Viceroy is in power. Landsdowne and Dufferin really did shut down the Congress. I mean, if you read the correspondence this close to even charging someone like Hume, a fellow British person, a fellow member of the civil service with sedition and treason, so you can only imagine what they would have done to analogy and what they did eventually do to a teller by acting out on these threats.

[02:16:35]

I mean, there would have been no question of the velvet glove being off and the metal fist of of imperialism quashing and crushing these individuals. So in that regard, it's impossible to really think of us. I think of marriage as being a failure. They did as much as they could do under the circumstances. In fact, they went beyond it in many ways, and they prepared the ground for a later generation when it was much easier to kind of go against the grain of British imperialism.

[02:17:05]

And finally, I'll you know, I'll leave it to readers to read your book and to kind of discover that I wrote this fascinating life for themselves, but I'll shift back to the personal now, you know, biographer sometimes saying that by the time they finish a biography, they will be relieved when it's over. It's like a sense of loss because you get so attached to the person that you're writing about. Has it been like that for you, especially as there'll be a lot of, I'm guessing, cultural echoes because, you know, you're also Passy.

[02:17:34]

You're in Bombay right now. You know, there would be sort of echoes of that also. So, you know, what was the relationship between you and now Ruggie through this book? You know, how did it feel when it was over and in what ways did it sort of enrich your thinking, as it were? I heard your conversation with Salman Subramanium, and I remember he mentioned that that feeling towards holding curiously, I have not felt it.

[02:18:02]

It's odd. I mean, I remember when I when I did my undergraduate thesis, it wasn't even a biographical project. It was it was on the construction of the city of Delhi. I felt a tremendous amount of just kind of meaningless after it was turned. It was almost like depression after you turned it down. And what do I do now? And I haven't had that feeling with you, probably because he's not done for me. You know, I have I'm sitting on thousands of his letters that I eventually want to publish.

[02:18:32]

So there still is more work that I want to incorporate him into. And secondly, the next book that I'm working on currently, which which has been thrown a little bit asunder because of the whole pandemic, is on early Indian nationalism in general. And again, kind of trying to show about why it was relevant not just in its area, but in order. I mean, why the the principles and ideals that they fought for and enunciated are as valid today as they were back then.

[02:19:02]

And now, of course, as a big part to play in it, I'm looking at other figures. I mean, like Bush or Hume or eventually people like Ranaudo or Varosha Mehta. But Ruggie is always that. I mean, his his correspondance figure is that his ideas are important. And he is he's always hovering in the background. So strangely, I haven't felt that that feeling of mourning as yet know he'll be an important part of my life, whether I like it or not, for many years to come.

[02:19:32]

I can't wait to read your next book because that period of history also kind of fascinates me. You know, I went to college and focus on college, and it was only years after I had graduated and left that I realized what a rich history it has in terms of so many of the moderate leaders of that era. In fact, been there and expertises, you know, Ganesh Sugar, good girl, who said he was once teaching, I think, a biology class at Ferguson College.

[02:19:57]

And he asked him simple question, that if donkeys had a God, what would the God look like? And then I don't know how I'll do this in a podcast. But he basically held both his hands above his ears, you know, to imitate donkey ears. And that is such a fantastic thing. And you say that those leaders can have lessons for today. I don't think I could have gotten away with it today, for all you know.

[02:20:20]

But then it's just been so amazing talking to you. Thanks so much for your time and insights.

[02:20:25]

Thank you very much. It's been a pleasure to be on this program.

[02:20:31]

If you enjoyed listening to this episode, do hop on over to your nearest bookstore online, offline and pick up now. Ruggie Binya of Indian Nationalism by Daniel Patel. You can follow the video at Danyal Patel. One word you can follow me. My Amedee, you can browse post of sorts of the scene in the unseen and Seen Unseen and thank you for listening. Did you enjoy this episode of the scene in The Unseen? If so, would you like to support the production of the show?

[02:21:08]

You can go over Houssein unseen scene and slash support and contribute any amount you like to keep this podcast alive and kicking. Thank you.