On the Spot: Srinath Raghavan

‘History doesn’t teach any lessons – only historians do.’

Nehru Memorial Museum and Library. Wiki Commons.

Why are you a historian of modern South Asia?

Because South Asia provides an extraordinary window on the making of the modern world.

What’s the most important lesson history has taught you?

That history doesn’t teach any lessons – only historians do. 

Which history book has had greatest influence on you?

Paul W. Schroeder’s The Transformation of European Politics

What book in your field should everyone read?

Neeladri Bhattacharya’s The Great Agrarian Conquest.

Which moment would you most like to go back to?

1 August 1971, Madison Square Garden, New York to attend the Concert for Bangladesh.

Which historians have had the greatest influence on you?

Sir Michael Howard. As a doctoral student, I catalogued his extensive papers and learnt much about the craft of history in conversations with him.

Which person in history would you most like to have met? 

B.R. Ambedkar.

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