15 May, 2021

Eugene’s Hubby, If I May Say

In our times when fact is stranger than fiction, here’s one who can take honest criticism as happily as he can dispense it

Illustration by Sajith Kumar
Eugene’s Hubby, If I May Say

Imagine a Ramachandra Guha born not in 1958 but in 1858. On his 60th birthday in 1918, Professor Guha, recently retired from Fergusson College, Poona, is known for combining the following five roles:

1. As the greatly respected founder-editor of an English journal, The Indian Liberal that issues out of Poona, enjoying a limited but influential circulation which the Bombay Secret Police describes in a special report as ‘Ostensibly liberal but in effect subversive, professing constructive cooperation with HMG but in practical terms fomenting an intellectual non-conformism that flirts without entering into matrimony with, rebellion’. On reading which the Governor of Bombay writes on its margins in purple ink: “Always thought so, Guha is a Gandhi-ite in Besant-ite clothing. A man to be watched”. This Note Professor A.R. Venkatachalapathy is to discover a hundred years later in the India Office Records while researching Tamil-born Collaborators of the Raj.

2. The most sought-after public speaker in all...

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