Raghu Karnad

Raghu Karnad

My book is Farthest Field: An Indian Story of the Second World War. Co-founder of TheWire.in. Twitter @rkarnad

All Articles
India's Ww2

Submerging Nations

Once, we talked about the First and Third Worlds. Today, it’s the vaxxed and unvaxxed.

Slate.com / June 2021 / Essays

Einstein and the Coronavirus

The experience of Covid-19 shows how easily other catastrophes can befall our species

The Guardian / August 2020 / Essays

Who Will Nurse the Nurses?

Since the pandemic began, the Prime Minister’s tweets only underline how little we recognise their work – and the reforms they deserve.

TheWire.in / May 2021 / Essays

Soldiers Without Borders

WW2 ended on August 15, 1945, but the roles Indians played right after reveal a truer picture of the colonial world.

The Indian Express / November 2020 / India's Ww2

You Had One Job, Rahul Gandhi

By trying to defeat Modi by winning over the public instead of winning over a united opposition, the Congress president has made a mistake that could reverberate for decades.

TheWire.in / April 2019 / Essays

Meet the Original Anti-Nationals

[W/ video] Part Two of a series on how the language of the Emergency has returned under Modi: "Anti-Nationals"

TheWire.in / July 2018 / Essays

Marrying Libraries

On shelving my parents books in a new home, and Anne Fadiman's Ex Libris

The Sunday Times of India / June 2018 / Books

Encounter – Manipur’s Killer Cop Speaks

Film: A police commando wants to confess to a career as a secret executioner. A glimpse of the violence and haunting lack of resolution in Manipur.

TheWire.in / January 2018 / Reporting

Sonia Gandhi Leaves the Stage

As she retires, a profile of one of most improbable world leaders in modern history.

The Atlantic / December 2017 / Reporting

Floods in Drought Season

A quick take on India's floods - What we need to grasp about India's New Monsoon.

The Guardian / August 2017 / Reporting

Family Matters

A meandering essay about Calicut (Kozhikoke) and family history there

Mint Lounge / October 2016 / Essays

In-the-Dark Arts

Opening Time Out Delhi's coverstory on graffiti, a conversation with the provocateur behind some of Delhi's earliest protest tags.

Time Out India / May 2011 / [Pdf , 0 Bytes]

Confessions of a Killer Policeman

A Guardian long-read about Herojit, a policeman in Manipur and his turn away from a career as one of India's most lethal extra-judicial executioner.

The Guardian / July 2016 / Reporting

In India, Politics Photoshopped

Digitally altered images and video are fuelling divisive politics

The International New York Times / February 2016 / Reporting

Hope for L.G.B.T. Rights in India

A grim setback highlights other opportunities for the movement & its allies

International New York Times / January 2016 / Reporting

India's Forgotten Soldiers

Should India commemorate its soldiers who fell in the Second World War?

International New York Times / August 2015 / India's Ww2

To Singapore in a U-Boat

On Subhas Bose the Traveller, and his extraordinary submarine journey halfway across the world.

Mint Lounge / July 2015 / Essays

The Half-Hour Revolution

Watching a single, brief rebellion of Delhi Metro construction labourers against their working hours.

Time Out Delhi / April 2010 / Reporting / [Pdf , 1.77 MB]

Escape from the POTA Archipelago

The story of Abdul Qayyum, prosecuted for twelve years in a false terror case, told through his recent memoir.

The Wire / May 2015 / Reporting

The Ghost in the Kimono

Uncovering the forgotten story of the Japanese in Delhi's Old Fort.

Granta / January 2015 / Essays

Fallen from the Narrow Road

Thoughts about Richard Flanagan's novel, and the ommission from the story of the Burma Death Railway

Times of India / October 2014 / Books

The Men Under the Ground

The first-ever battlefield tours in India, to WW2 sites in Manipur, lift a forgotten war out of obscurity

National Geographic Traveller India / August 2014 / Reporting

The Men Under the Ground [PDF]

Battlefield tourism in Manipur lifts a forgotten war out of obscurity

National Geographic Traveller India / August 2014 / Reporting / [Pdf , 1.12 MB]

Nuke Delhi

In the event of a nuclear attack on the capital...

Caravan's Vantage / May 2014 / Cities

India's Divisions Writ Small

A despatch from the remote Outer Manipur constituency as it goes to polls.

NYTimes India Ink / May 2014 / Reporting

Bangalore Pride

A piece about hijras, kothis and Goldman Sachs, and the intangible battle for the soul of the Bangalore Pride March '12.

n+1 / May 2013 / Cities

Everybody's Friend

An essay about the Second World War in Manipur, which was runner-up in the Financial Times-Bodley Head essay competition in 2012.

Financial Times / December 2012 / Essays

Everybody's Friend (e-short)

The Bodley Head / Random House published the essay below as a free Kindle e-short, downloadable at Amazon.

The Bodley Head / March 2013 / Essays

Broad Gauge

An essay in n+1 about the rumours which sent thousands of Bangaloreans from the north-eastern states fleeing back to their homes.

n+1 / September 2012 / Cities

Liquid City

A history of Bengaluru through a history of its liquor industry, from the arrack barons to UB City. This was the coverstory of the Caravan Magazine in July 2012.

The Caravan / July 2012 / Reporting

Cyclostyle 1: Out of Date

A whimsical zine, on the theme of "Out of Date", produced in Bangalore by two friends and myself. It was printed on a cyclostyle machine in a limited edition of 700. My own contribution is the closing piece.

Cyclostyle / June 2012 / [Pdf , 8.06 MB]

End of Good Times

A straightforward profile of Vijay Mallya and his troubles.

BBC News Online / August 2012 / Reporting

Pinch-Hitting for Mallya

Completing a trilogy of articles about Bangalore's liquor industry, a profile of the shadowy DK Audikesavulu: entrepreneur, politician and close associate of Vijay Mallya's.

Business Standard / September 2012 / Reporting

Gaga for India

The necessary anti-climax of Lady Gaga in Noida

GQ India / November 2011 / Reporting / [Pdf , 367 KB]

Quiet Places

My contribution to Nat Geo's cover feature on quiet places, about the Begumpura Masjid in Delhi. [Downloads as PDF]

Nat Geo Traveller / August 2012 / Essays

Spoils of Urban Living

BOOKS: A feature on Sarnath Banerjee's "The Harappa Files".

Time Out India / February 2011 / Books / [Pdf , 0 Bytes]

Stone Cold Grand Dames

A short rumination on the absence of statues of women in Delhi.

The Ladies Finger / February 2014 / Cities

Fake Bibliophilia

A grouse about "booksing", a palliative celebration of books as things that actually distracts us from reading.

Mint Lounge / March 2012 / Books

The Durbar in Full Colour

About the world’s first colour blockbuster, which was filmed at the Coronation Durbar in Delhi.

The Big Indian Picture / Time Out Delhi / March 2014 / Cities

Inside the Gates

BOOKS: Interview with Mahmood Farooqui about "Besieged: Voices from Delhi 1857".

Time Out India / July 2010 / Books / [Pdf , 0 Bytes]

Erogenous Zones

A Delhi map: Sites of sex and scandal over the centuries.

Time Out Delhi / July 2011 / Cities / [Pdf , 885 KB]

Mission of Mercy

A visit to the Embassy of the State of Palestine, in Chanakyapuri, New Delhi.

Time Out India / October 2011 / Cities / [Pdf , 1.41 MB]

The Gloves are Off

A short piece about the origins of the word Comptroller and how they anticipate the vague position of the Comptroller-General in India right now.

The Caravan / September 2011 / Essays

The Halved House at Moolchand

A minor feature from Time Out Delhi, about a mysterious halved house and its remarkable architect.

Time Out Delhi / April 2011 / Cities / [Pdf , 1.9 MB]

Fertile Ground

In Outlook Traveller's New Delhi issue, my break-down of the city's cultural life.

Outlook Traveller / September 2010 / Cities

Summer in Paris

As it says, about Paris in the summer. Not the most arduous thing I've ever written.

Outlook Traveller / August 2010 / Cities

Poppy Love

A visit to the government opium vendor in Karol Bagh, New Delhi.

Time Out India / January 2010 / Cities / [Pdf , 120 KB]

Island and Mainland

BOOKS: Short interview with Xu Xi, author of "The Unwalled City"

Time Out India / March 2010 / Books / [Pdf , 0 Bytes]

The Hour of Imagination

A piece about media speculation during the disappearance of the chopper that carried the chief minister of Andhra, YSR, to his death.

The Hoot / September 2009 / Essays

Third Degree Honours

A first-person piece about discovering that Varun Gandhi, then a candidate for Parliament, was lying to the courts and the public about his education abroad.

Outlook / April 2009 / Reporting

The Colonel of the Gujjar Militia

A report from Bayana, where a Gujjar agitation was blocking trains leaving Delhi, and a profile of the charismatic leader Kirori Singh Bainsla.

Tehelka / June 2008 / Reporting

The Hunting Party Returns

A report from Nandigram about the turbulent, first electoral exercise after the area's recapture by the Communist party.

Tehelka / May 2008 / Reporting

Air, Water, Earth

Don't be put off by the title. A long report from Bhopal about the growing water-contamination crisis being caused by the Union Carbide plant, and the difficult question of who's responsible.

Tehelka / April 2008 / Reporting

Unlikely Arrows In Ram’s Quiver

Profiling the right-wing collegians responsible for the attack on the DU History faculty and the protests against Ramanujan's "300 Ramayanas".

Tehelka / March 2008 / Reporting


A traveller's report from Jaunpur in eastern UP, once the capital of the Sharqi dynasty.

Outlook Magazine / January 2008

Serious Busyness

A rumination for City Limits magazine's "Capital Letters" section, about Delhi's Productivity House.

City Limits, Delhi / December 2007

A Thar Spring

An earnest, rather uncritical report on "India's Best Panchayat", Gopalpura in Rajasthan.

Outlook Magazine / October 2007 / Reporting

Sitting Still is Not an Option

A poster-essay on youth movements, produced for the Himmat Youth Festival 2006, organised by Openspace India in Pune.

Openspace / June 2006 / Essays / [Pdf , 279 KB]

You're Hired

BOOKS: A review of Vikas Swarup's third novel, "The Accidental Apprentice".

Financial Times / May 2013 / Books

Playing God

BOOKS: A review of Mohammed Hanif's "Our Lady of Alice Bhatti".

Time Out India / September 2011 / Books

No More Games

BOOKS: A conversation with Chetan Bhagat about "Revolution 2020" and the Commonwealth Games.

Time Out India / September 2011 / Books

Forbidden City

BOOKS: An interview with Tom Scocca about "Beijing Welcomes You".

Time Out India / September 2011 / Books

No Return Address

BOOKS: A feature on Aman Sethi's "A Free Man"

Time Out India / July 2011 / Books

The Call to Prayer

BOOKS: A conversation with Deborah Baker about "The Convert".

Time Out India / June 2011 / Books

The Second Run

PUBLISHING: The career of David Davidar at Penguin, and his new start at Aleph.

Time Out India / May 2011 / Books

Power to her Pen

BOOKS: Ten things you need to know about Angela Davis.

Time Out India / March 2011 / Books

No Man is an Island

BOOKS: A short conversation with I. Allan Sealy.

Time Out India / March 2011 / Books / [Pdf , 900 KB]

The Shallows

BOOKS: A brief review of Nicholas Carr's "The Shallows", about the effects of internet use on the brain.

Time Out India / December 2010 / Books

Time to Kill

BOOKS: A feature on Dilip Simeon's "Revolutionary Highway"

Time Out India / October 2010 / Books

Lives of the Saints

PUBLISHING: An article about biography in India, with perspectives from Ram Guha, Patrick French and VK Karthika.

Time Out India / September 2010 / Books / [Pdf , 803 KB]

Further Studies

BOOKS: A feature on Siddharth Chowdhury's "Day Scholar"

Time Out India / June 2010 / Books

Jimmy the Terrorist

BOOKS: A brief review of Omair Ahmad's "Jimmy the Terrorist."

Time Out India / June 2010 / Books

The Modern Mutiny

BOOKS: A conversation with Aatish Taseer about "The Temple-Goers".

Time Out India / April 2010 / Books

Read Herrings

BOOKS: An article on Zac O’Yeah's "Once Upon a Time in Scandinavistan"

Time Out India / April 2010 / Books

Don't Fear the Reaper

BOOKS: A feature on Fatima Bhutto's "Songs of Blood and Sword"

Time Out India / April 2010 / Books

Brown Sahibs

BOOKS: A feature on Pavan Varma's "Becoming Indian"

Time Out India / March 2010 / Books

Tricks of Light

BOOKS: A feature on the Cybermohalla Collective's "Trickster City".

Time Out India / February 2010 / Books

Terror Incognito

BOOKS: Short interview with Amitava Kumar about "Evidence of Suspicion"

Time Out India / January 2010 / Books / [Pdf , 412 KB]

Spirit Level

BOOKS: An article on William Dalrymple's Nine Lives

Time Out India / November 2009 / Books / [Pdf , 945 KB]

Secret Ingredients

BOOKS: An early book review of "Secret Ingredients: The New Yorker Book of Food and Drink".

Outlook Traveller / January 2008 / Books

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