Gurcharan Das is the author of several books, including the much-acclaimed India Unbound (which has been translated into many languages and filmed by the BBC) and most recently The Difficulty of Being Good: On The Subtle Art of Dharma. He writes a regular column for six Indian newspapers, including the Times of India, and also contributes to Newsweek, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Foreign Affairs.
In the two-part podcast below, Das talks with none other than the brilliant Kamla Bhatt.
The Satyam Scandal, dubbed as the largest corporate scandal in India prompted Mr. Das to ask how could this be? What induced this moral failure on the part of a well-known Indian entrepreneur? He turned to the Mahabharata, the old Indian epic and wondered if this “dark and epic” tale could provide answers to his question about moral failure in business, government and human beings? He had spent time at the University of Chicago learning Sanskrit and reading the Mahabharata.
The result is his latest book “The Difficulty of Being Good: On The Subtle Art of Dharma.” In it Mr. Das writes that the Indian epic “is unique in engaging with the world of politics.” What is more the epic is “suspicious of ideology.”
“The Mahabharata is about our incomplete lives, about good people acting badly, about how difficult it is to be good in this world,” writes Mr. Das. Can the ancient Indian epic help us understand the moral failure of governance and financial disasters of the 21st century?
Kamla Bhatt is the host and producer of The Kamla Show, an internet radio show where listeners can find stories about the new and emerging India and the global Indian community. Bhatt is a pioneer of the internet radio format in India, but started her media career during the dotcom boom in the mid-1990s in Silicon Valley. Through her work in Silicon Valley’s tech companies Kamla gained an insider’s perspective into the startup culture, and continues to write and broadcast about technology, politics, economics, and more.