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Ramachandra Guha wins Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical Biography 2023

Rebels Against the Raj: Western Fighters for India’s Freedom (William Collins) by Ramachandra Guha has won the £5,000 Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical Biography. Ramachandra Guha is currently a professor at Krea University in India and has previously taught at Yale, Stanford, and the London School of Economics.   

Flora Foster said of Ramachandra Guha’s winning entry: “From an immensely strong field the judges have chosen a book where the author’s deep empathy and impressive scholarship are lit up by a passionate regard for his subjects. Rebels Against the Raj profiles seven people, from Britain, America, and Ireland, who adopted India’s struggle for independence and in doing so found their own destinies. The experience of India changed their ideologies, their spirituality, and often their names. In tracing their relationships revolving around the magnetic figure of Gandhi, Guha adds a new perspective to the Mahatma’s life, on which he has already focused so rewardingly in his multi-volume biography.  

“Alert to his subjects’ disappointments and occasional delusions, he salutes their commitment to a new way of life and their prescience about the needs of a post-colonial world and India’s place in it. Rebels Against the Raj shows how historical biography can illuminate the temper of the times through immersion in individual lives. As Guha points out, oppression does not disappear with the ending of colonial rule, and the ideas and priorities incisively drawn out in this book deserve urgent attention in today’s India.”  

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