Selected Videos

A talk by Usha Alexander at the International Big History Conference 2021 (1 hr).

In which Nicholas Gordon, host of the Asian Review of Books podcast, interviews Namit about Indians (40 mins, audio only).

A chat with the smart and funny Cyrus Broacha on his live show (1:00 hr).

A lecture on 'Indians' in partnership with the Bangalore LitFest (1:09 hrs).

With narration and music (3:00 mins).


Also: A Musical Book Trailer (1:25 mins).

A journey to Zambia, including a national park, Lusaka, Livingstone, Victoria Falls, and more.

A journey along the beautiful coast of Mozambique, its countryside, and its capital city, Maputo.

For our learning, natural talents, and labor, what rewards and entitlements can we fairly claim?

Namit Arora's TEDx talk on why civic sense matters, why we Indians have so little of it, and what might raise it.

A documentary film about the Kumbh Mela 2013, an ancient pilgrimage festival that's by far the largest gathering of humans on the planet.

A text / video story on Amrit Health Services, a non-profit initiative serving remote villages in south Rajasthan.

Selected Photo Essays

A metropolis of the Harappan Civilization in the Rann of Kutch (2600–1900 BCE), with amazing water harvesting and fine reservoirs.

How did Vijayanagar acquire its riches and vast armies that foreign travellers gushed about? What is its legacy in south India?

"Saints, I see the world is mad.

If I tell the truth they rush to beat me,

if I lie they trust me." –Kabir, 15th cent.

Third cent. CE Ikshvaku city, home to the great philosopher Nagarjuna and where rich women were the primary patrons of Buddhism.

Between 5–13th cent. CE, monks from across Asia came to learn grammar, logic, philosophy, theology, astronomy and medicine.

How did a culture that exalts penance and renunciation depict sex so vividly on temple walls? Why did this tradition disappear?

Selected Writing

Essays on the Environment
Stories About the End of the World On two big challenges before us: mass extinction, climate change.
The Climate Crisis and India Myths about the gathering climate crisis and India's response to it.

Essays on History, Culture, Politics, Travel
Sex and the City in Medieval India New! Why did erotic sculptures disappear from Hindu temples?
Talk Less, Work More New! On India's troubled relationship with democratic values.
Of Migrants, Muslims, and Other Non-People Some thoughts on the Coronavirus pandemic unfolding in India.
Inside an Indian Family Usha on the secret lives of Indian families, including her own.
A Collective Madness What Modi’s victory says about today’s India.
What Freedom Means A short essay on the occasion of India's 72nd Independence Day.
Coming to America On the making of the South Asian diaspora in the United States.
On the Politics of Identity On the good and the bad in identity politics.
The Paradox of the Belief in a Just World On the fiction that we are the sole authors of our success and our wilful blindness to our inherited privileges.
Delhi: the City of Rape?How caste patriarchy distorts the reality of gender violence.
On Eating Animals
"Nearly all meat-eaters in America participate quite directly in a cycle of suffering and cruelty of staggering scale"
A Place Called Home Going "home" can be bittersweet. In one of his most personal essays, Namit revisits Gwalior, the city where he came of age.

Book Reviews
The Delusion of "Merit" in Indian Higher Education New! On Ajantha Subramanian's The Caste of Merit.
The Perils of Majoritarianism On Samanth Subramanian's This Divided Island.
The Rationalist and the Romantic On Arundhati Roy's intro to Ambedkar's Annihilation of Caste.
Revisiting the Idea of India On Perry Anderson's The Indian Ideology.

Essays on Science, Philosophy, Religion
What Do We Deserve? For our learning, natural talents, and labor, what rewards and entitlements can we fairly claim?
The Bhagavad Gita Revisited Why the Gita is an overrated text with a deplorable morality at its core. 1: Historical and literary context;   2: Textual critique
The Dearth of Artificial Intelligence Despite big advances in computing, AI has fallen woefully short of its ambition and hype. Why is AI in such a braindead state?

Books by the Writers of Shunya

A Brief History of a Civilization

by Namit Arora (2021)

“Illuminating, absorbing and a joy to read. I defy anyone to peruse it and not feel richly rewarded by its insights.” —John Keay


“A gem of a book ... seamlessly combines travelogues, historical accounts and biographies.” —Tony Joseph


A novel by Namit Arora (India edition, 2019)

“Namit Arora takes the lid off life in the Great Indian Dream of Silicon Valley.” —Jerry Pinto


“A cleverly written tale with a social conscience featuring themes of family, inclusiveness, racial divides, and the theatrics of love.” —Kirkus Reviews

A novel by Namit Arora (US edition, 2019)

“Namit Arora writes with an enviable briskness and ease ... Readers will be amused, saddened, angered and educated as they read this rigorously unsanitized version of the desi dream.” —Suvir Kaul

A novel by Usha Alexander (2018)

“A beautifully written story about love and war . . . This is historical fiction done right.” —Anil Menon

“Told with skill and consummate detail . . .” —Namita Gokhale


On Inherited Social Inequalities
by Namit Arora (2017)


By “one of our finest critics. In a raucous public sphere marked by blame and recrimination, these essays announce a bracing sensibility, as compassionate as it is curious, intelligent and nuanced.”
—Pankaj Mishra

A novelette by Usha Alexander (2017)


When Craig Olsen returns to Idaho to say goodbye to his dying uncle, who raised him, he comes face to face with matters he can no longer evade ... [He] is forced to confront the shadows of his past, including what he must accept and what he must disown about the people he loves.

A novel by Usha Alexander (2005)


"The clash of cultures and identities between the first and second-generation Indians in America is poignantly portrayed... a saga of hardship, betrayal, survival, spirit and enduranc... a good read."
The Sunday Tribune

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