Why is history ‘boring’? Our textbooks typically focus on events that have changed the course of nations and time, creating a unidimensional and a black-and-white view of the people behind these events. This, in turn, ends up shaping and influencing our view of history as bland and boring. Historical research, however, moves away from textbooks towards texts, and explores individuals in their own context, in their own shades of grey, and takes a non-judgmental view - rather, an analytical view that can make history come alive. When historical characters are revealed in their multi-dimensional form is when history really speaks. At our landmark 150th Online Talk, we converse with historian Manu S about history, and his journey in bringing it out from textbooks to bring the stories and people alive.
About the speaker
Manu S Pillai is the author of the award-winning The Ivory Throne (2015), Rebel Sultans (2018), The Courtesan, the Mahatma & the Italian Brahmin (2019), and most recently, False Allies (2021). Formerly Chief of Staff to Dr Shashi Tharoor MP, he has in the past worked at the House of Lords in Britain, and with the BBC on their 'Incarnations' history series. A winner of the Sahitya Akademi Yuva Puraskar, he has been a columnist at Mint Lounge, while his other writings have appeared in The Hindu, Open Magazine, the Times of India, Hindustan Times, The New Statesman, and other publications. Manu is currently studying for a PhD at King's College London.