Mukul Kesavan is an Indian historian, novelist and political and social essayist. He was schooled at St. Xaviers’ in Delhi and then went on to study History at St. Stephen’s College, and at the University of Delhi and later at Trinity Hall, University of Cambridge where he received his MLitt having been awarded the Inlaks scholarship. His first book, a novel titled – Looking Through Glass (Farrar Straus & Giroux, 1994) received international critical acclaim. In 2001 he wrote a political tract titled ‘Secular Common Sense’ published by Penguin India. He teaches social history at Jamia Millia Islamia in Delhi.
His keenness on the game of cricket is entirely in a non-playing way. His credentials for writing about the game are founded on a spectatorial axiom: distance brings perspective. Kesavan’s book of cricket, Men in White, was published by Penguin India in 2007. He wrote a blog by the same name on cricinfo.com. Later in the year he wrote, The Ugliness of the Indian Male and Other Propositions published by Black Kite. The book is a collection of essays on a wide variety of themes ranging from Indian films to Indian men to travel writing and even political commentary. His latest book, titled Homeless on Google Earth (2013), published by Permanent Black is a collection of several previous columns and opinion essays alongside some previously unpublished essays.
He is also the co-editor of Civil Lines, the widely respected journal of Indian writing in English. In 2014, The New Republic included his Homeless on Google Earth in its list of the year’s best books, describing Kesavan as “[a] novelist and essayist, a historian and poet, a social commentator and public intellectual, [who] commands an enviable following in the Anglophone world beyond America and Britain”.
As Hebbar Iyengars his parents spoke both Tamil and Kannada. Of particular note, his family members were able to speak four or five languages. His mother, Dr. Chandrakanta Narain, was Punjabi, born in Lahore and brought up in Delhi. His father B. S. Kesavan, a writer, was also the highly regarded curator of the National Library in Calcutta.
His columns have appeared in The Telegraph, CricInfo Outlook Magazine, Mint and several other periodicals and journals.
He lives in New Delhi with his wife, the UNDP lawyer Arundhati Das and their two children.