Find out more about applying for the Rhodes Scholarship

Find out more about applying for the Rhodes Scholarship


Scholars' Library: Subhashish Bhadra on Caged Tiger

Scholars' Library: Subhashish Bhadra on Caged Tiger

22 August 2023

17:00 - 18:00 (GMT+01:00)

Online Platform


Join Subhashish Bhadra (India & Magdalen 2014) for a conversation on his book: 'Caged Tiger'

Part of the Lifelong Fellowship portfolio, The Scholars’ Library is a monthly book talk series, where Rhodes alumni can come together to present, discover and debate their literary works. If you’re interested in getting involved, please reach out to Georgie Thurston at

For our August event, we are pleased to invite you to take part in a conversation with Subhashish Bhadra (India & Magdalen 2014) on his book Caged Tiger. Moderated by a fellow scholar, Subhashish will speak about :

1. How Britain designed public institutions in its colonies

2. Why India retained these institutions at independence

3. The impact of these institutions on economic and social freedoms in modern India

4. What constitutes 'good' public institutions

Caged Tiger is a commentary on India's public institutions, from their (largely colonial) origins to the most recent additions by the current regime. It evaluates the design choices that the British made while setting up their administration and how free India, despite its long independence struggle, decided to retain many of them. It traces the subsequent evolution of these institutions and how India - like many of its post-colonial counterparts in Asia and Africa - has struggled to completely eliminate the undemocratic and authoritarian nature of these institutions.

While focussing on the Indian context, Caged Tiger looks at some principles of good institutions and how they can be applied by former colonies to improve quality of governance in their respective countries. In doing so, it attempts to move away from politics centred on ideology and personalities, to one that looks at design and performance of public institutions.

You can obtain a copy of Caged Tiger here.

Subhashish Bhadra (India & Magdalen 2014) is an economist by training. His career has straddled both the policy and corporate worlds. He spent over half a decade at Omidyar Network working in public policy, especially on issues of technology policy, regulatory governance and digital rights. As part of his role there, he funded many of India's leading think-tanks and helped shape the policy discourse in these areas. His work on Aadhaar, India's national Digital ID system, has been pivotal in conversations about the program. Previously, he has worked at McKinsey's Delhi office, where he was part of the team that wrote a well-received 2013 report on India's economic progress.

There is no cost to attend this event, and we hope that all will join us! If you would like to support The Rhodes Trust, please consider giving time through volunteering, or giving a gift to the Scholars Fund. A generous Scholar Alum is providing a matching fund of up to $200,000 USD, and Scholars making their first gift, or their first gift since 2016, will be matched 1:1. If you are interested in our volunteering opportunities, they can be found on our website.

ALT TEXT: A light blue background within which says 'Scholars' Library series' in a bolder, darker blue. There is the Rhodes 'R' and inside of that there is a shelf of books of various colours.


Please register via this EventBrite page. Your link to join the conversation can be found in your confirmation email, so please keep this safe.

This event is open to the public

Q & A:

Please feel free to submit any questions in advance to or you can use the chat function within Zoom to ask questions directly during the live event.