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168. An Uplifting Mosaic

168. An Uplifting Mosaic


At Tokyo 2020, the Indian women’s hockey team made history by reaching their maiden Olympic semifinals. There was heart break in the semi finals. However, irrespective of the result, these players had won the hearts of millions of followers in the country. The back stories of these gritty women make for compelling theatre – who they are, where they come from, how hockey has changed them – and, perhaps more importantly, how their success has changed the lives and the mindset of others back home. An expert panel of sports writers - Sharda Ugra, Manuja Veerappa and Nandini Kumar give us a peek into the journeys of the women who make up the Indian Hockey team. This episode is an extract from a virtual panel discussion which took place on January 30, 2022.
Vivaan Marwaha talks about his learning in the process of writing his book, What Millennials Want, in a conversation with writer, poet and executive director of India Foundation for the Arts, Arundhati Ghosh. India is one of the youngest countries in the world and the generation of millennials make up for over 400 million people. This is the largest generation of people in the world. That means that the choices and trajectory of this generation have pivotal consequences on local, regional, and global politics and economics. So the important question is: What do Indian millennials want? What are their economic aspirations and their social views? Most importantly, what makes them tick? In What Millennials Want, Vivan Marwaha documents the aspirations and anxieties of these young people scattered across more than 30,000 kilometers in 13 Indian states. Combining an expansive dataset along with personal anecdotes, he narrates an intimate biography of India’s millennials, investigating their attitudes towards sex, marriage, employment, religion, and politics. This episode of BIC Talks is an extract from the live event that took place in late October 2021 in the BIC premises.
Author & Founder of Ahimsa Conversations Rajni Bakshi engages Author, Poet & Entrepreneur Jaithirth Rao in a conversation based on his book Economist Gandhi – the first book on Gandhi to claim that he was not against business and capitalists; providing insights into a hidden facet of Gandhi’s personality—his thoughts on economics and capitalism while throwing light on some of Gandhi’s views on religion, ethics, human nature, education and society, unveiling a Gandhi distinctive from all our previous readings of him. This episode is adapted from a BIC Streams session from 15 October 2021.
What is data? And why is it important that citizen have a right to privacy over their data? As it turns out, We are data.  Digital rights activist, journalist and founder of Medianama, Nikhil Pahwa in this conversation with financial journalist Mitali Mukherjee gives us a 101 on the concept of Data Privacy. Can one look at data from the perspective of it being a right and how is it  connected to the freedom of expression.  While understanding how and how much data can possibly be collected about one person is in itself mind boggling, this episode gives us an insight into the three important aspects of data within the indian context - Privacy, Security and Governance. With economic growth taking a central role and data being compared to oil as a national asset, Data protection rights and privacy is seen as an obstruction - therefore leaving us with the question - is privacy a fundamental right?
South Africa has imposed transformation targets (quotas) in sports for over a decade. These aim to correct the under-representation of people of colour due to historical discriminatory segregation during the apartheid era. In light of the Black Lives Matter movemnet, several South African cricketers came forward with their stories of having suffered due to the institutionally racist nature of the game in South Africa. In July 2021, Cricket South Africa (CSA) appointed the Social Justice and Nation Building (SJN) Ombudsman to contribute to truth, healing, and reconciliation in the game of cricket. The Ombudsman heard the affected cricketers and officials. It presented its Report in December 2021, concluding that CSA unfairly discriminated against players on the basis of race and recommended that a permanent ombudsman be appointed and funded to consider race and gender-based complaints and the question of reparations. This discussion with cricket writer Firdose Moonda and Professor of Sociology, University of Johannesburg, Prof. Ashwin Desai, moderated by Chandan Gowda will throw light on the findings in the Report, the issues emerging from it, and the lessons for the cricketing world, the global sports community, and society at large. This episode is an extract from a virtual BIC Streams session that took place on the 18th of February, 2022 in collaboration with the Sports Law & Policy Centre.  
Examining the challenges posed by the present-day global order—-including political instability, the rise of authoritarianism, the epidemic of fake news and subversion of democracy through the weaponization of social media, the backlash against the rights of caste, ethnic, or racial minorities, and climate change—the dialogue in this episode between Author & Associate Professor of Communication, Santa Clara University Rohit Chopra and Writer & Journalist Salil Tripathi will address what the Gita may offer in helping us respond to such demands and where it may fall silent. How, for instance, might we reconcile the endorsement of patriarchy and a hierarchical caste order in the Gita with modern day notions of rights, justice, and dignity? The discussion also speaks to the urgent need for evaluating the Gita on the basis of a framework of public reason rather than of religious authority. This episode is adapted from a BIC Streams session originally broadcast on 1st October, 2021
166. Struck by Data

166. Struck by Data


How do you see India? Fuelled by a surge of migration to cities, the country's growth appears to be defined by urbanisation and by its growing, prosperous middle class. It is also defined by progressive and liberal young Indians, who vote beyond the constraints of identity, and paradoxically, by an unchecked population explosion and rising crimes against women. Is it, though? In this conversation with Journalists Samar Halarnkar and Sudipto Mondal, about her book, Whole Numbers and Half Truths, data-journalism pioneer Rukmini S. draws on nearly two decades of on-ground reporting experience to piece together a picture that looks nothing like the one you might expect. As she interrogates how data works, and how the push and pull of social and political forces affect it, Rukmini creates a blueprint to understand the changes of the last few years and the ones to come—a toolkit for India. This is a timely and wholly original intervention in the conversation on data, and with it, India. This conversation was part of the Bangalore Literature Festival, 2021 which took place in the Bangalore International Centre premises in December 2021.
For more than a decade, from the villages of Uttar Pradesh to the night clubs of Delhi, Shrayana Bhattacharya followed the economic and personal lives of a diverse group of Indian women. Divided by class and community, these women are united in their quest for economic independence, love, fun and actor Shah Rukh Khan. The result is the dazzling book of non-fiction—Desperately Seeking Shah Rukh: India’s Lonely Young Women and the Search for Intimacy and Independence which tells an intimate history of how women, across classes, have experienced post liberalisation India through the lens of finance and fandom. Historian Manu S Pillai and economist Janhavi Nilekani engage Shrayana in a conversation on key themes of her book: How far have Indian women travelled? How has liberalisation treated women in the economy and society? How are professional and love lives of women intertwined? And what’s Shah Rukh Khan got to do with it? This episode is an extract from a live in-person event which took place at BIC on 12 November 2021
In his book Leadership Shastra, Pradeep Chakravarthy asks the question - What if history could be made to work for us in very real ways? And he answers it in a substantial research backed manner. He studies the lives of well-known historical figures like Shivaji, Babur, Ahilyabai Holkar, Sankaradeva and many others with a view to understanding their motivations, actions and legacies. The book examines how developing a comprehension of our past could be the key to understanding our own selves, our actions, motivations and of those around us. In this episode of BIC Talks, in conversation with Srikrishna Ramamoorthy, Pradeep discusses the view of history as both useful and inspirational is unconventional: it is revealed here as a discipline that can be used for self-assessment and self-motivation. 
163. Acing the Odds

163. Acing the Odds


Former Doubles No.1, Sania Mirza became an instant sensation when she won the Wimbledon Championships girls’ doubles title at the age of sixteen. From 2003 until her retirement from the singles circuit in 2012, she was ranked by the Women’s Tennis Association as India’s top player, both in singles and doubles. A six-time Grand Slam champion, she notched up an incredible forty-one consecutive wins with her doubles partner, Martina Hingis, between August 2015 and February 2016.  In this candid conversation with the Tennis Editor of Times of India, Prajwal Hedge, Sania speaks of the making of career, her support system and what keeps her at the top of her game.
The Scrolls & Leaves podcast is a labour of love for Mary Rose and Gayathri as they meander through little known tales from history, science and cultures and look for alternative ways of knowing and contextualising our present. Season 1 of Scrolls & Leaves titled Trade Winds came out in October 2021. It's set in the Indian Ocean world and the narrative over seven episodes weave interviews with historians and extensive archival research. It tells of epic histories from the developing world, through the eyes of the marginalised, ambitious Emperors, cunning corporations that colonised half the world, the treasure ship of an infamous sci-fi writer, and other tales. The stand out element of this podcast is that is it binaural - you are treated to an immersive 3 dimensional listening experience which takes you to those far off shores in time. In this episode of BIC Talks, Srikrishna Ramamoorthy chats with Mary-Rose and Gayathri about their journey of creating this unique podcast.
With an increasing number of urban, city dwellers finding their way back to agriculture, there’s a small but definite movement towards natural, organic, alternative methods of sustainable farming. While the stress has been on constant productivity to make economic sense, we are now becoming aware of how much damage the land, food culture and native knowledge systems have experienced. As they wait for policy to catch up, two people talk about what moved them to take an active interest in sustainability, preservation and conservation. In this episode of BIC Talks ecological conservationist Priya Shanavas speaks with lawyer turned farmer and innovator, Aparna Rajagopal about lessons learnt while setting up her self-sustained off the grid model farm, Beejom and several projects housed within it, like preserving and growing traditional, heirloom and native varieties of crops, a seed bank and preserving endangered varieties of indigenous cattle.
160. A Capital Budget

160. A Capital Budget


Historically the country’s annual budget exercise has been a major event and spectacle in the annual economic calendar. There was a time when the post budget analysis by people like Nani Palkiwala used to draw audiences in droves. Off late with the dropping of the railway budget, and the introduction of the GST, the annual budget is increasingly becoming just another important day in the announcements made by the government. This year there were expectations of a populist budget in view of upcoming state elections but that did not happen. We have a budget focused on growing capital investments and infrastructure. To discuss this and more on this episode of BIC Talks we have Pranay Kotasthane, deputy director of Takshashila Institution where he teaches public policy, international relations, and public finance at Takshashila’s graduate and post-graduate programmes in conversation with Narayan Ramachandran, social entrepreneur, columnist and emerging market investor.
159. The Impossible Indian

159. The Impossible Indian


In this conversation with Vaibhav Vats, Dr. Faisal Devji, Professor of Indian History at St.Anthony’s College, University of Oxford,  provides a glimpse into the range and spectrum of his research and writing - touching on history of Indian diaspora and identity drawn from personal history, enquiring into Gandhi and decoding his continually evolving understanding of sacrifice, violence and non-violence through the lens of the Mahabharata, understanding the dynamics of personalities like Jinnah, Ambedkar and Nehru, while drawing parallels with the current dispensation and communal, political climes. The essence of non-violent protest endures due to their moral emphasis that overrides any political appeal which has ensured Gandhi stays put in our collective imagination.
Centring the narrative around a lively, erudite and thoroughly enjoyable history of one family from Malwa in Central India which held substantial land and various administrative offices in the Mughal empire and negotiated over several generations with three regimes - the Mughals, the Marathas and the British, Dr Chatterjee assembles a living, breathing world through her book, Negotiating Mughal Law: A Family of Landlords across Three Indian Empires. It is a classic history from below, populated with real people and colourful individuals in both spectacular and everyday situations which tells a riveting story even as it opens up many important questions for scholars and students of Mughal history and historical scholarship more broadly. In this episode of BIC Talks Dr. Prachi Deshpande talks to Dr. Nandini Chatterjee about the story of how she reconstructed a coherent archive to tell a micro-history of one family over such a long period of time and about it being a thought provoking meditation on the very nature of the historical archive.
On 28 May 1940, in the early days of the Second World War, Major Akbar Khan marched at the head of 299 soldiers along a beach in northern France. They were the only Indians in the British Expeditionary Force at Dunkirk.  What journey had brought these men to Europe? What became of them and their comrades captured by the Germans? In this episode of BIC Talks, author and historian Ghee Bowman talks to writer and journalist Vaibhav Vats about his book, ‘The Indian Contingent: The Forgotten Muslim Soldiers of the Battle of Dunkirk’ while examining the larger British narrative and place in history, details his research and tells an important although obscure and astonishing story of the Indian contingent – the Muslim soldiers who fought in the pivotal Battle of Dunkirk – from their arrival in France on 26 December 1939 to their return to an India on the verge of Partition.
In recent times, with the proliferation of Over the Top Entertainment platforms and increased access to content from all over the world in various languages, If there’s has been a clear and visible front runner in popularity, fandoms, fan fiction and all round good old hysteria - it’s all things K! South Korean Pop music, Korean Soap Operas, Live action and animated Films, food and Culture are taking over the imagination of a large swathe of the urban Indian population. While the spectrum of the influence of the South Korean Entertainment industry is wide, writer, podcaster and cultural critic Deepanjana Pal and author & journalist Nisha Susan give us an introduction to what is the innocuous gateway to an entire subculture - the phenomenon of the K - Drama.
In mid December, 2021, Dramaturg, Writer, Director & Cultural Critic Rustom Bharucha facilitated a week-long workshop for a cohort of 12 participants on Dramaturgy at Bangalore International Centre with inputs from several artists and practitioners, including philosopher and educator, Sundar Sarukkai. We caught up with the two at the height of churning during the workshop for a tête-à-tête on what was most playing on their minds. In this revealing conversation, they mull over necessary qualities that characterise the concept of “Theatre”, the social context of ‘touch’ in the times of a pandemic; tactility, conversation and sociality. The conversation also seeks to problematise the romantic idea of theatre being democratic and the central idea of theatre being a safe space. Some questions explored are - Can theatre really be viewed as a model of civil society and does it truly allow the practitioner the agency to challenge social norms? What is its role in dissent and what is the true function of theatre?
This episode of BIC Talks features Srikrishna Ramamoorthy in conversation with founder and chairman of Marico, Harsh Mariwala. While there’s a small chance his name may not ring a bell, most of us would have encountered the iconic blue and white Parachute coconut oil bottle at some point in life - one of several FMCG brands from the Marico stable. Harsh has played a key role in converting a traditional commodities driven family business into a leading consumer products and services company. His recent book, Harsh Realities: The Making of Marico, co-authored with global business advisor, Ram Charan, talks about two journeys - of Marico as a company and the personal one of Harsh while he learned, spotted opportunities and took risks in the building of the market entity. Having now stepped away from day to day operations, in this conversation Harsh talks about how he has to reimagine himself, while scripting new chapters in life and work; and his continuing quest to do more, be more and make a difference.
What does it mean to devote yourself wholly to helping others? In her book Strangers Drowning, Larissa MacFarquhar seeks out people living lives of extreme ethical commitment and tells their deeply intimate stories; their stubborn integrity and their compromises; their bravery and their recklessness; their joys and defeats and wrenching dilemmas. In this provocative conversation writer Samanth Subramanian along with Larissa contemplates what it means to be human. In a world of strangers drowning in need, how much should we help, and how much can we help? Is it right to care for strangers even at the expense of those we are closest to?  What exactly do we value most as human beings, and why? This conversation was originally streamed as part of the The Bangalore Life Science Cluster and NCBS Archives’ Public Lecture series and has been adapted to this podcast.
Comments (5)

Himanshu Saluja

Fabulous content but they need to work on their audio quality.

May 19th
Reply (1)

Manjunatha Bhatta

when I listen to BIC talks, I feel the time is well spent. thank you

May 12th
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Manjunatha Bhatta

This podcast is neat. Keep up the good work.

May 1st
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