Follow
Partner with Us
Aasheesh Pittie talk about the pleasures of birds and birdwatching
Aasheesh Pittie talk about the pleasures of birds and birdwatching
00:00 / 00:00

Available Episodes

EPISODE 222

"Incense was the original perfume. There was the belief that if you burnt it, the smoke was able to transcend the barrier between the worlds. Things like sandalwood may have remain ... Read more

"Incense was the original perfume. There was the belief that if you burnt it, the smoke was able to transcend the barrier between the worlds. Things like sandalwood may have remained in the realm of worship but once the kings and the nobles began smearing it on their bodies, it became popular with everybody. Technically, you can have your incense smell of anything just like you can have your perfume smell of anything but the connotations remain and they are very strong" - Divrina Dhingra, author, The Perfume Project talks to Manjula Narayan about the wonderful fragrances of sandalwood and vetiver, rose, jasmine and saffron, how towns like Kannauj and Madurai continue to be important centres of the creation and trade in specific perfumes, the complexities of Kashmiri saffron, the skilled craftsmen at the centre of it all, the impact of climate change and changing land use, and the personal associations that make individuals prefer specific scents Read more

EPISODE 221

"There's an upsurge of interest in natural history at every level and that's a positive sign. The diversity of work by these biologists is a reflection of that interest. There are ... Read more

"There's an upsurge of interest in natural history at every level and that's a positive sign. The diversity of work by these biologists is a reflection of that interest. There are people working at various levels to bring about change and conserve species. I wanted to write about women who had substantially impacted landscapes and ecosystems, who had changed the direction of conservation outcomes. That was the framework within which this book was planned. I also wanted to focus on the journeys of these women and not just the outcomes, which is why the long form essay was the perfect form in which to do this book" - Anita Mani, editor, Women in the Wild; Stories of India's Most Brilliant Women Wildlife Biologists talks to Manjula Narayan on The Books & Authors podcast. Read more

EPISODE 220

We need to recognise that the rural has always been a fluid place and it continues to be a fluid place. At the same time, in the case of India, it is not dying, it is not even shri ... Read more

We need to recognise that the rural has always been a fluid place and it continues to be a fluid place. At the same time, in the case of India, it is not dying, it is not even shrinking. The absolute size of the rural is also expanding. We think in linear terms. We think that there is a process of urbanisation and that there's an inevitability of urbanisation. What happened during the pandemic will have interesting spatial consequences. The manner in which New Media has integrated all kinds of settlements, there is a tendency for smaller level settlements to persist for much longer. There might even be a reverse trend. We are now living in a new tech age which might produce new kinds of settlement patterns" - Surinder S Jodhka, author, The Indian Village; Rural Lives in the 21st Century, talks to Manjula Narayan about how the idea of the Indian village as a never changing space was a colonial one, the great changes happening in the country's villages, patterns of migration, and the persistence, even expansion, of the rural in contemporary India. Read more

EPISODE 219

"The structure of religious division may keep changing; the structure of political oppression may keep changing; the details may keep changing, but the Reality that Kabir evokes be ... Read more

"The structure of religious division may keep changing; the structure of political oppression may keep changing; the details may keep changing, but the Reality that Kabir evokes beyond this is timeless. So, his words are also timeless. Social activists use Kabir for their own agenda. They say Kabir is about Hindu-Muslim unity. That's not really true. He is lambasting both Hindus and Muslims. All he says is there is only 1 truth and there is only one reality and what is the point of these useless and stupid arguments and fights? In that way, he is unifying, but he isn't interested in social brotherhood or harmony. He talks about something much higher than that. So, everyone uses Kabir for their own agenda. And that is OK" - Vipul Rikhi, author, 'Drunk on Love; The Life, Vision and Songs of Kabir' talks to Manjula Narayan on this week's Books & Authors podcast. Read more

EPISODE 218

"Today, the internet makes it possible for us to get into multiple businesses; there's a convergence of technologies which opens up new opportunities. We are at a real cusp. In all ... Read more

"Today, the internet makes it possible for us to get into multiple businesses; there's a convergence of technologies which opens up new opportunities. We are at a real cusp. In all my 40 years of working, I have never seen a technology with such a wide sweeping impact as Generative AI. But you can't stop technology, you have to keep moving with it." - Ashok Soota, co-author, 'Busted; Debunking Management Myths with Logic, Experience and Curiosity' talks to Manjula Narayan about everything from multitasking and toxic managers to risk management and anticipating the future. Read more

EPISODE 217

"Many of the challenges that Anandibai faced are universal - whether it's childbirth or trying to please everybody - but she had a strong sense of self so she was constantly trying ... Read more

"Many of the challenges that Anandibai faced are universal - whether it's childbirth or trying to please everybody - but she had a strong sense of self so she was constantly trying to juggle, and that's something that women today face too. In many ways, I feel like I was able to examine my own voice, my own experiences through writing about her. It was very liberating to be able to take someone else's story and translate that and hopefully, give that story back to her" - Shikha Malaviya, author, 'Anandibai Joshee; A Life in Poems' talks about giving a voice to India's first woman doctor through her poetry. Read more

EPISODE 216

"Today, the reason I've been completely marginalised is that the leadership of my party regards me as a loose cannon. My commitment to secular fundamentalism is of such a basic cha ... Read more

"Today, the reason I've been completely marginalised is that the leadership of my party regards me as a loose cannon. My commitment to secular fundamentalism is of such a basic character that pragmatic people in the Congress party think I'm being too extreme" - Mani Shankar Aiyar, politician and author, 'Memoirs of a Maverick' talks to Manjula Narayan about the difference between Hinduism and Hindutva, being brought up as a "coconut", Rajiv Gandhi as India's most misunderstood PM, standing up for Nehruvian values, the need to talk to Pakistan, and why he will never stop speaking his mind Read more

EPISODE 215

"Prime ministership is a continuum. If VP Singh had not done Mandal to empower the OBCs, the story for Mr Modi might have been very different. He is today an OBC PM and he's talkin ... Read more

"Prime ministership is a continuum. If VP Singh had not done Mandal to empower the OBCs, the story for Mr Modi might have been very different. He is today an OBC PM and he's talking about taking power to the most backward, the Mahadalits, the Pasmanda Muslims; those who have been on the peripheries of power are to be given a stake. If VP Singh hadn't done as he did, maybe the BJP would have continued as a Brahmin-Bania party, which it used to be known as" - Neerja Chowdhury, author, 'How Prime Ministers Decide', talks to Manjula Narayan about Indira Gandhi's religiosity, the central issues that each Indian PM has grappled with, Manmohan Singh and the Indo-US Nuclear deal, the friendship between Vajpayee and PV Narasimha Rao, Sonia Gandhi asking VP Singh and Vajpayee for advice and much more. Read more

EPISODE 214

"The issues of citizenship and identity become very mixed up in the case of cross border communities like Bengalis and Nepalis. And that is something one is seeing now happening wi ... Read more

"The issues of citizenship and identity become very mixed up in the case of cross border communities like Bengalis and Nepalis. And that is something one is seeing now happening with Kukis as well in Manipur, where there is widespread suspicion that a lot of them have come from Myanmar" - Samrat Choudhury, author, 'Northeast India; A Political History' talks to Manjula Narayan about the complex cultural, linguistic, religious and political histories of each of the states of northeast India, how the region became a part of India as a result of the Anglo-Burmese wars, the genesis of the idea of India itself, the ignored history of slavery in the subcontinent, and the need to avoid airbrushing the past. Read more

EPISODE 213

"Our writers have never divorced themselves from social reality. They have not really gone as much into individual lives without taking into account the social space in which those ... Read more

"Our writers have never divorced themselves from social reality. They have not really gone as much into individual lives without taking into account the social space in which those lives are lived. Almost all these stories are written in a down-to-earth mode. The attempt is largely to depict the real world and not the world of the intellectual imagination or fantasy. There's too much reality to get away from. Writers in our country have taken that reality head on and grappled with it, and have never flinched or looked away. These are the stories that continue to tell you the things that matter" - Arunava Sinha, editor, The Greatest Indian Stories Ever Told, talks to Manjula Narayan about translation, pan Indianism, literature from different parts of the country, and how editing a volume of short fiction like this one is an intense experience. Read more

1 2 3 23

Share your email for exclusive updates