BIC TALKS

Bangalore International Centre

Bangalore International Centre (BIC) is a non profit, public institution which serves as an inclusive platform for informed conversations, arts and culture. BIC TALKS aims to be a regular bi-weekly podcast that will foster discussions, dialogue, ideas, cultural enterprise and more. read less
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Episodes

310. The Gift that Keeps on Giving: The Life and Work of AK Ramanujan (Part 5 of 5)
Mar 25 2024
310. The Gift that Keeps on Giving: The Life and Work of AK Ramanujan (Part 5 of 5)
"The Gift That Keeps Giving," is a special five-part BIC Talks mini-series on the life and work of A.K. Ramanujan. Join us as we venture into the rich tapestry of Ramanujan's legacy, featuring exclusive interviews with writers, artists, and scholars who share a profound connection with his work. With each episode, we unravel the enduring impact of Ramanujan’s poetry, translations, and scholarship, providing insights into the creative spirit that continues to inspire generations. Discover the man whose intellectual contributions remain a perpetual gift to the world of literature, art, and academic thought. The fifth episode, "The Folklorist and His Legend," delves into A.K. Ramanujan's groundbreaking work as a folklorist, highlighting his dedication to preserving and interpreting the rich folklore traditions of South Asia. Through his meticulous collection and insightful analysis of folk tales, songs, and rituals, Ramanujan revealed the complex layers of meaning and cultural significance embedded in these oral traditions. Featuring interviews with anthropologists, folklorists, and those who were directly influenced by his work, this episode uncovers the ways in which Ramanujan's scholarship has shaped our understanding of folklore as a vibrant, living form of cultural expression. We celebrate Ramanujan's legacy as a folklorist who not only documented these stories but also illuminated their enduring relevance and power, cementing his status as a legend in the field. Subscribe to the BIC Talks Podcast on your favourite podcast app! BIC Talks is available everywhere, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Castbox, Overcast, Audible and Amazon Music.
309. The Gift that Keeps on Giving: The Life and Work of AK Ramanujan (Part 4 of 5)
Mar 21 2024
309. The Gift that Keeps on Giving: The Life and Work of AK Ramanujan (Part 4 of 5)
"The Gift That Keeps Giving," is a special five-part BIC Talks mini-series on the life and work of AK Ramanujan. Join us as we venture into the rich tapestry of Ramanujan's legacy, featuring exclusive interviews with writers, artists, and scholars who share a profound connection with his work. With each episode, we unravel the enduring impact of Ramanujan’s poetry, translations, and scholarship, providing insights into the creative spirit that continues to inspire generations. Discover the man whose intellectual contributions remain a perpetual gift to the world of literature, art, and academic thought. The fourth episode, "The Poet," casts a spotlight on AK Ramanujan's profound contributions to poetry, showcasing his extraordinary talent for capturing the complexities of human emotion and experience. It delves into his poetic universe, where each verse weaves together the personal and the universal, the contemporary and the timeless. Featuring readings of his most celebrated poems and insights from fellow poets and literary critics, this episode reveals the layers of meaning and the linguistic mastery that mark Ramanujan's poetry as a vital part of his legacy. "The Poet" invites listeners to experience the beauty and depth of Ramanujan's work, highlighting his enduring influence on the literary world. Subscribe to the BIC Talks Podcast on your favourite podcast app! BIC Talks is available everywhere, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Castbox, Overcast, Audible and Amazon Music.
308. The Gift that Keeps on Giving: The Life and Work of AK Ramanujan (Part 3 of 5)
Mar 18 2024
308. The Gift that Keeps on Giving: The Life and Work of AK Ramanujan (Part 3 of 5)
"The Gift That Keeps Giving," is a special five-part BIC Talks mini-series on the life and work of A.K. Ramanujan. Join us as we venture into the rich tapestry of Ramanujan's legacy, featuring exclusive interviews with writers, artists, and scholars who share a profound connection with his work. With each episode, we unravel the enduring impact of Ramanujan’s poetry, translations, and scholarship, providing insights into the creative spirit that continues to inspire generations. Discover the man whose intellectual contributions remain a perpetual gift to the world of literature, art, and academic thought. The third episode, "The Translator and the Teacher," explores A.K. Ramanujan's dual roles as a masterful translator and an inspiring educator. It delves into how his translations bridged linguistic and cultural divides, bringing ancient texts to life for modern audiences, while his teaching ignited a passion for learning and discovery in his students. Through personal anecdotes and insights from literary experts, we uncover the depth of Ramanujan's impact, showcasing his ability to connect deeply with both the texts he translated and the minds he shaped. This episode celebrates the legacy of a scholar whose work and teaching continue to influence and inspire long after his time. Subscribe to the BIC Talks Podcast on your favourite podcast app! BIC Talks is available everywhere, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Castbox, Overcast, Audible and Amazon Music.
307. The Gift that Keeps on Giving: The Life and Work of AK Ramanujan (Part 2 of 5)
Mar 14 2024
307. The Gift that Keeps on Giving: The Life and Work of AK Ramanujan (Part 2 of 5)
"The Gift That Keeps Giving," is a special five-part BIC Talks mini-series on the life and work of A.K. Ramanujan. Join us as we venture into the rich tapestry of Ramanujan's legacy, featuring exclusive interviews with writers, artists, and scholars who share a profound connection with his work. With each episode, we unravel the enduring impact of Ramanujan’s poetry, translations, and scholarship, providing insights into the creative spirit that continues to inspire generations. Discover the man whose intellectual contributions remain a perpetual gift to the world of literature, art, and academic thought. In the second episode, we delve into A.K. Ramanujan's vast intellectual landscape, exploring his unique ability to weave together the ancient and the modern through his translations and scholarship. This journey illuminates how Ramanujan's work serves as a bridge across cultures, uncovering universal human experiences within the rich tapestries of folklore, mythology, and literary traditions. Through engaging discussions with scholars and admirers, we celebrate Ramanujan's profound insight and boundless curiosity, inviting listeners to experience the world through his visionary lens, where every text and tradition opens new vistas of understanding and connection. Subscribe to the BIC Talks Podcast on your favourite podcast app! BIC Talks is available everywhere, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Castbox, Overcast, Audible and Amazon Music.
305. From Farmers to Free Speech
Mar 8 2024
305. From Farmers to Free Speech
As the pillars of democracy crumble across the globe, big and small actions of resistance prop up hope and keep alive a way to rebuild. In the past few decades, ordinary folk in India have stood up to repressive state authority over and over again. Their vital acts of hope preserve the collective spirit of resistance and unwavering resilience necessary to continue the fight for democracy. Audacious Hope is an archive of these struggles, including the protests that united farmers across state borders in 2020 and the national outcry following the controversial CAA legislation. From the myriad ways people came to the aid of their fellow citizens during the pandemic to the testing of free-speech boundaries by cultural activists, this book undertakes the task of documenting resistance in its many forms. The author, Indrajit Roy challenges the reader with his account of how a proud people are battling to save their beloved democracy. The question is, how can we, through individual and collective action, resist authoritarianism, casteism and majoritarianism? The answer is, of course, through the audacity of hope. In this episode of BIC Talks, Indrajit is in conversation with journalist and editor Prem Panicker. This is an excerpt from a conversation that took place in the BIC premises in February 2024. Subscribe to the BIC Talks Podcast on your favourite podcast app! BIC Talks is available everywhere, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Castbox, Overcast, Audible and Amazon Music.
301. The Rise of H-Pop
Feb 22 2024
301. The Rise of H-Pop
Can a song trigger a murder? Can a poem spark a riot? Can a book divide a people?  From catchy songs with acerbic lyrics to poetry recited in kavi sammelans to social media influencers shaping opinions with their brand of ‘breaking news’ to books rescripting historical events, ‘Hindutva Pop’ or H-Pop is steadily creating societal acceptability for Hindutva’s core beliefs. What makes H-Pop so popular? Who are its stars and its audience? Who is pouring in the money,  the effort and the resources to produce and broadcast it? What is the political economy of H-Pop? These are some of the questions that award-winning independent journalist Kunal Purohit  explores in his riveting investigative book, H-Pop: The Secretive World Of Hindutva Pop Stars, as he travels through India profiling some of H-Pop’s  most prolific and popular creators—its stars and celebrities. In the process, he interrogates whether the creators are driven by ideology or commerce, and what motivates the audience to  consume their daily dose of bigotry. In this episode of BIC Talks, an extract from an in-person event that took place in December 2023, Kunal along with stand up comedian Namit Jain and cultural practitioner Arundhati Ghosh discusses the key issues raised in the book and explore the effects of the the Political Influencer Economy. Subscribe to the BIC Talks Podcast on your favourite podcast app! BIC Talks is available everywhere, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Castbox, Overcast, Audible and Amazon Music.
300. A History of Economic Ideas
Feb 19 2024
300. A History of Economic Ideas
Described as “a brilliant history of economic ideas” by Amartya Sen, Aditya Balasubramanian’s recent book Toward a Free Economy: Swatantra and Opposition Politics in Democratic India, shows how ideas of ‘free economy’ emerged from communities in southern and western India as they embraced new forms of entrepreneurial activity, in opposition to the so-called ‘socialist planned economy’ of Nehruvian India. ‘Free economy’ became the rallying cry for the Swatantra (Freedom) Party, which rose and fell in 1960s India. Its project of opposition politics sought to create a viable conservative alternative to the dominant Indian National Congress and push India toward a two-party system. In this episode of BIC talks, author Aditya Balasubramanian is in conversation with Narayan Ramachandran. This discussion provides a perspective on the changing relationship between the state and markets and the evolution of democracy in India and help us better understand communities who have been disproportionately successful in the aftermath of liberalisation and shed light on the constructive role opposition has played in Indian society. This episode is an extract from an in-person event that took place at the BIC premises in December 2023. Subscribe to the BIC Talks Podcast on your favourite podcast app! BIC Talks is available everywhere, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Castbox, Overcast, Audible and Amazon Music.
299. Beyond Imitation
Feb 16 2024
299. Beyond Imitation
The thinking on political theory that went into the making of the Indian Constitution was not derivative, but highly original. The constitution is based on a long tradition of highly original Indian political reflection. This originality lay in the framers’ forceful critique against some basic axioms of Western political theory. As illustrations, in this episode of BIC Talks Sudipta Kaviraj (Professor, Columbia University, and Distinguished Visiting Faculty at the NLSIU) shall present Tagore’s thinking on religion and modernity, Gandhi-Tagore-Nehru’s ideas of the nation, and Ambedkar’s late deployment of Buddhism. Indian nationalist thought also displayed a contending tradition that accepted and elaborated on fundamental Western ideas – as in Iqbal and Savarkar. The constitution sought to develop a state-form that was based on a rejection of the European idea of a nation-state – though this is sometimes obscured, because the framers used a Western-derived language. Thus, those who believe that the constitution is ‘Western’ or colonial are in error; and their search for an alternative is based, ironically, on an imitation of modern Western ideals. This episode was originally delivered by Sudipta Kaviraj as the MK Nambyar Annual Lecture in November 2023, in collaboration with National Law School of India University. Subscribe to the BIC Talks Podcast on your favourite podcast app! BIC Talks is available everywhere, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Castbox, Overcast, Audible and Amazon Music.
298. Literary Bonds
Feb 13 2024
298. Literary Bonds
It is not often that an author and his editor strike up a relationship that survives forty years of epistolary exchanges and intellectual sparring. The strangely enduring and occasionally fractious friendship that developed between the famously outspoken historian Ramachandra Guha and his reticent editor Rukun Advani is the subject of his new literary memoir. It started in Delhi in the early 1980s, when Guha was an unpublished PhD scholar, and Advani a greenhorn editor with the Oxford University Press. It blossomed through the 1990s, when Guha grew into a pioneering historian of the environment and of cricket, while also writing his biography of Verrier Elwin. Over these years, Advani was Guha’s most constant confidant, his most reliable reader. He encouraged him to craft and refine the literary style for which Guha became internationally known. Four decades later, though he no longer publishes his books, Advani remains Guha’s most trusted literary adviser. Yet they also disagree ferociously on politics, human nature, and the nature of their commitment to India. They usually make up – because it  just wouldn’t do to allow such an odd relationship to die. In this episode of BIC Talks, built around letters and emails between an outgoing and occasionally combative scholar and a reclusive editor prone to private outbursts of savage sarcasm, Ramachandra Guha discusses his new book, The Cooking of Books: A Literary Memoir. This episode is adapted from an in-person event that took place at the BIC premises in early February 2024. Subscribe to the BIC Talks Podcast on your favourite podcast app! BIC Talks is available everywhere, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Castbox, Overcast, Audible and Amazon Music.
297. Decoding India's Economic Path
Feb 8 2024
297. Decoding India's Economic Path
Dr. Raghuram Rajan Economist, Educator & Former Governor, RBI speaks in context of his latest book - Breaking the Mould: Reimagining India’s Economic Future, in the context of a first-time collaboration between Dr Rajan and economist Rohit Lamba. These two distinguished voices from the field of economics and public policy have put together a gripping book about the future of India’s economic development. There is a truly Indian path to prosperity, they argue, that builds on the strengths of our people and our political and societal frameworks. They examine fundamental policy choices that concern every Indian. In this episode of BIC Talks, Dr. Rajan speaks followed by a conversation with Dr. Lamba and Prof. Manaswini Bhalla, Associate Professor of Economics, IIM-B, tackling questions like - Where is India going today? Is it surging forward, having just overtaken the United Kingdom to become the fifth-largest economy in the world? Or is it floundering, unable to provide jobs for the millions joining the labour force? What should India do to secure a better future? Breaking the Mould: Reimagining India’s Economic Future tackles these critical questions that revolve around India’s growth and progress in the 21st century. This is an excerpt from an in-person event that took place in December 2023. Subscribe to the BIC Talks Podcast on your favourite podcast app! BIC Talks is available everywhere, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Castbox, Overcast, Audible and Amazon Music.
296. Autonomy Ascendant
Feb 5 2024
296. Autonomy Ascendant
The ongoing crises in Ukraine and Gaza highlight the pressing need for a revamped international approach that recognizes the increasing autonomy of middle and smaller powers globally. This necessitates a rejection of attempts to revive a failed unilateral U.S. dominance or force diverse conflicts into an outdated "great power competition" model akin to the Cold War. In both Ukraine and the Middle East, the United States has faced challenges in imposing its will, both militarily and diplomatically. Smaller nations have successfully resisted American-backed military efforts, and a substantial part of the global community diverges from endorsing U.S. diplomatic perspectives on international norms. Importantly, this opposition does not align with the Cold War paradigm, lacking the support of a superpower peer competitor. The emerging world order is characterized by "regionalization," where middle and small powers worldwide feel empowered to bypass or defy U.S. interpretations of global norms based on localized interests and regional security considerations. The roots of this situation trace back to the U.S. pursuit of unilateral power during the War on Terror, diminishing the legitimacy of the post–World War Two international order. This has led the international community to seek alternatives to a system perceived as granting unchecked power to the United States. The U.S. foreign policy establishment must grapple with this newly deglobalized and regionalized world order, as failure to do so poses a significant threat to U.S. power and influence. Relationships with key emerging powers like India and traditional U.S. allies in Europe and Asia are susceptible to the de–globalizing and regionalizing forces observed in Ukraine and the Middle East. In this episode of BIC Talks, renowned scholar, Dr. Faisal Devji makes sense of the enduring bewilderment that global history was and continues to be, offering a vantage point that is objective in understanding the enigmatic creature that is globalisation. This episode is an extract from an in-person session that took place in December 2023 at the BIC premises, as part of Alliance’s Public Lecture Series. Subscribe to the BIC Talks Podcast on your favourite podcast app! BIC Talks is available everywhere, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Castbox, Overcast, Audible and Amazon Music.
295. Shifting Spaces
Feb 1 2024
295. Shifting Spaces
Contemporary India is witness to a huge change in which, space for serious conversations on all aspects of culture, is receding. The advocacy of religious-cultural nationalism has come to replace all forms of culture. It has also come to take many forms. For instance, the murder of rationalists – Kalburgi, Pansare, and Gauri Lankesh – underlines the contested nature of secularism, and the fragile space for freedom of thought in religion, media and culture in India. There has been a determined attempt to rewrite the cultural history of India, a project that has fed into the writing of school textbooks. The rise of online archival projects offering alternative accounts of Indian history, the popular cultures of televised Hinduism, curbs on art and cinema, the huge nexus of religion and market, rise of hate speech are signals to a certain kind of revivalism. Writings that celebrate plurality and tolerance are being decried, systematically countered and a monolithic agenda of culture is gradually being established. In the absence of a real space for cultural conversations, politics dominates all kinds of discourses. In this episode of BIC Talks Aruna Roy, Activist & Former Civil Servant, sheds light on these receding spaces. This lecture took place at the BIC premises in early January 2024 as the U R Ananthamurthy Memorial Lecture. Subscribe to the BIC Talks Podcast on your favourite podcast app! BIC Talks is available everywhere, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Castbox, Overcast, Audible and Amazon Music.
293. Kumaravyasa's Epic Renaissance (Part 3 of 3)
Jan 25 2024
293. Kumaravyasa's Epic Renaissance (Part 3 of 3)
Kumaravyasa’s Bharata is a crown jewel of Kannada literature, beloved by scholars and common people alike. In this 15th-century classic, Kumaravyasa reimagines Vyasa’s epic, making it more compact, dramatic, closer to everyday life and language. He dispenses with most didactic material, cuts out subsidiary tales, and concludes with the end of the war. Here, Krishna, who is cool, clever, charming, and charismatic, is the central character, but many others, such as Draupadi, Karna, and Duryodhana leave an indelible mark. He narrates the story through fast-moving, deftly crafted situations, where characters confront grand conflicts and articulate subtle and complex emotions in brilliant metaphorical language. In this series of masterclasses, Professors SN Sridhar and Krishnamurthy Hanuru will introduce the audience to several aspects of Kumaravyasa’s poetic genius, illustrating them with the modern English translations the first volume of which has just been published as The Kannada Mahabharata by Harvard University Press in the Murty Classical Library of India series. The first episode places the poet in relation to his life and times, discusses his unique poetic manifesto, outlines the work, and highlights his originality in the way he creatively transforms Vyasa’s prototype of the Mahabharata and Pampa’s version. In this episode of BIC Talks Professors Sridhar and Hanuru illustrate Kumaravyasa’s genius and versatility while analysing what accounts for the enduring popularity of his work for over half a millennium. This is an excerpt from an in-person masterclass series that took place in January 2024. Subscribe to the BIC Talks Podcast on your favourite podcast app! BIC Talks is available everywhere, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Castbox, Overcast, Audible and Amazon Music.
292. Kumaravyasa's Epic Renaissance (Part 2 of 3)
Jan 22 2024
292. Kumaravyasa's Epic Renaissance (Part 2 of 3)
Kumaravyasa’s Bharata is a crown jewel of Kannada literature, beloved by scholars and common people alike. In this 15th-century classic, Kumaravyasa reimagines Vyasa’s epic, making it more compact, dramatic, closer to everyday life and language. He dispenses with most didactic material, cuts out subsidiary tales, and concludes with the end of the war. Here, Krishna, who is cool, clever, charming, and charismatic, is the central character, but many others, such as Draupadi, Karna, and Duryodhana leave an indelible mark. He narrates the story through fast-moving, deftly crafted situations, where characters confront grand conflicts and articulate subtle and complex emotions in brilliant metaphorical language. In this series of masterclasses, Professors SN Sridhar and Krishnamurthy Hanuru will introduce the audience to several aspects of Kumaravyasa’s poetic genius, illustrating them with the modern English translations the first volume of which has just been published as The Kannada Mahabharata by Harvard University Press in the Murty Classical Library of India series. The second session discusses some of the themes, characters and episodes in Kumaravyasa’s Bharata, such as the sexual harassment of Draupadi, the diplomacy of Krishna, the manipulative, determined Duryodhana, the tragedies of Abhimanyu and Karna, the killing of Shishupala, the tragic death of Pandu, and Arjuna’s confrontations with Shiva and Urvashi. In this episode of BIC Talks Professors Sridhar and Hanuru explore the contemporaneity and universality of Kumaravyasa’s ideas about class, caste, war, power, human relations, patriarchy, women’s status, and so forth. This is an excerpt from an in-person masterclass series that took place in January 2024. Subscribe to the BIC Talks Podcast on your favourite podcast app! BIC Talks is available everywhere, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Castbox, Overcast, Audible and Amazon Music.
291. Kumaravyasa's Epic Renaissance (Part 1 of 3)
Jan 18 2024
291. Kumaravyasa's Epic Renaissance (Part 1 of 3)
Kumaravyasa’s Bharata is a crown jewel of Kannada literature, beloved by scholars and common people alike. In this 15th-century classic, Kumaravyasa reimagines Vyasa’s epic, making it more compact, dramatic, closer to everyday life and language. He dispenses with most didactic material, cuts out subsidiary tales, and concludes with the end of the war. Here, Krishna, who is cool, clever, charming, and charismatic, is the central character, but many others, such as Draupadi, Karna, and Duryodhana leave an indelible mark. He narrates the story through fast-moving, deftly crafted situations, where characters confront grand conflicts and articulate subtle and complex emotions in brilliant metaphorical language. In this series of masterclasses, Professors SN Sridhar and Krishnamurthy Hanuru will introduce the audience to several aspects of Kumaravyasa’s poetic genius, illustrating them with the modern English translations the first volume of which has just been published as The Kannada Mahabharata by Harvard University Press in the Murty Classical Library of India series. The first episode places the poet in relation to his life and times, discusses his unique poetic manifesto, outlines the work, and highlights his originality in the way he creatively transforms Vyasa’s prototype of the Mahabharata and Pampa’s version. In this episode of BIC Talks Professors Sridhar and Hanuru illustrate Kumaravyasa’s genius and versatility while analysing what accounts for the enduring popularity of his work for over half a millennium. This is an excerpt from an in-person masterclass series that took place in January 2024. Subscribe to the BIC Talks Podcast on your favourite podcast app! BIC Talks is available everywhere, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Castbox, Overcast, Audible and Amazon Music.
290. Power and Paperwork
Jan 16 2024
290. Power and Paperwork
How do people, who are often at the receiving end of legal violence, engage with the law? Amidst the grinding terror trials – which are replete with stories of torture, illegal detention and fabricated charges – this presentation will discuss how the terror-accused schooled themselves in legal language and came to understand how paperwork’s certificatory procedures produce legal truth. Though seemingly mundane, legal technicalities are fraught and highly contested, and acquire urgent ethical qualities in the life of a trial: legal language becomes a question of a form of life. The file becomes a space in which the world can be made or unmade, and the petition is a way of imagining a future. In attending to the ways in which legal technicalities are made to work – through legal language and through files – we are offered a way of understanding how human expressiveness, creativity and vulnerability emerge through the law. In this episode of BIC Talks, author and senior lecturer in law at SOAS, University of London, Mayur Suresh talks about his research in the area, followed by a conversation with research manager at Daksh, Leah Verghese. This episode is an extract from an in-person event that took place at the BIC premises in mid-December 2023. Subscribe to the BIC Talks Podcast on your favourite podcast app! BIC Talks is available everywhere, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Castbox, Overcast, Audible and Amazon Music.