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47 minutes | Jun 15, 2021
127. India’s Infrastructure Laws and its Practice
This conversation around understanding India’s investments in infrastructure links recent laws and practices relating to these projects, and provides an approach to these issues from a commercial and legal perspective. Author of the book, Investing in India’s Infrastructure and Energy Sectors, Prashanth Sabeshan, in this conversation with urbanist and policy researcher Champaka Rajagopal covers a wide range of points within the vast umbrella of infrastructure, including specific and generic legal issues that arise in certain core sectors such as electricity and renewables, airports, ports, and oil and gas, and the challenges faced by investors, developers, financiers and procurers. This conversation as a glimpse into the deeply researched book provides a primer to those who have an interest in understanding some of the practical and current commercial/legal issues and trends and relevant Indian government policies in these sectors. Prashanth Sabeshan has over 20 years of experience working as a lawyer working across commercial contracts, general corporate, infrastructure, electricity & renewables, oil & gas, ports, project finance, regulatory and policy advisory. Champaka Rajagopal is a visiting faculty with the School of Public Policy and Governance, Azim Premji University. She has worked on public and private sector projects in urban contexts, including formulation of policy, regulations, investment plans, master plans for green field townships and architecture of buildings.
59 minutes | Jun 11, 2021
126. K Balagopal: The Conscience of the Collective Self
This episode of BIC Talks remembers an individual who has been described as “the conscience of the collective self known as Andhra society”. Arvind Narrain in a conversation with Aishwarya Ravikumar provides a primer and an insight into the inner workings of a profound and rare mind of clarity and action, as we mark his birth anniversary on the 10th of June. K Balagopal (1952-2009) was a trained Mathematician who became one of the country’s most important human rights activists. He was initially with the Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee and then went on to found the Human Rights Forum. As an inspirational part of these human rights organisations he travelled the length and breadth of the land from Kashmir in the North to Orissa and the North East, Gujarat and of course his own home state, the then Andhra Pradesh, producing an astonishing series of Fact Finding Reports which documented and analysed human rights violations. He also wrote extensively in the Economic and Political Weekly and was an insightful commentor on Indian political and legal developments right from Gujarat 2002, the rise of the Naxalites to the politics of Mandal. His writings and speeches have been archived at www.balagopal.org. Arvind Narrain is a lawyer and writer based in Bangalore. Aishwarya Ravikumar has worked in different contexts to make short documentary films and learn about governance and community perspectives on land & forest rights, right to employment, fair wages and information and food sovereignty.
69 minutes | Jun 8, 2021
125. The Spirit of Enquiry
The word Dissent in its various misinterpretations has been in use for a while; within the zeitgeist of uncertainty that we are now living in, the immediacy of an engaged artist, citizen, human being has become apparent and urgent. This episode of BIC Talks with musician and author TM Krishna in conversation with activist and author Kavita Krishnan begins as a conversation based on Krishna’s newest book The Spirit of Enquiry: Notes on Dissent blossoms into a philosophical exchange on aesthetic, the practice and consumption of art, politics and socio political stances, that addresses crucial issues of caste, culture, class and gender with nuance and openness. Thodur Madabusi Krishna is an author and one of the pre-eminent vocalists in the rigorous Karnatik tradition of India’s classical music. Kavita Krishnan is activist and currently the Secretary of the All India Progressive Women’s Association (AIPWA), a women’s group that is especially active among women workers, agricultural laborers, and other sections of poor laboring women in rural and urban India.
74 minutes | Jun 5, 2021
124. Remembering Vanraj Bhatia's Music
This episode of BIC talks is an extract from a BIC Streams session, where Zubin Balaporia and Shwetant Kumar take us on a journey celebrating Vanraj Bhatia's music and memory on what would have been his 94th birthday. You could say Vanraj Bhatia’s music crosses boundaries the way people cross the street! He was trained in Indian classical music from his schooldays, and in western classical music in London and in Paris, where he was Nadia Boulanger’s only Indian student. Frequently working with the best musicians and the latest technology in India, Bhatia created music that was as impossible to pigeonhole as was his colourful personality. His 60-year career spanned multiple disciplines: cinema, television, documentaries, major theatre productions, spiritual music, advertising jingles (7000 of them!), western classical and also new age music. It is very likely that every person in India knows at least one piece of music by him – even if they’ve never heard of him! We take this opportunity to celebrate Vanraj, his life and his music in our own small way.
60 minutes | Jun 1, 2021
123. The Coming of Age of Indian Science
How do you build a scientifically and technologically strong modern nation with limited means and resources? Indian scientists faced this challenge seven decades ago when the country became independent and confronted a world rapidly advancing in science and technology. In the years that followed, they battled poor funding and archaic regulations to build India's science infrastructure from scratch. Hari Pulakkat in his book, 'Space Life Matter' captures the story of the struggles and triumphs of these leaders of science and the institutions they founded. In this episode of BIC Talks which was originally a BIC Streams session, Hari, in conversation with science historian Jahnavi Phalkey talks about key events that shaped Indian science after independence that he explores in his book. This includes the cosmic-ray experiments at the Kolar Gold Fields, the building of the world’s largest radio telescope, ISRO's space observatory, and how persistent scientist-engineers developed a chemicals and pharmaceutical industry in India. Hari Pulakkat is a science journalist and writer based in Bangalore, with nearly three decades of experience in covering science and technology from an Indian point of view. In 2020, he was the winner of the Indira Gandhi Prize for Science Popularisation. Space Life Matter is his first book. Jahnavi Phalkey is a historian of science and the Founding Director of Science Gallery Bengaluru.
35 minutes | May 26, 2021
122. Solving Period Poverty
We are well into the 21st century, and yet 50% of women and girls in developing countries, including India, cannot afford basic sanitary products to manage their periods, and rely on unhygienic practices such as old rags, sand and ash. Together with limited knowledge and limited sanitary facilities, this leads to serious health risks, such as reproductive and urinary tract infections. It also prevents women and girls from participating in essential daily activities, such as going to school and going to work. It’s estimated that every year, 23 million girls in India drop out school upon reaching puberty. We are here today for the occasion of World Menstrual Hygiene Day, to discuss how we can solve the challenge of period poverty to unlock gender equality, environmental sustainability and growth. In this conversation you will hear from two women with expertise in the menstrual hygiene space Mariana Lopez and Ira Guha.
59 minutes | May 23, 2021
121. Trade & Faith
Between the twelfth and sixteenth centuries, a distinct form of Islamic thought and practice developed among Muslim trading communities of the Indian Ocean. In this episode of BIC Talks, economic historian and author of Monsoon Islam: Trade and Faith on the Medieval Malabar Coast, Sebastian R Prange and art historian and researcher, Ayesha Matthan explore the argument presented in Sebastian’s book, that this 'Monsoon Islam' was shaped by merchants not sultans, forged by commercial imperatives rather than in battle, and defined by the reality of Muslims living within non-Muslim societies. Focusing on India's Malabar Coast, the much-fabled 'land of pepper', Prange speaks of how Monsoon Islam developed in response to concrete economic, socio-religious, and political challenges. Sebastian R Prange is an economic historian who researches the development of Muslim trade networks in the medieval Indian Ocean world. Ayesha Matthan is an art historian interested in photojournalistic practices, culture and politics in the Indian subcontinent from the 19th century to the present day.
37 minutes | May 19, 2021
120. The Art of a Happy Exit
'So, what's your exit strategy?' The question often leaves most entrepreneurs stumped as running a business leaves little time to think about anything else. While business owners recognise that they may have to exit their business at some point, few give enough thought to how they will sell it. And fewer prepare for it. In this episode of BIC Talks, K Srikrishna, serial entrepreneur, business mentor and author of The Art of a Happy Exit is in conversation with Hema Hattangady, author, entrepreneur and business leader on how can an entrepreneur prepare for all that selling their business entails. K. Srikrishna, Ph.D., is a serial entrepreneur, business mentor and former angel investor. He founded his first company Impulsesoft in 1999, which grew from a bootstrapped organisation of two people to a global leader in Bluetooth wireless stereo music prior to being acquired by SiRF Technology of San Jose, CA. Hema Hattangady is an independent Director and thought leader in the energy efficiency space. She co-owned and ran Conzerv Systems in energy management products and services until she sold to Schneider Electric in 2009. Her story is a case that has been taught at the AMP at Harvard Business School.
53 minutes | May 15, 2021
119. Learning from Epidemics Past
The enduring persistence, resurgence and mutation of many epidemic diseases have made apparent the problematic nature of the ‘epidemic disease narrative’ in the 21st century. Through the lens of the history of polio vaccination and treatment from a seemingly peripheral, Eastern European perspective, Dora Vargha aims to shift our attention to question what, when, and for whom is an end of an epidemic ‘the end’, and what happens after. This episode of BIC Talks is in association with Science Gallery Bengaluru and was originally part of their ongoing online exhibition season - Contagion, open until the 13th of June, 2021. Do visit bengaluru.sciencegallery.com for more talks and an exhibition experience of Contagion. Dora Vargha is historian of medicine, science and technology at the University of Exeter, based jointly at the Department of History and the Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health and is co-editor of Social History of Medicine journal. She has published on vaccine development in Eastern Europe, the Cold War politics of polio, disability in communist Hungary, and epidemic narratives in current global health policies. Jahnavi Phalkey is historian of science and the Founding Director of Science Gallery Bengaluru.
40 minutes | May 11, 2021
118. The Premier In Our Lives
Memories of a city and its unique brand of life come from the people who make it memorable and places that work as pegs for those memories. One such person who created that space which so many Bangaloreans remember with unfaltering fondness and affection is Mr. Shanbhag, the gentle bibliophile who created a warm and welcoming space, synonymous with his personality in Premier Bookshop. Premier is remembered with great affection as a Bangalore institution by people of several generations. The impact that the bookshop and the person running it have had is reflected in the outpouring of grief and tribute across channels, from across the world when news of Mr.Shanbhag’s passing broke on 5th of May 2021. In this episode of BIC Talks a few Bangaloreans remember and pay tribute to TS Shanbhag. Image credit- Raghav Shreyas
50 minutes | May 8, 2021
117. The Experiments of a Young Gandhi
Gandhi’s autobiography is famous for the austerity of its narration, and its veracity. Less known are his autobiographical observations made, almost incidentally, in the course of his speeches and writings. This episode of BIC Talks features Gopalkrishna Gandhi in conversation with scholar and author Sunil Khilnani about the latest book ‘Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi: Restless as Mercury: My Life as a Young Man’ edited by Gopalkrishna Gandhi which seeks to complement The Story of my Experiments with Truth. This book culls out, mainly from The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi some of those pertaining to his life as a young man. They tell the extraordinary story of the householder and lawyer, very fallible, vulnerable, but ready to self-correct and eager to learn from peers and those who he acknowledged as shapers of his life. This episode is an extract from an earlier BIC streams session. Gopalkrishna Gandhi is Distinguished Professor of History and Politics at Ashoka University. Sunil Khilnani is Professor of Politics and History at Ashoka University.
62 minutes | May 4, 2021
116. The First Battle of Indian Liberalism
This episode of BIC Talks with author and historian Tripurdaman Singh and lawyer Siddharth Raja contextualises and discusses the lead up to the first ever amendment to the Constitution of India in the year 1951, only a year after the Constitution was brought into effect, the subject of Tripurdaman's new book Sixteen Stormy Days - The Story of the First Amendment of the Constitution of India. The conversation traces this momentous event and the various personalities and agendas, at odds with the original hopes and dreams of building a liberal democratic system at the heart of it. The controversial amendment termed an “obscenity by willful resolve” by some is a crucial moment characterised by some of the fiercest parliamentary debates and in the country’s political, judicial and constitutional history which set us on a path of ambiguity as a nation. Tripurdaman Singh is a British Academy postdoctoral fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London. Tripurdaman is a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society and has been the recipient of a fellowship award from the Indian Council of Historical Research. Siddharth Raja is a seasoned corporate lawyer now in his 23rd year of practice. He focuses on private equity and venture capital transactions, and on cross-border and domestic mergers and acquisitions.
57 minutes | May 1, 2021
115. The Art of Mediation
In this episode renowned lawyer Sriram Panchu, pioneer of Mediation in India speaks with Kamala Naganand on the evolution of Mediation as a successful dispute resolution mechanism. We explore how mediation fosters mindfulness and healing with non judgemental justice; and the myriad applications of the process to public, private, domestic and international conflict resolution. Sriram Panchu has been in the forefront of the mediation movement in India, and is an internationally recognised Indian mediator. Kamala Naganand is the managing partner at Aarna Law. Her principal practice areas are corporate advisory, intellectual property law, insolvency and bankruptcy and private client practice.
61 minutes | Apr 27, 2021
114. Life in the Sciences
Is India obsessed with IT & engineering studies and are we ignoring investment in pure science education? With the limited resources we have shouldn’t we be focused on finding answers to the immediate issues of today’s society or should we invest in pursuing long-term scientific breakthroughs as well as well? What are the big questions in Science that impact Indian society and what should be our priorities? What are the paths to innovation? Are patents necessary or will we be restricting access from beneficiaries? A panel of leading minds debated these challenges- Nobel Laureate Professor Venkataraman ‘Venki’ ‘Ramakrishnan, Professor Jyotsna Dhawan, Professor S ‘Rams’ Ramaswamy and Professor Pankaj Chandra at a live event at Bangalore International Centre in collaboration with Ignite Life Sciences Foundation and Cytecare. This enthralling session is an opportunity to learn what these scientific experts have to say about these vexed questions, and is bound to offer meaningful insights to the audience.
42 minutes | Apr 24, 2021
113. The Black Panther Files 2
After five years of trying to spot the elusive black panther – Karia – of the Kabini forest, author and philanthropist Rohini Nilekani completes her story after finally sighting the black panther she was searching for. But where? And what happens next? Will the end of one quest mark the beginning of another? In Part 2 of the talk ‘Romancing the Black Panther’ Rohini Nilekani completes her story about her quest for the black panther, and how it brings her deeper into the heart of Kabini. A forest that is home to much biodiversity – it is part man-made and part natural, teeming with wildlife beside the gleaming backwaters of the Kabini reservoir. This paradise calls for eternal vigilance. The global pandemic has taught us just how interconnected we are to the wild world. What better time for us to reflect on how—and how quickly—we can renew our broken relationship with the natural world? Can we go into the forest with curiosity and humility, and can we emerge embracing its grace? This podcast has been adapted from an collaborative event with Bangalore Literature Festival. The original video can be watched here.
34 minutes | Apr 20, 2021
112. Finding Common Ground
While stating that Hinduism is not a religion but a collection of practices associated with the space now called India, MK Raghavendra, critic, film scholar and writer, in this conversation with former diplomat Chiranjiv Singh examines what being a Hindu means and asks whether its practices are reconcilable with global modernity and compatible with justice and egalitarianism. The speakers discuss the various lenses through which Indian religions - especially Hinduism are perceived and experienced across the country and global academia. The conversation spans philosophical, political and social perspectives while presenting arguments that challenge current popular understanding of the Hindu Nation. MK Raghavendra is a film, literary and cultural critic who writes on politics as well. He won the Swarna Kamal for Best Film Critic in 1997 and was awarded a Homi Bhabha Fellowship in 2000-2001 to study narration in Hindi films. He has authored 8 books on film though Oxford University Press, HarperCollins and Bloomsbury. Chiranjiv Singh is a former Ambassador of India to UNESCO in Paris. An Indian Administrative Service officer of the 1969 batch, he retired in 2005 as the Development Commissioner of Karnataka and Additional Chief Secretary to the Government of Karnataka.
58 minutes | Apr 15, 2021
111. Innovating Government
In this episode Vivek Wadhwa author, academic, entrepreneur explores the ideas in his book 'From Incremental to Exponential: How Large Companies Can See the Future and Rethink Innovation' in a conversation with Dr. Srivatsa Krishna, IAS and Secretary CEO of Coffee Board of India. Ray Kurzweil of Singularity University has predicted that for the first time in human history, we are entering the “Exponential Era”. We are going to experience 20,000 years of technological change in the next 100 years- from the birth of agriculture to the birth of the Internet, twice, in the next century. We are living in the times when flying taxis, autonomous vehicles, robots as personal valets, reusable rockets are all happening in front of our eyes, most of them ready for prime time. For the first time there is not only Moore’s Law like acceleration in several technologies but also convergence among them. How will these impact governments? Can they remain immune to change or will this lead to more innovating governments? How must governments in India and elsewhere leverage these technologies to serve better? How do we move from 'Incremental to Exponential' in governance? The original live event was in collaboration with the IAS Officers Association.
49 minutes | Apr 13, 2021
110. The Queer Politics of Postcoloniality
Rahul Rao, scholar and author of Out of Time: The Queer Politics of Postcoloniality, in conversation with writer Kavya Murthy talks about the inheritance that the former colonies are living with and how they have managed to warp and expand the imperialist biases and criminalisation of the Queer community. Primarily examining three locations - India, Uganda and Britain - the relationship between the state and interaction with the international position, Culpability of colonial powers, current trans lives conditions in India and the responses of the UN and other international bodies, Out of Time ties together the aspects of Race, caste, class and human rights in the struggle for queer identity rights across centuries in the past and the future. Rahul Rao has research interests in international relations theory, the international relations of South Asia, comparative political thought, and gender and sexuality. Kavya Murthy is a writer, editor and content strategist for digital platforms and curates books and events for Champaca Bookstores.
66 minutes | Apr 10, 2021
109. India’s Violent Borderlands
Suchitra Vijayan, author of Midnight’s Borders: A People’s History of Modern India, talks about what propelled her to travel 9,000 miles along India’s borderlands. In conversation with Vaibhav Vats, Vijayan recounts her reportage along India’s tenuous boundaries with Bangladesh, Myanmar, China and - most contentious of all – Pakistan. The conversation delves into the nature of borders, the peculiar origins of India’s demarcations and the fractured, founding history that underpins the Indian nation-state. Vijayan and Vats also muse on how the violence on the peripheries slowly permeates inwards, as raging conflicts over citizenship and identity - once an issue confined largely to the borderlands - have moved to the centre of the Indian body politic. Suchitra Vijayan is an award-winning photographer, the founder and executive director of the Polis Project, a hybrid research and journalism organisation. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, GQ, The Boston Review, The Hindu, and Foreign Policy, and she has appeared on NBC news. A Barrister by training, she previously worked for the United Nations war crimes tribunals in Yugoslavia and Rwanda before co-founding the Resettlement Legal Aid Project in Cairo, which gives legal aid to Iraqi refugees. Vaibhav Vats is an independent writer and journalist. His work has appeared in the New York Times and Al Jazeera, among other publications. He is working on a book on Hindu nationalism and the making of India’s Second Republic.
58 minutes | Apr 6, 2021
108. Lineages of the Present
Manu V Devadevan interviews HS Shivaprakash on the beginning of his life as a poet, his influences and his evolution - personal and literary - over half a century. The conversation traces the timeline of contemporary Kannada Literature in parallel with that of world literature through a personal lens. The speakers delve into what makes the experience of a poem or a play different from that of a novel. Touching upon his childhood in Bangalore of the 60s to his life as a traveller, this session is a glimpse into the making of one of the most present and influential voices in Kannada literature. Apart from the physical and technical aspects of his existence as a poet, HS Shivaprakash also speaks of the personal, the political and the spiritual. Poet and playwright HS Shivaprakash is considered one of the most influential voices in Kannada literature today. The recipient of the Sahitya Akademi Award and the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, he has also received the highest awards in Karnataka for literature and drama. His literary works have been translated into most Indian languages, as well as into English, French, German, Italian and Spanish. A significant scholarly contribution is the rediscovery of the aesthetic facets of Indian Bhakti traditions. Manu V Devadevan teaches History at the Indian Institute of Technology Mandi, Himachal Pradesh, and received the Infosys Prize in Humanities for the year 2019.
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