Over the course of 50 episodes, Sunil Khilnani, director of the King's India Institute in London, takes listeners on a whirlwind journey from ancient India to the 21st century through the prism of the life stories of 50 remarkable individuals. He will also explore their surprising afterlives, which illuminate both the astonishments and urgent conflicts of India today.
He begins with the Buddha, exploring the story of his life and how he has been reinvented in modern India by those who oppose the caste system. "Buddha's solution to suffering lay in the individual mind. But he was also sketching a new form of society," says Professor Khilnani. "He was a moral meritocrat, and to an extent a social one too."
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Professor Sunil Khilnani, from the King's India Institute in London, looks at the life and legacy of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan. Descriptions of his early life do not sound like someone who would go on to lead India's Muslims: he spoke English, dressed impeccably in Western clothes from Savile Row, smoked cigarettes and, according to some accounts, consumed alcohol and ate pork. Yet it was Jinnah who, along with others, publicly assented to the partition of India which, carried out in haste, would give roughly half of India's Muslims political autonomy, cause around a million deaths, displace some 14 million people and transform the geopolitics of the world.
Producer: Mark Savage
Music: Talvin Singh.. . .
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