Incarnations: India in 50 Lives

By Prof Sunil Khilnani

On Going since May 2015 • Updated weekly

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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  Direct Link   Download 0 Minutes 02 Mar 2016

Sunil Khilnani explores the life and work of engineer, planner and politician Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya. Visvesvaraya was a frail bureaucrat who walked hunched, as if the burden of state-building literally pressed down on his shoulders. But in the popular imagination he turned an engineering degree into a superhuman world-fashioning prowess. He changed the Indian nation with practical and enduring improvements for millions of people, including innovations in sanitation, statistics, flood control, drainage and irrigation. Austere to the point of dourness, but audaciously hopeful, Visvesvaraya sought to frog-march India into modernity. Featuring Bangalore-based social scientist Chandan Gowda. Producer: Martin Williams Executive Producer: Martin Smith.. . .