Over the centuries, poets have reminded us of the values we are in danger of forgetting as a society. The ideas of liberty, equality, fraternity and justice — the very values enshrined in our Constitution — have endured over centuries in the Bhakti tradition. The Bhakti poets always challenged the ideologies of their times that attempted to force the belief that people were not equal.
In this show, we explore the histories of these ideas in Bhakti poetry, and how they find resonance in the values underpinning the Constitution of a modern republic.
We take you on a listening experience to Pandharpur with the songs of Namdev and Tukaram, to Benares with the poetry of Kabir and Ravidas, to Rajasthan in the rapture of Meera’s devotion, and to northern Karnataka where sharanas sing the vachanas. But first, we visit post-Independence Bombay where the expression of these ideas find an avenue in the film music of the times.
In twentieth century Bombay, the film industry has created a new public sphere for expression by artists, lyricists and songwriters, who speak to a pan-India audience through the immense reach of this new medium. The pre-Independence Progressive Writers Association and its successors, the Indian People’s Theatre Association, endeavour to create a new public consciousness. The lyrics of Sahir Ludhianvi, Majrooh Sultanpuri and Shailendra thrum with a yearning to remind people of their rights and duties.
Listen to Kayakave Kailasa — the soundtrack for Bhakti Republic Ep 3
Listen to Bhakti Republic with Amit Basole
Saara Jahan Hamara — In 1950’s Bombay
We begin our journey in the film studios of 1950’s Bombay (then not yet known as Bollywood) where lyricists like Sahir Ludhianvi, Majrooh Sultanpuri, Shailendra, and others are using the power of their poetry to awaken people to the spirit of Constitutional Values
Bombay Talkies — Cinema and Social Change
By the 20th century, cinema halls had mushroomed all over the city of Bombay and the industry attracted actors, dancers, singers, and songwriters. Songs were an inseparable part of these films, piggybacking on the tradition of Gujarati and Marathi theatre. The stage was set for a new breed of poets to write their way into history.
Kathauti Mein Ganga — In Benaras with Kabir and Ravidas
Join Amit Basole for the second episode of this series, in which we explore how the histories of the values enshrined in our Constitution find resonance in the poetry of the Bhakti tradition
The Body As Temple — The Vachanas Of The Sharanas
In the third episode of Bhakti Republic with Amit Basole, we journey to 12th century Karnataka, where the Sharanas, ardent devotees of Shiva, spread their message through vachanas, verses composed and sung in simple Kannada, which are infused with profound thought
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Samvidhaani Pitaara | संविधानी पिटारा — Celebrating the Constitution of India
Samvidhaani Pitaara — which translates playfully to The Constitution In A Box — examines, addresses, and illuminates various facets of the Constitution’s character. From a song playlist with lyrics that echo Constitutional Values, the orations that reverberated in the Constituent Assembly, and the men and women who applied their hearts and minds to drafting this document, each episode acquaints you with the Constitution of India. This series is presented by Vineet KKN Panchhi.
About Radio Azim Premji University
Radio Azim Premji University is the radio station for the eternal student in you, providing a view into the world with a variety of engrossing shows on topics of your interest from constitutional values, history, culture, art, science, mathematics, and more. Our shows are free, non-commercial, and meant for educational purposes only. Radio Azim Premji University is available on your favourite podcast platforms. Tune in to discover more.