Pravāha - Podcast

Pravāha is a podcast series run by historians Revanth and Prathik, that also features other scholars to speak about their relevant areas of research 

Odissi: The History of a Music, ft. Prateek Pattanaik

In this episode, Prathik and Revanth host Prateek Pattanaik to speak on what makes his heart throb, the heritage of Odisha and in particular, Odissi Music. Prateek walks us through the thousand-year-long history of the music from its dedicated origins in the court of Lord Jagannatha of Puri to the palaces of the Gangas and Jagapatis to the ferries on Mahanadi and bullock carts that crisscross the countryside. They interrogate the various literary forms that sit with this form of music, its relations with other musical forms not least the megalithic Carnatic and Hindustani systems, the legacy vis-a-vis musical instruments and technology, and critically the classical-folk dichotomy. Prateek informs us also about the sociological and political factors and forces that make the life and spread of this musical form deeply troubled. But for the most part we, the audiences just listen to Prateek sing. 

Words and Workers: Reading the Mandsaur Silk Weaver's inscription

Revanth Ukkalam & Prathik Murali

Dating to the mid 5th Century CE, the Mandsaur Silk Weavers' Inscription in Malwa is an excellent instance of a chronicle of a workers community in a Sanskrit medium. Written in rich metres and full of ornate figures of speech, this document can help us construct social histories of the deep past and Prathik and Revanth in this episode attempt exactly that. They as usual appreciate the aesthetic power of this document before querying what one can learn about migration patterns, corporate structures around silk-weaving, the power of choice when it came to job, social mobility, and of course, the elephant in the room: caste. 

What is Poetry? - A History of the Kavya Shastra

Revanth Ukkalam & Prathik Murali

In this episode, Prathik charts the intellectual history of art and the genealogy of 'poetics', i.e. the philosophy of what good poetry is, how it is composed, and how poetry can even be defined. Revanth is introduced to the meaning of Rasa in Bharata Muni and exposed to the debate between the Alankarikas and the wonderful Dhvani theory of Anandavardhana. The episode is as Rasabharita (juicy) ride as poetry itself. We of course at the near-end ask why must one even read literature. 

[The cover art is inspired Mammata's poem that Prathik recites two kick-start the show, lauding the exceptional powers of the Kavi, poet] 

Did ancient Indians travel? - Travel and Movement in the Jataka Tales

Revanth Ukkalam & Prathik Murali

In this episode, Revanth speaks to Prathik from his reading of the Jataka Tales from the Buddhist Pali Canon, about the various kinds of travels that Ancient Indians embarked on - pilgrimages, conquest, trade, and even Ranbir Kapoor-esque post-breakup wanderlust moments. In this discussion along with a large part of North India, Madras, Sri Lanka, South East Asia, and even West Asia feature. According to Revanth, the Jatakas are quite insistent on the 'virtue' of traveling. Tune in right away to find out why.