An urge to break free of the borders between the two nations of India and Pakistan is shared by many peace-loving citizens of both nations. It has been manifested in all art forms, from music, and writing to painting. The shared heritage and camaraderie always find creative ways of expression. The recent popularity of songs like “Jhoom” by Ali Zafar or “Pasoori” among Indian audiences is a telling example of how these two nations have a desire to connect with each other. To celebrate these commonalities and connections, a special podcast series called ‘Baat Sarhad Paar: Conversations across border’ was launched on Friday, jointly produced by BBC News Hindi and BBC News Urdu.
Both India and Pakistan are celebrating their seventy-fifth year of independence, this year. And this series, with a motive to celebrate the spirit of dialogue and deep-rooted ties between India and Pakistan, brings eminent personalities from art, music, and literature to talk about the shared history, culture, music, and art that connects both nations.
India and Pakistan have faced a lot, from partition to war, and a legacy of strained political relationships has always impeded the efforts of peacemaking. However, art and culture always kept both nations united, and this podcast series is an effort to build peace through dialogue about art, culture, and history.
Every Friday, a new episode will be released on the BBC News Hindi and BBC News Urdu websites and other platforms. Rupa Jha, Head of India, BBC News says, “What better way to mark the 75th year of India and Pakistan’s independence and partition than bringing together people across the border to trace the shared cultural past and also celebrate each other’s individual journeys. Telling these fascinating stories as a podcast is an insightful and intimate experience for our audiences and we can’t wait to share them.”
Asif Farooqui, Pakistan Editor, BBC News Urdu, finds the series pertinent to connect with the younger generation of both nations. He adds, “Working on this series has been a fascinating experience for me and my colleague at BBC Urdu Nazish Zafar who has been instrumental in curating the episodes around the themes and involving the people who could connect the 75 years of history with the future, so that younger generations on both sides of the divide feel connected with their past and hope for a future of peace and togetherness.”
In each episode, high-profile figures will share their anecdotes and experiences of changes they have seen in India and Pakistan, and how they derive inspiration from their counterparts from across the border.
However, the idea of a podcast series at a time when a lot of bitterness exists between two countries, is a fascinating idea. “It allows us to forget all bitterness, and celebrate love, and shared culture”, says Farooqui, adding, “We are hopeful about improving relationships between two countries.”
Hindi poet Anamika, who was also present at the launch event, thinks that the new generation is keen on knowing about the past. “It is our duty, that as an older generation, we should give our younger generation something to celebrate. And such a thing, in the form of a podcast will help this newer generation to know about their past, culture and feel the bitter-sweet experiences, and relate to it," she says.
The series has a title song ‘Baat Sarhad Paar’ composed by Chintan Kalra and BBC’s Ajit Sarathi. The song is a classic amalgamation of Indian and Pakistani folk instruments infused with digital production.