Scroll.in Features Puliyabaazi Podcast

The Puliyabaazi podcast hosted by Takshashila’s Pranay Kotasthane and Saurabh Chandra was featured in Scroll.in recently. Puliyabaazi is a Hindi podcast that discusses public policy, foreign affairs and emerging technology. You can listen to all 26 episodes so far of Puliyabaazi here.

Here’s an excerpt from the article Scroll published:

“When the creators of Puliyabaazi released their first episode on January 14, they imagined that their listeners would primarily comprise Hindi speakers from small town India. It seemed highly unlikely to them that affluent urban residents would be interested in a Hindi podcast about technology, politics and history. To their delight, they were wrong.

In November 2018, Puliyabaazi emerged as one of the most downloaded new podcasts on Apple’s iTunes store. It wasn’t just people in the “Hindi heartland” with “Android devices” who were listening to creators Pranay Kotasthane and Saurabh Chandra discuss weighty subjects like artificial intelligence, bitcoins and India’s relationship with Afghanistan. The podcast had also attracted the attention of an English-speaking urban audience in India and abroad.

“Typically, people think that things like bitcoins cannot be discussed in Hindi,” said Kotasthane. “But why should conversations in Hindi exclude anything that people want to discuss?”

Kotasthane and Chandra are both Bengaluru-based engineers with a shared interest in public policy. While Kotasthane, who hails from Madhya Pradesh, heads research at Takshashila Institution, Uttar Pradesh native Chandra is the co-founder of tech startup Ati Motors. The two became acquainted because of their sustained engagement with the Takshashila Institution, where they attended the Public Policy Graduate Certificate programme.

A few things about language became apparent to them during the course of their casual conversations. One was how frequently they switched between Hindi and English. “When we are talking casually in Hindi, if there are some complex concepts that we need to discuss – whether economic or public policy issues – we speak in English,” said Chandra. “We also tend to do that in our work lives, especially since we have a technology background. It bothered us, because we [felt that we] should be doing analytical and critical thinking in Hindi also.”

You can read the full Scroll article here.