Discover world history, culture and ideas with today’s leading experts
The One Thousand and One Nights
The One Thousand and One Nights are a collection of fantastical stories of flying carpets, magic and genies whose ancient origins go back to the 7th century or earlier. The tales are told by Scheherazade who uses the power of storytelling night after night to stop her Sultan husband from beheading her.
These highly influential stories were brought to the West in the 18th century, when more tales like Aladdin and Ali Baba were said to have been added by the French translator, and it has continued to evolve over the centuries. Rajan Datar and guests explore why these stories became so popular around the world and what they mean to us today.
Joining Rajan is Wen Chin Ouyang, Professor of Arabic at SOAS in London; Dr Sandra Naddaff, senior lecturer in Comparative Literature at Harvard University; and the Iranian TV producer Shabnam Rezaei.
[Photo: Sand Sculpture depicting 1001 Nights of Sheherazade. Credit: Getty Images]
BR Ambedkar: The Dalit hero of India
Educate, Agitate, Organise. This was the motto of the Indian scholar BR Ambedkar who led an extraordinary life of activism and achievement. It put him in conflict with many other political forces in his native country, such as the Indian National Congress and Mahatma Gandhi. In India itself, Ambedkar's legacy is widely respected but in other countries he is not so well known. And yet, Ambedkar was not only a leading intellectual of his day, brilliant orator, lawyer, successful politician and an unmatched champion of those suffering the harshest discrimination: he was also someone who rose from a Dalit background to being put in charge of writing the first constitution of independent India. The Dalits are the lowest of the low in the Indian social hierarchy, often considered as being below the lowest caste.
To tell Ambedkar's story Rajan Datar is joined by three distinguished Ambedkar scholars: Sunil Khilnani, professor of politics and history at Ashoka University and author of Incarnations: India in Fifty Lives; Valerian Rodrigues, emeritus professor of political studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University and first Ambedkar chair at Ambedkar University, both in New Delhi, and author of The Essential Writings of B.R. Ambedkar; and Ananya Vajpeyi, associate professor at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies in New Delhi and author of Righteous Republic: The Political Foundations of Modern India.
[Photo: A statue of BR Ambedkar at Rashtriya Dalit Prerna Sthal in Noida, India. Credit: Sunil Ghosh/Hindustan Times via Getty Images]
Very informative and interesting - thank you!
Perfect to listen to when running
Really eclectic and global experts. Very informative and enjoyable
It is like In Our Time without Melvyn Bragg showing off that he has read the crib sheet from the experts.