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Heart and Soul

Podcast Heart and Soul
Podcast Heart and Soul

Heart and Soul


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  • The last Afghan Sikhs
    Once Afghanistan’s Sikh population numbered more than 100,000 in the 1970's. Today, it’s estimated around only 100 Sikhs remain, following the return to Taliban rule. The BBC’s Kawoon Khamoush speaks to those who have been forced to leave in recent years. Producer: Nina Robinson
  • Qawwali: Music of the soul
    Raees Khan explores the history, influence and enduring legacy of Qawwali music, both within, as well as outside of the Islamic World. From its earliest origins in the writings of Sufi Saints, to its spread throughout South Asia we look at how the mystical and devotional artform spread throughout the Indian Sub-continent and attracted millions to the religion of Islam. A deeply personal journey, Raees reminisces about his first introduction to Qawwali as a young boy and how the captivating voice of one man, Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, changed him forever. Along the way, we meet Tahir Qawaal, the lead vocalist in an all-Caucasian Qawwali group who spent years in Pakistan and India learning from the true masters. Tahseen Sakina explains how she feels she has been accepted as one of the only female qawaals and Abi Sampa, Rushil and Amrit Dhuffer, the members of The Orchestral Qawwali Project, tell us about introducing qawwali to a whole new audience. Presenter: Raees Khan Producer: Talat-Farooq Awan Executive Producer: Rajeev Gupta (Photo: Group Fana Fi Allah and their lead singer Tahir Qawwal performing. Credit: Tahir Qawwal)
  • The bible, black women and Brazil
    Evangelical Christian women of colour were the kingmakers in Brazil’s last presidential election. In May, a corruption conviction that barred the former left wing President from running was quashed on a technicality. And the stage is now set for an epic election showdown where experts say it’s women of colour who will have the deciding vote. But after four years in power, will they turn a blind eye to Jair Bolsonaro’s comments that some consider misogynistic and racist? In ‘The Bible, Black women and Brazil’, Lebo Diseko travels to Brazil for Heart and Soul from the BBC World Service, to find out if their vote may deliver the President his second victory.
  • The Deadly Sacrifice at Hawkes Bay
    In February 1983, a group of 42 Shia devotees left a quiet village in the Chakwal district of Pakistan and embarked on an epic journey to Karbala in Iraq. This was no ordinary pilgrimage but had been ordained by Mahdi, the last spiritual leader or Imam of Shia faith. His instructions were communicated to the faithful in miraculous messages channeled through an 18 year old woman. The caravan left in two trucks on the 1300 kilometre journey to the port city of Karachi where they were to cross the Arabian Sea for Iraq. What happened next is a story of extreme sacrifice in the name of the Shia Islamic faith and would result in the deaths of 18 men, women and children. In this programme reporter Shumaila Jaffery returns to their village before she travels to Hawkes Bay to discover what really happened on that moonlit night four decades ago. She tracks down survivors to explore if what the sacrifice of the devoted may tell us about Shia Islam today, asks; ‘could something like this ever happen again’?
  • How do I explain this?
    Writer and poet Nikita Gill and sitar virtuoso and composer Anoushka Shankar are friends and collaborators whose life stories share many parallels. In this programme, recorded sitting with tea and doughnuts on the floor of a child’s bedroom, they share an intimate conversation about a moment of spiritual awakening. Nikita reflects on the idea that awakenings or epiphanies often follow a challenging or traumatic phase of life. She recalls a series of personal experiences which compelled her to take a train north and walk all through the night and into dawn. She describes how she returned from this experience a changed person. Anoushka describes how a build up of stressful experiences pushed her to a breaking point which also became a spiritual calling. Together the women reflect on the idea that these moments are a profound part of the story arc of our lives, forcing us to confront our deepest values and setting us on a new path. They share how the experience led to new wisdoms and spiritual practices. Prodiucer: Sarah Cuddon ​A Falling Tree production for BBC World Service (Photo: Anoushka Shankar (L). Credit: Laura Lewis. (R) Nikita Gill. Credit: Peace Ofure)

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