Published: 22nd September 2021
What happens when two history geeks start a podcast? You get a 'Pravaha' of nostalgia
Prathik Sudha Murali and Revanth Ukkalam started Pravaha, a podcast series that narrates their perspective on history for the average listener to understand — and connect with stories past
A few years ago, Prathik Sudha Murali met Revanth Ukkalam online. Being History students, they connected over their shared love of all things of the past, its literature and culture. During the lockdown, the two would often get on Google Meet to discuss — and in Prathik's words "geek out" on — History. "We would talk for an hour or so on Google Meet. One day, we decided to just record the conversation and post it on YouTube," says Prathik. Due to the heavy content, Prathik realised that not a lot of people would be interested in it.
With a bit of brainstorming, the duo decided to change tracks. "Instead of just posting a video, we wanted to do something more professional but essentially keep alive the fact that we are just geeking out about History and culture," says Prathik amid laughter. They came up with Pravaha, a podcast series whose ten-episode first season is now streaming on Spotify, Google Podcasts and various other platforms. Using Anchor instead of Google Meet, this time Prathik and Revanth created a repository of historical information and perspective in the form of their podcasts.
Prathik Sudha Murali
So, what do Prathik and Revanth talk about exactly? "It's an eclectic mix," says Prathik. It is indeed true as the episodes range from discussing homosexuality in the Kamasutra to travel in Buddist Literature. "We have also discussed Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore extensively in one episode, while another one was about how eroticism pervades Tamil and Telugu poetry. Tamil is my mother tongue, while Telugu is Revanth's," explains Prathik. While there isn't a limitation, every episode is around an hour long. The first episode aired on July 10, while the final episode of season one aired on September 11.
And it is not just an overload of historical facts that these two are dumping on their podcast. "History is built on our perspective based on what evidence we have. There is no defined narrative and therefore, our discussions are open-ended and inconclusive," says Prathik. "The topics discussed are heavy and even academic. We don't expect everyone to listen to it or like it. Even if ten people listen to our podcast and are inspired to know more about our history and culture and if it aids and abets original thinking, then we've achieved what we set out to do," adds Prathik.
It is not possible for everybody to understand academic texts and research, says Prathik. "But if it is told in a certain way, say through a discussion on a podcast or a video on YouTube, people tend to grasp it easier," adds Prathik, who teaches Sociology and Religion to kids in Cambridge schools. He also completed his Post Graduate Diploma in Manuscriptology. Revanth, on the other hand, is pursuing his Master's in Sanskrit from Deccan College Post Graduate and Research Institute in Pune.
The duo plans to introduce guests as part of their second season, which they are planning to release next year. "We want to speak to people from various backgrounds of History and understand their perspective about their chosen field of study. Five episodes in the second season will be about this. For the remaining five episodes, we are planning to discuss Indian philosophy and interesting theories about lost cities," gushes Prathik while talking about the next season. The duo also has a third season planned, where they plan to go morbid and discuss death.