Ever have one of those days where you think you might have bitten off more than you can chew? I’ve been having one of those. Rather, I’ve been having a couple of weeks of those.

I’ve been toying with the idea of starting my own podcast for a while now. And by “a while” I mean a couple of years. I came close to starting one more than a few times but stuff happened. And by stuff I mean excuses. Excuses happened. Well no more. I’m glad to say that after sitting on on my ass for too goddamn long, I’ve finally taken the plunge and done it.

My own podcast. That right. I r casting a pod naow. Say hello to “The LexValidus Show”. Yay!

It was harder that I thought. In many ways, podcasting is fairly simple. Recording, editing and posting a show has never been easier. But doing those things to a high standard of quality? That still isn’t nearly as simple as I thought. It took me a while to get my head around using Adobe Audition properly. The perfectionist in me made it way harder than it needed to be. Many hours were spent watching tutorial videos and reading up on the finer points of podcasting. This is going to be a learning process but damn if if I’m not enjoying it! I really ought to have started earlier. Anyway, it’s here now. And I couldn’t be happier. Even so, sorry for the disappearing act. Hopefully the wait was worth it.

What’s the show about?

The LexValidus Show attempts to understand the zeitgeist that influences life in the Indian subcontinent. Whether it be through history, politics and the more philosophical bits of pop culture. Essentially, these are conversations that revolve around a specific topic that explain things happening around us. It is not a talk show (though there is a LOT of talking) and neither are they interviews. If I were to write about stuff like this, it would take too long. We are talking 5000 word posts at the very least. Text just isn’t the most effective format in these cases.

Which brings me to the topic of the first episode. Chew on these questions for a bit:

  • Is Manmohan Singh grossly misunderstood?
  • How different would India be if Rajiv Gandhi was still around?
  • Was VP Singh the worst thing to happen to India after the British raj?
  • How well would Nehru fare on Twitter?
  • Did 1960s China just need a hug?

If questions like that interest you, the inaugural episode of the LexValidus Show is right up your alley.

I couldn’t have done this alone. My guest, Sandeep Bhardwaj is a close friend and one of the most interesting guys I know.

Sandeep (Sandy to me and our mutual friends) is a researcher at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi. He specializes in post-independence diplomatic history of South Asia as well as Indian Cyber Security. Originally trained as a computer engineer, he has a Master’s degree in international relations from the University of Chicago. Prior to that, he worked as a research officer at the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, focusing on the political and security scenario in Bangladesh. He has also worked as a journalist at the Daily News & Analysis in Ahmedabad. Currently he is studying American policy in the Indian Ocean during the Cold War. Sandeep has contributed chapters in several edited volumes on South Asian geopolitics and Indian cyber security. In 2014, he wrote a series of scripts which went on to become a 13-part dramatized documentary series on Indian political history on the Indian channel Focus News. He has published articles and research papers for various magazines, newspapers and journals, including the Indian Review, The Hindu, Indian Express, Indian Foreign Affairs Journal, DNA, Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Mainstream Weekly etc. He also regularly publishes accessible accounts of Indian history for the general audience at revisitingindia.com.

So yeah, this is one smart dude.

Grab a cup of your preferred beverage and listen as me and Sandeep take a walk down the corridors of Indian history to decide who the most influential Prime ministers of this country were, good or bad. Be warned, it gets geeky.
And before you ask, yes Modi shows up. But not the way you’d think.

You can download it here: TLVS 1 “Nothing really happened”



Show notes:

The episode makes some reference to certain books and resources. These are mentioned below:

1. For Nehru, nothing is better than the three-vol biography of him by Sarvepalli Gopal. There is also the Stanley Wolpert’s “Tryst with destiny” which is pretty good.
2. For Indira Gandhi, Katherine Frank’s biography is the most popular. Inder Malhotra’s book “Indira Gandhi” is also quite decent. Also, Autumn of the Matriarch is a good overview of her last tenure.
3. For the early life of Morarji Desai, he has his own 3-vol autobiography.
4. Charan Singh’s biography has been written by the famous political scientist Paul Brass.
5. For IK Gujral, best to go with his memoirs “Matters of Discretion”.
6. “The Janata Party Experiment” by Madhu Limaye