Don’t Call Me Resilient

In India, film and social media play recurring roles in politics

Episode Summary

Political scientist Shikata Banerjee and cinema studies scholar Rakesh Sengupta sit down with Vinita to talk about how Bollywood and popular culture in general are being used by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his right-wing Hindu nationalist BJP to sway voters in the world's largest election.

Episode Notes

Currently the largest electorate in history is heading to the polls in India, where - of course - politicians and political parties are trying their best to influence voters.  Film and popular culture have always provided a reflection of the country's political culture, but  in this election, they are being used more than ever to *sway* voters - especially by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his right-wing, Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, the BJP.  Vinita sits down with two scholars who look at the intersection of politics and popular culture to uncover how Bollywood is creating storylines that support Modi's BJP - and how big a role it might play in the outcome of the world's largest election. Political scientist Sikata Banerjee is Professor Emeritus of Women’s Studies at the University of Victoria She looks at Indian politics through the lens of cinema. And Rakesh Sengupta is Assistant Professor in Department of English and Cinema Studies at the University of Toronto. 

Episode Transcription




Rakesh Sengupta: There's this idea now within the mainstream in the imagination that our narratives. have been suppressed for the longest time. And colonial rule was not simply British rule, but also Muslim rule that has a 500 year history before the British came to power.

They see imperialism and colonialism as both a British problem as well as a Muslim problem. And as a result, there has been this peculiar trend in Bollywood, where instead of inventing original heroes or legends. Many Bollywood filmmakers now are relying on real events, stories, places. But there's a significant rewriting of those histories.



Vinita Srivastava: Currently, the largest electorate in history is heading to the polls in India. One of the ways political parties in India hope to sway the electorate is through cinema. The current government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is no different. Right now, Bollywood is serving as a major boost to Modi's right wing Hindu National Sparatiya Janata Party, or the BJP.

Currently in its second term, the BJP is one of two main political parties in India. Here to help me shed light on how film and TV and social media content are helping the party's chances in this year's elections. are two scholars who are deeply connected to the story in different ways. Political scientist Sikata Banerjee is Professor Emeritus of Women's Studies at the University of Victoria.

She looks at Indian politics through the lens of cinema. Also joining me is Rakesh Sengupta, Assistant Professor in the Department of English and Cinema Studies at the University of Toronto. He is joining us from Mumbai, India today.



Vinita Srivastava: Sikata, you look at Indian films as a window into India's political culture. How have Bollywood films reflected Indian political culture and tensions over, if you can give us like a past few decades scenario, that would be wonderful. 

Sikata Banerjee: Thanks a lot. That was a great introduction and I'm excited to be here.

What the films are doing, particularly now, is creating a cultural milieu that is open and sympathetic to the ideas of Hindutva or Hindu nationalism. The idea of a scholarly concept known as imagined community, which is created by Benedict Anderson. And Benedict Anderson makes the argument that When people inhabit a geographical boundary with a particular state and government, they also have a cultural narrative.

Most geographical state boundaries have many cultural narratives competing for dominance, right? But in India right now, we have particularly the dominance of the Hindu nationalist cultural narrative that is propped by Political power, economic power, and so on. So Benedict Anderson said, how does this idea of this dominant imagined community get circulated?

He argued through newspapers, novels, magazines, and so on. But, uh, scholar Anne McClintock said, what about the fact that a lot of people, especially in the post colonial countries, are illiterate? Or are semi literate. So how are imagined communities circulating in these contexts? And she said that popular culture.

Now with popular culture, she meant a lot of things, but film was one of them. So what the Bollywood film does is it circulates this idea of the dominant narrative of Hindu nationalism through various stories. The crux of Hindu nationalism is what I call muscular nationalism, which is the nation has created an enemy against which this very muscular Hindu self is defending itself.

And the enemy in this circumstance is the Muslim. And this is where the history of Hindu nationalism that was brought into the Indian cultural milieu through the creation of the RSS or Rashi Osayam Sadev in 1925, and the writings of Veer Savarkar, who very clearly said there's militarized Hinduism. In the years following independence, that idea sort of submerged, but it never went away.

It's always been bubbling under the surface. As far as my readings go, post colonial, you had the Raj Kapoor tri films, which was more development focused. Now India needs to develop and build bridges. There were melodramatic love stories, but if you unpack them, you can see that they're talking about building bridges and dams.

Raj Kapoor was the five year plan hero and the five year plans were like the development plans that Nehru inaugurated to develop India post independence. And then in the 70s, we have the arrival of Amitabh Bachchan as the angry young man through films like Coolie and Niwar. 

Vinita Srivastava: He was the classic rebel, right? I remember the jeans was a big thing, right? He was so cool and the James Dean type character. 

Sikata Banerjee: Exactly. And he also created a different, um, male body. So the Raj Kapoor, and in between there was Rajesh Khanna, the sort of melodramatic, sad hero. So they're all kind of plumpy, plumpy, not very muscular. Then Amitabh Bachchan King, he wasn't muscular, but he was tall, he was skinny, and he radiates this kind of rage.

He articulated the rage of the common man, like coolie. It was sort of that, you know, these five year plans haven't worked and we've been betrayed. Now we're in the Shah Rukh Khan, Hrithik Roshan, who are these muscular people. They represent consumer capitalism. No longer working classes. And the movies very clearly go into Hindu nationalism.

Some of them are sort of implicit where the Hindu family. is celebrated. Some of them are explicit, like, ironically played by Amir Khan, who was Muslim. Mangal Pandey was articulated as this hero of the 1857 First War of Independence, and was very Hindu, and this is when the Hindus stood up against the British Raj.

Female bodies can also articulate this muscular nationalism, taking on the warrior hood. And one of the biggest examples of this is Mani Karnika, starring Ganga Narao, who represents the Rani al Jhansi, which the Hindu nationalists see as a very exemplary warrior. a queen that stood up against the British.

She was a warrior, but simultaneously she still had to show her chastity and virtue. That in order to be recognized as a warrior that protects the country, she also had to focus that she was a mother, she was a wife, she was chaste, she was virtuous. So this is the kind of work that she had to do. that Bollywood film is doing right now.

Vinita Srivastava: There's so much that you brought up that I want to break it down a little bit. You started off with the imagined community. For those people who haven't read Benedict Anderson's work, what's the need for the imagined community from the perspective of the state? And then I have a couple of other points that I want to flesh out a little bit more from what Sikata said.

Sikata Banerjee: The work that the imagined community does is it creates a sense of emotive belonging to the state. And usually it's articulated the most when you need to go to war. Questions like, why is my child sick? Why am I struggling so much? What imagined community does, it answers those questions so people can feel attachment to the state.

So in Modi's India, when people are asking these questions, Why am I poor? Why am I feeling so worthless? And the answer is always the Muslims. The Muslims have taken away your wealth. They're taking all the jobs. In Canada, it's the migrants are taking everything away. In Canada, it's a nostalgia for loons and our beautiful mountains.

In America, we fought for freedom. The state counts on the imagined community to create this sense of emotive belonging. So it can get people on board and you see very clearly how Modi is getting people on board with this idea of the Hindu imagined community. 

Vinita Srivastava: Rakesh, you actually have been looking very closely at scripts in the last little while, doing some interviews with filmmakers and media makers. I want to ask you how Indian films have reflected political ideas and maybe some tensions. 

Rakesh Sengupta: When we talk about Bollywood, we are referring to the film industry that grew in both size and scale around the 1990s, the neoliberal moment. The relationship between cinema and state historically in India have been co constituted.

So you can always historically see a kind of reflection of the state of a particular time in the cinema of that time. So in the colonial era, there were stringent censorship laws imposed on native filmmakers to avert any kind of anti colonial content. Then after independence, The freedoms that were accorded to filmmakers like Raj Kapoor and Bimal Roy and so on, resulted in the popularity of another genre, that was the social, that Sikata has also talked about, where issues of class and gender were foregrounded, but often in very melodramatic, state friendly ways.

But in the era of the emergency, which is considered to be the darkest period of Indian democracy, some of the most draconian censorship laws were introduced. And we move into this angry young man genre that also popularized Amitabh Bachchan, not just nationally, but also internationally. Recently, I came across accounts of Palestinians saying that Amitabh Bachchan had a role to play culturally in the first Intifada, right?

So that was the kind of global impact that we are talking about. In the neoliberal era, films like DDLJ to Kal Ho Na Ho were made about and for the Indian diaspora. What is happening under the current regime of Hindu nationalism is that we are witnessing more and more films being made on Hindu pride.

And Muslim violence is the whole question of love jihad, right? Which is basically Muslim men marrying Hindu women. 

Vinita Srivastava: You're saying love jihad is the idea of Muslim men marrying Hindu women, but the way that the idea has been propagated. It's a myth of Muslim men kind of quote, stealing Hindu women away from Hindu men.

Rakesh Sengupta: Absolutely. A very good example that I sometimes share with my students is that it also has a strange epistemological or knowledge oriented impact because now whatever bad happens in India, Muslims are blamed, right? So one example of that would be when COVID arrived in India. Muslims were blamed, like a group of Muslims were blamed for gathering at a mosque.

It was ridiculous and it was called Corona Jihad, right? So we have to understand that it's not as if the state is directly involved in the production of these films about Hindu pride and Muslim violence, but the state is definitely dictating the zeitgeist of the nation and cinema both shapes it and is also shaped by it, right?

So it is very co-constitutive. 

Vinita Srivastava: You're talking about some of the current propaganda films that were released in the last few years. They're not released by the government, but they might be part of the cultural zeitgeist is what you're saying. 

Rakesh Sengupta: Yeah. Yeah. I'm thinking of Walter Benjamin's idea of the aestheticization of politics for a filmmaker like Lenny Riefenstahl, who was making films for Hitler.

And the idea in a nutshell is that art becomes subordinated to political life and it becomes useful for political ends. under fascistic regimes. Maybe I can also say a few things about two very dominant trends that I'm seeing within this zeitgeist. One is of alternative history and this is a very peculiar trend in Bollywood now.

Two films that I can think of would be RRR and also another film called Tanhaji. RRR is very well known globally. 

Vinita Srivastava: RRR was the music number that was performed at the Oscars last year, so it kind of became. known in the West because of the Oscars, partly one best music number. 

Rakesh Sengupta: Yeah, it got the best music number.

There was the expectation that it would be nominated as one of the best films as well, but that didn't happen. Yeah, so there are two very specific trends that I see. One is of alternative history and the other is Alternative journalism. 

Vinita Srivastava: What do we mean by alternative journalism? That doesn't sound good.

Rakesh Sengupta: It doesn't sound good at all. 

Vinita Srivastava: Quick question because I hear it in the background. The particular sounds of Mumbai behind you. You mentioned that you are in India. And you just finished the election process in your area. I just wanted to find out how things are there. How are you feeling about it? 

Rakesh Sengupta: So yeah, the elections happened yesterday here across different parts of Mumbai.

I'm not a voter in this state. I'm a voter in West Bengal. So I was not able to vote this time, unfortunately. But I did follow the news. It was mainly about which celebrities turned up for voting and who bothered to pose for the camera with their inked finger and so on. So it's, it's a big event in that way as well in Mumbai when elections happen.

And it's about which celebrities encourage other voters to come out because Mumbai historically has had very low voter turnouts and celebrities are often encouraged by politicians to change that. So you'll see a lot of that. 

Vinita Srivastava: Sikata, can you just go a little bit deeper in the portrayal of how gender influences the strain of nationalism and extremism that's taking hold today?

Sikata Banerjee: Just to build on something that Rakesh pointed out, which is the issue of Love Jihad. The central argument in Love Jihad is that the Muslim men are coming and taking away our good Hindu women. And this is something that we need to resist. The women's body is the site of national honor. You know, even in the speech that Narendra Modi gave very recently in Western Rajasthan, he said things like the Muslim men are coming and they're going to take away your women's jewelry and so on.

If you see the discourse around the various riots that have happened in Godhra in the fall of when the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya was pulled down in 1992. There was a lot of articulation by Hindu nationalist organizations like the Shiv Sena, the RSS, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad. Muslim men are coming to take away our women and selling the honor.

We need to stand up because Hindus have been weak across the centuries. So that's a major way which in gender comes out in this muscular nationalism, that the nation, mother India, the women are the site of national honor and the men's fight. over protecting that national honor. And when women become warriors, they too are fighting for the virtue, their own virtue.

So I interviewed a lot of women of the Rashtio Sevika Semiti, which is the women's wing of the Rashtio Sevika Sangha. And a lot of the women said, one of the reasons we teach ourselves how to sword play and do this and do that is because Muslim men are getting out to get our honor. To be completely clear, this is not something that is unique to Hindu nationalism.

Most nationalisms around the world knew women's bodies as the site of honor. And that needs to be protected, which is true in Canada. In the United States, where the white woman's body became the site of the dominant national honor and the African American men or indigenous men were out to sully this honor and so the white men had to protect the white women's honor.

This idea of muscular nationalism that I'm talking about, the martial man and chaste woman, it is found in most, countries, but what is unique to India is the cultural narratives that is articulated. 

Vinita Srivastava: What we're talking about is being spread and Rakesh has said it's not being spread necessarily by the government. So what's happening culturally that this is being spread, that this idea is there? You've set it up really well for us to understand that this idea of the imagined communities and that it's an important nationalistic project that is not unique to India, but what is happening culturally that is unique to India? Like, Where does the idea of love jihad come from to begin with Rakesh, you talked a little bit about love jihad and you mentioned some of the films when we spoke earlier and I'm wondering if you can tell us a little bit more about that. 

Rakesh Sengupta: I think the roots of a discourse like love jihad would be colonial. And I think there's a conversation article that lays it out quite nicely how British rulers had divide and rule policies for the longest time to continue colonial rule in India. Yeah. And they benefited from these ethnic conflicts across different regions, right? So it maps onto Hindu Muslim conflicts that were already there, but intensified during colonial rule because of certain policies that were put in place.

Culturally, one of them was how British rulers. Position themselves as more efficient rulers in relation to a more, um, effeminate or sexually deviant Muslim rulers and Nawabs and so on, right? One very good example of that would be there in Satyajit Ray's film, The Chess Players or Shatranshree Khiladi.

It's a film that is wonderful to use in terms of talking about the use of culture to distance yourself to make that kind of boundary work, right? Where you position yourself as superior. on the basis of the fact that as a ruler, you don't dance, you don't play chess, and you don't write poetry, and you don't sing.

You just rule, right? So this idea of sexual deviance. Has been mapped onto Muslim rulers and Muslim men for the longest time by colonial forces, and many of these Hindu nationalist leaders from the early 20th century or the late 19th century were educated in those narratives and they have furthered this. The discourse of love jihad is actually not new. It has been happening for over a hundred years. And like Sikata told us, all nationalisms are mapped onto women's bodies. So it's not something that is absolutely unique to the Indian context. But in the current moment, we are seeing an intensification of that.

And regarding the question of how BJP is able to spread this culture, yes, they do not control cinema in a direct way, but they do control other media. For example, social media like WhatsApp, which if you're thinking in terms of scale, they do. India is WhatsApp's biggest consumer market. I think India has around 400 million WhatsApp users.

So that's a huge number of social media users and the BJP and what is often referred to as it's IT cell or a very organized body that manages its social media and disseminates information, political messaging, and so on. It's organized. I don't know, thousands of WhatsApp groups across the country. So that is how they're able to disseminate information on a daily basis.

Sometimes it's very soft Hindutva content. Sometimes it's very hardcore. It keeps changing and people are often sharing these things because it's very easy to share things on social media, right? So this idea of spreadable media has really benefited BJP more than exhibition oriented media, which would be cinema.

Right? So we need to talk about the BJP's control over different forms of media in this genuinely intermediate moment where cinema is very important, but it is also affected by other related forms of media. 

Sikata Banerjee: Can I go back to the question that you asked, why Hindu nationalism? Why Modi? Why now? 

Vinita Srivastava: Yes. Yes. Yes.

Sikata Banerjee: As Rakesh has very eloquently pointed out, this notion of effeminization and masculinization has been a part of the Indian psyche for a long time. Because the British not only effeminized the Muslims, they also effeminized Indians. They said the only reason we're able to control you is because you're effeminate and not muscular and not martial.

Bengal was the most effeminized, like the Bengali Babu or the Bengali bureaucrat was like the biggest symbol of effeminate Indian and how the British overcame them. So there's been this psyche in India that we need to prove our masculinity. That we need to show that we are a muscular nation. So that's been there all the time.

So why India? Why not? One is that the Congress has really become incompetent. People perceive it as this sort of elite clique that doesn't really care. 

Vinita Srivastava: You're talking about the Congress party of India. 

Sikata Banerjee: Indian National Congress, which has been the biggest dominant party, but it has really sort of spent itself.

People perceived it as a party that's no good, right? Yeah. And the second thing that happened was that Modi came into India when India's economic expansion was at its height. It was very successful economically. It created these global middle classes that had this expectation that India was going to be a serious player on the international system. And in the 2007 Pew global attitude survey, the Indians of all the nations surveyed were the most adamant that their nation was the best nation in the world. 

So Modi came in at this time and said, okay. I'm going to challenge the elitism of the Congress by talking about the common person. I'm going to build toilets all over India. I'm going to beef off the infrastructure. I'm going to talk in Hindi. I'm going to have my radio show and so on and so forth. And secondly, he said, and why am I not harnessing this economic global power that we can be? And so he increased defense spending and Hindu nationalism became an excellent conveyor at this particular time of that kind of national pride that even people who are not pro Hindutva resonate to that.

So Hindu nationalism, globalization, and this ascendant nationalist triumphalism are meeting in Modi's populist, Hindu nationalist message. 

Vinita Srivastava: I think that's so important. And I think maybe for folks who don't know India or don't know the context, you said that he's speaking Hindi. What does that mean? What was happening that this idea of a leader speaking Hindi is such a big deal?

Sikata Banerjee: Well, people like Nehru and Somon, they were educated in Oxford. Like, didn't Rao Gandhi not know how to speak Hindi and then he had to learn it? 

Vinita Srivastava: So very westernized leaders beforehand, very western educated. I think you're talking about class as well in that case. You're saying he has his radio show. He's speaking to the people.

You're also talking about toilets. So, he's reaching out to the common person and that's part of the appeal back to the nationalist pride, but then I have to ask the question because it's going back to this idea of Alternative histories, which is something Rakesh mentioned earlier and I want to ask What does this mean, alternative histories? What's the real history and what's the alternative one that's being presented? 

Rakesh Sengupta: This actually relates to many of the things that Sikata brought up, including this idea of the imagined community. So there's this idea now within the mainstream Hindu imagination that our narratives, have been suppressed for the longest time.

And colonial rule was not simply British rule, but also Muslim rule that has a 500 year history before the British came to power around the 1600s, 1700s. So they see imperialism and colonialism as both a British problem as well as a Muslim problem. So that is where this anxiety around this community comes out culturally.

And as a result, there has been this peculiar trend in Bollywood, where instead of inventing original heroes or legends, right? Superheroes, in a sense, many Bollywood filmmakers now are relying on real events, stories, places. They frequently retain the original names of the characters as well. But there's significant rewriting of those histories.

So two films that I've already mentioned were RRR and Tanhaji. I think RRR is a film that everyone should watch for both its cinematic potential and also its propagandistic potential. There's a kind of rewriting of cast history itself. Where at the end of the film, you'll see how the upper caste anti colonial figure teaches nationalism to the lower caste anti colonial figure.

I've had conversations with some of these screenwriters, I won't name them, but they often claim that it is their artistic right to reimagine history and explore it through these different interpretations out there, because history is all about historiography and interpretation. So they're kind of using or appropriating that kind of intellectual stance.

But when you look at their films, there's a very conspicuous alignment with a saffronized version of these historical narratives, right? They seek to challenge what we personages or important historical incidents. When you look at these films, it's like a kind of combination of medieval history and mythology.

The justification for that is creative license. 

Vinita Srivastava: You said saffronized, but by saffronized, you mean Hinduized. 

Rakesh Sengupta: Yeah. Yeah. 

Vinita Srivastava: And saffronized, I also. Here this kind of golden era idea, like golden and mythical time. 

We are coming close to a close, and I can't leave without asking you what you meant by alternative journalism. Can I ask you to explain a little bit about alternative journalism as well? 

Rakesh Sengupta: So if you think about some of the propaganda films that have come out that have nothing to do with medieval history, there would be Kashmir Files. Kerala Story, Article 370, and then there are other films that are that not that well known.

There's a film on Bastar, the Naxal Story, then there's the Diary of West Bengal, the Sabarmati Report, and so on, right? Now, all of these films You can see that there's a use of story, report, files, diary in the title, right? So that's what I mean by alternative cinema as propaganda, but also as alternative journalism.

The previous point about alternative history had to do with history. This one has to do with repressed journalism. So secular media have repressed stories about Muslim violence on Hindus. Which is why film now needs to do this work of journalism, of excavating stories, of doing reportage, of creating new diaries, and so on.

These are films that are almost crafted like thrillers, and they pretend that they are exposes of perceived historical wrongs, usually in the 20th century that have been ignored by secular journalists and also secular filmmakers. So that's where they're coming. 

Vinita Srivastava: I see what you're saying. So the idea that it's called the files or the story or the diary makes it seem real, but it's fictionalized account. Fictionalized, not fictionalized, it's fiction. 

Rakesh Sengupta: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. 

Vinita Srivastava: Thank you. We've been looking at film and TV as a kind of a tool for the government, not just for propaganda, but as a cultural tool used by government. Have you seen, or can you think of other responses that are cultural responses to the current political moment that perhaps circumnavigate what's been happening on the far right?

Sikata Banerjee: Are you talking about resistance? 

Vinita Srivastava: Yes, resistance without using that word, yes. 

Sikata Banerjee: Okay, I very quickly want to point out that what Rakesh's ideas of alternative journalism, and alternative history, is excellent in terms of fitting into the imagined community. Because this is how you spread the imagined community, is you tell these stories through film that then reaches, Oh, okay, I didn't know that, you know, Tanaji did this.

Okay, I'm feeling very proud to be Hindu. Oh, I didn't know that Article 370, which gives Jammu and Kashmir special autonomy was planted on us with these nefarious Muslim. So this really fits into how imagined communities shored up. 

I do know that when the Citizenship Amendment Act was passed in 2019, which was a problematic act, we don't have time to go into it, there was huge protests all across India, which was non cultural, there were actually protests, people were coming out in the street, that the Modi government had to back down.

They actually had to back down. I also know that journalists who are trying to tell other perspectives have faced real, um, violence. There are resistance happening, and I think we should focus on that. I mean, Modi has a kind of hegemony, but there are counter hegemonic things going on. So I'll leave Rakesh to talk about the cultural response.

Vinita Srivastava: Yeah, thanks for saying that. I do think it sometimes feels overwhelming and sometimes when you see that 2019 Citizenship Amendment Act that you mentioned, it does feel like there's a huge cultural wave that doesn't have a counter voice, especially when you see it in so much popular media and culture. It is nice to remember that on the street, there are people who are marching and making their voices heard. So thanks for the reminder of that. 

Rakesh, let's turn to you and see if you can tell us if there's any cultural responses as well. 

Rakesh Sengupta: Yeah, to add to Sikata, it's not cultural, but the farmers protest was also a very big moment where the government had to back down.

But culturally, there's been a very interesting shift in documentary filmmaking, where it has not just like become more popular, there are more documentaries being made, but also they're doing very well internationally, right? So two documentaries that I can think of would be Payal Kapadia's The Night of Knowing Nothing.

Which is about the student protests in India that happened during 2017. And also intensified in the moment of CAA, which is the bill that Sikata was referring to. The bill that became the Act in 2019 and 2020 as well. It's this lovely film about resistance, but also thinking about resistance from her own upper caste identity.

It's a very fictionalized kind of documentary. So it doesn't pretend to be anything like a diary or a report or a file. But it's a very creative engagement with the politics of the time. Another film that I would recommend and has done incredibly well would be Shaunak Sen's, um, All That Breeds, which is about two Muslim brothers in Delhi, and these are two real Muslim brothers, who heal kites, the bird kite.

Right. So these are kites in the skies who are suffering from the air pollution in Delhi. And they're, they keep falling from the skies. And these two brothers keep collecting these birds and they keep bringing them back to life in many ways, right. To the point that they have now a whole organization that does this kind of work, which is also gaining more international recognition thanks to the film.

Um, was a very interesting kind of, uh, investigation into Muslim realities in Delhi, in the light of the Delhi riots that happened in 2020. I think these are two films that are incredibly difficult to describe, so one must watch them. I think they're both available on streaming. 

Vinita Srivastava: Thank you so much for taking the time to have the conversation, uh, with each other and with me. I really appreciate it. 

Rakesh Sengupta: Thank you so much. I had a great time. 

Sikata Banerjee: Thank you. Thanks for inviting us, Vinita. Nice meeting you, Rakesh. 

Rakesh Sengupta: Nice meeting you too, Sikata. 



Vinita Srivastava: That's it for this episode of Don't Call Me Resilient. You can reach us at or on Instagram @dontcallmeresilientpodcast.

Don't Call Me Resilient is a production of The Conversation. The series is produced and hosted by myself, Vinita Srivastava. This episode was co-produced by our student journalist, Marisa Sittheeamorn. Ateqah Khaki is our associate producer. Krish Dineshkumar does our sound design and mixing. Our consulting producer is Jennifer Moroz.

Lisa Verano is the managing editor of The Conversation Canada, and Scott White is the CEO. Zaki Ibrahim wrote and performed the music we use on the podcast and the track is called Something in the Water.