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Heart and Soul

Heart and Soul

Podcast Heart and Soul

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5 of 212
  • Activist Sikh
    Many Sikhs all over the world have joined together in support of protests by Indian farmers against new laws proposed by the Indian government. Solidarity has come from musicians, singers, sportspeople and many young second and third generation diaspora Sikhs who have joined social media and local drive-thru protests in British, Canadian and American cities. A culture of protest is embedded in Sikhism through prayer, songs and stories, which inspires this sense of activism. Modern-day Sikhs, through their poetry or music or through their voluntary work or political campaigns, explain how their religion’s history of protest against persecution and standing up to injustice, inspires their view of the world in 2021. Pavneet is a poet whose work is unapologetic and seeks to stand up for women, against a caste and patriarchal system. DJ Rekha, based in New York, ran a broadcast through the 2020 US Presidential election night live on Twitch, and linked her music playlists to political campaigns against poverty, racism and sexism. Sukhdeep Singh stood for the rights of gay people in India by setting up Gaylaxy, an online magazine, at 22 years old. He started a queer collective on Instagram in 2019 and he wore a rainbow turban to the Golden Temple in Amritsar. The roots and passing down of stories in families from Sikh history, as well as the use of social media to spread campaign messages, are, they say, helping to nurture and grow a shared sense of Sikh activism against inequality and oppression. Produced by Nina Robinson for BBC World Service. Executive Producer: Rajeev Gupta (Photo: Farmers shout slogans as they take part in a protest rally against the central government's agricultural reforms in Amritsar on September 28, 2021. Credit: NARINDER NANU/AFP via Getty Images)
  • Getting married the Nigerian way
    Hannah Ajala, a British-Yoruba broadcaster will walk us through the sounds, beats and meanings of a Yoruba engagement ceremony. Speaking to those at the heart of the traditional marriage and exploring its importance on what could be considered the most important day of their lives. Producer: Tobi Olujinmi (Photo: Yoruba marriage ceremony. Credit: David Olujinmi)
  • The Myanmar mission
    David Eubank, who is originally from Texas, lives in the jungles of the Karen state near the Thai-Myanmar border, along with his wife and children. The Karen people have been fighting the Myanmar military for decades, in the world’s longest civil war. Since the military coup on 1 February, the Karen Nation Union has sided with a people’s uprising demanding democracy is restored, and has launched attacks on the military. The army has responded with bombings that have displaced tens of thousands of people. David has seen first-hand what has happened. Hundreds of young protesters have fled to ethnic areas, including into the area David is working in. His group, The Free Burma Rangers, has provided survival and medical training to some of these young people who want to continue fighting to restore democracy. He is also part of an underground railway helping to smuggle out politicians, artists and activists who are on the military’s wanted list. David takes us on a mission through the jungle to get aid to civilians caught up in the conflict. (Photo: Sahale walks by a burning shack and opium field on a mission. Credit: Free Burma Rangers)
  • Rebuilding Ise
    Ise Jingu is a Shinto shrine in Japan that is full of paradoxes. Every 20 years, for the past 1300 years, Ise Jingu has been rebuilt from scratch. It involves constructing identical copies of 125 structures that cover an area the size of the centre of Paris, using ancient techniques passed down through generations of craftsmen. It is one of the most sacred Shinto shrines in Japan. Every year, over 10 million visitors and pilgrims journey through the depths of the ancient forest that surrounds the shrine, to pay homage to the deities of the Shinto faith. Poet and professor Jordan Smith journeys to the heart of the Jingu in search of the rituals, customs, and spirituality that has kept it as alive today as it was over 1000 years ago. But as Jordan finds out, the essence of Ise Jingu cannot be discovered quite so easily. To get close to what Ise Jingu means to the Shinto faith and Japanese society, Jordan must travel into the depths of the forests of Ise to listen to the inaudible and feel the intangible. On his way he meets priests and professors, who help him discover new ways of interpreting Shinto divinity and what Ise Jingu means to those who journey there.
  • The Pope's astronomer
    Br. Guy Consolmagno calls himself a 'Sputnik Kid'. He started school the year the Russians launched the world's first satellite. Growing up in Detroit during the space race he remembers the excitement he felt watching Nasa launch rockets into space, "I grew up at a time when anything was possible." He was always fascinated with astronomy. In fact, his father always wanted to be an astronomer but could never turn it into a career. He would show Guy the stars at night and point out the different constellations. Little did he know back then that his son would not only go on to be an astronomer, lecturing at the prestigious colleges of Havard and MIT, but he would go on to become the director of one of the oldest observatories in the world - The Vatican Observatory. The Vatican Observatory has been gazing at the stars since 1582. The church started the observatory to study the heavens in order to make changes to the church calendar. Over the years it became a way for the church to marry science and faith and explore the points where they intersect. The first telescopes were placed right on top of the Vatican, but as Rome grew bigger and brighter, the view of the stars started to fade and so in the 1930s the Vatican built a new large telescope at the Pope's summer residence at Castel Gandolfo 25km south of Rome, and also one in Arizona in the US! There are twelve astronomers working at the Vatican observatory, but Br. Guy, the director, is unique as he is the only one who was appointed by a pope and saint, Saint Pope John Paul II. He worked under JPII, Pope Benedict, and now Pope Francis. He still wears his MIT ring, as well as his white priest's collar. For this Heart and Soul special on the BBC World Service, we will visit the Vatican Observatory to hear about its fascinating history and meet the 'Sputnik Kid' who is passionate about showing the world that science and faith are not as opposed as you might think.

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