About the Podcast
What’s A Man? Masculinity in India - is a research-in-process podcast that breaks open the barriers to talking about what it means to be a man in India today. Men are half the equation to achieve a more caring gender-equal world. Yet we know little about men’s inner lives, thoughts, joys, pain, fear, dilemmas, and doubts.
This podcast series breaks the silence about men and gives men and women language for honest, compassionate conversations to explore the myths, truths and lies about manhood and masculinity. The interviews focus on educated middle-class educated men mostly from Delhi and Mumbai but other metros as well.
Despite the rhetoric, men are still missing from strategies that address issues of women’s empowerment and gender inequality. This podcast is a live ongoing research process that involves deep listening. We share the findings with you to start a public conversation about what it means to be a man today. Each episode focuses on different themes - what is a man? who is a powerful man? father-son relationships, male friendships and many more.
Sushant Divgikar is an Indian model, actor, performer, drag queen (Rani Kohinoor), singer and video jockey who appears in television shows and films. In July 2014, he was crowned Mr Gay India 2014. He represented India at Mr Gay World 2014 and was named one of Forbes30under30-Asia class of 2020. He is widely known for participating in India's TV reality show Bigg Boss 8.
A renowned author and columnist with ever-widening knowledge of the Indian Mythology, Amish Tripathi is a household name for many Indians. He is the author or the Shiva Trilogy and the Director of the Nehru Centre in London. Amish Tripathi has been constantly striving to help us reflect back on our roots and enhance our knowledge regarding Indian Mythology, where our beliefs are lay. He truly is committed to his work to help steer away from misconstrued norms!
One of the most recognised faces of Indian comedy, Abish Mathew was one of the first Indian Youtube stars, who has over 94 million views on his channel. These videos include his hit talk-show, Son of Abish. Abish is also part of the popular improv comedy collective "The Improvisers". The stand-up comedian has performed 1000+ shows across India and the world, including New York, Canada and the prestigious Utrecht International Comedy Festival (Holland). Abish has created content for brands like Breezer Vivid and Netflix, and his brand of clean humour has won over crowds in clubs, colleges and corporates alike.
Gender equality and love will never be achieved without involving men. Yet gender and women’s empowerment strategies bypass men.
We still know very little about men, about what it means to be a man today. We don’t know about their doubts, frustrations, longings, their inner lives.
In 2013, I started researching why there is so much violence against women in India, see my book Chup: Breaking the Silence About India’s Women, and TED talk - Seven Beliefs that Silence Women and How to Unlearn Them. After listening to hundreds of women and men, I realized that we in the educated middle and upper classes, both women and men, who believe in gender equality are still trapped in old expectations about how men and women should behave. We are in delusion.
Even though I had interviewed some men for Chup, their stories got edited out. I had promised men and myself that I would return to exploring men’s lives. I deliberately choose to focus on the educated non-poor, because if we change, the world changes.
My goal in both doing new research and this podcast is to open up honest and compassionate conversations among men, women and people of all genders in homes, families, schools, colleges, offices and among friends to explore what it means to be a man today.
I believe that our definitions of what it means to be a man, woman or person, are the foundations of every society. Yet we never discuss these issues openly. We don’t even realize there is a choice. Every new choice becomes a battleground that only the very strong win against family and society.
A fair compassionate world in which everyone feels loved and cherished is the birthright of every human being. Inequality is a moral poison. Inequality corrodes everything it touches in society, economy and politics. Gender inequality corrodes society, men and women and people of all genders.
What’s A Man: Masculinity in India podcast is an offering to break open the conversation about masculinity so we can collectively change, have some language for deep non-judgmental compassionate conversations and listen to each other, so that men, women and people of every gender, become whole human beings living the best version of themselves together in greater love and compassion and less violence, hate and despair.
Deepa Narayan Ph.D - Host,
Creative Director, Writer, Producer
Bijah Spevakow - Associate Producer,
Research Coordinator, Social Media Manager
Priyanka Varma - Associate Producer,
Akshat Singhal - Finance and Partner
Peeyush Singh - Executive Producer
Zehra Naqvi - Writer, Editor
Ikroop Chamba - Producer for
episodes 1 - 4 & 6
Christina MacGillivray - Advisor
Piyush Goswami - Sound Design
Eshan Sharma- Sound Design
Aishwarya Iyer - Artist
Divyangna - Social Media
Vanshaj Garg - Video creation
Ashoka University Students - research and interviews
The Gender Lab
Youth Ki Awaz
A Big Thanks
We are grateful to the wonderful team of passionate women at the American Center in New Delhi who have supported our vision and made this podcast possible. The views of our podcast are ours alone and do not necessarily represent the views of the American Center or the U.S. Government.