Have You Heard? is where the Pod Bible team meet the people behind the podcasts you may not have heard of yet. While the Oh. My. Pod. section in the magazine gives a quick shout out to shows of that ilk, Have You Heard? aims to go deeper in an effort to spread awareness for shows that deserve more exposure! We recently caught up with Amar Singh Panesar to learn about The ਸੋਚ (Sōch) Podcast…
Who are you and what’s your podcast about?
My name is Amar Singh Panesar and I’ve always had a huge interest in history, heritage, philosophy, culture and religion. I had the pleasure to do an undergraduate degree in history and have continued to research into different aspects of history in my spare time.
In fact, the ਸੋਚ (Sōch) [Punjabi for ‘thinking] Podcast is a platform where by I engage in stimulating conversation with people from all walks of life, including academics, musicians, artists, entrepreneurs, art collectors, athletes, photographers, comedians and more about all sorts of topics.
Each episode starts with getting to know more about our guest, their own family history and like many of us in the diaspora, how we ended up where we are today. We then move onto a topic of choice related to our guest – authors provide insightful understanding to their area of interest, academics provide insight into their research and comedians provide reflection on cultural comedy.
These topics can range from history, such as the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, history of Sikhs in Britain, the Anglo-Sikh Wars and Partition of India, recent events such as the farmers protest in India or the beard ban in boxing in the UK as well as discussing topics such as colonialism, justice, politics, racism and cultural representation.
What was the first podcast you ever listened to?
The BBC Radio 4 podcast, In Our Time, was the first podcast I ever listened to. As you could imagine it was right up my street and the quality is a standard I still aspire to achieve.
Why did you decide to start podcasting in the first place?
I, like many children of immigrants, have a difficult time trying to trace my family lineage. My research into tracing my ancestors led me down a rabbit hole of an ever changing landscape. In order to help make more sense of this I decided to reach out to authors I thought would be able to provide some context. At the same time, I wondered, if this is how I feel, there surely must be others? It then naturally evolved and has turned into what it is today.
In fact, almost everyone I have had the chance to talk to so far has shared their own experience of understanding their history, culture and identity. The other reason is because I often read a book and think of questions I’d love to pose to the author, or I see a comedian, and wish to ask them how they go about blending their culture and identity with their comedy, or I see an athlete and wonder how they got to where they are.
Which podcasts do you take inspiration from?
If I could blend BBC Radio 4’s In Our Time podcast with the Sikh Archive podcast I think I’d have achieved the perfect audio format. On YouTube I take inspiration from the What’s Good podcast, again, due to the quality of the layout and also because I’d like to think eventually we’ll become big enough to have a small studio where guests can come to for the podcast.
Who’s your dream guest for the podcast?
There’s quite a list, I’d say top of that list is Akala. But whilst I’m at it, I may as well hedge my bets and also mention, I’d love to host comedians – Romesh Ranganathan, Nish Kumar, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Shaparak Khorsandi, as well as authors – Fakir S. Ajazuddin, David Olusoga, and Rozina Visram.
One person I would love to do a podcast about is Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, however, finding someone who studied his life or spent time with him has been difficult.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt so far as a podcaster?
Plan ahead but also prepare for the podcast to go follow a course of its own. This way you can allow for the conversation to flow and move naturally but also ensure you include all the relevant questions the audience wants to hear.
Which episode would you say is the perfect introduction to your podcast?
The recent podcast, that is on YouTube, with author Aanchal Malhotra, discussing her book ‘Remnants of Partition’ has the best introduction so far. I wouldn’t say best, because I know I still have room to improve. The podcast with comedian Sukh Ojla also has an almost perfect introduction.
Where can the Pod Bible readers find out more about you?
You can find me on YouTube, as well as all major podcast platforms, along with Instagram, Facebook and Twitch as @ramblingsofasikh, and Twitter @ramblingsingh. My Linktree provides you easy access to all podcast platforms and socials.
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