UNIONVILLE — Three childhood friends have launched “Kathakar,” a podcast that focuses on historical milestones with an interdisciplinary approach including the use of quantitative methods and spatial analysis.
Podcast episodes are available on multiple platforms, including through Spotify, Google, Apple, and Anchor.
Kathakar is a Sanskrit linguistic term that translates into English as “one who tells a story”.
A trio of Unionville High School students, seniors Arnab Sircar, Aniruddh Mutnuru and Ansh Patel created the podcast.
Friends use their podcast and invite experts and thought leaders to delve into important turning points in world history.
The friends credited two Unionville teachers who inspired them in their podcast project, including Lindsay Iezzi, who teaches AP World History, and Cody Stafford, who teaches AP American History.
Their first podcast episode, titled “The July Crisis”, featured Professor John Moser, chair of the Department of History and Political Science at Ashland University. He referred to the events of the day Archduke Franz Ferdinand of the Austro-Hungarian Empire was assassinated and the series of developments that followed, wreaking havoc across most of Europe and soon the world.
More than a dozen episodes have since aired with topics ranging from the United States Postal Service and westward expansion to life in colonial Zimbabwe.
Episode 13 focused on “Protests and Complexity” with special guest Zachary Steinert-Threlkeld, assistant professor of public policy and political science at the Luskin School of Public Affairs at the University of California, Los Angeles.
The podcast description states, “Since the dawn of governmental structures, protests have served as a method by which the masses enact policies and actions. How to characterize the dynamics of protests and mass gatherings? Recent research shows that Twitter posts, associated geolocation information, and other social media data can study the size, engagement, and motivators of these public displays.
The teenage founders of the Kathakar podcast first met in college. About six years later, they now have their own show.
Sircar said he has a keen interest in topics ranging from math and technology to economic and societal issues. He looks for common and interesting patterns in various environments while trying to understand the how and why.
Sircar said he enjoys looking at maps, exploring his heritage and the Bengali language, flying drones and solving Rubik’s cubes.
Patel said he enjoys learning new things, traveling whenever he can, and learning about his own family history and religion. Patel, who finds computers and cybersecurity interesting, actively works with people in these fields to promote new technologies for the world.
Mutnuru said he enjoys studying a multitude of subjects and teaching concepts such as debate and math. He has a keen interest in computer science, especially artificial intelligence (AI).
In his spare time, Mutnuru said he enjoys playing sports with his friends, practicing the piano, listening to music and being with his family.
The three friends created the idea for their podcast in November 2020.
“That’s when the pandemic was unfolding,” Mutnuru said. They wanted to do something with their free time and launched the show in January 2021.
Since then, they have aired monthly shows, sometimes two episodes in a month.
They became friends in sixth grade and bonded in first grade during AP World History.
“And our taste for history grew from there,” Patel said.
“We try to focus on important turning points in history,” Sircar said. “How has the common man or the common woman been affected by these drastic changes that have taken place in history?”
Sircar continued: “When we look at these events – these turning points – or revolutions – or big changes in history, we try to take into account unique aspects (by analyzing them).”
Examining large datasets, from a perceptual quantitative method, can help to better understand significant historical events, he added.
“I view history as the people I’m supposed to honor,” Mutnuru said. “I wouldn’t be here if not for the sacrifices they made – and I’m not just talking about my ancestors,” adding that he refers to all the millions of people who came before and shaped the world that exists today today.
“With our speech, our information and our willingness to share knowledge, I believe we are then able to honor their memory,” Mutnuru said, “and continue to write a new story for future generations.”
To learn more, visit: https://www.kathakar.media.