In this podcast, one of Pakistan’s first in the true crime realm, we travel to Karachi in the late 1960s and early ’70s, when the city’s lust-fueled nightlife and high-society scandals would rival the most sensational eras of Hollywood or New York.
This story has it all: the mysterious death of a tortured poet, Mustafa Zaidi, whose body was found next to his unconscious muse and lover, the socialite Shahnaz Gul, renown for her beauty; a rumored suicide pact; an exhumation; a murder trial; breathless media coverage; and even revenge porn, which was not digital as we understand it today, but printed on thousands of fliers.
The show’s hosts, Tooba Masood and Saba Imtiaz, Pakistan-based journalists, have been researching the circumstances surrounding Zaidi’s death for years. Over two seasons, they share their findings in great detail, attempt to apply logic to the gossip of that time and debate the legitimacy of the possible scenarios. This is an independent podcast, and some might find the format — a conversation between the hosts, with a couple of notable guests in Season 2 — simplistic, but there is nothing simple or boring about the tale they’ve resurfaced.
In India, arranged marriage, as its known in the West, is simply known as marriage — but marrying for love, which still accounts for only a small fraction of marriage there, is an anomaly called “love marriage.” As we learn in “Love Commandos,” the final season of NPR’s “Rough Translation” podcast, love marriage can be a dangerous, even deadly, proposition for the young couples who follow their hearts instead of their parents’ wishes.
In this five-episode podcast — hosted by Gregory Warner, guest-hosted by Mansi Choksi and drawing on years of reporting by the NPR correspondent Lauren Frayer — listeners are taken to modern-day India, where a mysterious Delhi-based group called Love Commandos has for about a decade offered shelter and safety to those who marry for love. Now, its leader, Sanjoy Sachdev, is facing allegations of extortion. As Warner puts it, “Escape is far from the same thing as freedom.”