Sadaaqa – A monthly independent show that bridges cultures, documents and highlights friendly relations between India and Kuwait by telling individual stories
The roots of Sadaaqa go back five years, when Chaitali B Roy, a cultural journalist, author and broadcaster, who explored different aspects of this very crucial relationship through her articles for Arab Times conceived a show that would document this special connection for posterity.
Sadaaqa is a monthly show, between 40 minutes in length, dedicated to the friendship between Indians and Kuwaitis, two communities that have been intricately linked for centuries. Every month, the show alternately features a Kuwaiti or an Indian with either commercial ties or ties of memory and culture with the other country. The show is broadcast on social media platforms simultaneously, including as an audio-visual on YouTube and Facebook and as a podcast on Spotify.
Relations between countries are dependent on political deliberation, diplomatic engagement, and outreach. But the strongest element that cements this tie is the human factor - people to people connect. Sadaaqa tries to highlight the civilizational connect between India and Kuwait rooted in culture and trade.
The stories are many, but sometimes they are forgotten. Sadaaqa removes the dust from these stories and brings them to life.
Sadaaqa has completed two successful seasons. Our first episode featuring Sheikha Souad Al Sabah was broadcast in January 2022. Some of our episodes, like the one featuring the famous actor Dawood Hussain, reached 108 K, and writer Ahmed Al Sarraf reached 112K people.
The first guest on Sadaaqa was a ruling Al Sabah family member - Sheikha Souad Al Sabah. An award-winning fashion designer and jury member of the Arab Women Awards, Sheikha Souad has a deep and abiding love for India. Her friends in Kuwait fondly refer to her as the 'Queen of Mumbai', so famous is her love for the city. She loves India's colours, textures, vibrancy, and spirit and is a walking endorsement for the city of Mumbai. Her strong emotional attachment is shared by other family members, including her husband and mother. "For some, their favourite destination is London or Istanbul, but for me, it has always been India." (Women of Kuwait: Turning Tides).
Sadaaqa got to a great start with Sheikha Souad sharing her experience of India and its culture. Over two years, the show went on to feature top businessmen in the region like Mr Tony Jashanmal, whose family migrated to the Arabian Gulf in the beginning of the twentieth century, or Dr Hussain Mohammed Al Dashti, the Kuwaiti who studied medicine in Bombay in the seventies and came back to contribute to Kuwait’s health sector by assuming the role of the Dean of Medical Studies at Kuwait University.
Dawood Hussein, the legendary Arab actor who learned the basics of acting by watching Hindi films in the sixties. Sheikha Al Arfaj, whose siblings were born in India. She and her older sister, Noor, speak Hindi. Sheikha wears the saree, is a member of Brahamkumari, is the cofounder of Raja yoga center in Kuwait and the owner of Ginger – the only restaurant in Kuwait based on the ancient Indian concept of satwik ahaar. The stories are many. They underline heavily the warm relationship shared by the two countries that many historians say goes back to the Indus Valley civilisation (Seals dating back to the Indus Valley have been found on Failaka). But sometimes, the stories are forgotten in the rush of daily living. Sadaaqa removes the dust from these stories and brings them to life.
Director, Producer & Presenter: Chaitali B Roy
More than two decades in radio broadcast and print media in Kuwait and India. Author, feature writer, radio show producer, presenter, speaker, cultural event curator. Began professional life as a producer with HMV FM, one of India’s first private FM broadcasters. Producer, Editor & Presenter with Radio Kuwait since 2001. Special Correspondent for Arab Times since 2001. Author of ‘Women of Kuwait: Turning Tides’ (2016) and working on her second book ‘Daughters of Kuwait’. Co-founded and presented ‘At My Kuwaiti Table’ one of Kuwait’s most popular podcasts with Dr Lavinia Davenport, wife of the former British Ambassador in Kuwait, and Krysia Derecki, a former BBC professional and wife of the former Australian Ambassador to Kuwait.
Represented Kuwait at a Journalism Fellowship offered by East-West Center, a pioneering research organisation formed by the US Congress to foster better relations between the United States and countries with major Muslim populations. Presented shows and celebrity interviews for Kuwait Television. Guest lectured at universities and non-profit organisations. Work centred on bridging cultural divides. Believes that life is a series of learning and that every person you meet, and every experience you undergo teaches you something, however small.