Main content
Sorry, this episode is not currently available

In the Name of the Mother

Remona Aly offers a multicultural exploration of the many incarnations of motherhood, through the symbolic, mythological and religious depictions of mothers throughout history.

Journalist Remona Aly has long been intrigued by many aspects of motherhood. While not a mother herself, she relates to the lived experiences of women she knows and, in this programme, considers the symbolic, mythological and religious incarnations of mothers throughout history.

She details the more relatable elements of the Virgin Mary’s motherly experiences described in the Quran, such as her vulnerability when giving birth to Jesus alone, and the pain of labour which makes her wish for death. Remona also considers how places as well as people bear children and reminisces about her links to her own motherland, India.

Remona examines the sorrow and conflict that can come with motherhood. She describes the impact of not having children herself and the loss of a newborn, and revisits the Ancient Greek stories of Medea and Pandora, who bring death and destruction.

The wonders of motherhood are also explored, highlighted by neurological research which documents the re-wiring of women's brains during pregnancy, and the strong bonds between mothers and infants in the animal kingdom.

Throughout, Remona contemplates the notion of God in the maternal paradigm and concludes that the power of motherhood moves between beliefs, from the divine down to a human level. Free from years of patriarchal influence, Remona argues that it is time to reclaim the mother's position in society, and ponder prayers that begin 'In the name of the Mother...’.

Presenter: Remona Aly
Producer: Sera Baker
A TBI production for BBC Radio 4

28 minutes

Last on

Sun 27 Jan 2019 23:30

Music Played

  • Nouhad Haddad

    Ya Mariam Al Bikr

    Performer: Fairuz.
    • Oriental All Stars, Vol. 2.
    • Excalibur Recordings.
  • Naushad

    Duniya Men Hum Aaye Hain

    Performer: Lata Mangeshker, Meena Khadikar, Usha Mangeshkar.
    • Mother India (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack).
    • Saregama.
  • Natalie Merchant


    Performer: Natalie Merchant.
    • Motherland.
    • Warner Music.
  • Marios Aristopoulos

    10 Years of War

    Performer: Marios Aristopoulos.
    • Apotheon (Original Soundtrack).
    • Marios Aristopoulos.
  • Manish Vyas

    Allaho Akbar (Ya Rahimo Ya Rahman)

    Performer: Manish Vyas & Dina Awwad.
    • Sufi Splendor.
    • White Swan Records.
  • Wallace Churchill

    Baby Mine

    Performer: Betty Noyes.
    • Dumbo Original Soundtrack.
    • JB Production.
  • Guru Dass Singh, Gurudass Kaur Khalsa and Gurudas

    Adi Shakti

    Performer: Gurudass.
    • Mantra Meditiations.
    • Spirit Voyage Records.


Title: The Quran

Author: English trans. MAS Abdel Haleem

Publisher: Oxford University Press


Title: Love is a Traveller and We are its Path

Author: Medina Tenour Whiteman

Publisher: The Ecstatic Exchange


Title: Mother India

Author: Gayatri Chatterjee

Publisher: Penguin India


Title: Medea

Author: Euripides (trans. C. A. E. Luschnig)

Publisher: Brill


Title: Helen: Myth, Legend, and the Culture of Misogyny

Author: Professor Robert Meagher

Publisher: Continuum


Title: Revelations of Divine Love

Author: Julian of Norwich

Publisher: Oxford University Press


Title: Nature Neuroscience (journal entry)

Author: Elseline Hoekzema

Publisher:  Nature


Title: i carry your heart with me
Author: E E Cummings 
Publisher:  Poetry (June 1952)


Today’s programme was presented by Remona Aly

The producer was Sera Baker



  • Sun 27 Jan 2019 06:05
  • Sun 27 Jan 2019 23:30