Essays

What American Progressives Can Learn From the Indian Farmers’ Victory

January 5, 2022

About a dozen people are standing atop a green John Deere tractor, hoisting signs and waving flags with pro-farmer slogans. Many of them are turbaned Sikhs while others wear different of head coverings. The tractor crawls through throngs of people, many of them dancing in celebration. Cheers ring out throughout the crowd, and, in the … Read More

Life, Love, and HPV in Milan

December 2, 2021

I was 28 when I visited a gynecologist for the first time, as a scientist in a foreign country, nonetheless. Requesting the morning off from attending to my cell cultures was the easiest part. I had even made the effort to schedule an appointment at an expat-friendly, English-speaking women’s clinic in the heart of Milan … Read More

In My Silken Armor

July 9, 2021

My first Bharatanatyam costume was made of saffron yellow silk with fuschia borders, woven with golden zari thread that glimmered under the stage lights. A costume like this was usually custom-made for the dancer, but my mother bought this outfit secondhand for a fraction of its value. It was created for another girl, but destiny … Read More

Consuming Diaspora

June 24, 2021

This essay appeared in Kajal, Volume 4: Food. You can purchase a copy here. Growing up in a nearly all white small town, I remember spending so much time looking for myself. Decades removed from the motherland itself, my India was a tapestry of objects and symbols woven together: Ganesha watching over cereal boxes in … Read More

Caste Discrimination Protections Are a Feminist Issue

April 27, 2021

This article was written by a group of South Asian feminist activists and students coming from a position of caste privilege and allyship. On April 29, the Santa Clara County Human Rights Commission is holding a public forum on caste discrimination that could lead to Santa Clara County becoming the first jurisdiction in the United … Read More

Revisiting Joy Crookes’s Covers

March 9, 2021

When I sit at my desk most days, I try to convince myself that it’s not winter – that the sunlight I see scattered across my view would make me sweat if I went outside. I know that if I snuggled up to my window, my nose to the cold pane, and looked down, I’d … Read More

Sufism, Shrooms, and Seeking Connection

March 4, 2021

In 2019, Nigerian-American rapper Jidenna released a music video for his song, “Sufi Woman.” The song and video go beyond Islamic mysticism, with references to spiritual practices like brujería and tarot as well. Orientalizing lyrics aside – “Sufi woman / read me Rumī ‘til I fall asleep upon your bosom” – the music video, directed … Read More

How The Democratic Party Hijacked Black Lives Matter

December 10, 2020

In The Autobiography of Malcolm X, human rights activist  Malcolm X voiced his deep-seated distrust of  what he referred to as a faction of the “white liberal”: “The liberal elements of whites are those who have perfected themselves to the Negro as a friend of the Negro. Getting sympathy of the Negro, getting the allegiance … Read More

A Dissociative American Identity

July 11, 2020

I called my therapist on the third day of the coronavirus lockdown, starting with “Hey. I’m not panicked and I don’t know what to do about that.” There was a voice inside of me saying I ought to jump into the whistling fear-kettle for my virtues to be valid. But there was also a wisdom … Read More

#AHoliAgainstHindutva is Not Anti-Hindu

March 11, 2020

On March 5th, a week before Holi, students across more than 15 American college campuses held protest rallies under the name #AHoliAgainstHindutva. These efforts were led by new organization Students Against Hindutva. Instead of wearing white and playing with colors, participants wore all black in protest against the political ideology of Hindutva, discriminatory policies introduced … Read More

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