The South Asian stories you need to know

Smart journalism on South Asia and South Asians around the world.

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Editor's Picks

September 17, 2021

The Cultural Appropriation of Dalit Music

For Dalit artists, music and performance have been tools of cultural resistance. But mainstream Indian media has glamorized and sanitized this history.

September 02, 2021

Why India isn't Known For its Alcohol

France has champagne, Japan has sake, Scotland has whiskey. So, why isn't India famous for an alcohol of its own?

September 13, 2021

The Rise and Fall (and Rebirth) of the U.K.'s Daytime Dance Parties

In the 1980s and 1990s, South Asians created a community around daytime raves in the U.K. Now, a new generation is trying to reignite that same magic.

August 30, 2021

How the Brown Mom Became a Diaspora Comedy Favorite

As South Asian entertainers — from Lilly Singh to Poorna Jagannathan and Pinky Patel — pay homage to Brown moms, can they overhaul cultural stereotypes without reinforcing them?

Business & Tech

October 05, 2021

How Ajay Bhatt, Co-Inventor of the USB Port, Became a Rockstar

Twenty-five years ago, the universal port changed computing as we know it — but the inventors never profited. We interviewed him to find out why that was intentional.

August 24, 2021

How Two Pakistani Brothers Created the World’s First PC Virus

The 1980s Brain virus made its creators Basit and Amjad Farooq Alvi infamous, and made John McAfee a billionaire.

September 08, 2021

The Evolution of Eyebrow Threading Salons

For years, threading salons served as an economic lifeline for immigrant women. Today, a new wave of first- and second-generation women are still looking to make it in the industry, on their terms.

August 18, 2021

Controversial Sabyasachi H&M Collection Sells Out — What Gives?

The luxury Indian designer garnered criticism for partnering with the Swedish fast fashion label. His ready-to-wear collection sold out anyway.

Crossword

September 30, 2021

"Kitchen Talk"

Our September 2021 crossword.

July 30, 2021

"Inner Child"

Our July 2021 crossword.

August 28, 2021

"Across the Pond"

Our August 2021 crossword.

June 25, 2021

"Flying Colors"

Our June 2021 crossword.

Culture

October 22, 2021

How Mughals Turned Into Hindi Cinema’s Newest Villains

From “Mughal-e-Azam” to “Jodhaa Akbar,” Bollywood has long been fascinated with the stories and extravagance of the Mughal empire. But in recent years, films have reduced the Muslim rulers to caricatured villains.

October 14, 2021

Excerpt: "We're Speaking: The Life Lessons of Kamala Harris"

The forthcoming book chronicles the U.S. vice president’s ascent, with lessons about work, family, and overcoming adversity.

October 18, 2021

The (South Asian) History of Curry Powder

Though curry might be a British invention, the origin of curry powder is inherently South Asian.

October 11, 2021

How Hollywood Found Hinduism

Celebrities like Julia Roberts, Madonna, and Miley Cyrus have been criticized for co-opting Hindu traditions. But it was often Indian gurus who sold them a new form of spirituality.

Fiction

November 06, 2020

Fiction: It Started with a Dream

In the winner of our spooky horror fiction contest, at a family get-together, the line between Maya’s recurring nightmare and reality blurs.

Film & TV

October 22, 2021

How Mughals Turned Into Hindi Cinema’s Newest Villains

From “Mughal-e-Azam” to “Jodhaa Akbar,” Bollywood has long been fascinated with the stories and extravagance of the Mughal empire. But in recent years, films have reduced the Muslim rulers to caricatured villains.

September 23, 2021

Opinion: Why I Hate Seeing Diversity on Dating Shows

Reality dating shows still feature a largely white cast who sideline contestants of color — emphasizing the racism we face while dating.

September 28, 2021

Why Kamal Haasan's “Hey Ram” Tries — and Fails — to Rewrite History

In the daring historical drama, the actor and filmmaker poses the question, “What if a man could be dissuaded from assassinating Gandhi?”

September 14, 2021

The Rise of Anti-Pakistan Bollywood

Patriotic movies used to evoke national unity. Today, films such as “BellBottom,” “Bhuj,” and “Shershaah” focus on settling scores with Pakistan.

Food

October 18, 2021

The (South Asian) History of Curry Powder

Though curry might be a British invention, the origin of curry powder is inherently South Asian.

September 09, 2021

The Sri Lankan Hopper is Going Global

The quintessential island snack is making its way around the world, appearing on menus from the U.K. to Australia and beyond.

September 15, 2021

How a New Generation in India is Reclaiming Gin

Once a remnant of colonial times and consumed primarily by an older generation, gin is now enjoying a revival as cool, young, and uniquely Indian.

September 02, 2021

Why India isn't Known For its Alcohol

France has champagne, Japan has sake, Scotland has whiskey. So, why isn't India famous for an alcohol of its own?

Opinion

October 19, 2021

Opinion: How the U.S. Failed Evacuation Efforts in Afghanistan

The U.S. administration congratulated themselves on their evacuation efforts in Afghanistan. A volunteer on the ground in Kabul writes about how botched these efforts really were.

September 23, 2021

Opinion: Why I Hate Seeing Diversity on Dating Shows

Reality dating shows still feature a largely white cast who sideline contestants of color — emphasizing the racism we face while dating.

October 15, 2021

Opinion: Aryan Khan is Paying the Price for Being Muslim in India

Though they couldn’t find any drugs on him, officials arrested Shah Rukh Khan’s son during a drug raid and denied him bail — a reminder that being Muslim in India means living at the government’s mercy.

August 27, 2021

Opinion: The Audacity of Culinary Caucacity

Gene Weingarten’s Washington Post article isn’t the first time mainstream media has tried to pass off racist commentary as satire, humor, or harmless.

Politics

October 19, 2021

Opinion: How the U.S. Failed Evacuation Efforts in Afghanistan

The U.S. administration congratulated themselves on their evacuation efforts in Afghanistan. A volunteer on the ground in Kabul writes about how botched these efforts really were.

October 14, 2021

Excerpt: "We're Speaking: The Life Lessons of Kamala Harris"

The forthcoming book chronicles the U.S. vice president’s ascent, with lessons about work, family, and overcoming adversity.

October 15, 2021

Opinion: Aryan Khan is Paying the Price for Being Muslim in India

Though they couldn’t find any drugs on him, officials arrested Shah Rukh Khan’s son during a drug raid and denied him bail — a reminder that being Muslim in India means living at the government’s mercy.

October 13, 2021

Dinesh D’Souza, the Conservatives’ “Boy from Bombay”

The right-wing pundit’s journey to over 1.8 million Twitter followers reflects how the Republican Party shifted so quickly from the party of John McCain to the party of Donald Trump.

Profiles

October 05, 2021

How Ajay Bhatt, Co-Inventor of the USB Port, Became a Rockstar

Twenty-five years ago, the universal port changed computing as we know it — but the inventors never profited. We interviewed him to find out why that was intentional.

September 21, 2021

Prateek Kuhad Isn’t Obsessed With Being “Different”

We spoke to the singer-songwriter, whose fans include Barack Obama, about what hasn’t changed with fame.

September 24, 2021

In Poet Natasha Rao’s "Latitude," Nature is Sublime

The debut collection — winner of the First Book Prize — is a meditation of the natural world, full of “Krishna-skin skies” and “snow that melts to milk.”

July 08, 2021

“An Icon, A Star, A Diva”: How Priyanka Made Drag History

We talked to the reigning queen of “Canada's Drag Race” about her drag, coming out to her dad via the show, sharing gowns with Priyanka Chopra, chicken nuggets, and changing the world.

Science & Technology

July 19, 2021

How Amar Bose Engineered Today’s Sound

A curious Bengali American kid with a love for tinkering built a multi-billion-dollar company and changed the way we listen to music.

May 06, 2021

“Be Careful”: WhatsApp Forwards Spread Fear and Misinformation

Messages intended to increase awareness of potential COVID transmission among South Asian Americans, but the impact has been more alarming.

May 11, 2021

“The Great Escape”: Sri Lanka and the Maldives Bear the Brunt of COVID Vacations

India’s elite continued to vacation in the island nations amid a raging pandemic.

May 05, 2021

To Be a Non-COVID Patient in India Right Now

With the country’s overburdened healthcare system focused on fighting COVID, non-COVID patients assume lowest priority.

Sports

August 05, 2021

India’s Siddis and the Olympic Dream

India has won only 33 Olympic medals since 1900 — none in track and field. Now, new local sports programs are working with Siddi athletes to produce Olympic glory.

April 13, 2021

How India Made Chess and its Champions

The country that invented the ancient game is now producing some of the world’s biggest chess champions.

June 14, 2021

How Dream11 Became India’s First Gaming Unicorn

India's fantasy sports platform has captured the attention of the country's rabid cricket fandom. Now, it wants to be India’s only answer to sports.

December 15, 2020

All Punch, No Pay: The Story of Pakistan's Female Boxers

Once lauded internationally, Pakistan’s best female boxers are fighting to make ends meet.

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