The Juggernaut is a premium publication for South Asian stories. We’re documenting the unstoppable rise of South Asia and South Asians around the world.
We are starting with one new story a weekday. We’ve covered the phenomenon of Subtle Curry Traits on Facebook and the rise of South Asian progressives. We've profiled director Gurinder Chadha, award-winning writer Amitav Ghosh, and comedian Hari Kondabolu. We’ve explored the erasure of Freddie Mercury’s brownness and why it's so difficult to open and run Indian restaurants in America.
From paying writers quickly and easily to using fonts created by South Asians, we are thoughtful in what we do. We want to celebrate our heritage but also challenge and unlearn parts of what we've been told.
Snigdha, the founder, grew up in New York. Being Indian wasn't cool growing up. Western media mostly focused on South Asia's poverty (Slumdog Millionaire) or stereotypes (Apu, taxi drivers). As she grew older, she saw more South Asians in the news. But she also realized that she didn’t know what was going on in the region or with South Asians nationally, let alone in her own city. She also noticed that as China grew, readers loved reading Bill Bishop’s Sinocism, a newsletter with sharp China analysis. But there was no national, inclusive, well-reported publication for South Asians, the fastest growing demographic in the US.
So, every weekend, she’d write a weekly email newsletter linking to the best articles on South Asia(ns) with her thoughts on a pressing issue, from the Harvard affirmative action lawsuit to South Asian representation in Crazy Rich Asians. The newsletter grew to the thousands. After doing this for a few months, she realized linking to other publications wasn't enough. She wanted coverage she wasn't seeing. So she dove into figuring out what it would take to start a new publication with original, reported stories. She called it The Juggernaut.
Along the way, she met Meghna Rao, and Fariha Roisin. Meghna and Snigdha had gone to high school together but didn’t know each other back then. Meghna had spent four years reporting on Tech in Asia from Bangalore. Fariha had written for Al Jazeera, The Guardian, Vice, and more, had three book deals in the works, and had launched the Two Brown Girls podcast. They joined the team.
Media is difficult. People like free content. We launched behind a paywall because it allows us to pay journalists well and quickly, and invest in better journalism. And paid doesn’t mean exorbitant. I’d love to know — what publications do you read and why? What makes you want to pay for something? What pitfalls should we watch out for? Happy to answer any questions/comments; you can email us at email@example.com. We’d love to hear from you.
Juggernaut comes from the Sanskrit word, "Jagannath." Merriam-Webster writes: "In the early 14th century, Franciscan missionary Friar Odoric brought to Europe the story of an enormous carriage that carried an image of the Hindu god Vishnu (whose title was Jagannath, literally, "lord of the world") through the streets of India in religious processions. Odoric reported that some worshippers deliberately allowed themselves to be crushed beneath the vehicle's wheels as a sacrifice to Vishnu. That story was probably an exaggeration or misinterpretation of actual events, but it spread throughout Europe anyway. The tale caught the imagination of English listeners, and by the 19th century, they were using juggernaut to refer to any massive vehicle (such as a steam locomotive) or to any other enormous entity with powerful crushing capabilities."
Today, it means a a massive inexorable force, campaign, movement, or object. For us, we mean "an unstoppable force." We wanted to reclaim The Juggernaut's South Asian roots and refer to the interconnectedness of the world and how words — and stories — travel.
Meghna spent four years in India, reporting on technology for Tech in Asia and researching the realities of social impact startups for Unitus Seed Fund. More recently, she wrote in-depth, data-driven research for CB Insights. She hails from Queens, New York and can speak Kannada and Hindi.
Fariha has written for several publications, including Al Jazeera, The Guardian, Hazlitt. She has three book deals in the works and started the Two Brown Girls podcast. She grew up in Australia and can speak Bengali.