The culture section is the heartbeat of The Juggernaut. Here, you’ll find journalism that explores everything from how “Welcome to India” became the Brown internet’s first joke to how Black TikTok creators are paying homage to Bollywood.
We especially love digging into the intersection of South Asian stories with other non-Western cultures. Think: why Nigerians love Bollywood, how Korean dramas crash-landed on South Asian screens, and the rise of Russian literature in Sri Lanka. We've also profiled several cultural icons, from Padma Lakshmi to Amitav Ghosh to Mira Nair to Riz Ahmed.
Why it matters: Mainstream media has long failed to examine the contribution of Brown stories to global culture at large. We’re here to change that. We dig deep to answer: why are we the way we are today? Our culture reporting span the U.S., Canada, England, Australia, South Africa, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, the Maldives, and many more.
Did Romantic Kissing Originate in India?
For years, researchers traced the practice to ancient Sanskrit texts. Recent evidence suggests that theory might not be the whole story. Or is it?
Rekha, Mother of Bollywood Queer Icons
The Hindi film industry painted the actor as a vamp and the other woman. Yet she emerged as a flag-bearer for self-love and queer self-expression.
The Tesla Cliff Crash is Yet Another Cry for Help
In January, Dharmesh Patel tried to kill himself and his family. The tragedy unveils glaring gaps in mental health resources for South Asian men.
Dev Shah is the 2023 National Spelling Bee Champion
The 14-year-old won $50,000 and the coveted trophy. His winning word was “psammophile.”
Does Yale Discriminate Against Asian Americans?
Eleven Asian American students looked at their admissions files. They were surprised by what they found.
How Diipa Büller-Khosla Got to Cannes — And Brought Her Brand
She was the first Indian-born influencer invited to the exclusive event. The indē wild founder is now bringing more Indian women with her.
The Motel Patels Built Empires. For Younger Generations, It’s Complicated.
Gujarati Americans own over 60% of America’s motels. But, for some, joining the family business is too close to home.
The Celebrity Airport Photo: Candid or Contrived?
For Bollywood paparazzi, capturing stars come and go is less about good timing than you think.
With No Towers of Silence in the West, Zoroastrian Last Rites are a Fraught Affair
The West has no structures or legal precedent for corpses to decay in the open air. For those wishing to follow traditions, funerals are a compromise.
How Cruises Became South Asian Getaways
Bollywood and value for money ignited our wanderlust. Now, those approaching retirement and seeking comfort are some of the industry’s newest patrons.
Is the Bollywood Song Dead?
Indian music is seeing a significant shift from film songs to those of independent artists. For some, it’s about time. For others, it’s an existential threat.
How Shan Masala Spiced Up Diaspora Tables
Despite competition and import bans, the Pakistani venture built a global, $250 million business whose fans swear by its innovative spice blends.
Zarna Garg, the Indian Mom Making the World Laugh
The comedian known for her viral mom jokes is now out with her first hour-long special — and she isn’t afraid to offend you.
How Singer Set South Asian Women Up For Success
The American sewing machine had a slow start in the Indian subcontinent. Today, it has changed women’s finances, and futures, forever.
How Kumon Bred Persistence and Panic Among South Asians
The after-school program was a fixture for the South Asian diaspora. But, after peaking in the 2000s, does it now hold the same draw?
Hanif Kureishi is Inspiring Optimism — From a Hospital Bed
The British Pakistani writer of ‘My Beautiful Laundrette’ fame became paralyzed in 2022. His Twitter dispatches are now a symbol of hope.
Haleem, Now Available Near You
For many, the meat-and-pulse stew is a rare, Ramadan tradition. Now, chefs are bringing it, along with inventive modifications, to the masses.
Reetika Vazirani, the Forgotten Poet We Should All Know
The Indian American was a pioneer of diasporic poetry. Yet, 20 years ago, she took the life of her son and her own.
Bikram Choudhury, the Sexual Predator Who Built a Yoga Empire
How a boy from Bengal founded Bikram Yoga and minted millions, only to abuse his students and escape justice.
Met Gala 2023: A Controversial Theme, with Few South Asians
Fashion’s most famous night featured a divisive, black-and-white theme. Its guest list of South Asians was even more limited.
‘Ponniyin Selvan: II’ Review: Come for the Epic, Stay for the Twisted Love Story
Aishwarya Rai and Vikram take center stage in the second part of the Mani Ratnam magnum opus about the Chola dynasty.
‘Polite Society’ Celebrates Brown Female Rage
Director Nida Manzoor and actors Ritu Arya and Priya Kansara share how they pulled off the hilarious ‘Get Out’-esque action comedy that dismantles South Asian tropes.
Badminton’s Grand Comeback
In India, a country where cricket is a religion, the racquet sport is becoming a booming business.
How Ferrero Rocher Melted South Asian Hearts
And why the significance of the once gold standard of gifting is no longer the same.
‘Indian Matchmaking’ Season 3 Tries But Fails to Modernize
It’s time to swipe left on the reality series that has yet to result in a single marriage and few successful matches.
Sima Aunty from ‘Indian Matchmaking’ Has Had Enough
For the Mumbai matchmaker and reality television star, today’s youth are too picky, too impatient, and too confused.
Salim-Javed: Strugglers, Screenwriters, Superstars
The story of Bollywood’s most successful writing duo is as masala-filled as the groundbreaking cinema they created.
How Gaurav Gupta Won the Red Carpet
It took years for the world to notice the Indian fashion designer. Now, stars from Cardi B to Aishwarya Rai turn to him when they want to make a statement.
Yale Was Built on Stolen Riches from India. Why Don’t We Talk About It More?
Elihu Yale became the reluctant namesake of the prestigious university by exploiting Indian diamonds, textiles, and even mango chutney.
The Mangalsutra, a Mark of Marital Bliss?
How a necklace that emerged around a century ago became a big business and the epitome of marital sanctity — and how its meaning is now changing.
‘Life of Pi’ Roars on Broadway (Review)
The stage adaptation of Yann Martel’s 2001 novel has impeccable acting and magical puppetry, but will leave some craving more.
The Death of Paan
How the tricornered treat, once a cornerstone of South Asian life and art, has slipped to the periphery.
How Bollywood Failed Parveen Babi
One of the highest-paid actors of her time is largely remembered through her lovers and by her illness. While others profited from her tale, she died alone at 51.
Dior and India: Couture Diplomacy or Culture Vulturism?
Dior’s Fall 2023 show in Mumbai seems like a win, but raises questions about the brand’s decades-long, extractive relationship with Indian artisans.
How Cha Became Chai
British trade manipulation, espionage, and aggressive marketing changed the trajectory of the once-unpopular beverage in the Indian subcontinent.
Raquel Evita Saraswati, the Race-Baiting, Hijabi Hoaxer
How a “white as snow” activist spread Islamophobia while pretending to be South Asian, Muslim, Hispanic, and Arab.
How Amrita Sher-Gil Found Home, One Painting at a Time
The queer, Indian Hungarian painter revolutionized art by blending the East and the West, championing the female gaze, and celebrating herself.
Kali, the Avenging Goddess Within Every Woman
The Hindu god known for her fury and vengeance is a man’s worst nightmare — a testament to female power in all its forms.
Why India is Half an Hour Off Global Time Zones
Colonial control, nation-building, and political rivalry dictated elements of subcontinental life — including time itself.
Catherine Duleep Singh, the Queer, Sikh, Nazi-Defiant Princess
The lesser-known story of a Punjabi heiress who fought for women’s rights and was an extraordinary Jewish ally.
Zeenat Aman Was Never Just a Glamour Girl
The Bollywood icon is the zenith of celebrity Instagram with her radical honesty on social media. Those who are surprised are simply late to the party.
The Kaurs of 1984: The Unsung Heroes of India’s Anti-Sikh Genocide
When the government and police watched Delhi burn, Sikh women stepped in and saved hundreds of lives.
Oscars 2023: All the South Asian Moments
This was a historic year with several wins, iconic presenters, and a musical performance many can’t forget.
‘The Namesake’: What’s in a Name? Everything.
The Mira Nair film based on Jhumpa Lahiri’s novel, a rare love letter to Bengali Americans, explores how our most important parts are parts we didn’t choose.
Wazwan and the Fight to Keep the 36-Course Kashmiri Feast Alive
How Kashmiris around the world are championing the ancient meal once fit for kings as its chefs slowly dwindle.
How South Asians Reclaimed Tiffin
The colonial term — which refers to everything from a lunch box to a teatime meal — stuck around to become a cultural touchstone.
Shakira Baksh is Much More Than “Michael Caine’s Wife”
The Indo-Guyanese model broke barriers in British film and fashion, yet the media too often reduces her to a particular actor’s spouse.
Doja Cat is Not Indian. Here’s Why We Love Her Anyway.
Amala Ratna grew up in an ashram learning Bharatanatyam and bhajans, but has no Indian roots. This hasn’t deterred South Asian fans from claiming her.
Caring for South Asian Elders in the U.S., Miles from Home
While enrolling aging parents in nursing homes is common practice in the West, for South Asian American families, it’s more complicated.
Saffron, the Hue of the Gods Enmeshed in Scandal
How the color that once conveyed divinity, piety, and national pride became weaponized.
Merle Oberon, the Actor Who Passed for White
The first Asian to be nominated for a Best Actress Oscar maintained a lie she would take to her grave. Who was she really?
Trinidadian Doubles, the Unlikely Street Food Hit
How the national dish lifted families out of poverty, led to a family feud, and changed Caribbean cuisine forever.
How Birmingham Became a Haven for Bhangra and Balti
“The engine room of the U.K.” became an unlikely hub for South Asian immigrants, who now make up 27% of the city’s population.
‘Seinfeld’ Failed South Asians. We Watched Anyway.
The popular sitcom’s depictions of “poor immigrants,” India, and Pakistan were grossly racist. So why can’t we quit the show?
The Lost Ritual of Soi Patano
How the close friendships between Bengali women inspired literature and poetry, expanded women’s rights, and made men jealous.
How Indo-Fijians Found a Home in California
Centuries of colonial abuse and decades of discrimination fueled an exodus to a state where about 75% of Fijian Americans live today.
Ethiopian and Indian Food: An Interconnected History
Sambusa and samosa. Injera and appam. Misir wot and dal. How over 2,000 years of trade shaped the cuisines of the two ancient cultures.
How the World Lost Dhaka Muslin
Once Bengal’s pride, the translucent fabric vanished under the British. Centuries later, can Bangladesh now resurrect it?
Why South Asians Love Jane Austen
Family, marriage, and class collisions. The British writer’s novels seem like the perfect subcontinental literary canon. But not for the reasons you might think.
How India Became a Nation of Eggetarians
The egg’s prominence in the Indian vegetarian diet is a point of contention. The perennial question is: are eggs meat?
The Mindy Kaling Effect
The release of ‘Velma’ has reignited discussions about how the actor, writer, and producer portrays South Asian characters on screen. But what does the backlash say about us?
Not All South Asians Like it Hot
How eating spicy food became so intertwined with South Asian identity, and why it’s time to retire the stereotype.
In Tadka We Trust
Each drop is a sensory universe. Here’s how the technique as old as time came to define South Asian cuisines.
The Bidet is Back. But for Many South Asians, It’s Been a Fixture.
Rooted in Hindu and Islamic traditions, using water to clean oneself after going to the bathroom has been a common practice in the East, but has only recently caught on in the West.
Subhash Kapoor: Art Dealer by Day, Idol Thief By Night
How the prolific antiquities trafficker hatched a scheme to smuggle hundreds of millions of dollars of Asian artifacts — and succeeded.
Paisley: The World’s Oldest Form of Cultural Appropriation?
How Europe stole one of the oldest block prints from Indian, Iranian, and Kashmiri weavers — and why everyone from The Beatles to Bollywood donned it.
‘In Search of Bengali Harlem’ is a Pursuit of Belonging
The documentary follows Alauddin Ullah as he traces his family’s past to 1930s New York, where Black, Puerto Rican, and Bengali marriages created a culture of their own.
Noor Inayat Khan, Unlikely War Hero
Officers believed she was physically and temperamentally unsuited to be a spy. Instead, the British Indian princess outlasted her peers and was a groundbreaking agent of resistance.
Why Many South Asian Muslims Celebrate Christmas
What some call “haram” is a way for others to incorporate traditions that center family and giving.
How the West Reduced ‘The Kama Sutra’ to Sex
The ancient Indian manuscript has long been a guide to love — and life.
South Asians are Reclaiming their Curly Hair
For years, South Asians were called “churails” or told that their curly hair was not beautiful. That is now changing — with the help of Black women.
Naeem Khan is Never Satisfied
The famed fashion designer opens up about his roots, his rise, the buzzy A-lister who could take his brand to the next level, and what an Indian-wear line could look like.
Revisiting ‘Born Confused,’ 20 Years Later
A surprise pitch meeting with Scholastic landed Tanuja Desai Hidier her first book deal. Her 2002 young adult novel became a sensation.
How Anti-Asian Bias Came to U.S. Colleges
Asian Americans overwhelmingly support affirmative action. Yet, the anti-Asian college admissions playbook is reminiscent of 1920s anti-Semitic policies.
‘Bombay Dreams’ Was Supposed to Open Doors for South Asian Musicals
But it will be nearly 20 years before audiences will see others, such as ‘Life of Pi’ and ‘Come Fall in Love,’ grace Broadway — the biggest theater industry in the English-speaking world.
The Tragic Love of Princess Diana and Hasnat Khan
How the “people’s princess” and a British Pakistani doctor met, fell in love, and fell apart just weeks before her final days.
How the West Deemed Eating With Your Hands “Uncivilized”
And why the practice persisted in South Asia anyway.
How ‘DDLJ’ Went From Screen to Stage
The cast and crew break down what it means to change beloved elements of Aditya Chopra’s 1995 Bollywood blockbuster — but still keep its spirit alive.
Reminder: The British Still Have Our Art
The Royal Collection remains one of the largest troves of South Asian art, much of it stolen.
Nose Rings are Not Just Ornaments for the Diaspora
As nose piercings become popular in the West, South Asians in the diaspora grapple with preserving their cultural symbolism.
Why the West is Afraid of Color
The colorful (and enraging) history of how neutrals and monochrome became the preferred Western aesthetic.
‘House of the Dragon’ Director Geeta Vasant Patel Breaks Down Episode 8
The “Lord of Tides” director discusses her favorite scenes, how she got the gig, and what’s next for the epic fantasy series.
Haters Tried to Silence Maulik Pancholy. He Got Louder.
With his latest novel, ‘Nikhil Out Loud,’ the actor and author gives young readers the stories he wished he had growing up.
The Battle for the Bill
“I’ve seen people pull credit cards out of each other’s hands, yell at each other while our server is standing there, and then go home quietly. There’s no shame.”
What Happened to Zayn?
Despite being the first One Direction member to go solo and release a popular debut album, the pop star has fallen off the charts and out of the spotlight.
The Call of Niagara Falls
How did the roaring waterfalls become an essential stop in the South Asian immigrant experience?
What the Koh-i-noor Really Represents
As South Asians worldwide clamor for the diamond’s return, they risk losing something far more critical.
‘Come Fall in Love’ Review: Fun, But No ‘DDLJ’
The upbeat musical is entertaining but will leave fans of the 1995 Bollywood classic sorely disappointed.
Why More South Asians Are Rejecting Marriage
Though South Asians are among the most likely to be married, singles are increasingly ditching age-old expectations and rewriting what relationships and commitment can look like.
The Rise of South Asian Studies in U.S. Colleges
College students are increasingly tapping into their heritage not just at home but also at school. But access and resources aren’t always equal.
Does the Diaspora Novel Need an Update?
Despite diverse South Asian stories and authors, publishers keep seeking out the same narratives.
The Endless Frustration of South Asian Hair Loss
For a culture that has long revered long, thick hair, community members are finding that traditional hair care rituals and advice are falling short.
The Disappearing Sweets of Bengal
The region renowned for its sweet tooth endured multiple conflicts and divisions, losing many of its creative mishti-making traditions in the process.
The Fight to Teach Partition in the West
Despite significant South Asian populations, U.S., U.K., and Canadian schools rarely teach students about one of the largest and deadliest mass migrations in history.
How ‘Garm Hava’ Reframes the Partition Narrative
Instead of focusing on the traumatic events of Partition, the 1974 M.S. Sathyu film provides a searing look at what happened after.
How A.R. Rahman Makes Hit After Hit
The composer breaks down why chart-topping success doesn’t tell the full story of the magic behind his music.
The South Asians of OnlyFans
Thousands of South Asian creators have found sexual and economic empowerment on the X-rated platform — yet their work is shrouded in shame.
Hrithik Roshan and His Lucky Thumb
How one of the biggest Bollywood stars in the new millennium almost didn’t happen.
The Evolution of South Asian Tattoos
How henna and Sanskrit tattoos became “trendy,” and the South Asian artists reclaiming them.
Why the South Asian Diaspora Loves the Evening Walk
The sacred after-dinner tradition persists even as many South Asians rarely participate in other forms of exercise.
How ‘Ms. Marvel’ Put Partition on Screen
We spoke to the team behind the show’s episode on Partition — a historical event seminal to South Asians, yet rarely depicted in Hollywood.
How Hare Krishnas Took Over the World
The unlikely story of an Indian missionary who landed in 1960s New York City and sparked a contentious global movement.
How Puberty Ceremonies Went the Way of Indian Weddings
South Asian coming-of-age events are becoming extravagant, multi-day affairs, complete with a major — and some argue, unnecessary — price tag.
Is South Asian Bridal Makeup Too Expensive?
TikTok has been aflutter with brides sharing what they believe to be “the biggest scam” in the wedding industry.
How Bhut Jolokia, the Ghost Pepper, Took Over the West
Dubbed the hottest pepper in the world in 2007, the unique northeastern Indian chili became a tempting challenge for Western palates. But what got lost in the process?
The Return of the Unibrow
A growing movement of young South Asians is rebelling against Western beauty standards by regrowing and reclaiming their unibrows.
How Bollywood Fashion Went From DIY to Designer
Hindi films have long been a source of fashion inspo, but stylists — from Manish Malhotra and Sabyasachi to Arjun Bhasin and Anaita Shroff Adajania — have changed the game both on- and off-screen.
Why South Asians Often Have Multiple Birthdays
Sure, two birthdays means double the cake, but for some, it’s also a reminder of a turbulent past.
The Evolution of Karan Johar’s Queer Eye
What has driven the filmmaker’s increasingly nuanced portrayals of LGBTQ characters?
‘Chutney Popcorn’ Reimagines Family and Motherhood
Nisha Ganatra’s 1999 film about a lesbian artist who becomes a surrogate for her sister remains ahead of its time.
Why “Best Of” Lists Often Overlook South Asian Cuisines
But as these restaurants and chefs rack up recognition and business from ardent fans, do mainstream accolades even matter?
KK Gave Us the Soundtrack to Our Own Movies
The Indian singer gave us the ability to revisit our first heartbreaks, our first joys, our first goodbyes, just by hitting play.
You Don’t Know Jay Sean
For two decades, the British artist had a carefully curated image. Then, he got on TikTok.
How an Unusual Calendar Became a Symbol of Indian Culture
Fifty years since its inception, Kalnirnay has become an essential household tool and a point of connection for the diaspora.
Northeastern Actors are Finally Getting Their Shot at Bollywood Stardom
Streaming platforms have led to more regional cinema, diverse storytelling, and long-awaited opportunities for northeastern actors. Will mainstream Hindi cinema follow?
Dismantling the Brown “Glow-Up”
The concept of getting hotter with age — also known as “glowing up” — isn’t new, but South Asian TikTok influencers question what this trend really celebrates.
Revisiting ‘Fauji,’ the Genesis of King Khan
Thirty years since Shah Rukh Khan’s silver screen debut, we reexamine the dreadful show with a star-making performance.
Met Gala 2022: New South Asian Looks, Familiar Problems
Celebrities including Simone Ashley, Riz Ahmed, Mindy Kaling, and Prabal Gurung walked the red carpet. But industry insiders say that the annual fundraiser isn’t as glamorous as it might seem.
Kevin G. Was Ahead of His Time
‘Mean Girls’ used the mathlete and badass M.C. for comedic relief, but ultimately he gets the last laugh.
Meera Syal Refuses to Be Disappointed
The star of 'Goodness Gracious Me' and 'The Kumars at No. 42' brought audiences unapologetic portrayals of South Asian womanhood — and she's just getting started.
Irani Bakes Spread Through India. Now, They’re Disappearing.
As Parsi cafés shutter, Irani bakes that have become teatime staples — from mawa cake to nankhatai — are at risk of vanishing, too.
‘Beast’ Proves the Theatrical Timepass is Alive and Well
The hit Tamil-language film with superstar Vijay shows that Indian movies don’t need to be good to be a great time and succeed at the box office.
The “Tacky NRI Fashion” Debate is About More Than Style
Allegations that diaspora Indians wear “tacky” Indian fashion sparked internet fury on Instagram account Diet Sabya. But the root of the debate isn’t about fashion at all.
Parminder Nagra Should Have Been a Superstar
'Bend It Like Beckham' turned Keira Knightley and Jonathan Rhys Meyers into overnight celebrities. Why didn’t it do the same for its British Indian stars?
‘Roar’ Uses Outrageous Plots to Highlight Outrageous Truths
In Apple TV+’s new series, Meera Syal of ‘Goodness Gracious Me’ brings laugh-out-loud comedy to thought-provoking satire as the “woman who returned her husband.”
How 'RRR' and 'Baahubali' Raised the Bar for the Indian Blockbuster
Filmmaker S.S. Rajamouli has achieved the Hollywood blockbuster effect — using large budgets for even larger box office payoffs — by turning Indian folklore and the freedom struggle into must-see epics.
The Queer Legacy of ‘Bend It Like Beckham’
The film bent the rules so that others could break them. We examine its impact 20 years later.
Simone Ashley on Who Gets to Be Seen as Sexy and Desirable
The Bridgerton star chats about shifting narratives, *that* haldi scene, and why she keeps her Kate Sharma-inspired playlist close to her chest.
Arooj Aftab Creates Music As if it Were a Living Thing
The Grammy-nominated artist leans into intuition, experimentation, and improvisation to make music that isn’t meant to be a quick hit, but something deeper.
How Cartier Built an Empire by Claiming Indian and Islamic Art as its Own
From its Tutti Frutti collection to bejeweled cases, the French luxury jewelry house has long appropriated Eastern influences, calling it aesthetic exchange.
Bridgerton Season 2 Will Leave You Breathless and Screaming for More
Netflix’s highly anticipated Regency-era romance is back with new South Asian characters, but a familiar problem.
Meet the Indian Family Behind Chicago’s St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations
Since 2019, an emerald dye from Chemworld International has been a key part of one of the country’s most unique Irish traditions.
What Sarita Choudhury Wants You to Know About ‘And Just Like That’
The actor sat down to chat about her favorite scenes from the show, the Diwali episode, and how she never had a ‘Mississippi Masala’ for herself.
How Maggi Created a Generation of Experimental Cooks
The iconic instant noodles packet turns 40 in India, its biggest market, this year. Here’s how Maggi, despite a 2015 ban in the country, reshaped snacks and meals forever.
Are Love is Blind’s Deepti and Shake a Classic Case of Internalized Racism?
The reality show’s Indian couple has lit up the internet after professing to previously dating only blond(e)s, their attraction fizzling days after their engagement.
How South Asians Fell in Love with Tennis
Though no Grand Slam singles champion has emerged from the subcontinent, the sport has created superfans in both the diaspora and the homeland.
Lata Mangeshkar: The Voice of the Nation, In Good Times and Bad
Arguably the most decorated Indian singer of all time was also a witness to, and sometimes a participant in, the country's murky history.
Could Carrom Make it to the Olympics?
The beloved board game in India has long faced challenges in becoming an international sporting sensation. Some players and associations are trying to change that.
Shoba Narayan and Michael Maliakel Hope Aladdin’s Historic Run Doesn’t “End with Us”
We chatted with the leads about why the Broadway musical has Disney’s highest bar sales, how they influenced the choreography, and where the franchise should go next.
Hereditary Nazar and Why Pakistan Can’t Kill Me
My homeland and I have a twisted but endearing love affair.
How India Made Ice Cream a Dessert of its Own
Once the mainstay of the colonial elite, ice cream — thanks to American GIs and Indian entrepreneurs — soon became the ubiquitous and flavorful treat that it is today.
The Doyen of Kathak, Pandit Birju Maharaj
The choreographer and teacher left a mark on everything from Bollywood to classical dancing, but his legacy also faces controversy after his death.
How Falu Created Two Grammy-Nominated Children’s Albums
Answers to her son’s questions about immigrant life led to ‘Falu’s Bazaar’ and ‘A Colorful World,’ which pay homage to the singer’s Indian and American roots.
Opinion: R.K. Narayan’s Idyllic Malgudi Might Not Be Enough
The famed short story writer created a utopia that rarely mentions caste or politics. It is the place where we may want to escape, but not where we can live.
Artist, Feminist, Detective: How Shahzia Sikander Disrupts Art History
The Pakistani American artist and manuscript painting historian asks us: who gets to determine what is “tradition”?
The Urban Resurgence of Offal
Once a staple of Parsi home kitchens, animal organ dishes are showing up on urban restaurant menus — from those of Dhamaka to Bombay Canteen.
How Ghee Took Over U.S. Grocery Shelves
The recent global rise of the clarified butter — as common as salt in many South Asian and Middle Eastern kitchens — is striking for an ingredient steeped in centuries of culinary history.
The Mystique of Jai Paul
Ten years after the release of “BTSTU,” the enigmatic genre-bending British Indian artist from north London finds himself a pop star without the desire for it.
The Business of Brown Beauty
Indian-inspired and South Asian-targeted beauty and skincare brands could be the next big trend. But to go the Korean beauty route, these products still have a long road ahead.
Amrit Kaur of ‘Sex Lives’ Has Arrived, and She’s Not “Playing Around”
“I don't take it for granted that I'm lucky. But I have also worked a s*** ton.”
How India Fell In — and Out — of Love with Beauty Pageants
A 1992 Miss Universe loss would lead to over a decade of Indian domination at global beauty contests.
The Diluted Revolutionary: Bhagat Singh in Hindi Cinema
Shoojit Sircar’s “Sardar Udham” is the latest in a long line of Bollywood portrayals of the Indian freedom fighter, but the first to delve into his humanity and nuanced politics.
“The Cheetah Girls: One World,” 13 Years Later
The movie is a classic problematic fave: it used India as a mere exotic backdrop, but still gave us some of our first Indian crushes in U.S. television.
Bilal Baig's ‘Sort Of’ is a Love Letter to Brown, Queer, and Trans People
The queer, transfeminine playwright and performer is challenging the status quo with their latest CBC and HBO Max series — and not without a little bit of fear.
‘The Sex Lives of College Girls’ is Horny, Hilarious, and Heartwarming
A solid cast and smart writing drives HBO Max’s sharp-witted comedy, the latest project from Mindy Kaling.
Fabindia: How an American-Founded Brand Defined the Handcrafted Indian Aesthetic
John Bissell’s cult lifestyle brand has supported rural artisans for over 60 years. But will the company’s looming IPO put this very mission at risk?
How India Invented Zero
Ancient India’s preoccupation with the concept of nothingness — shunyata — would change mathematics, trade, and technology as we know it.
The Trendsetting Legacy of India’s VJs
Their 1990s shows on music channels like MTV and Channel V were neither Doordarshan nor Bollywood, giving rise to indipop and lending “cool” to Indian youth culture.
Why We Rarely See Bengali Restaurants Outside Bengal
Is London’s Chourangi a sign that global appetites are changing, or will Bengali food take longer to make its well overdue mark?
Danish Baig, 27, Among Ten Dead at Astroworld
The Pakistani American from Euless, Texas died while saving his fiancée, who had to be hospitalized. The two were among dozens injured or killed at the event.
‘Eternals’ Review: Come for the Action, Stay for the Humor
Kumail Nanjiani's Kingo is easily one of the highlights of the latest entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
How Diwali Marketing Went Mainstream in the U.S.
More brands than ever before — ranging from Target, Lego, Instacart, and Lexus to local fireworks companies — are promoting their products to Indian Americans with targeted Diwali ads.
The Rise of Sexy South Asians on Screen
Brown actors like Simone Ashley in "Sex Education," Raymond Ablack in "Maid," and Punam Patel in "Special" are finally getting the sexy storylines they deserve.
Why the Role of Ali Abdul in “Squid Game” Matters
Anupam Tripathi’s character in the massively popular Netflix series may foreshadow an exciting future for global talent in K-dramas.
A Border Apart: Stories of Families Divided by Partition
The effects of Partition in 1947 still linger today. Families separated by the borders between India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh tell their stories of love, heartbreak, and finding connection.
Why There Are 25 Clock Emojis but No Dosas or Samosas
A decade since the launch of the first set of 722 standardized emojis, people are still petitioning for better representation of the very cultural objects that they hold dear.
India’s Burning Hot Love for the Sizzler
The scorch-your-tongue dish grew popular in the 1960s, but few know how it came to India. Some say California, others Japan, but the real story is not so straightforward.
How Himalayan Salt Sold a Rosy Dream
This pretty pink rock has been touted as a cure for COVID and a healthy staple of wellness culture. But behind that salt lamp glow hides many falsehoods — it’s not even from the Himalayas.
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.
The (South Asian) History of Curry Powder
Today, as much as we accuse those who use the word “curry” of painting subcontinental food with a broad brush, the history of curry powder is inherently South Asian.
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.
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.
How “Big Brother”’s Hannah Chaddha Helped Make Show History
This season of "Big Brother" was the show's most racially diverse. But for the show to crown its first Black winner, contestants of color had to form a secret alliance.
East Indian Sugar: The Sweeter of Two Evils
The search for sugar that wasn’t produced by slave labor led the British to another faraway colony: India. But was Indian sugar ever free?
“Enjoy Enjaami”: How a Tamil Song Led to a Public Outcry About Caste
A magazine cover by Rolling Stone India and a Times Square billboard sparked public outrage over Dalit erasure.
How Food Has Sparked Protests Throughout History
Indian farmers today, who are fighting against new corporate-friendly farm bills, follow a long line of revolutionaries who used food as a means of protest.
Where are the Women in India's Labor Force?
Female workforce participation in the country has been declining since the 1990s, and fell to a record low of 15.5% last year. So, as the Indian economy has grown, why has it shut out its women?
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?”
How Ice Heated Up Trade Between India and America
This quirky blip in the history of global trade — when merchants would ship ice from Boston to Bombay — teaches us what happens when globalization and unfettered demand mix.
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.”
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.
South Asians in Therapy: Challenging Norms and Taboos
As therapy becomes more mainstream and accessible, a new generation is reclaiming their mental health.
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.
How 'Made in India' Made us Thirsty Forever
We talked to Milind Soman and Ken Ghosh about how their now-iconic music video ushered in a sexual awakening for an entire generation in mid-1990s India.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In “Mogul Mowgli,” the Beat Breaks Down
In director Bassam Tariq’s first narrative film, Riz Ahmed’s Zed struggles with his immigrant identity and rap career while an autoimmune disease attacks his body.
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.
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.
“A Pained Spectator of the War”: Anuk Arudpragasam on “A Passage North”
The Sri Lankan Tamil novelist talks to us about his Booker Prize-longlisted novel, his aversion to writing dialogue, and what’s next.
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?
Art Deco: Mumbai's Architectural Tie to Miami
Despite nearly 9,000 miles separating the two cities, they are home to the largest concentration of Art Deco buildings in the world.
How Mani Ratnam’s Terrorism Trilogy Stoked 1990s Nationalism
Though critically acclaimed, the director’s “Roja,” “Bombay,” and “Dil Se...” pushed jingoistic narratives that persist in Bollywood today.
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?
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.
How Nighties Became a Wardrobe Staple for South Asian Women
In a culture where women’s bodies are so heavily policed, the shapeless nighttime garment has become a daywear favorite and a symbol of freedom.
Thuggee: “The Cunningest Robbers in the World”
In the 1800s, the British claimed to have vanquished a secret cult of Kali-worshipping murderers in India. But did they ever exist?
Opinion: As Afghanistan Falls, What Happens to its Artists?
A musician remembers an Afghanistan brimming with creativity and energy. Now, he fears what might be extinguished.
Memories of Partition, from Our Readers
We asked The Juggernaut readers to share their family’s memories of Partition. These are their stories, in their words.
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.
Our Stories on Afghanistan
As we work to center Afghan voices and commission pieces with their words, revisit our stories from our archives.
How “Harold & Kumar” Sold a Way Chiller American Dream
The stoner buddy comedy starring John Cho and Kal Penn changed the way Hollywood looked at “model minorities.”
Disney Channel’s “Spin” Makes Culture Clash a Thing of the Past
The network’s first TV movie to feature an Indian American lead says that it’s OK to be unapologetically cool.
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.
The Enduring Love of Dilip Kumar and Saira Banu
The Bollywood superstars remained devoted to each other over five decades despite personal tragedy, jealousy, and a secret second marriage.
In "The Green Knight," a Star is Reborn
The sweeping Arthurian epic sees Dev Patel going on his own coming-of-age quest to become a new kind of leading man.
The Ordinary Charm of the Extraordinary Hrishikesh Mukherjee
The pioneer of playful films that spotlighted India’s emerging middle-class passed away before he could see a resurgence of the very genre he had mastered.
How the Amul Girl Became India’s Conscience
The iconic butter brand’s take defined how Indians consumed news. But with less room for political dissent, the Amul girl has been holding her tongue.
How Bollywood Failed Kashmir
Hindi cinema has long viewed Kashmir through a glossy lens, erasing its people, their agency, and their political histories.
Why Sri Lanka Loves Russian Literature
The Soviet Union translated Russian books in local languages as a propaganda tool. Decades later, those books still hold influence in Sri Lanka.
Why “Delhi Belly” Remains Bollywood’s Best Slacker Comedy
Ten years ago, Bollywood made a runaway hit about that period in your 20s when life goes to shit. No film has since come close to replicating it.
“Welcome to India”: The Internet’s Earliest Diaspora Inside Joke
The 2002 parody song by Ludakrishna and MC Vikram spoke to many of the anxieties of the Indian diaspora and created a mutual shorthand for millions.
The Powerful Lens of Danish Siddiqui
The Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist, who died amid Taliban crossfire, vividly humanized his subjects — a gaze that didn’t look down on people, but right at them.
How Assamese Pithas are Going Mainstream
A new crop of entrepreneurs are serving up these traditional rice flour-based delicacies at scale — and, in turn, bringing them from the kitchen to homes outside Assam.
The Case of Serial Killer Javed Iqbal
In 1999, a Pakistani man confessed to killing 100 children. But it would take over 20 years and hundreds more deaths for Pakistan to pass its first child abuse law.
Opinion: Kumail Nanjiani and the Hollywood Gaze
Nanjiani is the latest to go through a physical transformation that seems like a requirement for Brown men in Hollywood to get mainstream roles.
Never Have I Ever Season 2 Lets Itself Down
The show’s second season struggles to shine as bright as its first. The writing does a disservice to the actors’ hard work.
The Rise of South Asian Rental Startups
Several startups are competing to be the Rent the Runway of South Asian fashion. But does the market exist for them?
“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.
How India Loved, Lost, and Returned to Coca-Cola
In India, a bottle of Coca-Cola is synonymous with celebration. But the country's love affair with the soda wasn't always smooth sailing — Coke was banned in India for nearly 20 years.
Tamarind: India’s Quintessential Candy Flavor
Although tamarind has always been a large part of savory South Asian cooking, its sourness also has a sweet side.
Why India Loves ‘Friends’
How a 1994 show set in New York became — and remains — a beloved comfort watch on the other side of the world.
How a Portuguese Technique Led to a Bengali Sondesh Explosion
Nearly 500 years ago, the Portuguese popularized milk curdling in Bengal. Bengalis would add sweetness and create a rich delicacy.
‘Lagaan’: The Blockbuster That Almost Didn’t Happen
This year marks 20 years since Ashutosh Gowariker and Aamir Khan’s iconic film took the world by storm, and changed Bollywood forever.
“Fire”: An Inextinguishable Part of Queer Brown Cinema
The 1996 film was the first in India to portray two women in love. Some called it revolutionary. Others called it a war against Indian culture.
Edwina and Nehru: Love in the Shadow of Empire
The last vicereine of the British Raj and the first prime minister of India shared a profound connection that still captures imaginations today.
The Love, Life, and Legacy of Filmmakers Ismail Merchant and James Ivory
With “Maurice,” the duo changed how films depicted gay romance. Their production company would go on to win six Oscars, but their own love story remained a secret for 45 years.
Opinion: Your Nostalgia Doesn’t Cancel Out Enid Blyton’s Racism
The late author’s books contain incredibly anti-Black content and imagery. Why, then, do Indians give Blyton a pass?
The Second Globalization of Turmeric
For centuries, turmeric has categorically been the South Asian spice. But, in recent years, it has exploded throughout the West, from face masks to lattes and beyond.
Neena Gupta’s Time in the Sun
For decades, Bollywood relegated Neena Gupta’s talent to only supporting roles. Now, at 62, she’s finally getting her shot at stardom.
Ma Anand Sheela: Mother of all Problematic Faves
You did not — and do not — want to mess with her. But part of you is oddly obsessed with her.
How America’s Patel Brothers Won the Indian Grocery Game
For many new immigrants, the store was a saving grace in a world full of Wonder Bread and Ruffles. But for their children, is the supermarket still a necessity or simply nostalgic?
Why India Still Loves Its Multi-Cuisine Restaurants
The Indian “multi-cuisine” — which emerged over 50 years ago — is what happens when your dad wants masala dosa, your grandparents want Hyderabadi biryani, and your sibling wants fettuccine Alfredo.
Captured in Cape Town: The Murder of Anni Dewani
Her husband was a key suspect. But the investigation’s focus on his bisexuality may have hindered justice.
Vir Das Blazed the Trail for Indian Stand-up Comedy — Now, He’s Going Global
The comedian — who stars in Judd Apatow's "The Bubble," out later this year — forged an industry for Indian comics.
How Princess Diana’s 1995 Interview Could Royally Damage the BBC
Twenty-six years after journalist Martin Bashir’s controversial interview with Lady Di, both the Crown and the BBC are once again under scrutiny.
Know Your Muses: The Queer Camp of Sridevi
The Brown queer community found camaraderie in Sridevi’s fun-loving but rebellious characters.
“Femininity with a Bite”: Why Prabal Gurung Gets Political
The Nepali American fashion designer sat down to chat about dressing everyone from Kamala Harris to Deepika Padukone, why strong women inspire him, and the enduring fashion of 'Rangeela.'
Horror in Hounslow: The Chohan Family Case
In 2003, a family of five vanished from their London home; what followed was a shoddy police investigation.
How BAPS Built a Global Brand of Hinduism — and Brought Its Practices Stateside
The group, over a 100 years old, has recently come under scrutiny for casteist labor practices in New Jersey, but has long been known for temple building around the world.
The Devolution of Journalism in Hindi Film
Bollywood’s ethical journalists are increasingly disappearing from the screen.
“One Day There Will Be Hundreds of Us”: How Dalit Literature Breaks Barriers
A new wave of Dalit writers and publishers are shaping the literary landscape of India and beyond.
The New Wave of Kabul Entrepreneurs
From steakhouses to bowling alleys, founders are building ambitious, homegrown businesses — by Afghans, for Afghans.
Screen Time with Aneesh Chaganty
The director of “Searching” and “Run” talks about diversity in Hollywood, producing “Searching 2,” and his love for Christopher Nolan and Hrithik Roshan.
How Matchboxes Became a Stand-in for Indian Visual Culture
The aesthetics of Indian matchbox covers have seen a resurgence as contemporary artists celebrate the work of designers who still remain largely unknown.
Americans Shouldn’t Need Yoga or Chai to Care about India Right Now
What’s the most effective way to convince people to give when a country is in crisis?
The Visual Language of Satyajit Ray
On his 100th birth anniversary, a look back on how the filmmaker redefined Indian graphic design long before he changed how the world looked at cinema.
Reenvisioning How U.S. Textbooks Tell South Asian Stories
A new ethnic studies curriculum for California’s public schools was poised to become a national blueprint; instead, it is now a mere recommendation.
“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.
“Your Silence Will Be Remembered”
Why Indian celebrities are mum about the politics of India’s COVID-19 crisis.
Celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
This May, a roundup of 15 stories from our archives that celebrate Asian American life, love, culture, and history.
The Rooh Afza Renaissance
The ubiquitous, cooling drink known for its permanent spot on the iftar spread is also indelibly linked with the history of Partition.
Zohra Segal: Begum Ballerina
A dancer, actor, and revolution all packed into one, Segal embodied carefree womanhood on and off screen.
"Swades" and the NRI Burden
The 2004 Shah Rukh Khan-starrer doesn’t show a glamorous diaspora, but rather, the political responsibility of returning home.
The Shifting Tides of India’s Seafood Traditions
Though plentiful and sustainable, shellfish such as clams, mussels, oysters, and snails barely make an appearance in popular accounts of Indian seafood.