I write about art, culture, politics, identity, and climate. My work has been featured in

Slate Magazine, The Swaddle, The Quint, DownToEarth, and several others.

I also freelance as a copy editor and scriptwriter.

 

Below you can find a selection of my favourite writings. Please click here for more information. 

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Standing in solidarity with other disenfranchised communities is absolutely vital now more than ever. But the Indian reaction to George Floyd’s murder is tainted by hypocrisy and complicity. It calls into question our community’s violent history with both anti-Blackness and Western infatuation. 

 

Would the average upper caste/class Indian respond with the same empathy and shock to the institutional murder of Rohith Vemula as they would to George Floyd? 

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Mindy Kaling’s ‘Never Have I Ever’ Caricatures Indianness, Glorifies Clichés

Not only does the show fail to address the racial and political undercurrents that come with being brown in America, but it also ends up self-stereotyping the community to the point of completely whitewashing it. 

 

Having a diverse cast with Indian characters should not be a bonus feature without which the story could easily exist. Ultimately Kaling's work celebrates diversity only for diversity’s sake, failing the very people of color by whom it is inspired. 

India’s Public Health Care System Is Overburdened, Undermined by Its Fossil Fuel Dependency

India’s public health system is still reeling from extreme weather catastrophes in the last three years, with the massive private sector rarely stepping in to assist in such inherently unprofitable ventures.

 

Now, in the midst of a pandemic, India must face a long-overdue question: is our public health infrastructure strong enough to withstand long-term damage from the escalating threat of climate change?

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More than half our GDP is singularly dependant on coal. Pollution from the combustion of fossil fuels —  of which coal is the most polluting — is responsible for over nine million deaths globally. India represents about 50 per cent of that number. Meanwhile, one of the main goals of the Modi government is to bring India to a $5 trillion economy. Privatising energy and agricultural sectors will bring India closer to its economic goals — but at the cost of its climate ones.

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India has made admirable leaps in bringing cheap and efficient solar power to thousands of households across the country, securing its place as a leader within the international community. But we are far from building a self-sustaining renewable energy system that is equitable for all populations. The push towards cutting consumer tariffs for renewable energy has resulted in its unviable production for private companies, with infrequent and insufficient government subsidies unable to drop driving up the cost for individuals who choose to go green – therefore cutting off access to low-income communities.

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While rigid capitalist beliefs have become ingrained in the older generations, millennials have embraced the fight for radical equality and are campaigning for increasingly leftist, rights-based approaches to governance that push back on capitalism as a whole.

Young politicians like Kanhaiya Kumar and Shehla Rashid are bringing the conversation on environmental sustainability and aggressive climate change mitigation strategies onto the table for the first time, and the youth is echoing these sentiments with great fervour.

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What Impact Does Watching Friends in India Have?

Growing up in India, I watched Friends all the time, even though I wasn’t allowed to. Everyone watched it — and even today it’s one of the most popular shows on the air at home. While the show has faced several reckonings from fans in America, I fear the damage it’s still doing at home.

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Experience the Movies With Phantom Thread’s Reynolds Woodcock

Reynolds Woodcock, the obsessive, controlling fashion designer played by Daniel Day-Lewis in Phantom Thread, inhabits a beautiful, rarified world that does not smile on intrusions. 

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Mark Zuckerberg did not go to Washington unready: He wore a suit, he brought his notes, and, it’s safe to assume, he logged hours of prep time with his much-alluded-to “team” before taking his (platform-boosted) seat on the Hill. Somewhere along the line, that preparation must have included someone taking Zuckerberg aside and advising him to address each questioner by his or her title as much as humanly possible.​

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How Fox News Reacted on Air After Sean Hannity Was Revealed as Michael Cohen’s Mystery Client

Before a court hearing Monday, Michael Cohen’s attorneys said Cohen had three clients in 2017: Donald Trump, Republican fundraiser Elliott Broidy, and a third person he declined to name. That third client, we learned later in the day, is Fox News’ Sean Hannity.

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The #MeToo movement has brought out just how widespread the experience of sexual harassment and assault is – but women have known this for years. What so many men consider benign eve teasing or casual flirting is an annoying, scary and exhausting reality for women everywhere.

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An Intimate Look Behind The Scenes Of Prateek Kuhad’s New ‘cold/mess’ Video

It’s not often you hear a song that can bring you to tears and shake something deep inside you. Even rarer to watch a music video so intimately constructed and so breathtaking in its simplicity. The new music video for Prateek Kuhad’s cold/mess captures the raw, emotional ups and downs of a relationship – the effortlessness of a first love, the pain of heartbreak, and everything in between. 

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"When an Indian performer puts on a bindi and includes some Indian beats, their record sales will be crazy. But the aunty strolling down Jackson Heights has been wearing a bindi her entire life – there’s nothing cool about it, she’s an immigrant and an outsider who has to work a minimum wage job and her bindi is a marker of her otherness."

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Dalit Identity And Food – Memories Of Trauma On A Plate

Never has history been so blood-stained and soaked in violence as that of caste on a plate. When culinary tradition is so intrinsically linked to the celebration of culture, what happens to the histories of foods that carry with them generations of pain, forged from centuries of oppression?

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Mumbai is a city of contrasts, full of unbridled opportunity and unrealised dreams. Bijoy Jain, an international award-winning architect and founder of Studio Mumbai, is a visionary whose work has transcended conventional understandings of space and architecture, and forged itself as an emotionally-charged, ethically grounded approach to art in the chaos of this city.

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The journey towards becoming comfortable in your skin is longwinded and not always linear. Especially in a country where everyone feels emboldened to express their views on your body, it’s hard to find emotional clarity and space to grow into your own. For many young Indians post-puberty, stretch marks were the last, or first, frontier in the journey to confronting body image and self-esteem issues. This photography series celebrates & documents the unique beauty of individuals: the stretch marks that tell their stories.

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Every movement that challenges age-old social structures is bound to have a few disparagers, but women that decisively shun the movement undermine any chance of a united resistance.

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Cinema has historically always told stories of women, with women, but rarely have they been told by women. It’s only in recent years that a global shift in cinematic sensibilities has occurred, with more and more female directors and writers carving space for themselves behind the camera as well as in front of it. 

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An Interview With Leo Kalyan, The Queer South Asian Artist Making Waves

The last few years have marked the rise of a radically inspiring and unbridled voice in UK’s music scene: the soulful, dreamy pop of British-Pakistani musician Leo Kalyan. With a bold aesthetic informed by his intersectional identities as a queer, brown, Muslim man living in a changing world, Kalyan’s ethereal sounds reflect and challenge the sociopolitical invisibility he straddles everyday.

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Isn’t It Time We Gave Up The ‘Muslim Terrorist’ Trope In Film & Television?

Nothing excites an audience more than action-packed, propaganda-filled hero movies. There's plenty of merit to escapist and entertaining blockbusters, but too often these come at the expense of stigmatising, typecasting and even inciting violence against entire communities and cultures. And no group has been more vilified and caricatured in cinema than Muslims.

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Most of Bollywood is so enormously privileged, self-congratulatory and majoritarian in its approach to media that they don’t recognise the lack of diversity and inclusivity as a problem at all. Even those directors acclaimed as the “pioneers” of modern cinema are ultimately only paying lip service to an ideal they aren’t passionately committed to. 

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Food is central to Tibetan identity. Dishes like tsampa, made from roasted barley, have become the fabric that ties the diaspora together in the fight for a free Tibet. We live in an era of global cuisines, each influenced by a confluence of other cultures, cooking techniques and flavours. And as it happens, most food journeys are situated within economic realities. On a busy street in Oshiwara is a little restaurants that blends millenia of history with 21st century survival.

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The Most Iconic Ads Of Alyque Padamsee That Pushed The Boundaries Of Indian Society

 

So strong is the place of branding in our society that “Colgate” is just another word for “toothpaste,” Airtel’s iconic tune is as good as any Bollywood song and half the public would swear on their lives that Parle G is scientifically proven to increase your IQ. From the inconic jingles we instinctively hum to age-old tag lines we drop in daily conversation, advertising is a deeply creative medium that has shaped us in far more ways than simply our daily consumer trends. No one recognised – and capitalised – on that better than Alyque Padamsee. 

 

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A thoroughly haunting and deeply emotional portrait of one of South Asia’s most fearless writers, Manto is a compassionate story of a man with a fractured identity who sought to mend a broken world.

 

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Ankur Tewari Sings For Lonely Hearts Craving Tenderness In His Latest EP

 

In his three-track EP Duur, Ankur Tewari has managed to beautifully capture the dialectic feelings of loneliness, nostalgia and love. "I want people to feel comfortable enough to feel." 

 

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The drastic effects of climate change are felt most strongly by small islands. They are especially vulnerable to changing ocean temperatures and levels, volatile storm patterns and the depletion of freshwater sources, among many others. For island nations, these issues are amplified since their economies – and survival – are dependent on the natural resources and habitats available to their populations (human and wildlife alike).

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An architecture student turned theatre actor and full-time drag queen, everything about Suruj is deeply inspiring. His effortless smile is contagious and it’s apparent that he speaks from the heart as he takes us through the ups and downs of his diverse journey through life.

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Prashant Mistry wears many hats in the music industry ­– a music producer and sound engineer who has worked with Jorja Smith and The Prodigy.  A wonderful, down-to-earth guy, Prash opens up about his musical journey, his cultural identity, inspiration and experiences in a changing world.

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The rise of independent Indian cinema, championed by student filmmakers across the country. 'Lata' is one such film; it centres the story of a young domestic worker as she navigates the upper class home where she works.

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On The Fringes Of ‘Love Sonia’ Is An Even Darker Story

It’s a deeply disheartening fact: women trafficking other women is a growing problem. Where no number of theory-laden women’s solidarity movements can address that, Love Sonia's spot-on characters give us crucial glimpses.

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Activism and the arts are both as vital to a thriving democracy as any branch of government, but too often in India’s blood-stained past, those freedoms have been denied by political elites.

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