After a long, hard year, the Festival of Lights is a welcome reset

Woman lighting candles for Diwali.
Photo: India Photography/Getty Images

After an exhausting year dominated by a pandemic and an equally tiring election cycle rife with racist and xenophobic attacks, a weekend of new beginnings and celebration feels overdue.

Enter Diwali.

Also known in the West as the Festival of Lights, this celebration will be observed this year by millions…

Election 2020

A woman wearing face mask holds a sign that says “desis for Biden Harris.”
A supporter holds a sign while listening to Kamala Harris, Democratic Vice Presidential nominee, speaks at a “Get Out The Vote” rally at Morehouse College on October 23, 2020, in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo: ELIJAH NOUVELAGE/AFP/Getty Images

South Asian Americans make up around 2% of the American population and comprise an even smaller percent of registered voters in the United States. But you wouldn’t know it from the outsized effort candidates made to target the desi vote this election cycle.

For the first time in United States…

Some are proud. Some are not. Here’s how identity politics play out.

Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris sits and listen to Joe Biden’s remarks at the Alexis Dupont High School.
Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The day after Kamala Harris was named Joe Biden’s pick as his running mate in the 2020 election, Ankit Jain of Washington, D.C., awoke to an email from his South Asian American family members titled, “Fwd: Kamala Harris — Indian Heritage.” A video of Harris making dosas with Mindy Kaling…

No one wants to talk about it, but it’s all there

A screenshot of Radhika and Akshay during their engagement ceremony from the Netflix show “Indian Matchmaking.”
Radhika and Akshay in “Indian Matchmaking.” Photo: Netflix

My roommates in Rome, co-workers in Washington, D.C., and friends in New Delhi all have something to say about Netflix’s new reality series, which pulls back the curtain on a facet of arranged marriages in India and the South Asian diaspora, matchmaking. For the few who have managed to miss…

Wake up. The caste system is alive and well, and here’s how to dismantle it.

A photo of Indian protestors holding a candlelight march.
AAP (Aam Aadmi Party) workers during a candle march against BJP Minister VK Singh over his remarks on the Faridabad Dalit burning incident, at Jantar Mantar, on October 25, 2015 in New Delhi, India. Photo: Ravi Choudhary/Hindustan Times/Getty Images

Growing up as a Brown girl in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, people were as likely to think I was Native American or Mexican as they were to guess that I was Indian. Once I clarified that I was Indian American, rather than American Indian, two of the most common questions I…

Kiran Misra

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