The Fearless Collective




Photo courtesy of the Fearless Collective

The Fearless Collective represents a group of “visual artists, filmmakers, street artists, photographers and activists that harness the power of art to create social change, with a focus on issues related to gender and sexuality.”

It started off as an online movement and progressed into outdoor exhibitions and international street campaigns.

The collective’s founder, Shilo Shiv Suleman, is an Indian designer who gave a Ted Talk on how technology can enable dreaming.

Suleman has since been involved in several community initiatives, including projects in Pakistan with Pakistani women’s rights activist Nida Mushtaq.

The two women worked with Wajood, a trans rights organization, and painted the wall of a bank when they lost a proposed site.

To see the artwork and read about the evolution of this project, follow this link: 

The Fearless Collective will be expanding into Lebanon, Syria, and Sri Lanka.


enhanced-31714-1452007128-3Photo courtesy of Shilo Shiv Suleman

The Forgotten Era of Punjabi Mexican Marriages

familyPhoto courtesy of PBS

Chicken curry enchiladas, Catholic Mass, and Sikh gurdwaras?

This article explores the history of interracial Punjabi/Mexican marriages.

A study showed that 378 of these couples existed in California alone.

But, as this article points out, “discovering love didn’t mean finding acceptance.”

Couples still had to battle intensely to obtain  the legal rights of white American couples.

Click the link to read more, and feel free to leave comments!

Photo courtesy of


Police Brutality in America: Desis are Far from Exempt

An Alabama police officer who caused 57 year old Sureshbhai Patel to be hospitalized in a state of paralysis will not face criminal charges for his actions.

Photo courtesy of

On February 6, 2015, Alabama police offers stopped Sureshbhai Patel after receiving a call to investigate from a neighbor who did not recognize him.

Patel had only been staying at his son’s house for two weeks when this happened.

Police attempted to frisk him while ignoring his statements of “No English” and gestures towards his son’s house.

When Patel moved during the frisking, police officer Eric Parker slung him to the ground where he was bleeding and in need of paramedics.

A judge has recently thrown out the civil rights case for this incident, after two previous trials. U.S. District Judge Haikala states that reasonable doubt to Parker’s guilt exists because his actions may have been in line with his training when faced with an uncooperative suspect and that dashcam evidence contradicts Patel’s testimony.

Patel has stated through an interpreter that his limited English proficiency prevented him from understanding the officer, something that Judge Haikala has criticized.

Patel needed a vertebrae replaced and could not move his hands after the attack.


Patel (left) and his son Chirag before Parker’s first trial. Image courtesy of

A civil rights case against Parker is impending.

A video of Patel’s takedown can be found here:




A personal account of a peculiar phenomenon

When we consider the South Asian American diaspora, it’s common to think of the Indian sub-continent.

But Americans with Indian roots also hail from the Western Hemisphere.

In her Brown Girl Magazine article, Elizabeth Jaikaran states, “Indians comprise the largest ethnic group in Guyana, with Africans following closely as the second largest ethnic group.”

The compelling piece details how Jaikaran considers her identity, as well as how her heritage emerged through the colonial legacy of “detention, servitude, sexual violence and rejection.”

Jaikaran details the immigrant experience and prejudice crafted by “real Indians” who refused to believe that she was one of them.

Jaikaran writes a thorough historical briefing coupled with a sensitive personal narrative.

To read it, click here:

Image courtesy of the Huffington Post


The community speaks after tragedy

Photo courtesy of Newsday

The media has been capturing Pakistani-American voices after the shooting in San Bernardino earlier this month.

According to an article by Al Jazeera, the California Pakistani-American community is “shaken to the core.”

The Council on Islamic-American Relations has condemned the attacks and offered condolences for the victims.

Reactions has also come at an international level, as the Pakistani Ambassador to the US released a statement saying, “Our physicians, engineers, IT professionals, lawyers, entrepreneurs as well as industrious wage earners are contributing to the socio-economic development of the United States as well as Pakistan through their hard work, integrity and commitment.”

While Muslims decry the violence, Islamaphobic actions have been increasing. They started with inaccurate coverage of the attack, morphed into threatening messages, and have extended to violent acts.

Non-Muslims have been conflating Islamic extremists with general practitioners of Islam, and the results have been devastating.

The link below describes hate crimes that have followed the shooting at San Bernardino:

Please feel free to leave comments to describe your experiences or offer any other commentary.

Violence and “silence” in Punjab

Photo courtesy of Indian Express

Anti-Sikh violence represents a grave concern both in America and outside of it.

Simran Jeet Singh, Senior Religon Fellow for The Sikh Coalition, describes his family’s past experience and the current media blackout in Punjab.

A recent lack of news from this region indicates that freedom of speech and access to the press have been severely limited.

Singh calls us to action in his article below:

Super Sanjay! Hitting Theaters Near You Come November!

Photo courtesy of

Pixar artist Sanjay Patel has created a seven minute short based on his own life as a child of Indian immigrants. It features Pixar’s first Hindu hero. The film focuses on both Hindu deities and the conflict between a son and his father.

Patel’s parents bought a Lido Motel on Route 66 when he was younger, and that location will serve as the setting of the story.

The film will premier before The Good Dinosaur on November 25th.

Patel has worked on Toy Story 3, Monsters Inc., and The Incredibles. 

This film, however, will be different.

It is the first animated short to focus on religion, and Patel hopes that it will inspire curiosity about Hinduism among non-Indians.

According to an interview with Spinoff Online, Patel says, “‘I’m really proud of the studio for taking a chance on something very personal…something that is really different, and yet something that is in a weird way familiar part of America.'”

To watch the trailer, click here:

Photo courtesy of Superherohype

Happy birthday!

Photo courtesy of Forbes

August 13 marks the 57th birthday of Iqbal Quadir, Bangladeshi born American entrepreneur.

Quadir invented founded Grameenphone, a Bangladeshi telecommunications operator, and GoNoPhone, a software program that provides remote control access to a landline from external locations.

Quadir has advocated for technology innovation and decentralized access to communication to eradicate poverty and ameliorate social conditions.

To read and hear more about his views and work, click on the link below to follow his contributions to Ted:

Bengali Athlete Makes US National Acrobatics Team

17 year old Romina Gupta has qualified for the US National Acrobatic Gymnastics Team.

An American born to Bengali parents, Gupta originally started as an artistic gymnast and switched to acrobatic gymnastics later in life.

According to Gupta’s mother, “Romina trains for four hours a day, seven days a week. She hopes to bring the sport to India someday. She is also working on creating an NGO that can help at-risk young girls use gymnastics to gain self-esteem.”

Gupta will compete in China next year with a team of three people

Photo courtesy of Instagram


“No Indian Friends”

South Asian Americans often walk a fine line between the culture of the motherland and the surrounding Western culture

Feedback from external parties further complicates our emotional reactions and identity formation, particularly as we constantly encounter different aspects and stages of development in both cultures.

Priya-Alika Elias, a lawyer and writer, details these feelings in her essay entitled “No Indian Friends.” Describing herself as a coconut, she talks about her hatred for saris, her advisor’s attempt to give her a Desi roommate, her boyfriend who claimed her for the white race, Mindy Kaling, and the many ways which South Asian Americans erase themselves.

To read the full text, click on the link below.