Culturally Appropriate or Cultural Appropriation? A Few Thoughts

Sep 30, 2013
Culturally Appropriate or Cultural Appropriation?  A Few Thoughts

by Priya Chhaya In early April, pop star Selena Gomez incited media buzz when she appeared in public wearing a bindi. She is not the first celebrity to wear something Indian, but I have to ask: Should I feel offended that someone has chosen to appropriate a piece of Indian cultural identity for entertainment? Or […]

Amar Gopal Bose — An Audiophile Ahead of His Time

Jul 18, 2013

By Nimita Uberoi and Kalyan Venkatraj, Summer 2013 interns Have you ever heard a piece of recorded music so clearly and vividly that you felt you were at a live concert?  Chances are that this came about due to the refinement of speaker technologies by Indian American inventor Amar Gopal Bose.  Bose (b. 1929) passed […]

Intern Update: 2013 Indiaspora Inaugural Ball

Jan 24, 2013

By Sara Schreck, Spring 2013 intern The Indiaspora Inaugural Ball was a success and a chance to highlight Indian American accomplishments and presence in America under a long-deserved spotlight. Various VIPs glided along the red carpet and spoke into waiting microphones. It was a great debut party for Indian Americans, who—at 3 million strong—are becoming […]

Walking Through an Open Door

Dec 17, 2012

by Priya Chhaya Being the first at anything is always a challenge, especially when it involves breaking glass ceilings. This January when the new members of the House of Representatives are sworn into the 113th Congress there will be something new, when the first Buddhist in the Senate and the first Hindu in the House […]

IAHP Co-Sponsors Screening of Play Like a Lion

Dec 14, 2012

Curator Masum Momaya welcomes guests at the film screening for Play Like a Lion at the Embassy of India, Washington DC. Click here to download a PDF of the November 2012 issue of India Review featuring the Smithsonian Indian American Heritage Project.

Ami Bera: Another Indian American Elected to Congress

Nov 20, 2012

By Lavina Melwani All photos are from Ami Bera’s website. Indian Americans finally have a presence in  the US Congress – Ami Bera, MD, is the new Congressman-Elect from California’s 7th Congressional District. I had interviewed him some months back when he was running a hard-fought race against the incumbent Congressman Dan Lungren, who conceded […]

Diwali in the U.S.

Nov 13, 2012

Happy Diwali from the Indian American Heritage Project! Diwali is an auspicious and vibrant holiday for Indian Americans, marking the New Year and reminding us of the philosophical triumph of light over darkness. Here is a selection of images commemorating Diwali in the US. Some will be featured in our upcoming exhibition, Beyond Bollywood: Indian […]

Has the Census Evolved?

Nov 2, 2012

by Emily Vallerga, Fall 2012 Intern As part of my research for the upcoming Indian American Heritage Project exhibition Beyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Shape the Nation, I have been looking at how Indian Americans in the U.S. have been categorized and counted by the official U.S. Census.  I started in 1890, when the first critical […]

2008 Indian American Medalist Raj Bhavsar Reflects on the Olympics

Aug 10, 2012

HomeSpun Curator Masum Momaya caught up with Indian American medal-winning gymnast Raj Bhavsar, four years from his Olympic experience. MM: What got you started in gymnastics?  Was your family supportive of your interests? RB: I was an active kid, I climbed furniture and broke things in the house so my parents enrolled me in gymnastics at […]


Aug 6, 2012

The history, art, and culture of Sikh Americans are part our mission.  Sikhism in the U.S. will be part of HomeSpun: Smithsonian Indian American Heritage Project, the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program’s initiative to create an exhibition chronicling the story of immigrants from India and Indian Americans.   While details continue to emerge, we remain profoundly […]

Looking Down at the Earth From the Stars

Aug 1, 2012

by Priya Chhaya It was early morning on February 1, 2003. A group of classmates at my college and I had just arrived at a plantation home in the Tidewater region of Virginia. We were as excited as any group of young historians who had willingly risen on a Saturday morning to traipse through a […]

President Obama on Congressman Dalip Singh Saund

May 10, 2012

President Obama delivers remarks at the 18th Annual Gala of the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies. May 8, 2012. At 3 minutes 50 seconds, President Obama mentions Congressman Dalip Singh Saund, who will be featured in the upcoming HomeSpun exhibition “Speaking Up!” Read the speech transcript here. “But they were trailblazers like Dalip […]

Saying Goodbye Is Just So Hard To Do

Apr 12, 2012

by Priya Chhaya I love to write. In my day job I write about history and the past, about cities and the importance of place and space in the everyday and in the identity of individual people. When I’m not writing I love to read–books, newspapers, magazines, and other blogs. So on any given day, […]

Dharun Ravi Sentenced: A Moment to Consider Indian Americans as Convicted Felons

Mar 26, 2012

by Aditya Desai On March 16, ex-Rutgers student Dharun Ravi was convicted on multiple charges of invasion of privacy for online video streaming a gay sexual encounter between his roommate, Tyler Clementi, and another man. This led to Clementi’s suicide days later. Two years ago in 2010, Clementi’s death was headline news. Now, similar headlines […]

The Salad Bowl

Mar 12, 2012

HomeSpun is proud to offer another guest blog, this time from the Bay Area. Shefali Razdan Duggal is a highly recognized member of the Indian American and broader American political landscape. Here, she shares personal thoughts on the potential within the South Asian American community. by Shefali Razdan Duggal As I have progressed in years […]

Shwetak Patel: Are You Alone, and Are You Sitting Down?

Feb 29, 2012
Shwetak Patel: Are You Alone, and Are You Sitting Down?

by Priya Chhaya Last fall, Shwetak Patel was in his home office when his phone rang. The voice on the other end introduced themselves, before asking him: “Are you alone, and are you sitting down?” The call was from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and they were giving him a $500,000 genius […]

Jay Leno and the Golden Temple

Feb 27, 2012

by Rajshree Solanki So have you heard the one about Jay Leno and the Golden Temple? A recent sketch on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno (aired January 19th) featured a clip of the Republican candidates and their summer homes. The last image was supposed to be the summer home of Mitt Romney. The image […]

Reflections on 9/11

Sep 9, 2011

by Pawan Dhingra It is impossible to tell “The Story” of 9/11 for the nation or even for a single community. Yet, given HomeSpun’s role as helping tell the stories of Indian Americans, it is important to give voice to some part of this experience, so here I share part of my own. I was […]

The Scripps Spelling Bee and Indian Americans

Jun 23, 2011

by Pawan Dhingra Pawan Dhingra, HomeSpun curator, attended the 2011 Scripps Spelling Bee to collect important stories about the Indian American life. Here, he reflects on his two-day experience and discusses the history of Indian American youths who have stood out at this competition. Sukanya’s tall, thin frame trembled a bit for the first time […]

The Contagious Effect of Cricket

Apr 12, 2011

by Aditya Desai “The cup stays in South Asia!” exclaimed my roommate, breathing, eating, and drinking India’s glory win last weekend as champions of the ICC Cricket World Cup, top tourney in that “other” sport that’s played everywhere except America. The final match against Sri Lanka, in a photo-finish final score of 277-274 runs, capped […]