Let’s Put It On

The Daily Desi suggests that we run out to see Thukral & Tagra’s exhibit “Put It On” at Bose Pascia in Chelsea, Manhattan, while it’s still hot. Hosting the show until June 9, and established in 1994, the gallery was the first in the West to specialize in and promote contemporary and avant-garde art from South Asia.

New Delhi-based Jiten Thukral and Sumir Tagra work collaboratively in a wide variety of media including painting, sculpture, installation, video, graphic and product design, websites, music and fashion.

In their latest exhibition, “Put It On,” they channel their collaborative artistry into “arriving at a range of probable solutions for HIV awareness and vigilance through the visual arts.” The resulting works include stylistic and creative placement of pictures of proper condom usage throughout large-scale canvas paintings and mixed-media installations with custom-designed underwear and flip-flops.

Photos of Thukral & Tagra’s Everyday BoseDK exhibit in New Delhi last month; BoseDK Designs, T&T’s consortium of graphic designers, illustrators, film-makers and design-inclined writers. With e-zines.

Comments Off on Let’s Put It On         Facebook   RSS 2.0   Permalink   May 29, 2007

Born In The U.S.A.A.

Spotlight Stealerz
Anthony, De La Cruz, D’Lo (APICC)

Running through May and June in San Francisco, the 10th Annual United States of Asian America Festival showcases over 75 Asian Pacific Islander artists in the the fields of dance, music, visual art, theater and multidisciplinary performance. The festival’s diverse program includes a May 26 show by the Spotlight Stealerz, an LA-based performing troupe comprised of writers Adelina Anthony (“Mastering Sex and Tortillas”), D’Lo (“Ballin’ With My Bois”) and Alison De La Cruz (“Sungka”). The Stealerz use comedy to “weave individual stories and group sketches together to explore a range of issues within their multiple experiences, identities and communities (Xicana, Tamil Sri-Lankan, Filipino, lesbian, queer, stud, immigrant, mixed-race).”

You can see more of Spotlight Stealer D’Lo, a Tamil Sri Lankan-American performer, writer and music producer with a background in piano, ethnomusicology, hip-hop, dance and more, at upcoming shows across the country, including “Ramble-ations: A One D’Lo Show”—an attempt at fusing together elements of her being on stage: “Gay Hindu Hip Hop—These three things make me but don’t allow for one another.”

Watch “D’Lo Speaks the Good Word” on MTV Desi and Alison De La Cruz perform at Serafemme 2006.

Comments Off on Born In The U.S.A.A.         Facebook   RSS 2.0   Permalink   May 26, 2007

Forced Marriages Still Not a Thing of the Past

Photo: BBC

When “Nasrin’s” parents told her they were going on a family vacation to Pakistan, she expected to be visiting relatives.

What she didn’t expect, was to be married off there—against her will and to a man she hardly knew.

Nasrin, who was only 19 at the time, was born and raised in the U.K. She was studying to be a pharmacist.

“It was basically a disaster,” she said of the forced marriage. “He was really violent and we didn’t communicate. His only way of communicating was with his fists or with that other thing men are violent with.”

Nasrin eventually escaped, but others aren’t as lucky.

The Forced Marriage Unit of the British government’s Foreign Office receives an astounding 5,000 calls each year. A third involve minors under the age of 18; children tricked (usually by their parents) into traveling abroad–only to be married off; children who are often abused sexually, emotionally, and physically.

Many of the victims are South Asian girls. Bradford is home to a large “British Asian” immigrant population. And last year alone 250 girls disappeared from that town’s school system. As Poonam Teneja reported for the BBC yesterday, it is suspected that a large number have been sent overseas, to be married off.

The head of the Foreign Office’s Forced Marriage Unit Vinay Talwar says the Office hears “stories of rapes, abductions, beatings, forced abortions and forced pregnancies.”

“(The victims) feel emotional pressure and coercion from parents, families, brothers, sisters. They are told they will bring shame on their families if they do not go along with it.”

For more information, including tips on how you can help, visit the Forced Marriage Unit of the British Foreign Office.

Groups try to break bonds of forced marriage (USA Today)
Forced Marriage Awareness

Comments Off on Forced Marriages Still Not a Thing of the Past         Facebook   RSS 2.0   Permalink   May 9, 2007

In Honor of International Workers’ Day

Immigration activists march in LA today (REUTERS/Danny Moloshok)

In the 1990s, Lakireddy Bali Reddy was a respected California businessman and owner of the San Francisco restaurant Pasand Madras.

Today he is a criminal, convicted on charges of running an exploitative sex and labor ring in India and the Bay Area.

According to the Human Rights Watch, Reddy repeatedly raped and otherwise abused his employees over the course of 15 years—forcing them to work at Pasand Madras under inhumane conditions.

Author and academic David Batstone used to eat regularly at Reddy’s restaurant. When he found out what was going on behind-the-scenes there, it catalyzed his current crusade against human trafficking and slavery. He writes:
Read the rest of this entry »

Comments Off on In Honor of International Workers’ Day         Facebook   RSS 2.0   Permalink   May 1, 2007

Egg-ceptional Easter

Easter Egg
Happy Easter!

The Kerala chapter of PETA India is ringing in Easter a different way this year. The group is interested in seeing eggs banned in the southern state and has been protesting publicly.

“We are showing that eggs signify life and that we should not be eating eggs because chickens also feel the pain,” activist Roshini D’Silva, told the press.

In Thiruvananthapuram, a human-sized chick (not what you’re thinking) burst out of an egg earlier this week and began handing out leaflets. PETA members spoke in front of the Secretariat building, distributing pamphlets that read:

“Eggs are as vegetarian as your chicken tikka or mutton biriyani. They are a part of the chicken’s reproductive system. To produce eggs, the birds spend their entire lives in battery cages housed in dark, crowded sheds were they are treated as egg-laying machines. Baby birds have their beaks cut off with a red-hot blade. Young ‘layer hens’ are kept in complete darkness except at feeding time.”

Kerala’s first Christian community settled in India in the year 52 AD, when St. Thomas docked in the Port of Kodungallur near modern-day Kochi.

Access this link for a brief history on eggs and the Easter holiday.

PETA India
PETA site for “Veg Kids
On Easter

1 Comment         Facebook   RSS 2.0   Permalink   April 6, 2007
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Ready To Transform Your … Impression of Ash?

Naveen and Ash

It’s a story about brutality, humiliation and the horrors of domestic violence.

Aishwarya Rai, Nandita Das and Naveen Andrews star in the much-anticipated film Provoked, due to be released worldwide this Easter weekend. Directed by Jagmohan Mundhra, the movie is based on the life of Kiranjit Ahluwalia, a woman who, after being abused physically and sexually by her husband for 10 years, murdered him in their Southall London home in 1989.

Ahulwalia was sentenced to life in prison—a conviction she would later appeal with the help of the Southall Black Sisters (SBS), a non-profit that helps women who are victims of gender violence.

“SBS has shown Asian women the road to independence and self-confidence,” Ahulwalia has said, “What they did for me could have been done by no-one else.They have brought light into my darkness.”

According to India’s National Crime Records Bureau, a crime is carried out against women in India once every three minutes. More locally, a recent study suggests an astounding 40 percent of the South Asian women living in the Boston metropolitan area have been victims of “intimate partner violence” at one point or another.

Look for a longer story on the film in an upcoming issue of .

More: Non-profit groups like Sakhi and Manavi help women cope; Ahulwalia’s autobiography Circle of Light; Aishwarya Rai fan site; Watch the Provoked trailer here; Ash and Abi news on

2 Comments         Facebook   RSS 2.0   Permalink   March 30, 2007

SheWrite Screening

Stills from SheWrite (K.P. Jayasankar)

As part of a series of events planned to help spark discussion about women and gender roles in the South Asian community, Narika’s student group at UC Berkeley screens SheWrite, an award-winning documentary about four female Tamil poets exploring themes of desire and sexuality, on Tuesday, March 20. The film’s directors will be guest speakers. Anjali Monteiro, currently a Fulbright visiting lecturer at Berkeley, and her husband K.P. Jayasankar, Chair of the Centre for Media and Culture Studies at TISS, have made 25 documentaries over the last 15 years. SheWrite recently premiered in the U.S. at the 2007 New York Arab and South Asian Film Festival.

Criticism of the poets in the press for writing “obscenely” caught the attention of the film’s directors. One male writer urged people: “If you see them on the road, slap them.” (The Hindu). A magazine editor asked, “”How can women demand gender freedom after writing such things?” (The Week). Read the rest of this entry »

Comments Off on SheWrite Screening         Facebook   RSS 2.0   Permalink   March 19, 2007

From Chico To The Man

Daily Show regular Aasif Mandvi weighs in on the Attorney General Alberto Gonzales mess:

Comments Off on From Chico To The Man         Facebook   RSS 2.0   Permalink   March 16, 2007

Activist Ashley

Ashley Judd In India

Ashley Judd joins a growing number of celebrities dedicating time and energy to the promotion of HIV/AIDS awareness in India.

The University of Kentucky-grad spent the week in India, meeting some of Mumbai’s sex workers on Monday. “The empowerment of girls and women is an essential tool to preventing the HIV/AIDS emergency from exploding any further,” said the actress, adding “There is a common problem worldwide and there is also a common solution.”

Judd, a YouthAIDS Global Ambassador, was visiting the country as a Population Services International board member and representative.”What makes Ashley’s trip to India so special is not only the fact that she cares so deeply for the AIDS cause,” Bollywood actress Sushmita Sen told reporters. “It is also because she is coming all the way to our country to raise funds for this cause.”

Almost six million people in India are currently living with the HIV virus.

Population Services International: India
Ashley Judd’s travel journal from 2005 humanitarian trip to Africa
Richard Gere meets with Indian sex workers
Oxfam goes glam
Ralph Fiennes visits India to raise AIDS awareness

Comments Off on Activist Ashley         Facebook   RSS 2.0   Permalink   March 16, 2007

Designer Accused of Sexual Assault

Anand Jon

Indian designer Anand Jon has been charged with six counts of sexual assault as well as forcible rape and lewd acts on a child. According to authorities, the charges stem from encounters between Jon and two women and also a fifteen year old girl. The designer, who was arrested on March 6, is being held on 1.3 million dollars bail. In addition, according to this ABC News article, Jon’s immigration status has also been called into question. Jon’s attorney denied the assault charges and claimed that his client was legally in the US on a professional work visa.

Comments Off on Designer Accused of Sexual Assault         Facebook   RSS 2.0   Permalink   March 14, 2007