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Despite the multidimensional success that many South Asian immigrants enjoy in America, their identities are constantly under threat by ignorant forces that question their belonging. One of the largest immigrant groups in the United States, the South Asian diaspora must often juggle two contrasting cultures. If you want to listen to unique yet relatable experiences, here are a few brilliant podcasts by Desi Americans.
Desi American Life
Desi American Life explores the complexities of being Desi in the United States. The hosts, Priya, Deepti, and Uma are children of Indian immigrants living in Silicon Valley. In the episodes, they discuss the struggles of balancing South Asian culture with American culture. They also interview a wide range of guests who share their unique experiences as South Asians in America.
“Desi American Life covers topics such as LGBTQ acceptance and mental health awareness,” according to Krisha Gill, a blogger at Simplegrad. “These important subjects are considered taboo in many South Asian households so it’s nice to find a podcast that sheds a light on these issues.”
My Very Own Bully
This single-episode podcast by Chicago high school student, Kriti Sarav, won the NPR Student Podcast Challenge. It’s only 8 minutes long, but it reveals a lot about her struggle to embrace her identity as Indian-American. Kriti talks about growing up between South Asian and American cultures as well as her desire to fit in among her American peers.
Due to years of internalizing feelings of otherness, Kriti began to hate parts of herself. This podcast is her way of reclaiming her narrative and defeating her cruel inner critic.
India Currents’ podcast, Desi Talk, is on their Instagram LIVE every Tuesday at 6pm PST/ 9pm EST with their Managing Editor Srishti Prabha and Plus-size Model and Confidence Coach Yashu Rao. They discuss Desi representation on a variety of themes — environment, film, media, literature, science, culture, politics, gender and sexuality, and more. They bring in various members and experts in their community to join their casual conversations to provide deeper insight and contextual evidence to the lived immigrant experience.
Chai With Sahelis
Chai with Sahelis, an India Currents collaboration with the University of Southern California, is a three-part audio series where survivors of domestic violence share deeply personal stories about their experiences. India Currents’ Contributing Editor Meera Kymal and India Currents’ writer Anjana Nagarajan-Butaney have turned their investigative reporting into a storytelling project that gives agency and voice to Desi survivors. The names of some survivors have been changed to protect their identities.
The Woke Desi
The Woke Desi is hosted by author Annika and influencer Nehal. The aim of these Desi women is to provide a platform for South Asian voices and empower them to tackle the challenges of living in America. Though the hosts mostly discuss lighthearted topics such as dating and marriage, they never shun away more serious discussions. Some of their most recent episodes cover issues such as domestic violence and toxic productivity.
South Asian Trailblazers
South Asian Trailblazers is a great podcast for anyone who wants to be inspired by the incredible journeys of trailblazing South Asians. The podcast is hosted by Simi Shah. Simi interviews influential members of the diaspora from various fields such as entertainment, marketing, and politics. “Anyone who wants to learn about the accomplishments and struggles of South Asian community leaders in the United States should listen to South Asian Trailblazers,” advises Sean Kingsley, a small business blogger at Academic Paper Writing Services. “These incredible South Asian Americans are paving the way for others in their respective fields.”
Brown People We Know
Brown People We Know is an award-winning podcast hosted by Suraj Kandukuri. Suraj interviews South Asians who are bravely pursuing non-traditional paths. This brilliant podcast is a must-listen for any Indian-American who is considering an alternative career path from the one their parents might have chosen for them. Suraj does an exceptional job at finding his guests and asking insightful questions. Some of his guests include Yawar Charlie, a gay actor and realtor, and Surbhi Sahni, a Michelin chef.
American Desis Podcast
For fans of comedy, American Desis is a highly entertaining yet intellectual podcast hosted by comedian Akaash Singh and actor Arjun Gupta. The hosts discuss life as South Asians in America and interview others about their individual Desi American experiences.
The Brown Burndown: An Indian American Pop Culture Pod
If you’re fascinated by pop culture and specifically, Desi views on various aspects of pop culture, this podcast is calling your name. Hosted by college friends, Rabs and Tars, this podcast is a fun listen that isn’t afraid to touch on significant issues. Their most recent episodes discussed topics such as Bridgerton, Vice President Kamala Harris, and anti-blackness in South Asian culture.
Desi Diaspora is a 4-episode podcast centered around South Asian American narratives. The episodes are specifically catered to the struggles of the South Asian diaspora. Every story is captivating and touches on topics such as shame, love, abuse, and resilience.
Desi Outsiders is a podcast run by two young Indian women living in Europe who talk about certain topics that aren’t being talked about in various Indian households. Covering topics like dating, education, feminism, and so on, Meenal and Ankita have conversations that are unfiltered and genuine. In fact, two worlds collide – traditional India and liberal India – when these two gals get together!
Emily Henry is a blogger and writer.