Asian Indian Americans

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Author: Tinaz Pavri
Editor: Thomas Riggs
Date: 2014
Publisher: Gale, a Cengage Company
Document Type: Topic overview
Length: 9,960 words
Lexile Measure: 1280L

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Asian Indian Americans

Tinaz Pavri


Asian Indian Americans are immigrants or descendants of immigrants from India, the most populous country in South Asia. Bounded by Nepal and the Himalayan mountains to the north, Pakistan to the northwest, the Indian Ocean to the south, the Arabian Sea to the west, and the Bay of Bengal to the east, India occupies about 1,560,000 square miles, making it approximately half the size of the United States.

Second in population only to China, India is home to around 1.2 billion people of diverse ethnicity, religion, and language, as reported by 2011 World Bank figures. About 80.5 percent of all Indians are Hindus. Approximately 13.4 percent are Muslims, and smaller minorities include Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, and Zoroastrians. Although official Indian languages include Hindi, which is spoken by about 40 percent of the population, and English, hundreds of dialects are also spoken in India. In recent years, India has ceased to be looked upon as a poor country and is considered one of the ten largest economies in the world.

Asian Indians began to arrive in the United States in the middle of the nineteenth century. The earliest were Sikhs, a religious subgroup, who worked in agriculture and construction on the west coast. Immigration accelerated during the 1960s, with many Indians arriving to receive higher education. This trend continued in the early twenty-first century. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, in 2012 India sent the second-highest number of students for study in the United States. Asian Indians also arrived to take jobs in the information technology industry and other professional arenas as well as in the service industry.

According to the 2010 U.S. Census, 3.2 million Asian Indians live in the United States. They are spread throughout the country, although the largest communities tend to be in large metropolitan areas such as New York and Chicago.


Early History One of the world's oldest civilizations, the Indus Valley civilization (2500–1700 BCE) flourished across present-day India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. Dravidians comprised India's earliest ethnic group. They gradually moved south as migrating Aryan tribes entered the region. These tribes established many empires, including the Nanda and Gupta kingdoms in northern India. Alexander the Great invaded northern India in the fourth century BCE.

The first Islamic presence, through Arab traders in southern India, occurred around the seventh century. In about the tenth century, Islamic raiders began their invasions of India. The earliest invaders were the Turks, followed by members of the Moghul Dynasty in the sixteenth century. The Moghul Dynasty established a thriving empire in northern India. These Muslim invasions resulted in the conversion of a section of the populace to Islam, establishing forever a significant Muslim society in India.

By 1600 the British had established a presence in India through the East India Company, a trading company that exported raw materials such as spices out of India to the West. Britain then strengthened its hold over its Indian colony by installing a parliament, courts, and bureaucracy. Several independent Hindu and Muslim kingdoms, however, continued to exist within the broader framework of British rule. The British army existed to maintain internal order and control uprisings against the colonizing government by the Indian people.

Modern Era In 1885 the British sanctioned the formation of the Indian National Congress, of which an offshoot, the Congress party, remained one of India's most important political parties. The British hoped that the party would quell growing resistance to British rule by co-opting some of India's most politically aware and educated individuals into the bounds of British rule. Instead, the Indian National Congress became the vehicle through which Indians coordinated their struggle for freedom from British rule. An indigenous independence movement spearheaded by Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru—later free India's first prime minister—gained strength in the early twentieth century.

India's movement for independence was marked by nonviolence as hundreds of thousands of Indians responded to Gandhi's call for satyagraha, which means to be steadfast in truth. Satyagraha involved nonviolent protest through passive noncooperation with the British at every level. Indians simply refused Page 166  |  Top of Articleto participate in any activity over which there was British supervision, thus making it impossible for the British to continue to govern India.

Britain formally relinquished its hold over India in 1947, and two sovereign countries, India and Pakistan, were created out of British India. The partition of the two nations was a result of irreconcilable differences between Hindu and Muslim leadership. India became mostly Hindu and Pakistan was mostly Muslim. Modern India, however, was a secular nation.

Nehru and his political party, the Congress, remained in power until his death in 1964. Leaving a lasting legacy, Nehru molded independent India's economy, society, and polity. Lal Bahadur Shastri became India's second prime minister, and upon his death was succeeded by Nehru's daughter Indira Gandhi, who remained in power until 1977, when, for the first time, the Congress lost in parliamentary elections, to the opposition Janata party. Indira's loss was largely due to the increasingly authoritarian tactics she had adopted before she was voted out of power. Morarji Desai, the leader of the Janata party, became India's fourth prime minister.

Indira Gandhi and the Congress returned to power in 1980, and upon her assassination in 1984 her son Rajiv Gandhi was elected prime minister. In 1991 Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by a Tamil suicide bomber. In 1994 the Congress, with Narasimha Rao as prime minister, instituted unprecedented and far-reaching economic reforms in the country. The Rao government succeeded in some measure in dismantling Nehru's socialist-style restrictions on the economy and private industry. By the early twenty-first century, India's exports had increased significantly, its foreign exchange reserves were at their highest levels in decades, and the economy appeared robust after weathering the global recession of 2008.

Economic liberalization, however, caused widening discrepancies between the wealthy and the poor. Moreover, a rising tide of religious fundamentalism, religious tensions, and frequent terrorist attacks threatened India's otherwise promising future. For the first time since independence, a powerful political party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (Indian People's Party), whose rise in Indian politics during the 1980s and 1990s was meteoric, challenged the prevalent belief in and acceptance of India's secularism, maintaining instead that India was a Hindu state. The party led the government from 1998 to 2004 and found widespread support in some areas of India and in some sections of the Asian Indian community in the United States and Europe. Coalition governments became the norm in Indian politics.


In many accounts, immigrants to the United States from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh are referred to as Asian Indians. The first Asian Indians, or Indian Americans, as they are also known, arrived in the United States as early as the middle of the nineteenth century. By the end of the nineteenth century, about two thousand Indians, most of them Sikhs (a religious minority from India's Punjab region), settled on the West Coast of the United States, having come in search of economic opportunity. The majority of Sikhs worked in agriculture and construction. Other Asian Indians came as merchants and traders; many worked in lumber mills and logging camps in the western states of Oregon, Washington, and California, where they rented bunkhouses, acquired knowledge of English, and assumed Western dress. Most of the Sikhs, however, refused to cut their hair or beards or forsake the wearing of turbans their religion required. In 1907 about two thousand Indians, alongside other immigrants from China, Japan, Korea, Norway, and Italy, worked on the building of the Western Pacific Railway in California. Other Indians helped build bridges and tunnels for California's other railroad projects.

Between 1910 and 1920, as agricultural work in California began to become more abundant and better paying, many Indian immigrants turned to the fields and orchards for employment. For many of the immigrants who had come from villages in rural India, farming was both familiar and preferable. There is evidence that Indians began to bargain, often successfully, for better wages during this time. Some Indians eventually settled permanently in the California valleys where they worked. Despite the 1913 Alien Land Law, enacted by the California legislature to discourage Japanese immigrants from purchasing land, many Asian Indians bought land; by 1920 Asian Indians owned 38,000 acres in California's Imperial Valley and 85,000 acres in the Sacramento Valley. Because there was virtually no immigration by Indian women during this time, it was not unheard of for Indian males to marry Mexican women and raise families.

At the beginning of the twentieth century, about one hundred Indian students studied in universities across the United States. During the summers, Indian students in California often worked in the fields and orchards alongside their countrymen. A small group of Indian immigrants also came to the United States as political refugees from British rule. To them, the United States seemed the ideal place for their revolutionary activities. In fact, many of these revolutionaries returned to India in the early part of the twentieth century to assume important roles in the struggle for independence.

The turn of the century also saw increasing violence against Asian Indians in the western states. White workers occasionally organized expulsions of Indians from the communities in which they worked. Some Indians who had migrated for economic reasons returned to India after they had saved respectable sums of money in the United States; others stayed, putting down roots in the West. The immigration of Indians to the United States was tightly controlled by the Page 167  |  Top of ArticleAmerican government during this time, and Indians applying for visas to travel to the United States were often rejected. The Asiatic Exclusion League was organized in 1907 to encourage the expulsion of Asian workers, including Indians. In addition, several pieces of legislation were introduced in the United States, specifically the congressional exclusion laws of 1917 and 1923 that attempted either to restrict the entry of Indians and other Asians or to deny them residence and citizenship rights. Some of these were defeated, while others were adopted. For instance, a literacy clause was added to a number of bills, requiring that immigrants pass a literacy test to be considered eligible for citizenship, thus effectively barring many Indians.

In July 1946 Congress passed a bill allowing naturalization for Indians, and in 1957 the first Asian Indian congressman, Dalip Saund, was elected to Congress. Like many early Indian immigrants, Saund came to the United States from Punjab and had worked in the fields and farms of California. He also earned a doctorate at the University of California at Berkeley. While more educated and professional Indians began to enter the United States, immigration restrictions and tight quotas ensured that only small numbers of Indians entered, prior to 1965. Overall, approximately six thousand Asian Indians immigrated to the United States between 1947 and 1965.

After 1965 a second significant wave of Indian immigration began, spurred by a change in U.S. immigration law that lifted quotas and restrictions and allowed significant numbers of Asians to immigrate. Between 1965 and 1974, Indian immigration to the United States increased at a rate greater than that from almost any other country. This wave of immigrants was very different from the earliest Indian immigrants—Indians that emigrated after 1965 were overwhelmingly urban, professional, and highly educated and quickly engaged in gainful employment in many American cities. Many had prior exposure to Western society and education, and their transition to the United States was therefore relatively smooth. More than one hundred thousand such professionals and their families entered the United States in the decade after 1965.

Almost 40 percent of all Indian immigrants who entered the United States in the decades after 1965 arrived on student or exchange visitor visas, in some cases with their spouses and dependents. Most students pursued graduate degrees in a variety of disciplines. They were often able to find promising jobs and prosper economically, and many became permanent residents and then citizens. The number of Indian students in the United States increased to 104,000, as of 2011. Many will no doubt remain in the United States to swell the ranks of Asian Indian Americans.

The 2010 U.S. Census reports 3.2 million Asian Indians in the United States, and they are one of the fastest-growing ethnic groups in the United States.


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New York, California, and New Jersey are the states with the highest concentrations of Asian Indians. In California, where the first Indian immigrants arrived, the cities of San Francisco and Los Angeles are home to the oldest established Asian Indian communities in the United States.

In general, the Asian Indian community has preferred to settle in the larger American cities rather than smaller towns, especially in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, and more recently, Atlanta. This appears to reflect both the availability of jobs in larger cities and the personal preference of living in urban, ethnically diverse environments, which are evocative of the Indian cities that many of the post-1965 immigrants originally came from. Still, there are sizeable Asian Indian communities in suburban areas, including Silver Springs (Maryland), San Jose and Fremont (California), and Queens (New York). Many highly educated Asian Indian immigrants have little trouble assimilating into the mainstream of American life.


India is a multilingual country with several language families and hundreds of languages and dialects. About twenty-four of these dialects are spoken by over one million people. This diversity is reflected in the Asian Indian community in America. First-generation Indians continue to speak their native language within the family—with spouses, members of the extended family, and friends within the community. Most also speak English fluently, which has eased the transition to American society for many Indian immigrants.

Regional linguistic differences are prevalent. Hindi is spoken mostly by Asian Indians from northern India and is generally not spoken by southern Indians. Immigrants from the states of southern India speak regional languages such as Tamil, Telegu, or Malayalam. A substantial number of immigrants from western India, particularly those from the state of Gujarat, continue to speak Gujarati, while those from the region of Bengal speak Bengali. Most second- and third-generation Asian Indians understand the language spoken by their parents and extended family but tend not to speak it themselves. Many Asian Indians are multilingual and speak several Indian languages. Thus, a Gujarati speaker was likely to know Hindi, as well.

Greetings and Popular Expressions Common Asian Indian greetings tend to be in Hindi or Hindustani, and include such greetings as namaste (pronounced “namastay”), the equivalent of “hello.” This greeting is usually accompanied by the palms of one's hands pressed together against the chest. Aapkaisehai is the equivalent of the universal query “how are you?” Theek (“fine”) is the response. For Muslims, the traditional Islamic greetings of salaam aleikum (pronounced “sullahm allaykum”), “peace be upon you,” is the most common.


The earliest Hindu mandir, or temple, in the United States—the “old temple”—existed in San Francisco as early as 1920, but in general the religious needs of Hindu Asian Indians prior to the 1950s were served mainly through ethnic and community organizations such as the Hindu Society of India. Since the 1950s, Hindu and Sikh temples have been built in cities with high concentrations of Asian Indians such as New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago, while Asian Muslims worship at mosques and Christians at existing churches. Many Indian Christian denominations exist, such as the Indian Orthodox church, the Syrian-Malabar Church, or the Church of North India. By the early twenty-first century, there were thousands of places of worship for Asian Indians around the United States.

All Hindus, regardless of their regional differences and the particular gods they worship, tend to worship at available temples, although many large cities had multiple temples reflecting differences in worship according to community, region, and language. Brahmin priests typically lead the service and recite from scriptures. Services can be conducted in Sanskrit, Hindi, or the regional languages. Poojas, or religious ceremonies that celebrate auspicious occasions such as the birth of a child, are also performed by priests. Although some priests serve full time, others might have a second occupation in addition to performing priestly duties.

Although some Asian Indians visited temples regularly, others limited their visits to important religious occasions. Because Hinduism tends to be less formally organized than other religions, prayer meetings can also be conducted at individuals' homes. It is also quite common for Asian Indian homes to have a small room or a part of a room reserved for prayer and meditation. Such household shrines were central to a family's religious life.

Many Asian Indians practice Islam. Many Asian Indian Muslims attend mosques with Muslims who trace their origins to other parts of the world or in primarily South Asian mosques.

The Asian Indian community in the United States also included small numbers of Buddhists, as well as Jains, followers of Mahavira. The most unique feature of the Jain religion, which was founded in the sixth century BCE, is its belief in the doctrine of ahimsa, or nonviolence. This belief leads Jains to practice strict vegetarianism. The Jains in the United States had their own temples for worship. Buddhists, Jains, and Hindus all placed a great value on personal austerity and were concerned with the final escape from the cycle of birth and rebirth known as reincarnation.

Small but significant Zoroastrian, or Parsi, communities settled in cities such as New York and Los Angeles. The Parsis came to India as refugees from Arab-invaded Persia in the ninth and tenth centuries; Page 169  |  Top of Articlethey made significant economic and social contributions to the country. Earliest reports of Parsi immigrants to the United States dated from the turn of the twentieth century, when groups of Parsis entered the country as merchants and traders.

Of all the Asian Indian religious communities, the Sikhs are the oldest and tend to be the most well organized in terms of religious activity. Sikhism is different from Hinduism, in its belief in one God. Sikhs follow the teachings of Guru Nanak, the founder of the religion, and worship in temples called gurudwaras. Services in gurudwaras are held about once a week as well as on religious occasions. Tenets of the Sikh religion include wearing a turban on the head for males and a symbolic bangle called a kara around their wrists. In addition, orthodox Sikh males cannot cut their hair or beards. This custom is still followed to by many in the community; others choose to give up the wearing of the turban and cut their hair.

Although some of these religious communities sometimes have tense relations in India, conflict is uncommon in the United States.


Asian Indians have quietly entered many segments of the American economy and society while still retaining their culture. Most Asian Indian families strive to preserve traditional Indian values and transmit these to their children. Offspring are often encouraged to marry within the community and maintain their Indian heritage by taking language, dance, and culture classes. Such classes are offered at many temples and community centers. As they have become one of the fastest-growing minorities in the United States, Asian Indian Americans are both visible and recognizable in American society. Even as earlier immigrants and their descendants have assimilated, newer immigrants have tended to maintain strong ties to their immediate community. Asian Indians are sometimes typecast in American society as industrious, prosperous, and professionally and educationally advanced. However, the occupational profile presented by the Asian Indian community in the early twenty-first century is one of increasing diversity. Although a large number of Asian Indians are professionals and others own small businesses, some are employed as semi- or nonskilled workers.

Traditions and Customs The Asian Indian community in the United States in the early twenty-first century is an ethnically diverse one. One can distinguish among subgroups who trace their roots to different regions or states within India, who speak different languages, eat different foods, and follow distinct customs. Some of the most populous Indian groups within the United States are Gujaratis, Bengalis, Punjabis, Marathis, and Tamils. They come from a number of the Indian states, or regions, each of which has its own language. It is more likely that

An Asian Indian woman from Rockville, Maryland, holds a tray of food, 1993. An Asian Indian woman from Rockville, Maryland, holds a tray of food, 1993. PHOTOGRAPH BY CATHERINE KARNOW. CORBIS. REPRODUCED BY PERMISSION.

these subgroups will interact socially and celebrate important occasions with members of their own subcommunity rather than the larger Indian community. However, there are occasions, such as the celebration of India's day of independence, when the Asian Indian community come together as one.

Cuisine The majority of Asian Indian Americans have retained diets rooted in Indian cuisine. Indian food is prepared with a variety of herbs and spices, including cumin, turmeric, chili powder, ginger, and garlic. All Asian Indians eat a variety of dal (lentil), bean, and chaval (rice) dishes. Hindus generally will not eat beef for religious reasons, whereas Muslims eschew pork. Second-generation Asian Indians are more likely to ignore these religious taboos.

Tandoori, clay-baked chicken or fish marinated in yogurt and spices, is a popular northern Indian dish. Biryani, or flavored rice with vegetables and meats, is Page 170  |  Top of Articleserved on festive occasions, often accompanied by a cooling yogurt sauce called raita. Southern Indian dishes such as masala, dosai (crepes filled with spiced potatoes), or idlis, and steamed rice cakes are also popular. Indian cuisine is largely dependent on the region of India from which a subcommunity traced its roots. Caste may also play a role.

Green chutneys made of mint or coriander accompany a variety of savory fritters such as the triangular, stuffed samosas. Pickled vegetables and fruits such as lemons or mangoes are popular accompaniments to meals. A variety of unleavened breads, such as naan, roti, and paratha, are also widely eaten. Finally, “sweetmeats” such as halvah or halwa (of which there are various types, but most often made with crushed semolina wheat, ghee, and sugar) and burfi (made with sweetened condensed milk and sugar and often flavored with fruit, nuts, or spices) can often round off a festive meal.

Traditional Indian cooking tends to be a time-consuming process, and Asian Indians in the United States developed shortcuts involving mechanical gadgets and canned substitutes in preparing Indian meals. However, most families continue to eat freshly prepared Indian food for the main meal of the day. Indeed, the evening meal often serve as the time when family will get together to discuss their daily activities. The average Asian Indian family tends not to eat out as often as other American families because of the importance accorded to eating together at the family table. Meal preparation still tends to be the domain of females of the house, and daughters are expected to help, although rigid gender roles are changing. Older generation Asian Indians might still eat with their hands rather than with utensils, especially in their homes.

Traditional Dress Many Asian Indian American women wear the sari—yards of colorful embroidered or printed silk, polyester, or cotton wrapped around the body—at community functions and celebrations such as weddings. At such occasions, both men and women might also wear the kameez or kurta, also made of silk or fine cotton, a long shirt worn over tight-fitting leggings. Shawls made of silk or wool and elaborately embroidered or woven with gold or silver threads or beads and draped around the shoulders are an added touch to women's costumes. On a daily basis, Western attire is the norm, except among the older generation. Women might wear on their foreheads a bindi, or ornamental dot, which sometimes indicates they are married but is also worn as a fashion accessory at celebrations.

Asian Indians are very fond of gold jewelry, and many women wear simple gold ornaments such as rings, earrings, bangles, and necklaces every day, and more elaborate ones at special occasions. Jewelry is often passed down through the generations from mother to daughter or daughter-in-law.

Traditional Arts and Crafts Asian Indian community centers often offer classes on traditional arts and crafts such as batik painting and puppet making, thereby allowing for these skills to be perpetuated in the United States. Traditional Indian dances such as bharatanatyam are taught, and plays centered on revered epics such as the Mahabharata are performed. The painting of women's hands in delicate patterns with henna is traditionally done for weddings. This ancient practice traces traditional patterns filled with ancient symbols on the backs of the hands.

Dances and Songs Asian Indian preferences in music ranges from Indian classical music, which might include instruments such as the stringed sitar, tabla (drums), and the harmonium, to popular music from Indian films and the West. Indian classical music dates back several thousand years and gained a wider audience after India's independence. Indian film music, often a fusion of Indian and Western rock, rap, or pop music, also has a widespread following both in India and within the community in the United States.

Carnatic music, the classical music of southern India, commonly employs such musical instruments as the veena, a stringed instrument, and a range of violins. Carnatic music usually accompanies bharatanatyam, a classical dance in which dancers enact mythological tales, emulating ancient temple carvings of men and women with their body, hand, and eye movements.

Indian folk dances such as the exuberant bhangra from the Punjab region are popular at celebratory gatherings of the community. In this dance, dancers throw their arms in the air and simulate the actions of the farmer at work with his sickle. Traditional bhangra music is increasingly fused with elements of hip-hop, rap, and reggae. “Bollywood” songs and music are very popular within the Asian Indian community and, increasingly, within the larger American community.

Holidays In addition to universal celebrations such as International New Year's Day, Asian Indians celebrate India's day of independence from the British on August 15 and Republic Day on January 26. Many religious celebrations are also observed, the most important including Diwali, the festival of lights celebrating the return home of the Lord Rama, and Holi, the Hindu festival of colors celebrating spring. On these days, sweets are distributed among friends and family. Oil lamps, or diyas, are lit on Diwali. The community often organizes a traditional dinner with entertainment to mark the holiday.

Major festivals for Muslims include Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting. It is celebrated with prayers and visits with friends. Asian Indian Christians celebrate Christmas

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In Dag Hammarskjold Plaza in New York on Sunday, March 31, 2013, the spring holiday of Holi is celebrated by throwing and wearing colored powder. In Dag Hammarskjold Plaza in New York on Sunday, March 31, 2013, the spring holiday of Holi is celebrated by throwing and wearing colored powder. FRANCES M. ROBERTS / NEWSCOM

and Easter. Navaratri (“nine nights”) is one of the most famous and popular festivals in India and is a major festival for diaspora Indians. Gujaratis dance the garbha during this fall celebration. Increasingly, Asian Indian Americans celebrate Thanksgiving as a major holiday.

Health Care Issues and Practices Most Asian Indian Americans accept the role of modern medicine and pay careful attention to health matters. Ayurvedic medicine has many adherents within the community. Ayurveda emphasizes spiritual healing as an essential component of physical healing and bases its cures on herbs and natural ingredients such as raw garlic and ginger. Ayurveda also focuses on preventive healing. One of its most famous proponents is Deepak Chopra (1946–), an India-born doctor whose book Ageless Body, Timeless Mind (1993) makes a case for the practice of ayurveda and sold over a million copies in the United States. Homeopathic medicine also has adherents among the community.

Some members of the Asian Indian American community practice yoga. The ancient practice of yoga dates back several thousand years. It combined a routine of exercise and meditation to maintain the balance between body and mind. Practiced correctly, yoga is said to enable the individual to relieve daily stresses and strains and to achieve full potential as a human being. Various asanas, or poses, are held by the individual in practicing yoga.

Asian Indian Americans are less inclined to seek out assistance for mental health problems than physical health problems. This relates to the limited discussion about and prevailing stigmas attached to mental health issues in India. The traditional Indian belief has been that mental problems will eventually take care of themselves and that the family rather than outside experts should take care of the mentally ill. This attitude might change as prevailing societal beliefs about mental health are assimilated by the community.

Death and Burial Rituals Rituals relating to death vary within each religious community. Hindus cremate their dead, with elaborate rituals for the preparation of the body and a prominent role played by the elder son in the final rites. The ceremony is referred to as antimsanskar, or final rites. In India the cremation traditionally takes place on a wooden pyre, and

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Common proverbs in Hindi include “jangle me mornacha, kisnedekha?” which translates as “who saw a peacock dancing in the woods?” Its meaning alludes to the fact that to be recognized, one must first be observed. Another proverb that underlines the importance of human life is “jaan he to jahan he,” meaning only if life itself is preserved can there be a world.

the body, which is often dressed in gold-ornamented clothing, burns over several hours. This is in contrast to electric cremation common in the United States. Garlands of flowers, incense sticks, and ghee (clarified butter) are placed on the stretcher along with the body. Many Hindus in the Asian Indian American community, especially among the older generation, wish to have their ashes returned to India to be scattered in the Ganges River. So many bring ashes to India that the Indian government issued guidelines—“Procedures for Carrying Ashes of a Deceased to India”—that outlined the documentation necessary to do so. Muslims bury their dead according to Sharia law and Islamic traditions. The dead body is ritually cleansed and prepared, and prayers are said. Christians bury their dead in accordance with Christian traditions.

Asian Indian families generally receive much community support upon the death of a family member. Members of the community provide both comfort and material help in times of bereavement.

Recreational Activities Within the community, the older generation tends to socialize extensively with other families within the larger Asian Indian community and specifically within their ethnoreligious group. Elaborate dinners are held in family homes where community members are invited. First-generation Asian Indians tend not be great fans of traditional American sports such as baseball or football, preferring soccer or cricket. Watching Bollywood films is very popular across the community. Younger and second-generation Asian Indians are active in recreational activities of interest to the larger American community.


For the most part, Asian Indians tend to live in nuclear families in the United States, although it is common for members of the extended family, particularly grandparents, to visit for months at a time. It is also fairly common, particularly after 1965, for Asian Indian Americans to encourage their siblings to emigrate from India and provide them with financial and emotional support until they are well settled in the United States. Family ties are very strong, and it is considered the responsibility of more prosperous members to look after their less well-to-do relatives. Relatively low percentages of Asian Indian families receive public assistance. This is due to both the relative affluence in the community and the tendency for extended family members to provide financial support in times of need.

Gender Roles By the early twenty-first century, Asian Indian women had made great progress in both India and the United States. In India, Indira Gandhi once held the highest seat in government—prime minister—and women are represented in all walks of life, although gender stereotyping persisted, especially in communities with lower levels of education. In the United States, while many women continue to perform traditional household tasks of cooking and caring for children, a large number of Asian Indian women, particularly second- and third-generation women, pursue their own professional careers and life choices and are highly successful. Asian Indian women hold many high-profile positions in American society. For the most part, the Asian Indian community in the United States does not mirror the preference for sons over daughters as continues to be prevalent in parts of India. Daughters, however, still tend to be more sheltered by families than sons.

Education Asian Indian Americans highly value education, and children are encouraged to excel at school. As a result of high parental expectations, Asian Indians are overrepresented in events such as the national spelling and geography bees. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, 70 percent of Asian Indian Americans held at least an undergraduate degree. This percentage is higher than most other ethnic groups in the United States. Many also attend graduate school and pursue such professions as medicine, business administration, engineering, and law. Many Asian Indians are professors in colleges and universities across the United States.

Courtship and Weddings In the early twenty-first century, arranged marriages were still very common in India, and dating was not a traditional Indian custom. Asian Indian parents tend to frown upon the practice, but they are yielding to their offspring's demands to be allowed to date. The preference is still for the selection of a marriage partner from within the subgroup of the larger community and with the full approval and consent of the parents. Family or community members are often involved in the selection of a suitable mate. The family and educational backgrounds of the potential partner are thoroughly examined before introductions were made. Asian Indians believe their children would be happier if they were married to someone who shares the same history, tradition, religion, and social customs and who could impart these values to their children, thus ensuring the continuity of the community. They believe that such marriages made within the community tend to Page 173  |  Top of Articlebe more stable and longer lasting than those that cross community boundaries. However, cross-cultural and interreligious marriages are becoming more frequent, especially with second and later generation Asian Indian Americans.

Weddings in the Asian Indian community are often elaborate affairs, sometimes stretching over several days and including several hundred guests. In traditional Hindu ceremonies the bride and groom exchange garlands of flowers and circle ceremonial fire three to seven times. The bride often wears red sari and gold ornaments. She might also have her hands and feet painted in intricate designs with henna, a tradition called mehendi. The groom might wear the traditional northern Indian dress of a churidar kameez, or tight leggings made of silk or fine cotton, and a long shirt, or opt for a Western-style suit. A Brahman priest conducts the ceremony.

Dancing and Indian and Western music is fairly common at Asian Indian American weddings, a result of the assimilation of American customs. Some weddings might include shehnai music, or a thin, wailing music played on an oboe-like instrument. This music is traditionally played at Hindu weddings in India. Feasts of traditional foods are prepared for guests, and traditional Hindu or Muslim rites are observed. Often, family members prepared the feast themselves, although it is increasingly common to engage professional caterers.

Relations with Other Americans Many Asian Indian Americans tend to live lives integrated with other Americans. Raising children and the school and sports activities that go with that task bring them into the mainstream of American life. Many, however, tend to celebrate special occasions within the parameters of their subgroup. The younger generations tend to be more assimilated than the older generations, and many marry outside of the community. One issue within the Asian Indian American community is the Americanization of second-generation Asian Indian immigrants. The phrase “American Born Confused Desi” (“ABCD”) refers to American-born Asian Indians and is often used derogatorily to imply that they were neither American nor Asian Indian. Desi comes from the Urdu and Hindi word des, meaning “homeland.”

Philanthropy As the Asian Indian American community has become more successful in the United States, they have increased their profile in the philanthropic world. Many donations are made to colleges and universities across the United States. For example, doctors Kiran and Pallavi Patel have donated up to $25 million to the University of South Florida. This includes the establishment of the Patel College of Global Sustainability. The Sheth Family Foundation helps the greater Atlanta community. Many successful Silicon Valley entrepreneurs give to charities in both India and the United States. Founded in 2001, the America India Foundation donated tens of millions of dollars to charities in India. In addition, many temples and houses of worship engaged in charity work.

The Asian Indian community in the United States in the early twenty-first century is an ethnically diverse one. One can distinguish among subgroups who trace their roots to different regions or states within India, who speak different languages, eat different foods, and follow distinct customs.

Surnames Surnames indicated to which subcommunity an Asian Indian traced its heritage. Many common surnames were distinguishable in terms of the region and community in India that they originally came from. Hence, Patel and Mehta have their origins in Gujarat, while Gupta, Mehra, or Kumar had northern Indian origins. Singh is a last name that always indicated the Sikh community. Asian Indian Muslims might have Islamic last names such as Khan or Ahmed, but some would have names particularized by region as well, as with Kashmiri Muslims, who could have a last name such as Agha. In general, southern Indian names tend to be longer, such as Kumaraswamy or Rajagopalan. Certain last names were derived from caste and subcaste; for instance, Nair or Naidu. Others were derived from lineage or occupation. For instance, Parsis carried last names such as Captain, Dastur (“priest”), and Batliwalla (a trader of glass and bottles).


The economic profile of Asian Indian Americans had changed dramatically over time. Whereas the first immigrants were agricultural and manual laborers, by the early twenty-first century, significant numbers of Asian Indians were engaged in professions such as medicine, accounting, and engineering. Many Asian Indians who entered the United States as students remained and became respected professors and academics. In fact, a 2004 report by the Census Bureau based on 2000 U.S. Census figures indicated that a higher percentage of Asian Indian Americans was engaged in managerial positions than any other ethnic group in the United States.

Indian immigrants to the United States sometimes have been unable to practice the profession for which they were trained in India due to either a lack of employment opportunities or the lack of American certification. In such cases, like law, for instance, they have either chosen alternative occupations or have retrained themselves in another field. Doctors and engineers have been among the most successful in finding employment in the field within which they were trained. A U.S. Census report Page 174  |  Top of Articlereleased in March 2012 based on 2010 Census figures lists Asian Indian Americans' median household income as $90,711.

Many Asian Indian Americans own small businesses such as travel agencies, Indian groceries, and garment stores, particularly in neighborhoods where a strong Asian Indian community exists, such as Flushing, in the New York City borough of Queens; or on Devon Avenue in Chicago. Many own fast-food franchises and gas stations across the country. Asian Indian Americans own or operate about 47 percent of the motels in the United States and almost 37 percent of all hotels and motels combined. Extended families often help relatives with the initial investment necessary, further strengthening Asian Indians' dominance of this business niche. Around 70 percent of all Indian motel owners share the same surname—Patel—indicating that they are members of the Gujarati Hindu Patel subcaste.


Indian immigrants were actively involved in the struggle for residence and citizenship rights in the early part of the twentieth century. Inspiring leaders like Dalip Saund, who later became a congressman in 1957, and rebels such as Taraknath Das mobilized the Indian community in California to strike back against anti-Indian violence and exclusion. The Ghadar Party, organized by Indians and Sikhs, was formed in San Francisco between 1913 and 1914 to realize the goal of revolution in India; it then organized in the United States around the immigration issue.

Earlier generations of Asian Indians have tended not to play particularly active roles in modern American politics. Some Asian Indians continue to identify themselves with the politics of India rather than the United States. There are signs, however, that this noninvolvement is changing. Since the 1980s the community actively raised funds for their candidates of choice. A 2009 National Asian American Survey from Rutgers University reports that 72 percent of the Asian Indians surveyed said that they were “most likely to vote.” Many young Asian Indian Americans work on Capitol Hill and in state legislatures, gaining valuable experience for the future, and some politicians are beginning to realize the power of the community to raise capital. During the 2012 presidential campaign, the Asian Indian community raised millions of dollars for candidates in both parties. The Association of Indians in America launched a successful campaign to have Asian Indian Americans included within the “Asian or Pacific Islander” category rather than the “Caucasian/White” category in the census, believing that the conferring of this minority status would bring benefits to the community. Accordingly, Asian Indians are currently classified under the “Asian or Pacific Islander” category.

Asian Indians in the United States engaged in unprecedented political activity when armed conflict broke out in 1999 between India and Pakistan over the contested area of Kashmir. Asian Indian immigrants began to lobby Congress and write letters to the editors of American newspapers in support of India's position. In addition, they sent assistance to aid Asian Indian soldiers and their families. Asian Indian activists have increasingly used the Internet to garner support in the United States for Asian Indian causes.

In the early twenty-first century, the most visible successes of the Asian Indians in U.S. politics were represented by Bobby Jindal, who was elected governor of Louisiana in 2007, and Nikki Haley, who was elected governor of South Carolina in 2010.

Because Asian Indian Americans are geographically dispersed, they could not easily form powerful voting blocs. Historically, a greater percentage of Asian Indians tended to vote for Democratic rather than Republican candidates, and this trend continued in 2008 and 2012, with well over fifty percent of Asian Indians voting for President Barack Obama.

Relations with India Asian Indian Americans retain close ties to India, maintaining contact with friends and relatives and often travelling to India at regular intervals. They remain interested in Indian politics because of these ties and contributed to the election campaigns of Indian politicians. Contributions from the Asian Indian community to different political parties in India is also quite common, as is the phenomenon of Indian political party leaders travelling to the United States to make their case to the community. The government of India even created a designation for “persons of Indian origin” (PIO) or ancestry who were born or whose ancestors were born in India but was no longer an Indian citizen and lived in another country. Those with a PIO card could travel to India without acquiring a visa and invest money or purchase property in India.

India considers its Indian communities abroad very important. Even though there had been concern over the years of a “brain drain” from India, a phenomenon where India's best talent moved to the United States and Europe, the feeling in the early twenty-first century was that India could gain both economically and culturally from its emigrants. Indians who emigrated abroad are viewed as ambassadors for India, and it is hoped their achievements would make the country proud. Indeed, unique achievements by Asian Indians in the United States and Europe are often showcased by the Indian media. For example, the success of American astronaut Sunita Williams and Governor Bobby Jindal were widely covered in the Indian press.

In times of natural disaster such as floods or earthquakes in India, the Asian Indian American community sent generous contributions. Second-generation Asian Indian students demonstrated an interest in travelling to India on study projects. Asian Indians watch the liberalizing economic reforms underway in India with great interest and note potential avenues for trade and investment. Many Asian Indians maintain Page 175  |  Top of Articlenonresident savings accounts in India, through which they can make investments in private businesses in different parts of the country.


Academia Asian Indians serve as distinguished faculty members at prestigious universities and colleges throughout the United States. The following includes a handful of the countless Asian Indian Americans who made names for themselves in academia. Shanti Swarup Gupta (1925–2002), a statistician, taught statistics and mathematics at Stanford and Purdue universities and was the recipient of numerous awards in the field. Jayadev Misra (1947–), a computer science educator and winner of several national awards in software and hardware design, is a professor of computer science at the University of Texas at Austin. Rustum Roy (1924–2010), a materials scientist, had been a member of the faculty at Pennsylvania State University from 1950. Gayatri Chakravorti Spivak (1942–) is a respected literary critic and professor at Columbia University. Jagdish Sheth (1938–) is Kellstadt Professor of Marketing at Emory University. The first Asian Indian American president of a university was Beheruz Sethna (1948–) of the University of West Georgia. Jamshed Bharucha (1956–) became the president of the Cooper Union in 2011. Amartya Sen (1933–) is a Harvard professor and economist who was awarded the 1998 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.

Art Natvar Bhavsar (1934–) is a painter. His work is part of the permanent collections of museums such as the Boston Fine Arts Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.

Commerce and Industry Indra Nooyi (1955–) is the influential CEO of PepsiCo. Vikram Pandit (1957–) rose in the ranks of the banking industry to become the chief executive of Citigroup from 2007 to 2012.

Culinary Arts Madhur Jaffrey (1933–) is the author of several popular books on Indian cuisine and the broader cuisine of East Asia. Her works include Madhur Jaffrey's World-of-the-East Vegetarian Cooking, An Invitation to Indian Cooking, and Taste of India. Her book A Taste of the Far East won the James Beard award for cookbook of the year in 1994. She also appeared on the television series “Indian Cookery and Far Eastern Cookery.” Aarti Sequeira (1978–) hosted the show “Aarti Party” on the Food Network cable channel.

Economics Ravi Batra (1943–) is an economist whose books The Great Depression of 1990 (published in 1987) and Surviving the Great Depression of 1990 (published in 1988) attained best-seller status. Jagdish Bhagwati (1934–), a renowned economist specializing in the economics of underdevelopment, wrote several books on the subject. He is a professor of economics and law at Columbia University.

New York artist and Indian expatriate Natvar Bhavsar (1934–) stands in front of one of his works at the Mira Godard Gallery in Toronto, 2005. New York artist and Indian expatriate Natvar Bhavsar (1934–) stands in front of one of his works at the Mira Godard Gallery in Toronto, 2005. RENE JOHNSTON / ZUMA PRESS / NEWSCOM

Fashion Rachel Roy (1974–) is an important fashion designer whose clothing lines are sold at major department stores.

Film Ismail Merchant (1936–2005) was a world-renowned film producer who, with his partner James Ivory, produced and directed such award-winning films as A Room with a View (1986), Howard's End (1990), and The Remains of the Day (1993). Merchant also produced The Courtesans of Bombay (1983) and In Custody (1993). In addition, Merchant was a successful cookbook author, having written Ismail Merchant's Indian Cuisine and Ismail Merchant's Passionate Meals. Director Mira Nair (1957–) directed Mississippi Masala (1991) starring Denzel Washington, which addressed the adjustments Asian Indians must make while living in the United States. M. Night Shyamalan (1970–) directed several successful Hollywood films with supernatural themes, including The Sixth Sense (1999) and The Happening (2008).

Government Dalip Saund (1899–1973) became a U.S. congressman in 1957. Born in the Punjab region of India, he immigrated to the United States in 1920. He earned a PhD in mathematics from the University of California at Berkeley and Page 176  |  Top of Articlewas one of the earliest activists fighting for the citizenship and residence rights of Asian Indians in the United States.

Many Asian Indian Americans had been appointed to administrative positions. Joy Cherian (1942–) was Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner from 1990 to 1994. In 1982 Cherian founded the Indian American Forum for Political Education, and in the early twenty-first century headed a consulting firm. Kumar Barve (1958–) was the first Asian Indian in the country to be elected to a state legislature, in 1990. Arthur Lall (1911–1998) was involved in numerous international negotiations, wrote extensively on diplomacy and negotiations (including the 1966 book Modern International Negotiator), and taught at Columbia University.

Asian Indian Americans also served as mayors: John Abraham (1945–) in Teaneck, New Jersey; David Dhillon in El Centro, California; and Bala K. Srinivas (1930–) in Hollywood Park, Texas. Governors included Nikki Haley (1972–) of South Carolina and Bobby Jindal (1971–) of Louisiana. Notable appointees in the administration of President Barack Obama included the actor Kal Penn (1977–), who serves in the White House Office of Public Engagement; Farah Pandith (1968–), who is U.S. Special Representative to Muslim Communities; Geeta Pasi, the ambassador to the Republic of Djibouti, appointed in 2011; and Sonny Ramaswamy (1951–), director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Journalism Fareed Zakaria (1964–) is host a weekly news and international politics show on CNN, Fareed Zakaria GPS. He is also an editor of Time magazine. Sanjay Gupta (1969–) is a neurosurgeon who was also a television personality who reported on health and science issues. He appeared on numerous news segments on CNN.

Literature Asian Indian fiction writers include Bharati Mukherjee (1940–), professor of English at Columbia University, who is awarded the National Book Critics Circle Award for The Middleman and Other Stories (1988). Ved Mehta (1934–) is author of his autobiography Face to Face (1957) and the autobiographical novel Daddyji (1972). Folklorist and poet A. K. Ramanujan (1929–1993) wrote the book of poems Speaking of Siva (1973). Kirin Narayan (1959–) is the author of Love, Stars, and All That (1994), a novel about Asian Indian experiences in the United States, and My Family and Other Saints (2008). Chitra Bannerjee Divakaruni (1957–) wrote Oleander Girl (2013) and One Amazing Thing (2010). Jhumpa Lahiri (1967–) won the Pulitzer Prize in 2000 for The Interpreter of Maladies; she is also the author of the acclaimed novel The Namesake (2003), featuring an Asian Indian American family, which was made into a film of the same name.

Dhan Gopal Mukerji (1890–1936) was one of the first Asian Indian Americans to write for children. His works included both animal fantasies such as The Chief of the Herd (1929) and novels, such as Gay Neck: The Story of a Pigeon, which won the Newbery Medal in 1927.

Music Zubin Mehta (1936–), musician and conductor, was born in Bombay into a family that practiced Zoroastrianism. He served as music director of a number of orchestras, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Israel Philharmonic, and New York Philharmonic. The pianist-composer Vijay Iyer (1971–) won numerous awards for his albums. Several Asian Indian musicians established schools in the United States to keep Indian culture alive among young Asian Indians. One such musician was Ali Akbar Khan (1922–2009), an Indian classical musician who came to the United States in 1955 after an invitation from violinist Yehudi Menuhin and formed a school in California's Bay Area. Norah Jones (1979– ), singer-songwriter and pianist, is the daughter of famed sitar player Ravi Shankar. She won numerous Grammy Awards and was named by Billboard as top jazz artist for 2000–2009. Jones has released several studio albums, including Come Away with Me (2002), The Fall (2009), and Little Broken Hearts (2012).

Politics Dinesh D'Souza (1961–), a graduate of Dartmouth and an outspoken conservative, was appointed a domestic policy advisor in the Reagan administration. D'Souza has been a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and is the author of numerous books, including What's So Great about America (2002); in 2012 he cowrote and directed the documentary 2016: Obama's America.

Science and Medicine Asian Indian Americans have made numerous advancements in science and technology, and the following individuals represented a small sample. Hargobind Khorana (1922–2011) won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1968. Vijay Prabhakar practiced medicine for many years with the Indian Health Service, a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which provides health care to Native Americans. Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar (1910–1995), a theoretical astrophysicist, won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1983. Amar Bose (1929–2013) was the founder, chairman of the board, and technical director of the Bose Corporation, known for its innovative stereo speaker systems. Bose was also a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Statistician Calyampudi Radhakrishna Rao (1920–) was awarded the National Medal of Science in 2002 by President George W. Bush.

Asian Indians have initiated numerous technology startups in Silicon Valley. Entrepreneurs such as Vivek Wadhwa and Shantanu Narayen (1963–) achieved great success in the field of information technology. Siddhartha Mukherjee (1970–) is a physician, scientist, and author whose book The Emperor of Page 177  |  Top of ArticleAll Maladies: A Biography of Cancer won the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction in 2011. Sunita Williams (1965–) is a former astronaut with NASA. Deepak Chopra (1946–), an endocrinologist turned ayurvedic practitioner, published a series of highly successful books, including Ageless Body, Timeless Mind: The Quantum Alternative to Growing Old (1993) and God: A Story of Revelation (2012). Atul Gawande (1965–), a surgeon, is the author of the book The Checklist Manifesto (2009), and he has written extensively on medicine and public health for the New Yorker.

Stage and Screen Actress Mindy Kaling (1979–), the screen name of Vera Chokalingam, is best known for her work in the television comedy series The Office. Kal Penn (1977–) is a well-known actor who starred in the films The Namesake (2006) and the Harold and Kumar films. Aziz Ansari (1983–) is an actor and comedian who is featured on the NBC television series Parks and Recreation.


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India Abroad

This weekly newspaper was first published in 1970, making it the oldest Asian Indian newspaper in the United States. It focuses on news about the community in the United States and news from India.

Ajit Balakrishnan, Chairman and Publisher
43 West 24th Street
New York, New York 10010
Phone: (212) 929-1727

India Currents

This is a monthly newsmagazine focusing on issues of interest to the Asian Indian community.

Vandana Kumar, Publisher
1885 Lundy Avenue #220
San Jose, California 95131
Phone: (408) 774-6966
Fax: (408) 324-0477

News India

This weekly newspaper features articles and news on India and the Asian Indian community.

Parikh Worldwide Media
37 West 20th Street
Suite 1009
New York, New York 10011
Phone: (212) 675-7515
Fax: (212) 675-7624


There are many FM and AM radio programs broadcast in Hindi across the United States. In addition, there are some programs that are broadcast in other regional Indian languages such as Gujarati, Marathi, or Tamil. Most of these originated in cities with significant Asian Indian populations. Hindi radio programs include those on KEST-AM in San Francisco; WSBC-AM in Chicago; WEEF-AM in Highland Park, Illinois; WAIF-FM in Cincinnati, Ohio; and KPFT-FM in Houston, Texas.

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TV Asia

TV Asia telecasts news and feature programs of interest to the Indian community nationally.

76 National Road
Edison, New Jersey 08817
Phone: (732) 650-1100


A distinction must be made between organizations that base membership upon an encompassing Asian Indian identity and those that are linked more closely to different regions and states within India, such as the Maharashtrian or Tamil organizations in different U.S. states. In addition, religion-based groups such as Sikh or Zoroastrian organizations also exist. The following is a list of organizations that serve all Asian Indians without distinction of religion, language, or region.

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Association of Indians in America

An organization for immigrants of Asian Indian ancestry living in the United States. Seeks to continue Indian cultural activities in the United States and to encourage full Asian Indian participation as citizens and residents of America.

Anismesh Goenka, President
26 Pleasant Lane
Oyster Bay, New York 11771
Phone: (516) 624-2460
Fax: (718) 497-5320

National Federation of Indian American Associations (NFIA)

This federation represents interests of Asian Indians in the United States and promotes Indian culture and values. Attempts to influence legislation in favor of the community.

Lal K. Motwani, President
319 Summit Hall Road
Gaithersburg, Maryland 20877
Phone: (301) 926-3013
Fax: (301) 926-3378

Network of Indian Professionals (NetIP)

This nonprofit group seeks to help Asian Indian Americans advance personally and professionally. Also works to improve the community.


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The American Institute of India Studies (AIIS)

AIIS supports research, offers training in Indian languages, promotes knowledge of Indian culture, and supports book publications and articles about India.

1130 East 59th Street
Chicago, Illinois 60637
Phone: (773) 702-8638

Madhusudan and Kiran C. Dhar India Studies Program

The program promotes research and teaching on all aspects of the Indian subcontinent.

Mahusudan and Kiran C. Dhar India Studies Program
Indiana University
825 East 8th Street
Bloomington, Indiana 47408-3842
Phone: (812) 855-5798
Fax: (852) 856-4658

South Asia Institute at Columbia University (SAI)

SAI coordinates activities at Columbia University that relate to study of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

305 International Affairs
420 West 118th Street
New York, New York 10027
Phone: (212) 854-8401

South Asia Studies Program at the University of Pennsylvania

The South Asia Studies Department is a close-knit community of interdisciplinary scholars that combine expertise in the languages, literatures, histories, and cultures of South Asia.

820 Williams Hall
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104-6305
Phone: (215) 898-7475
Fax: (215) 573-2138

South Asian Studies Program at Princeton University

A comprehensive undergraduate and graduate program that offers the study of sociopolitical, economic, and religious aspects of India and Pakistan.

Department of Anthropology
132 Aaron Burr Hall
Princeton University
Princeton, New Jersey 08544
Phone: (609) 258-6814
Fax: (609) 258-1032


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Das Gupta, Monisha. Unruly Immigrants: Rights, Activism, and Transnational South Asian Politics in the United States. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2006.

George, Sheba Mariam. When Women Come First: Gender and Class in Transnational Migration. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005.

Helwig, Arthur, and Usha Helwig, eds. An Immigrant Success Story: East Indians in America. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1990.

Joshi, Khyati Y. New Roots in America's Sacred Ground: Religion, Race and Ethnicity in Indian America. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2006.

Khandelwal, Madhulika S. Becoming American, Being Indian: An Immigrant Community in New York City. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2002.

Maira, Sunaina Marr. Desis in the House: Indian American Youth Culture in NYC. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2002.

Rangaswamy, Padma. Namaste America: Indian Immigrants in an American Metropolis. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2000.

Rudrappa, Sharmila. Ethnic Routes to Becoming American: Indian Immigrants and the Cultures of Citizenship. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2004.

Shukla, Sandhya. India Abroad: Diasporic Cultures of Postwar America and England. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2003.

Takaki, Ronald. India in the West: South Asians in America. New York: Chelsea House, 1995.

Source Citation

Source Citation   

Gale Document Number: GALE|CX3273300023