My Adolescence in an Attempted Utopia

Coming of Age Amid Adults Questing for Self Actualization at South India’s Theosophical Society Headquarters

When I turned 14, I made two discoveries.

First, I learned that I would never inherit the smooth drape of my grandmother’s skin. Like my father, I would battle hillocks and mounds of acne pushing up against my face well into adulthood.

Second, and more important, I would come to learn that my home was a forest at the edge of the sea.

In the same year, 1998, I moved into a decrepit bungalow situated within the world headquarters of the Theosophical Society in Chennai, India. The sprawling, 260-acre ecological …

What America Can Learn From India’s Weeks-Long Elections | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

What America Can Learn From India’s Weeks-Long Elections

Keep the Faith, Even If Results Are Slow to Come In—‘Democracy Delayed Is Not Democracy Denied’

Americans have long been accustomed to knowing the results of elections by the time they go to bed on Election Day. This year is forcing them to realize that’s not …

A Letter From Mumbai, Where Everyday Questions Carry New Weight | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

A Letter From Mumbai, Where Everyday Questions Carry New Weight

For Muslims in India, Lockdowns May Unleash Something More Dangerous and Discriminatory Than a Virus

On local trains, I used to overhear phone conversations. Fights, flirtations, and often the question: Khana khaya? Did you eat?

Mentally, I’d roll my eyes. If someone asked me, my …

Did You Know California Has a Dental Czar? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Did You Know California Has a Dental Czar?

Trained in India, Jayanth Kumar Has a Roadmap for Improving the State’s Oral Health

Over the course of my career in India and the United States, I’ve seen how thoughtful innovations in dental policy can dramatically improve the oral health of whole communities, while …

How Modern India Was Built on the Legacy of British Institutions

Indians Have Drawn From a Dark Colonial Past to Create a More Liberal and Open Society

In the years after India’s independence in 1947, Britons tended to congratulate themselves on their legacy to the subcontinent.

Although the empire’s successor states, India and Pakistan, had been born amid …