Sunday, May 25, 2014

Security in South Asia, dining with our undergraduates

I have been serving as teaching assistant for an undergraduate course on Security in South Asia at Northwestern University, taught by guest scholar Sumit Ganguly, Rabindranath Tagore Chair in Indian Cultures and Civilizations in Political Science and Director of the Center on American and Global Security, at Indiana University. This opportunity came my way following 9 months of field research in India, Pakistan, and Dubai for my own dissertation research which explores security and economics in the region -- how fitting! Course topics include 1947 partition, Kashmir, the Cold War, Bangladeshi independence, and Sri Lankan civil war. 

In real-time, India elected BJP's Narendra Modi as Prime Minister and commentary by our Professor Ganguly was solicited by world media, including BBC and PBS Newshour.

Professor Ganguly treated us to dinner, and I was struck by how vastly multicultural our group is in the South Asian multinational sense. Pictured below beginning from the lower-left-hand-corner and moving clockwise, the cultural backgrounds are Gujarati, Bengali, Punjabi (myself), Andhra (or, Telegu), Gupta (still unsure how to place this), and Kashmiri -- wow! One student was missing from dinner and he is Parsi -- man, that would have been kick ass!!

We dined at Mysore Woodlands in Chicago's famous South Asian neighborhood dubbed 'Devon & Clark'.  Dessert was faloodas and then paan at the Bombay-inspired Patel's Cafe. We wrapped up the evening with grocery shopping at Patel Brothers for chutneys, rusk cake for dipping in hot masala chai, frozen paranthas, and digestive candied saunf. Click here for Chicago Mag's Guide to Devon Avenue.

Thursday, May 15, 2014


music to experience...

  2014 Spring: Green Mill Jazz Club, with Pat Mallinger Quarter featuring Bill Carrothers 

 2013 Summer: graduate school in Chicago requires some gritty blues music at the B.L.U.E.S. on Halsted club, open every night since 1979

2013 Summer: extended research work at the US National Archives in Washington DC beget endless pitchers of sangria at the weekly Jazz in the Sculpture Garden 

2013 Summer: during an extended research visit at Stanford University I frequented San Francisco for the sweet culture and spicy fun, including Shitty Shitty Band Band at the Make-Out Room in the Mission District

Spring 2013: a friend from Toronto visited me for a weekend of "stockings down... gin... buckle shoes... aspirin... and all that jazz!" at the infamous Green Mill Jazz Bar in Chicago -- Al Capone's old hangout

2011 Summer: nostalgia, as Thievery Corporation performed at the North Coast Music Festival in Chicago

2011 Summer: a friend who is a film maker brought me to experimental jazz at Multikulti in the Wicker Park area of Chicago

2010 Fall: friend and fellow PhD student performs at Jai Ho!, a queer Indian monthly at Big Chicks in Chicago

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Partners in Crime: How Smugglers Unite India and Pakistan

"Smuggling is typically thought of as a vice, but in the context of India-Pakistan relations, it has become a virtue..."

Read more of my Foreign Affairs article, Partners in Crime: How Smugglers Unite India and Pakistan.