The Indian wedding that exploded in violence

Just up on, my new essay. If anyone is wondering, this is not a story — the account is purely factual. Check it out here.

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It was the first days of the new year, and thrumming through the soles of my feet was that distinctive, hard-driving rhythm—the dhol drum singing out its bhangra beat. The dance floor was small, swallowed whole in a corner of the underground ballroom, but we were all crowded onto it, celebrating the closing night of the wedding. The speakers strained and gaudy lights painted our bodies in splashes of color and soon, after leaving the dance floor, I watched as a young Indian man newly arrived from a Midwestern city stammered across the ballroom toward a girl he claimed he loved with the simple plan of asking her to dance.

 He’d come here with friends, three young men looking to discover India, reconnect with their roots, learn something of the land their parents came from. In a minute, he’d be sprawled across the floor, his face streaming blood and I’d be racing toward his attacker, a relative of mine, who now hoisted a heavy steel chair high over his head and was about to bring it down with all his might and crush the foreigner’s skull.

Switch off the Bhangra

Switch off the Bhangra

In Punjab these days, the almost universal ubiquity of bhangra is creating a deadening musical monoculture, and it’s a monoculture that’s a broad reflection of the state of Punjabi culture as a whole.

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