Dec 30, 2020 • 1HR 10M

Podcast countdown to 2021 - day 5, Suhag Shukla: Hindus in America

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Razib Khan
Conversations about science, culture, and current affairs
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I'm counting down to the new year here by re-releasing favorite past episodes from the archives of my other podcast homes each day until 2021. Hope you'll discover a memorable voice or two you might have missed before. These episodes are free for all; next on the docket are new episodes for paying subscribers only, including conversations with Armand Leroi and Alina Chan.


What is a Hindu? In pre-modern times that might encompass all the people of the Indian subcontinent, irrespective of ethnicity or religion. But over the past few centuries, the term has narrowed to include just those who adhere to the subcontinent’s indigenous religious traditions And, over the last decades of the 20th century and into the early 21st, these people have migrated in large numbers to the United States. About 1% of Americans are now of Indian origin, and the majority of those are Hindu.

Suhag Shukla is an attorney and executive director of the Hindu American Foundation. In an hour-long wide-ranging conversation we recorded in the summer of 2019 for Brown Pundits we explore what it means to be Hindu in American in the year 2019. As it happens, the most prominent person of the Hindu faith today in the United States is not of Indian subcontinental origin: Tulsi Gabbard. Additionally, the hold of Hinduism on many Indian Americans whose family traditions are of that faith seems to be tenuous at best.

Shukla’s organization is fundamentally American, recapitulating the pattern of ancient faiths adapting to the American landscape like Judaism and Roman Catholicism.

This is day 5 of 6. Here is day 1: Shadi Hamid, day 2: Vagheesh Narasimhan, day 3: Thomas Chatterton Williams, 4: Alexander Ioannidis.

Also, if you were too busy over the holidays, my series of five quick pieces from this holiday season:

The Age of Genetic Engineering Begins

The Original Chinese Man

Applying IQ to IQ

Your Roots are Showing

In Gods We Trusted

One reason I shared this sampler of my writing was to leave those considering a subscription plenty of time to grab one at Substack’s lowest rates before I adjust the pricing upward in the new year.

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