About the Show

That’s So Hindu interviews entrepreneurs and activists, politicians and professors, journalists, entertainers, spiritual teachers, and more on how Hinduism shapes their work and lives. All American. So Hindu.

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Episodes

EPISODE 78

Most people in the West have no idea how dangerous the Khalistanis actually are | Puneet Sahani

In this episode Samir Kalra speaks with Puneet Sahani, coordinator of Sikhs for Enlightenment Association, a volunteer effort of Sikh researchers across the world, who are pushing back against Khalistani propaganda.

EPISODE 77

From one hour a week to your entire week, there’s room for everyone to participate in politics | Sen. Niraj Antani (R-OH)

In this episode Samir Kalra speaks with Ohio state senator Niraj Antani about his career in politics, from being the youngest person elected as a state representative in Ohio, the only Hindu elected, to now being a state senator.

EPISODE 76

The US-India relationship could take off like a rocket ship | Akhil Ramesh

In this episode Samir Kalra speaks with Akhil Ramesh, research fellow at Pacific Forum International. They discuss the current state of the US-India relationship, where it could be headed, the challenges that relationship faces, as well as some of the challenges the Indian diaspora faces due to skewed perspectives on current Indian politics.

EPISODE 75

How an immigrant student with $250 in her pocket & 2 suitcases went on to be the first Hindu woman in Michigan’s legislature | Rep. Padma Kuppa

In this episode Mat McDermott speaks with Michigan State Representative Padma Kuppa, who serves the 41st House District. Padma is an engineer by training, who also served on HAF’s Board of Director for a number of years, before turning to politics.  We talk about how she decided to focus on elected office, the connections between her Hindu faith and public service, the attacks she’s faced based on her Hindu identity, and some of the more contentious public policy issues we’ve faced in the past month.

EPISODE 74

How herons can help us make better financial decisions | Easan Katir

In this episode we’re bringing back HAF’s very own California Advocacy Director Easan Katir, who, doesn’t just do Hindu advocacy work, but rather since 1983 has provided wealth management for families, individuals, and retirement plans. Last time we spoke about Dharmic Investing in general. Today we’re talking about the current state of the financial markets, how to weather them, which sectors are doing well, and how to think about wealth management through the lens of dharma.

EPISODE 73

There’s no such thing as Indian food. The cuisine is far more complex than that. | Chef Keith Sarasin

In this episode Suhag Shukla speaks with Keith Sarasin. Keith is a chef, three-time author, restauranteur, and public speaker who grew up in a small city in New Hampshire. Keith learned to cook Indian cuisine studying with a home cook, and went onto study with archeologists and food historians from across India. Keith currently runs Aatma, a pop-up tasting experience showcasing food from the Indian subcontinent.

EPISODE 72

Feeding 100,000 people on Thanksgiving, and helping people discover their personal story | Dr Varun Gandhi

In this episode Mat McDermott speaks with Dr Varun Gandhi, who describes himself as a life orchestrator, soulpreneur, an angel investor, philanthropist, and last but not least a water doctor.

EPISODE 71

HAF Executive Director Suhag Shukla’s full interview with NPR on caste discrimination in the US

On Monday, May 2, 2022, National Public Radio’s Morning Edition ran a story titled, “Some South Asian Americans Believe Caste-based Prejudices exist in the US.” HAF Executive Director Suhag Shukla was interviewed for the story and spoke to the reporter for over half an hour. The topic is extremely complex and the unintended consequences serious for millions of Americans of South Asian origin. We’d like to offer listeners the interview in its entirety since only a few seconds were selected for the broadcast, which resulted in the telling of a story that in our view is incomplete.

EPISODE 70

After 30 years the Kashmiri Pandit story is finally been told on film | Rajiv Pandit and Sidhi Raina react to ‘The Kashmir Files’

In this episode, Deepali Kulkarni speaks to Dr Rajiv Pandit and Sidhi Raina about their reaction to seeing The Kashmir Files, the challenges in speaking up about the ethnic cleansing that the indigenous Hindus of Kashmir faced 30 years ago — including social media and real world professional harassment and doxing — and what they want to the world know about the Kashmiri Pandit Exodus.

EPISODE 69

All about Marma Therapy | Vira Tansey

In this one Mat McDermott speaks with Vira Tansey, an Ayurvedic healer and educator based in Florida about the practice of Marma therapy, how to use energetic pressure points in the body to heal, reduce tension, and live a more balanced life.

EPISODE 68

 Banned on Twitter for spreading the truth about Hindu persecution in Bangladesh | Stories of Bengali Hindus

In this episode Deepali Kulkarni speaks with Soumyadip and Mohua from Stories of Bengali Hindus about the attacks the Hindu population in Bangladesh faced during Durga Puja 2021, getting banned on Twitter for sharing the truth about these attacks, and the legacy of the 1971 Bengali Hindu genocide, when some 3 million Bangladeshis, mostly Hindus, were killed.

EPISODE 67

Why do colonial-era errors about Hinduism persist, even among anti-colonial activists and academia? | Indu Viswanathan & Suhag Shukla

In this episode Mat McDermott speaks with Dr Indu Viswanathan and HAF executive director Suhag Shukla. They discuss the curious phenomenon of how stereotypes and misperceptions about Hindus and Hinduism that have their roots in colonial-era scholarship and thinking still get repeated today to negatively portray Hinduism, ironically too often by activists who are themselves anti-colonial in outlook.

EPISODE 66

Where is the Khalistan movement today | Terry Milewski

In this episode Samir Kalra speaks with retired CBC journalist and author Terry Milewski about his book Blood for Blood: 50 Years of the Global Khalistan Project, going into the history of and present day activities of the movement for an independent Sikh nation of Khalistan, the horrific violence associated with it, and how that movement continues on to this day with the backing of Pakistan and, by extension, China.

EPISODE 65

Until the horrors of Kashmir’s ethnic cleansing are owned up to, communal harmony won’t return: Part Two | Vijay Sazawal

In this second part of Deepali Kulkarni’s talk with Vijay Sazawal, international coordinator for the Indo-American Kashmir Forum, and a senior member of the Kashmir Overseas Association, they discuss the most recent violence in Kashmir, the reality of the situation for Kashmiri Hindus today, as well as some more context on the Exodus.

EPISODE 64

Until the horrors of Kashmir’s ethnic cleansing are owned up to, communal harmony won’t return: Part One | Vijay Sazawal

In this episode Deepali Kulkarni speaks with Vijay Sazawal, international coordinator for the Indo-American Kashmir Forum, and a senior member of the Kashmir Overseas Association. They have a wide-ranging discussion on the history of Kashmir’s accession to India in 1947, first-hand accounts of the ethnic cleansing of Hindus that happened in Kashmir 30 years ago, and what comes next for the region.

EPISODE 63

How yoga helped me survive two days lost in a frigid wilderness | Jolly Yogi Bose

In this episode Sheetal Shah speaks with Jolly Yogi Bose, who recently had to put her yoga training to the test after getting lost and separated from her partners on a hike in the Sierra National Forest. Jolly explains how she stayed warm and focused through the frigid ordeal though yogic breathing and meditation exercises and was ultimately rescued.

EPISODE 62

We’ve forgotten that Hindu teachings have given trans people a status equal to other genders | Anjali Rimi

In this episode Suhag Shukla speaks with Anjali Rimi, a South Asian, Hindu, Canadian-American woman of trans experience, based in the Bay Area. Anjali is the president and co-founder of Parivar Bay Area, America’s only trans-led, trans-centering queer organization. Parivar Bay Area focuses on centering trans-equity and economic justice within the Indian and South Asian diaspora.

EPISODE 61

After one week of violence, 335 Hindu temples vandalized across 33 districts in Bangladesh, with 7 Hindu priests killed

In this episode Deepali Kulkarni gets a report from one of HAF’s contacts in Bangladesh on the attacks directed and Hindus and Hindu temples in the past week, stemming from a social media post on Durga Puja. NOTE: This episode contains graphic recounting of physical and sexual violence experienced by Hindus in Bangladesh.

EPISODE 60

75 years after being published Autobiography of a Yogi still has something to teach us | Phil Goldberg

In this episode Mat McDermott speaks with author Phil Goldberg about the importance and legacy of Paramahamsa Yogananda’s Autobiography of Yogi, on its 75th anniversary of publication.

EPISODE 59

HAF Shop Talk: Suhag Shukla and Samir Kalra discuss Dismantling Global Hindutva + investigating Univ. of Pennsylvania violations of Hindu students’ rights

In this episode Mat McDermott talks with HAF executive director Suhag Shukla and HAF managing director Samir Kalra about last month’s Dismantling Global Hindutva conference, Hinduphobia in academia, and why HAF has filed a Title VI complaint with the Office of Civil Rights against University of Pennsylvania.

EPISODE 58

Tibetan people have been enduring unspeakable suffering under the illegal occupation by China | Tashi Dhondup

In this episode Deepali Kulkarni speaks with Tashi Dhondup. Tashi is Secretary of the Office of Tibet in Washington DC — a senior member of the Tibetan Government in Exile, now called the Central Tibetan Authority. They discuss the challenges facing the Tibetan people living under Chinese occupation, the CTA’s Middle Way approach in dealing with the government of China, and what the international community can do to help the Tibetan people.

EPISODE 57

The humanities keeps talking about Hindus without including our voices | Dr. Indu Viswanathan

In this episode Suhag Shukla speaks with Dr. Indu Viswanathan. They talk about the conference on Hinduphobia she helped organize at Rutgers University, the problems with controversial upcoming Dismantling Global Hindutva conference, and how Hindu practices and Hindus continue to be misunderstood by Western academia and researchers.

EPISODE 56

All about the 8 year-old Hindu boy charged with blasphemy in Pakistan + recent attacks on Hindu temples

In this episode HAF Human Rights Director Deepali Kulkarni speaks with a Pakistani Hindu leader, who for his safety wishes to remain anonymous, about the latest attacks on Hindu temples and Hindus in Pakistan, and what’s going on with the young Hindu boy charged with blasphemy.

EPISODE 55

Why are Indian South Africans being attacked? Part 2 | Yashika Singh

In this episode HAF Human Rights Director Deepali Kulkarni continues her exploration of the history of why Indian South Africans have been targeted in recent violence, speaking with South African Hindu community leader Yashika Singh.

EPISODE 54

Why are Indian South Africans being attacked? Part 1 | Lux Maharaj

In this episode HAF Human Rights Director Deepali Kulkarni speaks with South African Hindu community leader Lux Maharaj. They discuss the history of Indians in South Africa, and Africa more broadly, what led up to the looting and violence directed at South African Indians in the past few weeks, and what the Indian community there may be facing in the future.

EPISODE 53

Religious Freedom in Bangladesh 1971-2021: From Genocide to Today

This weeks show is the audio version of a side event HAF held at the International Religious Freedom summit, held in Washington DC last week. The focus of the panel is the 1971 Bengali Hindu Genocide and the ongoing challenges of the Hindu population in Bangladesh.

EPISODE 52

Through chanting mantra we awaken our heart to connect to the Divine heart | Jai Uttal

In this episode Mat McDermott speaks with Grammy-nominated musician, multi-instrumentalist, and world music pioneer Jai Uttal. They discuss Jai’s path through sacred chanting, the evolution of the Western kirtan scene over the past several decade, and the line that separates cultural appropriation and cultural appreciation.

EPISODE 51

To really focus, we have to train our minds and then practice what we’ve learned | Dandapani

In this episode Mat McDermott speaks with Dandapani, a former Hindu monk turned international speaker. They discuss the retreat center and botanical garden he’s founded, how we can learn to better focus our minds, Hindu practices for dealing with crisis, and the importance of employing reason on our spiritual journeys.

EPISODE 50

Pakistani terrorism doesn’t just kill Indians, it kills Americans too | Dr Michael Rubin

In this episode, a rebroadcast of a recent HAF webinar, Samir Kalra speaks with Dr Michael Rubin, from the American Enterprise Institute, on contemporary politics in Pakistan and the region, the nation’s support for terrorism, and how this affects the United States.

EPISODE 49

The study of caste has given a false foundation to Indian culture | Dr Prakash Shah

In this episode Suhag Shukla speaks Dr Prakash Shah (Queen Mary, University of London). They discuss the Western conceptions of caste in India, the complexity of adding caste discrimination to law in both the UK and the US, and much more.

EPISODE 48

Homophobia in India is a homophobia of ignorance | Ankit Bhuptani

In this episode Suhag Shukla speaks with Ankit Bhuptani, the chairman and founder of the Queer Hindu Alliance in Mumbai, India. They speak about being gay in India, the state of homophobia there, how the LGBT+ community is treated by both major political parties in India and much more.

EPISODE 47

If you don’t have Hindu representation on your college campus, create it for yourself | Shreya Mahasenan

In this episode Sheetal Shah speaks with Shreya Mahasenan, a junior at McGill University, in Montreal, Canada. Shreya founded the McGill Dharma Society, when she realized there was no Hindu representation for students.

EPISODE 46

No country is perfect: We’re working towards a more perfect union in the US and so is India | State Rep. Padma Kuppa (D-MI)

In this episode Taniel Koushakjian speaks with Michigan state representative (and former HAF board member) Padma Kuppa. They discuss Rep. Kuppa’s journey from being an engineer to the first Indian American elected to the Michigan legislature, her passion for environmental advocacy, and her newly introduced legislation recognizing Diwali, Vaisakhi, Lunar New Year, and Eid in Michigan.

EPISODE 45

Hinduphobia is real and here’s how to recognize it | Parth Parihar

In this episode Mat McDermott speaks with Parth Parihar. Parth is a member of the Board of Trustees of Hindu Students Council and a PhD candidate in economics at Princeton University. Earlier this spring he organized, along with Dr Indu Vishwanathan, a conference on Hinduphobia at Rutgers University, which brought together a wide range of speakers on the topic.

EPISODE 44

Hindus have a responsibility to modernize chanting for their own families | Shivali Bhammer

In this episode Sheetal Shah chats with Shivali Bhammer, the youngest recording artist to be signed by Sony BMG for bhajans and one of the Top 25 Under 25 South Asian music artists.