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Beyond Bollywood

January 15, 2014

In a first-of-its-kind exhibition at the Smithsonian, the Asian Pacific American Center will open “Beyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Shape the Nation,” detailing the history of Indian Americans and their contributions to the United States from the 1700s to the present. The 5,000-square-foot exhibition will open at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History Feb. 27.

Beyond Bollywood
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Beyond Bollywood - Dalip Singh Saund

Beyond Bollywood - Dalip Singh Saund

Photo courtesy of Eric Saund

Congressman Dalip Singh Saund, with Senators John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, 1958. On Feb.

Beyond Bollywood - DJ Rekha

Beyond Bollywood - DJ Rekha

Photo courtesy of Eco Magazine

DJ, producer, and activist Rekha Malhotra, popularly known as DJ Rekha, is credited with popularizing bhangra (Punjabi folk music) in America. On Feb.

Beyond Bollywood - Sharma Family in San Francisco

Sharma Family in San Francisco

Photo: Prithvi Sharma

The Sharma family in San Francisco, 1983. On Feb.

Beyond Bollywood - Worker Harvesting Beets

Beyond Bollywood - Worker Harvesting Beets

Photo courtesy of the California State University, Chico, Meriam Library Special Collections

An Indian immigrant worker harvests beets in Hamilton City, California for the Sacramento Valley Sugar Company, c. 1907-1915. On Feb.

Beyond Bollywood: Ghoush family photo

Ghoush family with car, ca. 1970

Photo courtesy of the Ali Akbar Khan / Foundation Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program

Family photographs collected from around the United States are featured in Beyond Bollywood. Here, Pandit Shankar Ghosh, Shrimati Sanjukta Ghosh, with Vikram (Boomba) Ghosh at Samuel P. Taylor State Park, Lagunitas, Calif., ca. 1970. 

Beyond Bollywood: Indian immigrants work on railway construction

Indian immigrants work on railway construction, ca. 1906

Photo courtesy of Southern Oregon Historical Society (#1603) / Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program

Indian immigrants work on the construction of the  Pacific and Eastern Railroad in Oregon, ca. 1906.

Beyond Bollywood: Indian Youth Against Racism

Indian Youth Against Racism rally

Photo by Corky Lee

Indian Youth Against Racism, a group from Columbia University, documented violence against Indians in New Jersey and implemented educational programs on South Asian cultures in Jersey City schools. The group also helped pass a bill in the New Jersey legislature raising mandatory penalties for "bias” crimes.

Beyond Bollywood: Swami Vivekananda and guests at Green Acre School

Swami Vivekananda and guests at Green Acre School in Maine

Photo courtesy of Eliot Baha’i Archives and Maine Memory Network / Smithsonian Institution Asian Pacific American Program

Indian contributions to the American religious landscape are showcased as part of Beyond Bollywood. Here, Swami Vivekananda and guests at Green Acre School, Eliot, Maine, ca. 1894. This school, a meeting-place for the study of world religions, was just one stop on a tour in which Vivekenanda introduced the West to Hinduism and yoga.

 

Beyond Bollywood: Turban

Photo credit: Richard Strauss / National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution

Days after the Twin Tower attacks on September 11, 2001, Balbir Singh Sodhi, a Sikh gas station owner, was shot to death in Mesa, Arizona in one of the first acts of retaliation targeting Arab Americans, Muslim Americans and South Asian Americans.


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