Sandip Roy

American Center, Kolkata

Fatima Shaikh has yet to find a family like hers - African American Catholics with a Muslim name - all thanks to a man she had never met, her grandfather Shaikh Muhammad Musa. A Bengali peddler from India who married an African American woman from New Orleans in 1896. He left behind three children but few clues about himself.

India’s Supreme Court is yet to rule on the repeal of its anti homosexuality law. But just because marriage equality isn’t on the table yet does not mean a country like India doesn’t have its own way of thinking about all these issues.



The December gang rape in Delhi spurred such huge protests in India, a surprised government had to act quickly.

In India, having a close family leads to suspicion.

Sandip Roy

The simple no frills boxes read Nahoum & Sons, Pvt Ltd. Dainty Confectionery. This family bakery in Kolkata is over a hundred years old and looks it - Nahoum's is nostalgia baked into a cake.

Working from home

Mar 6, 2013

Working from home can sometimes depend on where your working at home from.

Manil Suri


Writers are usually nervous about labels. Like Asian. Immigrant. Or gay. . But novelist Manil Suri actually likes to bring up that gay stuff during interviews. Manil Suri has  written two acclaimed novels. But his latest The City of Devi is in a sense his coming out novel.

Indian Express /


Eliminating wrestling from the Olympics to save the modern pentathlon is terribly unjust. And in this part of the world, it stings a little harder.



Sandip Roy

Ploughing through aisles and aisles of books selling guides to cracking management exams and microwave cookery, Sandip Roy wonders if he's been fooled by all these lines into believing in a city that is still enamored of actually reading...


Sandip Roy speaks with Academy Award winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy at the Jaipur Literature Festival

The Greatest Literary Show on Earth!

Jan 30, 2013

What happens when a few hundred thousand people from around the world throng into an old palace in Rajasthan on a wintry January morning?  Welcome to the Jaipur Literature Festival.

What's Osama bin Laden doing on American Idol!? Sandip Roy considers the appearance of Gurpreet Singh Sarin on Fox's "American Idol." Does this young Sikh-American hold the key to changing the attitudes and misconceptions of Americans?

Painted and Dented

Jan 16, 2013
IBN Live / IBN Live

In the wake of the anger in India over the gang rape and death of the 23 year old woman in Delhi, India’s politicians have been all over the map. One said just because India won its freedom at midnight it didn’t mean women could roam the streets at midnight. But the reaction that really went viral came from Abhijit Mukherjee, a newly-elected member of parliament. In an interview with a Bengali television channel, he dismissed the women at protests and vigils as highly dented and painted.


Charlotte Cooper / Socialist

Is the brutal gang rape of a 23 year-old woman in New Delhi last December the tipping point for women's rights in India? What about in Steubenville, Ohio?

Christmas in Kolkata

Dec 26, 2012
Sandip Roy

Christmas is serious business in Kolkata, India. From the turkey dinners to the mass consumption, in some ways it's not all that different from America.

Shubho Borodin everyone!

There have been other musical greats in India. But Ravi Shankar was different. 

Naveen Kishore / Seagull Books

Death Tourism

Dec 5, 2012
Bishan Samaddar


The business of mourning never stops especially in a country where death itself has become a tourist attraction.

A new Indian feature film was inspired by a group of prisoners who formed a well-known classical dance company. Commentator Sandip Roy has the true story of a famous Indian dancer and the convicts she befriended.

Alokananda Roy walked into Calcutta's Presidency Jail on International Women's Day, 2007. The Indian classical dancer had been invited to watch female inmates perform, but it was the men who caught her eye.

"They shook me," she says. "Their body language — it was as though they had no future, nothing to look forward to."

Good Night Mr. Kissinger

Nov 21, 2012
Sandip Roy

What would you do if you were a Bangladeshi waiter in New York and suddenly found yourself serving the bogeyman of your national nightmare – Henry Kissinger?

It’s been over 40 years since Bangladesh became independent but as Anis makes clear it still loves to hate Henry Kissinger.  In 1971 he was the national security advisor and as Pakistani troops tried to brutally crush the independence movement in what became Bangladesh, Henry Kissinger sided with Pakistan because that was his corridor to Beijing. And Bangladeshis remember that.

All you can eat India

Nov 14, 2012

In America, I discovered coma-inducing lunches of all you can eat chicken tikka masala and saag paneer and naan for just 9.99. Well, what goes around comes around. The great Indian buffet has come - to India - with a vengeance.  

Absentee voter

Nov 7, 2012

Why do American elections matter to the world when barely 50 percent of Americans show up at the polling booth? Sandip Roy votes absentee... from India.

Happy Puja!

Oct 24, 2012

Durga Puja is the highest of high holidays for Bengalis when the mother Goddess comes home for five days every year. Bengalis abroad get very nostalgic at the mention of Durga Puja. The Bay Area hosts about half a dozen alone. But back in the Puja's home territory there's much grousing that the grand puja has become too tacky, too commercialized and too nouveaux riche. 

The 70th birthday celebration of Bollywood's biggest star says as much about the people of India as it does about Amitabh Bachchan.

A fatwa on your speech!

Oct 10, 2012

Salman Rushdie's memoir Joseph Anton has brought the fatwa back into the news. India has the dubious distinction of being the first country to ban the book's import. Sandip Roy looks at how that decision still reverberates in the country.

Saundhi Mitti

Oct 3, 2012

Monsoon has always been the most important season in India - whether it's from the point of view of the economy or the Bollywood rain dance. But coming back to India after years in America, Sandip Roy finds the memories of monsoons past don't always live up to the realities of monsoons present.

Dengue Songs

Sep 19, 2012

The scariest disease racking Kolkata these days is one no one is sure how to pronounce.The government first blamed the media. Then it blamed private hospitals for trying to drum up business. Now it’s swung into action. We have three wheeler auto rickshaws trundling around the city singing dengue ditties – about stagnant water and garbage and mosquitoes. It’s all about dengue awareness.

Fair and Lovely?

Sep 12, 2012

I learned about "tighty whities" in America thanks to Calvin Klein.
It was only after I came back to India that I encountered the dark side of the tighty whitey. I always knew Indians had an obsession with fairness. But I have to admit I was a little taken aback to find that in the new India you could lighten not just your face, or your arms but also your very very private parts.......

More people are living solo around the world these days. You can call it a splintering of society. Or you can say it’s because we have better Internet connections. Sweden has the most number of singletions. But the countries where single person households are growing the fastest are Brazil, China and India.