India Currents is an important facet of America’s emerging multicultural identity. It’s a monthly publication which explores the heritage and culture of India as it exists in the United States. The magazine covers a wide range of subjectsundefinedpolitics, arts, literature, music, dance, travel, business, and even recipesundefinedthat are of interest to a general readership. At the heart of the magazine is a comprehensive calendar of Indian events, used extensively by readers to plan their leisure and entertainment.
Over the years, India Currents has won considerable recognition for its content, including awards from New America Media, the Arts Council Silicon Valley, and the South Asian Journalists Association as well as a nomination for the Utne Independent Press Awards.
India Currents has been in publication since 1987, when it started as a utility for the burgeoning South Asian American community. Today, the magazine is published in two print editionsundefinedNorthern California and Southern California/Nationwideundefinedas well as online, but it remains true to its original ethos and is free to all California subscribers. It reaches about 32,300 households and has a particularly strong circulation among hi-tech professionals in Silicon Valley.
The premise on which India Currents is founded is simple: that Americans of all backgrounds are interested in learning about other world cultures and that they respond to information that is presented to them in an accessible and attractive manner.
WHO MAY WRITE FOR INDIA CURRENTS: Our contributors come from a wide variety of backgrounds and write from all over the world. Indians, South Asians, Americans, and others write regularly for India Currents. What each of our writers has in common is an abiding interest in South Asia and India specifically: its people, culture, and evolving status in the world. Most of them live in the United States and have a good understanding of American people and culture. Without exception, they are all excellent communicators. Their challenge is to make India less exotic, less mysterious, more real, more nuanced, and more human.
Our readership is mixed: about 80% Indian American, 20% non-Indian. Readers have a superior command of English, but don't necessarily have a very wide or deep knowledge of Indiaundefinedin fact, many don't. Writers can assume that almost every reader has a certain amount of curiosity about India and the Indian diaspora, and is turning to the magazine for better understanding and deeper insight. To that end, articles which treat Indian arts, culture, customs, and philosophy in simple, expository terms are welcome.
Here are some notes about our major features and columns. If you are considering something that does not fit any of these pageheads, please feel free to email or call us. You can read our content online at www.indiacurrents.com
ARTWORK: Indian-based or Indian-inspired motifs and sketches which can be used to illustrate articles. Examples: keri, rangoli, borders, musical instruments, dance mudras, etc. Line art is preferable since it reproduces easily. Send scanned images via email; 300 dpi high resolution. Do not send originals.
MUSIC and MUSIC REVIEWS: Reviews may be of recent CDs or online compilations that are available for purchase in the United States (in stores or online). We cover South Asian classical, folk, fusion, jazz, hip hop, pop and any other style that has a strong Indian influence. Some recent reviews and music features have covered artists including Zakir Hussain, Ananda Sen, Goldspot, DJ Rekha, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, and Bamboo Shoots. We have also run music themed features on subjects like the evolution of Karnatik music education in the United States and Hindustani recordings available on the internet. Length: 300- 500 words (reviews); 850-1,250 words (features).
BOOK REVIEWS: Reviews should be of newly released books, fiction or nonfiction, in English (or in translation in English), available in the United States through bookstores or online. We may accept reviews of classics when a new edition is being released. Recent titles include A Thousand Splendid Suns (Khaled Hosseini), The Reluctant Fundamentalist (Mohsin Hamid), The Open Road (Pico Iyer), Unaccustomed Earth (Jhumpa Lahiri), and The Grace of Four Moons (Pravina Shukla). Engaging, accessible, and thoughtful reviews of academic books are especially welcome. Length: 300-1,000 words.
FILM REVIEWS: We run reviews of recent videos or films of Indian or South Asian origin or about South Asia, in English or subtitled in English. Examples: Brick Lane, Amu, Jodhaa Akbar, Life in a … Metro, Sarkar Raj, The Love Guru. Length: 300-800 words.
OPINION: A writer’s perspective on some issue or topic of current interest or debate. Recent subjects include plagiarism in Bollywood, Kashmiri alienation, anti-Asian violence, the US-India nuclear deal, immigrant schizophrenia. Length: 1,000 words.
COMMENTARY:Analysis of any major national or international event affecting the lives of Indian and South Asian Americans, other Americans, or Indians. Needs objective, reflective approach. 1,000 words.
FEATURE ARTICLES: The content varies widely. Some recent features: South Asian women poets, bone marrow donation, the making of Brick Lane, parenting in the South Asian LGBT community, binge lifestyles among teenagers and young adults. Treatment: in-depth. Suggested side-bars: anecdotes, statistics, local resources. Length: 2,000-2,500 words.
FICTION: We consider previously unpublished stories, up to 3,000 words. The prizewinning or shortlisted stories from the annual Katha: Desi Fiction Contest are also published in India Currents. Submission guidelines for the most recent contest (deadline: February 2008) are available online: http://www.indiacurrents.com/news/view_custom.html?custom_page_id=184
INTERVIEWS: We welcome interviews of individuals who have made unique contributions to Indian or American culture. Recent interviewees include Parijat Desai, Sudhir Venkatesh, Shashi Tharoor, Manny Malhotra, Ali Akbar Khan, Kanwal Rekhi, Benita Singh, Peter Bhatia. Length: 1,000-1,800 words.
IN FOCUS: We publish short profiles of individuals of local significance; “local” means Northern or Southern California. On some occasions, we publish short profiles of individuals from outside of California. Subject examples: recent awards won or companies founded. Length: 300-500 words.
DESI VOICES: Personal stories about some life experience. Recently published pieces dealt with subjects including a mother-in-law’s visit, coming to terms with a father’s death, reflections from a kurta-wearing, bhangra-dancing, Ramayana-reading good ol' American boy, an immigrant’s transformation from yard-sale-junkie into fancy-furniture-shopper extraordinaire, and cookbook dreams. 1,000 words.
RECIPES:Content: easy-to-make recipes for the American kitchen, with an introduction that places the food in its proper cultural context. Vegetarian recipes only. Emphasis on dishes not easily available in most Indian restaurants; world cuisines welcome (Indian-inspired a plus). Sidebar ideas: hints on Indian cooking in the Western kitchen, medicinal value of spices, protein content of vegetarian food, traditional diets, and balanced nutrition. Column should be accompanied by photo or drawing. Length: 1,000 words.
TRAVEL: First-person accounts of traveling anywhere in the world. Destinations in India and South Asia are preferred but not required; travelogues that can find a link to the diaspora are especially welcome. The stories that work best are ones that emphasize the personal experienceundefinedthe writer’s motivation for travel, personal impressions, encounters with local people, conversations with fellow travelers, and how one’s understanding of another culture is enhanced by the process. Brief notes on where the place is located and how to get there. Good photos (high resolution, 300 dpi) a plus. Length: 1,000-2,000 words.
YOUTH:Articles written by students in grade school, high school, or college on a subject of significance to them. Recent topics include experiences while studying abroad, comic books, musical tastes, relationships with parents, speeding tickets, community service, sexuality, marriage, being Indian, being American. 1,000 words.
SPIRITUAL REFLECTIONS: Have you had an inspirational experience? Have you had an intense religious awakening? Do you observe a meditation practice that works well? Were you spurred onto a spiritual quest by a memorable incident? We accept thoughtful, personal essays by writers of all faith backgrounds (or no faith background). Recent topics include Vipassana meditation, the principles from the Sanatana Dharma, and the foundation of the Dharma and Karma award program for Boy Scouts. Length: 500-1,000 words.
THE HEALTHY LIFE:Articles on the subject of health, yoga, nutrition, vastu, meditation, retirement, and other related topics. Length: 500-1,000 words.
LETTERS: We publish letters to the editor that have something original to say and that contribute to public debate. We prefer brief and persuasive letters which critically engage the content of our magazine. Length: up to 300 words.
EVENT PREVIEWS: The event preview articles focus on the event and the people involved in it. The goal is to show the reader why she/he should attend that program. The style is lively and light. The content is not only what, when, where, who, and how, but also: What kind of dance? Or music? What is its history? How has it influenced or been influenced by other cultures? What relevance does it have for modern life? Length: 350-500 words.
The 1st of each month for the following month's issue. For example, October 1 is the deadline for the November issue (which is published November 1).
Most columns are planned 2-3 months in advance. If you are working on something that is time-specific, send a query email or call the office as far in advance as possible. When in doubt, ask!
MANUSCRIPTS: Manuscripts must have the WORD COUNT clearly indicated on the first page. Query letters should be accompanied by samples of previously published articles (in original manuscript form, unedited, not in clipping form). We prefer completed manuscripts over query letters.
PHOTOS: Send hi-res images (300 dpi) as JPG or TIF file attachments with captions and photo credits.
RIGHTS: India Currents reserves the right to publish your article and all visual representations, electronic and otherwise, in print and all other publication formats, electronic and otherwise. Articles and artwork accepted for publication in India Currents may not be reprinted in other publications without written permission from India Currents.
SIMULTANEOUS SUBMISSIONS: We may consider work that has been submitted elsewhere simultaneously. We ask that you inform us immediately if work you’ve submitted to us is accepted by another publication so that we can work out details concerning publication date, rights, etc. If a piece has already been accepted by India Currents, we require that writers notify us in advance and that the other publication gives India Currents credit: “Reprinted with permission from India Currents, Inc.”
We do not consider work that has appeared in or may also appear in publications with which our readership overlaps significantly. These include: India Abroad, India-West, India Journal, India Post, and other similar publications.
PAYMENT: We offer $50/1000 words remuneration to first time contributors. Rates for commissioned features are discussed with individual writers.
PSEUDONYMS, PEN NAMES: We prefer submissions which carry the author’s name. We subscribe to the thought that written works are made stronger when their authors are ready to stand behind them with their real name.
WORD COUNT: Helps us decide quickly if and when we will have the space for your manuscript.
EMAIL your submission to firstname.lastname@example.org as a Word attachment (.doc).
CREDIT LINE: One sentence describing yourself which will appear at the end of the article. Example: “Atul Gowarikar is a Control Systems Engineer in San Jose.” Keep it short and simple.
I warrant that I am the sole author of, and have exclusive rights to the article ______________________ I am submitting to India Currents.
I hereby release full rights to the submitted material or any segment or portion thereof to India Currents. I understand that India Currents reserves the right to publish the material and all visual representations, electronic and otherwise, in print and all other publication formats, electronic and otherwise. I also understand that the payment for this submission is full and final, and no supplementary claims will be entertained.
Do not send faxes.
Do not typeset your article into two or more columns or print them over a gray background. Leave that to our typesetters.
DIGITAL IMAGES: We accept digital images scanned as high resolution (300 dpi) JPG or TIF files. Send images to email@example.com
PHOTO CREDIT and CAPTION: Include a caption in your email or an attached file. The caption should describe the location, the people, or the activity captured in the photo or drawing. Keep it short.
LINE ART: Send an image, scanned as “Line Art” or “B&W” at 600 dpi, to firstname.lastname@example.org
DO NOT SEND:
ORIGINAL ART: Do not send us your only copy of a sketch or painting.
PENCIL SKETCHES: Work done using a pencil has poor contrast and does not reproduce well on the printed page.
OVERSIZED ARTWORK: Do not send artwork larger than 8.5"x11".
1. NO EVENT REVIEWS: Due to limitations of space, India Currents does not carry reviews of local events (except for long-running engagements, where the review can actually serve as a preview).
2. NO ASSUMPTIONS: Do not assume readers are familiar with the subject. Do not assume readers necessarily agree with or subscribe to your point of view.
The India Currents stylebook has not been written, but some conventions have evolved. Here is our most current list.
A.D. Anno domini, in the year of the Lord. Use C.E. (Common Era).
B.C. Before Christ. Use B.C.E.
B.C.E. Before Common Era
Banaras, Benares Use Varanasi, the modern name of the city in eastern Uttar Pradesh state. Where the old name must be used, use Banaras, as in Banaras gharana of music.
Bangla the language spoken by the people of West Bengal and Bangladesh.
Bengali the people of Bengal; the language of Bengal. Some Bengalis prefer this name for their language over Bangla, and have said so in their letters to India Currents.
Bharatanatyam Use bharatanatyam. As in ballet, do not capitalize names of Indian dance forms.
C.E. Common Era. Preferable to A.D. (anno domini, in the year of the Lord).
Carnatic Use Karnatik.
chili, chilies the preferred spelling for the spice originally from the Americas, brought to India by the Portuguese
commas in series In series of three or more elements, use a comma before the “and” or “or.” E.g. one, two, and three; four, five, or six. Perhaps called the Harvard comma.
Dacca old spelling of the capital of Bangladesh. Use Dhaka.
Dhaka capital of Bangladesh. Do not use Dacca.
East Indian or Asian Indian Use only Indian, omit qualifiers like East or Asian. Other peoples to whom the term Indian is mistakenly applied have names of their own choosing: Hopi, Navajo, Miskito, to name a few. Calling them Indian is reminiscent of the colonial past in which non-European people were not accorded the dignity of being called by their own names. Indian has a distinctly native derivation (from Sindhu, the Indus river). It should not require qualification. There is only one India, there is only one kind of Indian.
et cetera, etc. used at the end of a list to denote more entries of the same kind. It is commonly misused by lazy writers. Best not used. If list is not complete or exhaustive, rephrase sentence along the lines of: “includes items such as A, B, and C” instead of “includes A, B, C, etc.”
exotic does not describe the object to which it is applied, rather it describes the feelings of the describer towards the object. Carries connotations of strange, foreign, alien, mysterious. One of the truly meaningless words in cross-cultural communication, patronizing, revealing of ignorance, a hindrance to better understanding. Best not used except to make this point.
Ganga North India's major river. Called Ganges by the British.
Ganges Use Ganga, the native name of the river.
gazal Use ghazal.
ghazal preferred spelling for a vastly popular form of Urdu poetry set to music
Ghandi a common American misspelling of Gandhi (pronounced Gahn-dhee)
Gods, Goddesses the preferred way to capitalize the plural forms of the words
gods, goddesses Use Gods, Goddesses.
Gujarat a state in western India. Do not use Gujrat or Gujerat.
Gujarati of, from Gujarat, a state in western India. A language. Do not use Gujrati, Gujerati.
Hindi The language spoken by a large number of North Indians. Not related to Hindu, a person who belongs to the faith of Hinduism.
Hindoo Use Hindu.
Hindu Person practicing the faith of Hinduism. Not the name of a language (see Hindi).
holy cow an expression of amazement in use in the West, derived from an incomplete and somewhat biased view of of Hinduism. Best not used.
honorifics, titles honorifics and titles such as Dr., Mr., Mrs., Ms., His Holiness, Swami are omitted entirely. Swami is permissible on first reference only.
Indo-American Use Indian American.
Indian American (n.) preferred term for people of Indian descent in the United States. Also, Indian-American (adj.)
Kathak Use kathak. As in ballet, do not capitalize names of Indian dance forms. Not to be confused with kathakali, a South Indian classical dance.
Kathakali Use kathakali. As in ballet, do not capitalize names of Indian dance forms. Not to be confused with kathak, a North Indian classical dance.
Kathmandu Nepal's capital city. Pronounced KAH-TH-MAHN-DO.
Katmandu an American misspelling of Kathmandu, Nepal's capital city. The misspelling is perpetuated by dictionaries like Random House and news organizations like Associated Press.
Kuchipudi Use kuchipudi. As in ballet, do not capitalize names of Indian dance forms.
Manipuri Use manipuri. As in ballet, do not capitalize names of Indian dance forms.
Moghul Use Mughal.
Mogul Use Mughal.
Mohammed Use Muhammad (as written by South Asian Muslims).
Mohini attam Use mohini attam. As in ballet, do not capitalize names of Indian dance forms.
Moslem Use Muslim, the term preferred by Muslims.
Mount Everest Chomolungma, the native name for the world's highest peak, is preferred, but the European name may also be used, especially in the first reference.
names of people On the first occurrence, use the full name (first and last). For repeated occurrences, use only the last name.
North India, North Indian Always capitalize both words.
Odissi Use odissi. As in ballet, do not capitalize names of Indian dance forms.
Proper Names Use native names and native spelling wherever possible. If relevant, include tips on accurate pronunciation. E.g., Ganga, not Ganges; Kanpur, not Cawnpore; Himalaya (pronounced him-mah-luh-yuh); Taj Mahal (pronounced Tah-dj Muh-hull).
Punjab, Punjabi a state in North India; its language and its people
rag Use raga.
raga preferred spelling for a mode in the Indian system of music
sacred cow something that is irrationally exempt from criticism. A phrase coined by non-Indian speakers of English with an incomplete and rather biased understanding of Hinduism. Best not used.
saree Use sari.
sari preferred spelling for India's well-known dress for women
South Asia The correct geo-political term for the part of Asia which includes India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Afghanistan, Burma, Maldives (and Tibet, depending on your politics). Not to be confused with South East Asia.
South East Asia does not include India and neighboring countries. A common mistake in America. The correct geo-political term is South Asia: it includes India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Afghanistan, Burma, Maldives (and Tibet, depending on your politics). South East Asia refers to Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Laos, Kampuchea, Vietnam, and New Guinea.
South India, South Indian Always capitalize both words.
Spelling Use Indian spellings of Indian names & terms. E.g., Mughal, not Moghul; Muslim, not Moslem; Hindu, not Hindoo.
Varanasi a city in eastern Uttar Pradesh state known earlier as Banaras or Benares. Where the old name must be used, use Banaras, as in Banaras gharana of music.
vilayat “the foreign land,” originally applied to Turkey, later came to mean Europe and the West. Do not use vilayet.
veena preferred spelling for India's ancient plucked string instrument
vina Use veena.
Indians have a unique way of spelling names in Roman script. Each letter is used consistently to represent the same sound. If you want to pronounce Indian names properly, learning the spelling is the first step.
People who have grown up with the arbitrariness of English spelling and pronunciation do not find Indian spelling immediately intuitive, but after some familiarity, begin to see a clear pattern and method.
The letter a is the source of much confusion to non-Indians. It is one of the few letters which has come to represent two different sounds in Indian names: the sound of a in elephant (short a), and the a in far (long a). It is never used to represent the sound of a in fat. E.g., Bharati (Bhah-ruh-tee), Himalaya (him-mah-luh-yuh).
Watch the h's carefully. The correct placement of the letter h is crucial. By itself, it represents the sound of h in house. When it follows another consonant, as in kh, gh, it stands for aspiration - aspirated k, aspirated g, and so on. Misplacing the h in some names may make it meaningless (the name is Gandhi, not Ghandi) or change its meaning entirely, sometimes from the sublime to the ridiculous. The Washington Post devoted an entire review to khatak (a knock or sound) when it meant kathak (the classical dance of North India).
The same Indian name may be spelled differently in North & South India: Sarasvati (North India) and Sarasvathi (South India).
The letters v and w do not necessarily represent different sounds. Divali & Diwali, Sarasvati & Saraswati are both acceptable.
comma In lists of three or more items, use a comma before the “and” or “or.” E.g.: one, two, and three; four, five, six, and seven.
ellipsis Three periods, no spaces between them, always a space before if preceded by a word, always a space after if it is followed by a word. E.g.: He rambled on and on and on ... but no one paid attention. Use sparingly.
exclamation mark Use sparingly.