Telling her story: It’s been four days since American University law student Saba Ahmed was thrust into the public eye after she was taunted by several prominent conservatives during a panel discussion at the Heritage Foundation. After having various accusations thrown at her– including ones that said she was a Democratic Party plant or that she had been exaggerating the incident– Ahmed decided to speak out in the form of a guest blog post in the Washington Post opinions section. From the piece:
I find it deeply offensive when people misrepresent my faith, as participants in the Heritage forum did. In addition, I am a Republican, because of my conservative Islamic values: pro-life, pro-family, pro-business, pro-trade. I had been a Democrat for years but concluded that the party’s liberal values conflicted with Islam.
Ahmed also reveals that she was born in Rawalpindi, Pakistan and notes that she is the proud holder of a bachelor’s, an MBA and a law degree and is currently studying for a masters in law and government at American University. (Washington Post)
Kumail Nanjiani explains how he prepares for Portlandia: In case you missed it, The comedian was on Late Night with Seth Meyers last month dishing about Portlandia. Here’s the information the show’s producers gave him before he taped his first episode. “I get an email that says, ‘They want to buy a cell phone and you’re trying to upsell them.’ And that was it. It was two lines.” You can watch the segment in the video above.
Hari explains it all: “So before we begin, I’d like you all to know that the theme of my set tonight will be colonialism.” Those were nearly the first words out of comedian Hari Kondabolu’s mouth during his set on Conan on Monday and he delivered as promised. Watch Kondabolu riff on Chinese restaurants, the real reason the Adam and Eve story is hard to believe and ask the all important question, “What would Baloo do?” (Team Coco)
Shining a spotlight on student loans: Belle Knox, the young half-Indian porn star who made headlines earlier this year after she was outed as a Duke University student, is back in the news this week after speaking out about the crippling student loans many students face. Writing for Time.com under her legal name Miriam Weeks, she urged readers to “start paying attention to what got me here: artificially inflated demand for college that pushes tuitions sky high.” The whole piece is an interesting (and controversial) read. (Time, Jezebel)
This Indian seat belt PSA is going viral: According to the WHO, only 27 percent of Indian drivers wear a seat belt. This new public service announcement, which stars a group of hijras who call themselves The Seatbelt Crew, is trying to raise awareness and change that. “”Naughty girl,” the leader of the crew says at one point, “tell your boyfriend to buckle up.” Watch the ad, which was developed by Oglivy India, above. (NPR)
The quiet courage of Saba Ahmed: A panel discussion on Benghazi hosted by the Heritage Foundation on Monday turned nasty after several of the participants mocked and taunted an audience member who was wearing a hijab. According to Dana Milbank of The Washington Post, the panelists and audience members turned on American University law student Saba Ahmed after she asked a question about the Muslim representation at the event.
As Milbank reports, everything turned quite ugly after that:
The once and future best-selling author: Mindy Kaling is currently working on a follow up to her 2011 book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns). We have to admit that we were intrigued by the book’s description. Here’s how the AV Club described it:
[T]he book will cover everything that’s happened in her life since she wrote Everyone, including her Fox show, the death of her mother, several of her friends’ marriages, and the purchase of her current home. The book will also reportedly address other issues that have been bandied about in Kaling’s public life, like her controversial Elle cover and issues of race (and dudes) on The Mindy Project.
The book will be titled Why Not Me? She told the Los Angeles Times that the phrase “has kind of been my subconscious motto my whole life.” (Vulture)
Actress Preity Zinta has filed a police complaint against her former boyfriend Ness Wadia, alleging that Wadia molested her inside a south Mumbai stadium during the IPL 2014 on May 30. (Both Zinta and Wadia co-own a cricket team together.)
That’s not neighborly:Lifehacker once described the startup Nextdoor as “private social network and helps you meet the people in your neighborhood. Whether you need to borrow a cup of sugar or find a new tennis partner, you can connect with people nearby.” (You can watch the promo for the app above). Nextdoor’s CEO Nirav Tolia recently quite literally connected with a woman nearby when he was involved in a hit-and-run car accident. Tolia was sentenced to 30 days in jail yesterday after pleading no contest to a reduced charge.
But it looks like Tolia won’t be going to jail after all. Due to “his good standing in the community,” Forbes reports that the Silicon Valley mogul will “complete the 30-day sentence through a weekend work program, where he will ‘put in eight- or 10-hour days doing paper pickups, washing school graffiti,’ said San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.” (Valleywag)
Preity Zinta alleges that her ex-boyfriend abused her: The Bollywood actress filed a police complaint against businessman Ness Wadia, her former boyfriend. NDTV reports that Zinta claims Wadia “molested, abused and threatened her inside the Wankhede stadium in south Mumbai.” (The pair still co-owns the IPL cricket team Kings XI Punjab together.) Note: every piece on this case should come with a massive trigger warning. I strongly suggest skipping over reading the comments and tweets about this situation. (NDTV)
The King of Bollywood climbs the wealthiest actor charts: According to a new list highlighted by PolicyMic, Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan is currently the second richest actor in the world. (Somewhat surprisingly, Jerry Seinfeld is listed at number one, which makes me wonder about the exact methodology and the definition of “actor” used.) Regardless, it’s true that SRK out-earned both Tom Cruise and Johnny Depp last year and has an estimated worth of a stunning $600 million. Notably, Khan is also the only non-American in the top 10. (PolicyMic)
Expect to hear lots of Slumdog Millionaire comparisons soon: Amin Sheikh grew up on the streets of Mumbai, working as “a beggar, a ragpicker, a factory worker, a vendor on a train, a boot polisher, a tea-shop waiter, a newspaper delivery boy and doer of myriad other odd jobs, all before he turned 16.” Now 34, Sheikh is also on the verge of becoming an internationally published author. His originally self-published memoir Life is Life, I Am Because of You is about to be published by Hachette in France and will be translated into seven languages. (Scroll.in)
Watch India’s most viewed ad: The above spot for MTS Telecom is said to be the most viral Indian ad ever. It’s also one of the strangest ads I’ve seen in recent memory. Playing off the concept of a “digital native,” the ad portrays a hyper connected newborn who bounces around using technology from the moment he emerges from the womb. (Ad Week)
Your depressing stat of the day: India has more child laborers than anywhere else in the world. According to Save the Children, “an estimated 12.6 million [Indian] children between the ages of 5 and 14 are engaged as laborers.” (Huffington Post)
Mindy Kaling looks back:The Mindy Project is probably one of the most scrutinized sitcoms in recent memory. Star Mindy Kaling was part of an all-star panel of Fox stars on Monday and defended the show’s sometimes-rocky first season:
“I personally think the show was better earlier than other people do!” she said, eliciting cheers from the audience. “I feel like people expect me to be like, ‘Oh, season one just sucked!’ ‘The Office,’ I felt that way about our season one episodes, and on season one of this show. I think they were great. And people learn more and get more attached to characters, but I’m going to stand by that first season.” (Variety)
Promises, promises: After yet another spate of high-profile rapes in India, the newly elected Modi government says it has “zero tolerance” for violence against women. As the Guardian notes, the proposed solutions include reforms to the country’s criminal justice system. (The Guardian)