DESI is a groundbreaking tribute to the diversity and dynamism of the 200,000 South Asians living in New York City. A Hindi word meaning "countryman" or "people of the soil," Desi refers to a broad, multicultural spectrum of South Asians - Pakistanis, Indians, Bangladeshis, Sri Lankans, Nepalese and others - who have become an integral part of this region. The lively interviews and scenes of community life, religion and culture include comedians Alladin and Bhangra DJ Rekha as well as members of the many religious groups (Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Syrian Christians and South Asian Jews). Illustrating the growing sense of shared identity in America, Pakistani and Indian cab drivers are seen uniting in a New York taxi strike as nuclear tests explode on their native subcontinent, threatening the outbreak of war. The documentary provides a valuable historical, cultural and sociological context for understanding this growing population.
Did You Know?
This production was made as part of the "Ethnic Americans" Series for WNET Channel Thirteen, the PBS station of New York. It was a highly anticipated release in 2000. After 9/11, it was distributed to high schools and re-aired on PBS nation-wide to educate the public in response to post-9/11 hate crimes. See more