Breaking tongues: carrying names across borders

by Sinthujan Varatharajah  I was named Sinthujan, a holy river for Hindus that in today’s Pakistan kills hundreds during the floods. However, neither that river, its Sanskrit origin or the subcontinent’s partition really mattered to my parents. Sinthuja is a common Tamil name given to girls. It’s a name that has survived decolonisation and nationalism’s drive… Read More

Hypervisible Bodies: Protesting White Supremacy Whilst Racialised

by Sinthujan Varatharajah Brandon Brooks, the white teenager who filmed the violent attack by white police officers against black teenagers in McKinney, Texas, has been widely celebrated by mainstream media. Despite his young age and racial background, he poignantly analysed the racism (but not the racialised gender politics) inherent in the events. Brooks’ comments stood… Read More

Writers in Translation

by Sinthujan Varatharajah A few days ago, I was sitting with a friend, we were casually chatting when I suddenly remembered that her father is a writer – as is my mother. I remembered that we somehow knew each other through our parents who again knew each other through diasporic writers’ circles. We laughed about… Read More

Becoming White in the U.S.

by Sinthujan Varatharajah Tal Fortgang’s essay, “Checking My Privilege: Character as the Basis of Privilege”, published in the conservative Princeton Tory and later picked up by TIME, Fox News, NYT, CBS News and various other media outfits caused a real online stir. In his piece, the 19-year-old decries the usage of the phrase “check your… Read More