Reflections from the Camps: CYDR

One of my favorite parts of CDYR was the workshop on South Asian history with professors Shefali Chandra and Junaid Rana. We discussed everything from Partition and Hindu nationalism to settler-colonialism and ISIS. These were topics that I was somewhat familiar with, but I had never explored them with a South Asian lens. Especially during the timing of the retreat when the Israeli war on Gaza was occurring, it was fascinating to learn about how the partition of South Asia was engineered by the same white imperialists who created the state of Israel. Learning about these interconnected histories and having a space to develop political analyses grounded in my South Asian identity helped me work toward a deeper understanding of social justice, solidarity and resistance. Vinay Ravi, a panelist at CDYR and community organizer for Unite Here said, "As desis we often feel we don't have a culture of resistance, but this is wrong. The problem is we're not looking wide enough and far back enough." This statement has come to reflect much of what I took away from CDYR as a whole. CDYR forced me to interrogate the ways in which I subconsciously continue to subscribe to the model minority myth. It reminded me that I don't need to go outside my community in order to be radicalized; I just need to dig a little deeper to uncover the rich histories of South Asian resistance that aren't in our textbooks. In the time since CDYR, I've committed myself more to learning and sharing these histories of resistance because I feel it's one of the most radical things I can do as a desi. It is crucial for understanding social change, but also for the everyday struggle for each of us to reclaim our humanity and histories from a racist society that steals them from us.


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