The Desi Takeover || Episode 1: Chugglian Radio

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The year is 2018. Diversity is all around us – in the food we eat, the music we listen to, and the clothes we wear. As the world moves to a more global culture, proper cultural representation is increasingly becoming forgotten in a new method of cultural appropriation.  As seen in this year’s Fashion Week where fashion mogul Gucci placed Sikh turbans on white models, proper representation is still a world away. Besides the fact that it is completely insulting when religious symbols are used for the purposes of fashion and entertainment, it is even more insulting that South Asians are turned away for jobs that are later given to other races, who end up wearing the same attire as we do. Our turbans, our bindis, our hijabs/niqabs, our gods are not here to be used for your aesthetic purposes. Our sacred items are not just props. It’s 2018 and we demand representation.

Being first generation Indian, I know first hand the struggle that comes with balancing both the culture we are born into and the culture of our ancestors. We get so caught up with the balancing act that we lose focus of who we really are. Many of us, including myself, have become a mosh pit of confusion trying to figure out what we should do and what we actually want to do. I know this a little too well. I’m an engineer by trade, honestly only because I felt like I needed to choose a career in the holy Desi trifecta of careers, but my true passion lies in the written work and fashion. So, this fashion week, I’m teaming up with other Desi bloggers and influencers in a movement called the Desi Takeover, where we highlight American Desis who are following their passions. Traditionally, entertainment and fashion usually aren’t common passions Southeast Asians allow to harvest into a career. For those who do, they have become an inspiration to the rest of the community.  The Desi Takeover hopes to inspire the folks who struggle to follow their passion and helps to provide them with a platform of support.  The Desi Takeover also hopes to bring the entire Desi community in the limelight. We are just as capable as others and we refuse to have our culture misused.

Our first feature is a group of three very talented men, who are giving the Punjabi community a platform to voice opinions and showcase our culture. Chugglian Radio is the first Punjabi radio show in the DC/Maryland/Virginia area. The hosts Mehar, Simar and Amrit bring charisma and true passion when they discuss Punjabi music and culture. This show now transcends international borders, since it now appears on the Punjabi music app Jamifi. Chugglian Radio reminds us that no matter how we grow up our Virsa* will always keep us connected.

I had the amazing chance to meet Mehar, Simar and Amrit and get to know more about who they are and what they do.

1.     What is Chugglian Radio?

Chugglian Radio is your one spot entertainment source for Punjabi culture, geared towards the youth as a way of getting them in touch with their roots.

2.     What’s the story behind Chugglian Radio and how was it founded?

Chugglian Radio started as a little joke amongst us three best friends. We would all hang around and gossip about the latest upcoming Punjabi music, and eventually we thought it would be an awesome idea to have a radio show. In 2014, we were approached by Jamifi to have our own Punjabi radio program, and that was an offer we couldn’t turn down. This gave us the chance to actually get our foot in the door and launch Chugglian.

3.     How are you helping bridge the gap between the Desi and American culture?

Our motto is “Future is Folk”. As Indians born and raised in America, we know how easy it is to forget your roots and your culture, but we also realize how important it is to know about your virsa. Being aware of the challenges we face outside of India, each show and event we hold is geared specifically towards getting the youth engaged with our virsa; whether its through breaking lyrics down, talking about the state of Punjab, Melas and shows with artists, and through Bhangra and music. Our end goal is to make sure that our culture grows, while enriching not only our community but other communities as well. 

4.     How do you represent Punjabi Pride on a daily basis?

Everyday we try to bring awareness to our culture. There is not a single day where the 3 of us do not listen to Punjabi music and discuss our thoughts with each other and our followers. Whether it be Punjabi music or the current events in the state of Punjab, we try to always keep ourselves and others informed.

5.     Tell us more about the hosts of Chugglian Radio.

Before we even started Chugglian, the 3 of us have been best friends for many years. All 3 of us were also born and raised in the United States; so with that, we can directly relate to the younger Punjabi generation and ours. Other than that, we are normal people who work a 9-5 job and do this on the side. We hope to one day make this our full time job!

6.     What’s the best part about hosting a radio show?

The best part has to be just kicking it back with the boys talking about music. It’s a passion we all have, and since the 3 of us all like different styles of Punjabi Music, it allows for great debates and sometimes drama!

7.     Where do you see Chugglian Radio in the next few years?

In the next couple of years, we hope to eventually get on local FM here in the Washington DC area.

8.     Who are your Punjabi talent icons?

We would have to go with Diljit Dosanjh. He has had amazing success the last couple of years, and he is definitely an inspiration to the youth.

9.     Why the name “Chugglian Radio”?

Chugglian means gossip, and that is exactly what we are doing when it comes to music. We critique the music and give our opinion about it.

10. What’s your most favorite episode of Chugglian Radio?

Wow! That’s a hard question, we have so many episodes out its hard to pin point it down to one. We would have to say our first Legends are Forever show is probably our biggest hit, but to be fair every show is our favorite because, each time we record, we have new jokes, new content and bring a different type of edginess to the table.

11. Why should people listen to you?

Great question! Well if you are someone who enjoys our virsa, comedy, gossip, Punjabi music, and fresh take on Punjabi current events, then we are your go to source. Chugglian brings to you a fresh vibe that our generation has never experienced on a radio platform. We are always turning on the radio and listening to different sources of entertainment, so why not have a platform for Punjabi entertainment. We have brought that concept and adapted it to the Punjabi Music Industry so we can jam out to the freshest music and also be entertained.



 Photogrpahy: Saloni Photography

Thank you Mehar, Simar and Amrit for always representing Punjabi pride and for making all Punjabis around the world very proud! 

Just like Chugglian Radio, there are many talented Desis out there. So let’s keep speaking up and fighting for our rights for proper representation!

Much love always, 

1 comment

  1. Great post! That dress is so gorgeous on you, and i love the vintage flirt details of the dress. Gorgeous!
    Alyssa |


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