South Asians In SXSW 2018!

admin@qs3 | March 9, 2018

Screen Shot 2018-02-18 at 7.30.23 AMBy Sumaiya Malik

March news starts with SXSW. For those who don’t know, SXSW is an annual conglomerate of film, interactive media, and music festivals and conferences that take place in mid-March in Austin, Texas, United States.

The dates for this year are March 9 through March 15. This is SXSW’s 31st year.

2018 is a big year for South Asians. Previously, they were mostly focusing on music, but this is the year of every genre, be it Interactive, Film or Music.
While the badges are expensive ($1325), each category has free shows as well.

Also, most music and film venues allow locals for a small fee after the badge holders have gone in.

It’s your luck if you get in, but it is surely worth trying.

If you don’t get in, you will still benefit by going and enjoying the scene. Map for the festival is available at

Ask the company you work for if they have allowance for SXSW.

Many purchase tickets for employees if they are interested. No harm asking!

Below is a list of music/movies/interactive/edu events that have the South Asian element plugged in.

The appearance of Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, as the keynote speaker about convergence has been discussed elsewhere in the paper.

Covering Islam as a Muslim in Trump’s America

Mar 10 – JW Marriott – 12:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Discussions about Islam in Western popular media were devoid of actual Muslims.

Now, Muslim voices are (a bit) more present, but they’re tasked with representing the most misunderstood religion in the world.

Ayesha A. Siddiqi, a Pakistani-American writer and television developer and Dena Takruri (@Dena), Senior Presenter at AJ+ and one of the channel’s founding members will take part in the discussion along with Slate and Huff post.

Takruri’s videos have gone viral, earning millions of views on Facebook and hundreds of thousands of shares on YouTube and Twitter.

Hamdullah Mohib

Mar 10 – Hilton Downtown –
10:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Hamdullah Mohib, the ambassador of Afghanistan in the US will talk about his experience in social peace through business.

He has been involved in official presidential visits to Azerbaijan, Belgium, China, Germany, India, Iran, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and the United States as part of the administration’s strategy for geopolitical and economic integration.


Mar 11 at 6:15 pm. and Mar 15 at 5:46 p.m. – Alamo Lamar

Narrative feature from India, the inspiration for the theme of the title sequence for “Solo” (2017) comes from the film itself.

Dulquer Salmaan plays 4 characters from different walks of life.

The characters were also named according to the 4 prevalent avatars of the Hindu deity, Lord Shiva.

How Muslim and Jewish Dialog changes the world
Mar 12 – 11 a.m. – Westin Downtown
This interactive talk has two Muslim and two Jewish speakers who share their experiences in building robust Muslim-Jewish partnerships.

The panelists will illustrate new models of self-critical pluralism, remarkably different from traditional interfaith approaches.

Samar Kaukab, Exec Dir, University-Natl Lab Research Collaborations at the University of Chicago will be a part of this panel.

Everyday ways to fight oppression
Mar 12 – Westin Downtown – 11 a.m.

Maria Toorpakai Wazir is a professional Pakistani squash player and an advocate for women’s rights.

She will talk about how a girl in Pakistan defied the Taliban by playing squash.

During this panel, moderated by the Human Rights Foundation, these women will show how anybody can make an impact and bring about social change.

Ustad Ghulam Farid Nizami

Mar 13 – Russia House

Ustad Ghulam Farid Nizami, a 17th-generation musician and a descendant of Mian Tan Sen, court. Ustad Nizami is a Fulbright Scholar who came to teach music at the University of Texas.

In 2009, he founded The Nizami School of Sufi Music in Austin Texas.

He will present a vast array of styles including Classical Indian, Ghazal, Geet, and Qawwali,


March 15 – Russia House

Sangat is a music group comprised of people from several regions of Pakistan (Sindh, Punjab, former Indian territories), the US and Taiwan as well as religious affiliations (Sunni Islam, Shi’a Islam, Mystical Sufi Islam, Christian, Buddhist, Jewish and spiritual secularists.

Sangat! has acquired an enthusiastic Pakistani following and national media attention for both their original sound and the significance of collaboration between people from diverse backgrounds and genders.

This is Sangat’s first performance at SXSW.

Accoridng to Ahsan Shabbir, a key band member, SXSW will give Sangat an opportunity to collaborate with other musicians.

The group will also have the opportunity to collaborate with likeminded musicians.

Secondly an opportunity to connect with distributors, producers and booking agents who might want to produce, distribute or book us for more shows.”


Oliver Rajamani
Mar 15 – Russia House

Flamenco India, a combination of redefined Romani or Indian gypsy music with Texas traditions, is Oliver Rajamani’s forte.

The 2014 nominee of the prestigious German world, Rajamani’s compositions are drawn from the historic ‘Romani trail’ and the lone star state of Texas.


Mar 16 – Elephant Room

Subhi is a singer songwriter based in Chicago.

With lyrics in Hindi & Urdu, her debut album ‘Shaitaan Dil’ showcases a blend of her Indian roots and the prominent Jazz culture of Chicago.

It was during her travels back and forth between Mumbai & Chicago that the songs were written to highlight her journey as an artist.

Dr. Kamran Ali and the South Asia Institute at UT Austin, deserve the credit for encouraging South Asian culture and injecting it programs and festivals of the city.

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