Around the Web

Watch: What is it like being an Indian-American Muslim musician? Zeshan Bagewadi tells you

‘Growing up as the son of immigrants, I think it was cool because you grow up with like a dual mind.’

Mouth stuffed with “desi soul food” at a restaurant named Hyderabadi House, Zeshan Bagewadi talks about his family’s journey from Hyderabad to Chicago in Desi Soul, a biopic on his life. The musician explains his relationship with music and the complexities and subtleties of living in America as an Indian Muslim immigrant in this film made by Loyola University, Chicago, and MALA (Muslim American Leadership Alliance).

“You know, growing up as the son of immigrants, I think it was cool because you grow up with like a dual mind. Like I said, you learn different languages and you learn different customs, different ways of life,” he says in the video. Zeshan was born an Indian-American in Chicago, his parents having immigrated to the United States in the mid-1980s.

“I’m proud of all the melanin in my body.”

Bagewadi isn’t simply an Indian-American or a Muslim, though – he is primarily a singer and a musician. “Music’s taken me to the White House, the Apollo Theatre, taken me to India, taken me to England, Italy...but most importantly, it’s taken me where I am right now,” says the singer, whose claim to fame are his powerful vocals – he used to be an opera singer – and his video, Border Anthems, which unites the Pakistani and Indian national anthems:


Music came to Zeshan early in his life, but after delving into, and studying, classical music and becoming an opera singer, he realised he savoured soul and blues music, which he grew up listening.

“Growing up, black music, particularly blues, rhythm and blues, soul, that was sort of the soundtrack of my childhood,” he says, claiming that the Black experience and narrative has a certain proximity in his life, which he has grown to love and respect, especially the “blue note”, which he feels is “a note of instability” that is “born in oppression” and can be felt on a visceral, real level.

He previously covered and repurposed Cryin’ in the Streets by George Perkins, which supposedly resonates with his own experiences growing up as an Indian-American Muslim in Chicago, and is a song for today’s civil rights struggles:


Bagewadi says, “What I like about this, what I like about singing the music that I sing is that there’s no way it ought to be done, as long as it’s just real, you know? And I dig that.”

We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

When did we start parenting our parents?

As our parents grow older, our ‘adulting’ skills are tested like never before.

From answering every homework question to killing every monster under the bed, from soothing every wound with care to crushing anxiety by just the sound of their voice - parents understandably seemed like invincible, know-it-all superheroes all our childhood. It’s no wonder then that reality hits all of a sudden, the first time a parent falls and suffers a slip disc, or wears a thick pair of spectacles to read a restaurant menu - our parents are growing old, and older. It’s a slow process as our parents turn from superheroes to...human.

And just as slow to evolve are the dynamics of our relationship with them. Once upon a time, a peck on the cheek was a frequent ritual. As were handmade birthday cards every year from the artistically inclined, or declaring parents as ‘My Hero’ in school essays. Every parent-child duo could boast of an affectionate ritual - movie nights, cooking Sundays, reading favourite books together etc. The changed dynamic is indeed the most visible in the way we express our affection.

The affection is now expressed in more mature, more subtle ways - ways that mimics that of our own parents’ a lot. When did we start parenting our parents? Was it the first time we offered to foot the electricity bill, or drove them to the doctor, or dragged them along on a much-needed morning walk? Little did we know those innocent acts were but a start of a gradual role reversal.

In adulthood, children’s affection for their parents takes on a sense of responsibility. It includes everything from teaching them how to use smartphones effectively and contributing to family finances to tracking doctor’s appointments and ensuring medicine compliance. Worry and concern, though evidence of love, tend to largely replace old-fashioned patterns of affection between parents and children as the latter grow up.

It’s something that can be easily rectified, though. Start at the simplest - the old-fashioned peck on the cheek. When was the last time you gave your mom or dad a peck on the cheek like a spontaneous five-year-old - for no reason at all? Young parents can take their own children’s behaviour available as inspiration.

As young parents come to understand the responsibilities associated with caring for their parents, they also come to realise that they wouldn’t want their children to go through the same challenges. Creating a safe and secure environment for your family can help you strike a balance between the loving child in you and the caring, responsible adult that you are. A good life insurance plan can help families deal with unforeseen health crises by providing protection against financial loss. Having assurance of a measure of financial security for family can help ease financial tensions considerably, leaving you to focus on being a caring, affectionate child. Moreover,you can eliminate some of the worry for your children when they grow up – as the video below shows.


To learn more about life insurance plans available for your family, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of SBI Life and not by the Scroll editorial team.