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Surbhi Gupta

Surbhi Gupta

South Asia Editor

Surbhi Gupta is South Asia Editor at New Lines magazine. She is also one of the Li Global Fellows for 2022, in partnership with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. Prior to that, she was a staff writer with The Indian Express, a leading national daily in India, writing on culture, politics, and the internet. Surbhi was born and raised in New Delhi, and is currently based in New York City.

She has reported extensively on the diverse arts, culture and literary scene in India. Apart from interviewing artists and writers from around the world, she has also covered lesser-reported topics such as the rise of street hip hop in the country, resistance art in Kashmir, and the revival of Dastangoi, an age-old storytelling tradition in Urdu. She also documented stories of old, family-owned eateries, tucked in the bylanes of Old Delhi, for a weekly column ‘Families in Food’ in The Indian Express’s Sunday magazine. They told tales of migration, the Partition, and age-old recipes surviving the test of time.

During the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in India, she tracked new beats for the newspaper: from the impact on delivery and e-commerce services to the changing trends in the retail sector, online healthcare initiatives, citizen-led initiatives for stranded migrants, and lockdown induced changes in personal, professional and social lives of Indians.

Surbhi holds a bachelor’s degree in mass communication from University of Delhi, postgraduate degree from Asian College of Journalism and a master’s degree from Columbia Journalism School.

During her time at Columbia, she focused on stories related to the South Asian diaspora in the United States and worked on a long form feature on the culture of body shaming in South Asia. She also used the time to study the life and works of American jazz legend John Coltrane, politics of modern Middle Eastern art, and history of rumor and fake news. As Vice President of the campus chapter of South Asian Journalists Association, she organized talks, workshops and panel discussions with leading journalists for the students.

Surbhi welcomes pitches on South Asian politics, culture and history.

Latest from Surbhi Gupta

Why the Indian Election Results Present Modi With a Defeat Within a Win

Why the Indian Election Results Present Modi With a Defeat Within a Win

Exit polls had projected an absolute majority for the Bharatiya Janata Party, leading observers to expect a stronger Narendra Modi in his third term. But the results ended up shocking politicians, pundits and the public alike, and presented Modi with a form of defeat within his victory.

Surbhi Gupta
An Indian Singer Stirs Mubarak Nostalgia for Egyptians

An Indian Singer Stirs Mubarak Nostalgia for Egyptians

As Egypt deals with an oppressive regime, economic hardship and loss of prestige in the region, the popular Indian singer Abhijeet Bhattacharya’s striking resemblance to the late Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak has become a viral sensation, spotlighting some Egyptians’ nostalgia for the supposedly good old days.

Surbhi Gupta
The Ambani Gala Expands the Limits of the Big Fat Indian Wedding

The Ambani Gala Expands the Limits of the Big Fat Indian Wedding

The extravagant pre-wedding festivities of Anant Ambani — son of India’s and Asia’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani — had a lineup of performers worthy of an international festival and high-profile guests from all over the world, spotlighting how weddings are occasions for Indians to signal their social status and wealth.

Surbhi Gupta
After a Seattle Cop Disdains Value of a Student’s Life, Indian Americans Are Outraged

After a Seattle Cop Disdains Value of a Student’s Life, Indian Americans Are Outraged

The viral video of a Seattle police officer joking about the “limited value” of Indian student Jaanhavi Kandula, who died earlier this year after being struck by a police car, prompted the Indian consulate to demand a probe and has created outrage among the large Indian community in the United States.

Surbhi Gupta
Indians Are Celebrating the Moon Landing — One Song at a Time

Indians Are Celebrating the Moon Landing — One Song at a Time

Ever since the news arrived that India had landed on the moon — only the fourth country to join this elite space club, and the first to land on its south pole — Indians have been euphoric. One of the ways they’ve been celebrating is by revisiting pop culture dedicated to the moon.

Surbhi Gupta
Indian Media Icon Ravish Kumar Warns About the Future of Journalism in His Country

Indian Media Icon Ravish Kumar Warns About the Future of Journalism in His Country

One of most popular news anchors in India, Ravish Kumar is one of the few to highlight the repercussions of majoritarian Hindu nationalist politics, sensationalism on news channels and the rise of fake news. Subject of the award-winning documentary “While We Watched,” he speaks to New Lines about the media crisis and declining press freedom in India.

Surbhi Gupta
Chaos and Uncertainty Engulf Pakistan After Imran Khan’s Dramatic Arrest

Chaos and Uncertainty Engulf Pakistan After Imran Khan’s Dramatic Arrest

The arrest of a former prime minister is not a new phenomenon in Pakistan, but the violent and chaotic events that continue to unfold across the country after Imran Khan’s dramatic arrest earlier this week have been unprecedented.

Surbhi Gupta
A Leadership Race Exposes the Myth of Scottish Exceptionalism

A Leadership Race Exposes the Myth of Scottish Exceptionalism

As its first Asian leader, it's tempting to see Humza Yousaf’s victory as a sign of Scotland’s progressive credentials. Yet the strong performance of his conservative evangelical opponent suggests otherwise.

Joshua Martin,
Surbhi Gupta
An Oscar Moment for Indian Documentaries

An Oscar Moment for Indian Documentaries

The Oscar nominations for “All That Breathes” and “The Elephant Whisperers” highlight how Indian documentaries are shining globally. Yet, within India, they also expose the declining institutional support for documentary filmmaking from governmental, corporate and other entities.

Surbhi Gupta
Decoding Indian Film ‘RRR’s’ Popularity in the West

Decoding Indian Film ‘RRR’s’ Popularity in the West

“RRR,” the Indian film in the Telugu language, has won several awards, including a Golden Globe. Director S. S. Rajamouli has received a star’s welcome at packed screenings in the U.S. In India, the response to its success has been mixed.

Surbhi Gupta
The Many Ways of Celebrating an Indian Christmas

The Many Ways of Celebrating an Indian Christmas

What’s unique about India is the indigenization of Christmas. It can be seen in the regional dishes for feasts, variations on the holiday cake and carols sung in Indian languages.

Surbhi Gupta
Pakistani Pop Culture Has Had a Global Year

Pakistani Pop Culture Has Had a Global Year

Between the first Pakistani win at the Grammys, the first Pakistani film to be selected at the Cannes Film Festival, “Pasoori” topping the list of most-searched songs on Google, local actors featured in international series, and the highest-grossing film in the history of Pakistani cinema, 2022 has been a banner year for Pakistani art.

Surbhi Gupta
Indians Celebrate UK’s First PM of Indian Origin

Indians Celebrate UK’s First PM of Indian Origin

Indians the world over have been celebrating the first person of color and British Indian to take office as the prime minister of the United Kingdom. Rishi Sunak is also the first Hindu to hold the top job. Many have highlighted how he has raised the bar of achievement in the Indian diaspora.

Surbhi Gupta
Support for Iran Protests Highlights Indian Celebrities’ Predicament

Support for Iran Protests Highlights Indian Celebrities’ Predicament

Recently, Indian actor Priyanka Chopra was criticized for supporting protests in Iran, while maintaining silence on attacks against Muslim women in India. However, there are costs for speaking up in the current political climate. Aamir Khan, a Bollywood star, is still haunted by the ghosts of a 2015 controversy.

Surbhi Gupta
Fight to Protect Pakistan’s Trans Rights Law

Fight to Protect Pakistan’s Trans Rights Law

In Pakistan, Khwaja Sira is an umbrella term for gender minorities, including transgender, nonbinary, intersex and gender nonconforming, often referred to as the “third gender.” Its definition has now become a national discourse as many argue who should be and not be included, and protected by law.

Surbhi Gupta