Which South Asians run the most popular email lists? What follows is a list of seven individuals/groups (let’s call them The List of Seven, or the Gang of Four, although technically there are seven of them) - activists and networkers of varying shades who have been keeping at it for a goodly amount of time, and have somehow managed to not get unsubscribed into oblivion. Call them relevant. Each of these people self-reported the number of subscribers – make of that what you will.
Although I’m a long-time subscriber to his list, I was startled to find that #1, Ram Narayanan has 15,000 subscribers, about double that of the next guy, one Sreenath Sreenivasan. For those of you who don’t know Ram or his U.S.-Friendship.net, check out SAJAforum's profile of him and his work in helping impact the dialogue on the civilian nuclear energy deal between the US and India.
- DEEPA IYER/SAALT – 2,300 subscribers
Deepa started South Asian American Leaders of Tomorrow in 2000. The group was based in New York until last year, when it set up shop in DC, and deals with civil rights and policy issues affecting the community.
- Tushar Unadkat/NOUVEAU IDEA – 3,100 subscribers (updated)
Tushar is Toronto-based and works in the movie industry. He started his service at the end of 2002. He says its subscribers include Shabana Azmi, Aroon Shivdasani (IAAC), Mahesh Dattani and Mira Nair. The service spreads the word about auditions and other events pertaining to the Biz.
- Sakhi for South Asian Women – 2,783 subscribers
The New York-based service tells people about the domestic violence group’s activities.
- Sreenath Sreenivasan/SAJA – 7,500 subscribers
According to Sree this figure is approximate, and includes “desis and desi watchers in 20countries.” Easily the most high-volume of the lists represented here. Since most people are on the SAJA articles lists (select articles being sent out a few times a week), Sree recommends the SAJA E-mail Discussion List for those with an appetite for more analysis of what going on in the news. That list, of about 400 people, is run by SAJA Treasurer John Laxmi and "offers many more articles and critiques of news events, newsmakers and the journalists who cover them." Anyone who'd like to join that list can e-mail John at johnlaxmisajadisc[at]gmail.com with a few lines introducing themselves.
- Sam Kannappan – 3,000 subscribers
Sam is a Houston-based community leader. His emails are usually digests of happenings around Texas – pujas, a Tamil drama, a meet-and-greet with a visiting Indian dignitary - and include the occasional call to action (sign up for Medicare Part D). The subscribers include Harris County Judge Robert Eckels, the press secretary to Governor Rick Perry and Dr. George Sudarshan.
- Hindu Press International – 5,000 subscribers
HPI is the almost-daily service run by the same people who put out Hinduism Today, in Hawaii. It’s overseen by Sannyasin Arumugaswami, the managing editor of the paper. The service allows the editors to publicize news that can’t be run in the paper because it would be dated by then, and also to occasionally galvanize the global Hindu community. A podcast is being considered, in English and possibly other languages.
“HPI is researched by a dozen or so people who regularly send in news items they find on the Web and several hundred more who send in something rarely,” says Arumugaswami. “Occasionally something will be translated from a print edition of Hindi, Tamil, Spanish, French, etc. Rarely we'll do an original report. Most recently we did several original reports on the California textbook issue. These reports were widely cited (or plagiarized) in the press worldwide. We do evaluate stories for plausibility, and will not run something questionable without checking on it first.”
Know of other big lists? List them below, with descriptions, contact info.