Fatima Shaik embarks upon an unlikely quest when she travels from New Orleans, the city of her birth, to India, home of her grandfather Shaik Mohamed Musa. An African-American writer whose family has lived in Louisiana for four generations, she travels with Kolkata-born filmmaker Kavery Kaul to a part of India where no African-American (or American) has ever gone. Her search for the past is fraught with uncertainty, as she looks for her grandfather’s descendants, the land he claimed to own, and the truth behind the stories she grew up with
The Bengali tells the untold story of ties between South Asians and African-Americans in the U.S. In the late nineteenth-century, Muslim men from India arrived in the United States and married Christian African-American women. Together, they built families in an America that held them all at arm’s length. The Bengali reaches across seemingly insurmountable cultural divides to shine light on timely issues. Its boldly different story of immigration reclaims timeless themes of family.
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