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Two men, near-identical names, and their intertwined lives. On one side is Bhagwan Singh, an itinerant religious preacher, a rebel on the run, poet, writer, and even a self-help guru. On the other is Bhogwan Singh, turban-wrapper, occasional actor, and one of the first Indians in Hollywood. When one appears on historical records, the other goes off the radar. This is a story of their journeys, intersecting, meshed, and melded mysteriously with each other.
Anuradha Kumar plays armchair detective as she courses through books, newspapers, pamphlets and films to uncover the trajectories of these two lives and the times they inhabited. As much as it is about Bhagwan and Bhogwan Singh, this book tells the larger and more remarkable story of how the first South Asians adapted, adjusted and remade themselves to a life in the New World.