Anita Chhiba from London started Diet Paratha on Instagram. She is a photographer, model, athlete, musician, and activist who has created an inclusive community on the image-sharing platform.
Chhiba answers questions about Diet Paratha. She says that it is a play on Diet Prada but instead of calling out people, it celebrates them.
“I had never heard of Diet Sabya before last year. Their page is great. We did communicate and had a lot of fun. Their page is fantastic, ” says Anita Chhiba. How Diet Paratha was created: “I started in 2017. Because of the lack of representation in Western media from a South Asian perspective, I wanted to create a space. We are often overlooked and underrepresented as people. However, there is a lot of talent out there with their own stories. It has been a great experience growing the page as well as the community. I trawl through Instagram, I am so picky that I rarely accept submissions. It’s been amazing to meet so many wonderful people and have had so many opportunities for paid work, exposure, and collaboration. Not only for me but for the Diet Paratha members. It has a loyal South Asian and ally audience. It’s a loyal South Asian and ally following. The community’s accomplishments, projects, and efforts are celebrated. A lot of important conversations, around topics such as casteism and colorism in South Asian cultures, take place through the Instagram.”
She adds: “The majority of the community are South Asians who feel valued and seen in a way that does not place a focus on their cultural identity, such as traditional dress, food and monuments. We are much more than that. The feedback has been so positive, which just shows that the page is making an impression.”
“Although I love music, my knowledge of contemporary MENASA (Middle Eastern North African, South Asian and South Asian) art is limited. They have introduced me to many new artists and tracks recently. Our playlists were created to encourage discovery and are a mixture of different genres.”, says Chhiba. “Our merchandise had to be made. It was amazing to see so many people buy them. My friends send me photos of people walking down the street in a tee- or tote shirt. Based on feedback from the community [the account] seems to have made a difference on South Asian people as well as the wider world. I plan to host a few IRL events. This community is so strong, so talented. I can’t wait for everyone to come together in London and see what happens. These events could be taken to other cities, but only when it is safe. COVID, while not to be obvious, has been a major stumbling block.”