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Iowans With Ties To India Grieve From Afar

APTOPIX Virus Outbreak India
Rajesh Kumar Singh/AP
Family members pay last respects to their relative, Rajendra Prasad Mishra, a 62-year-old man who lost his life from coronavirus infection, before his cremation at River Ganges at Phaphamau in Prayagraj, India, Saturday, May 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)

Coronavirus infections and deaths in India, the world’s second-most populous country, are holding close to record highs. There are reports of hospitals running out of oxygen and beds; morgues and crematoria are overflowing. India is a nation with a population of more than 1.3 billion — roughly four times the population of the U.S.

Thousands in the Iowa community were born in India, or have family and loved ones currently living there, and are witnessing the pandemic ravage their native country. On this edition of River to River, a conversation with three members of the Indian-American community living in Iowa and how they're coping with grief and feelings of helplessness as they watch the pandemic rapidly spread through a country they also call home.


  • Amrita Nain, associate professor of finance, University of Iowa
  • Sanjay Jani, architect, Iowa City
  • Aparna Ingleshwar, international student and Ph.D. candidate in Oral Science, University of Iowa
Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River
Matthew was a producer for IPR's River to River and Talk of Iowa